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BY Joel Junker

Advice from a Cameron-Brooks Alumnus

Cameron-Brooks Alumni always do a better job of explaining the Cameron-Brooks experience than any member of the Cameron-Brooks team.  First, recent Alumni have just lived the experience and it’s fresh for them.  Second, the Cameron-Brooks Alumni can easily relate to the concerns/questions other junior military officers (JMOs) have about a military to business transition and Cameron-Brooks’ services.

The following is a copy of Tish Bivins’ posting on the Cameron-Brooks Discussion Forums about her experience with Cameron-Brooks and the August 2009 Conference.  Because her advice is spot on about preparation and how to approach the Conference, I am including it in the blog since many of you following the Cameron-Brooks blog do not regularly visit the Discussion Forums. 

Just a little background about Tish.  Tish has a business undergraduate degree and was an Army Finance Officer who had a wide variety of positions while in the military to include a company command.  She prepared for her Conference while she was deployed.  She stayed in excellent contact with Cameron-Brooks via e-mail and occasional phone calls.  She also had 5 face to face meetings with us at Fort Bragg and made the drive to Fort Benning for extra sessions.  Tish had a successful career search and is now a Process Improvement Analyst with one of the fastest growing companies in the US. 

Tish’s advice:

“I know everyone is getting amped for the November and January Conference.   As you make your final preparations I’d like to give you a few tools that you might find helpful:

1)      “How was the conference?”   Yes it’s hard!  I spoke with a few CB alumni before attending the conference and everyone said it would be a breeze, and it would be easy.  Don’t believe it; let me define hard for you.  Hard=an encyclopedia of information given to you in a 48 hour period; self-induced pressure to perform; and a serious case of claustrophobia.   Because you are some of the military’s top performers, you are probably accustomed to performing under these conditions.

2)      CB Questions: Think through and prepare responses to all 25 questions.  Take a great deal of time developing your processes and formalizing your thoughts and actions.  Then ditch the questions.  DO NOT GET HUNG UP on the questions.  To avoid the canned answer experience, learn how and why you think and act the way you do, what attributes have made you successful in your career,  then convey that using thorough examples from your career. 

3)      Sleep:  From the time you enter the hotel and receive your packet of information until Sunday night, you will be cramming in as much information as you can.  After the company briefs, you will retire to your rooms and continue to cram, you will find yourself cramming well into the night…STOP.  You will not be receptive and alert if you do not get ample rest.  We in the military can survive on four hours, but you will need at least six.  Develop a study timeline stick to it and get some rest. 

4)      Company Bias: Don’t fall into this trap, you will be given company data sheets, that will list salary ranges, possible locations, position and industry descriptions, you will fall in love with some while others you will be uninterested in immediately.  It’s only common that you will be concerned about the location and the salary, but do your best to avoid focusing on either of these facts.  Focus on the company and the industry.  The position would probably be the next important fact, because you want to enter a company in a position that affords you the opportunity to learn the most about the business. 

5)      Interview Prep: Sunday night you will stay up late selecting/reviewing your accomplishments and aligning them with the job positions, you’ll develop your company questions and your respective closings.  For Sunday, only focus on the interviews you have for Monday.  Monday night do the same routine for the interviews on Tuesday.  Regardless of how it goes on Monday, Tuesday starts anew.  Every interview is your only interview!!!

6)      Roger Cameron: Prepare yourself for Roger’s direct, “tell it the way it is” approach. Some of you may have already practiced your interviewing with him, while others (like me) tried to avoid interview practice with him. Let me paint a picture for you….remember when you first entered the military, and you sat with your senior leader for the first time? You had heard all of the bad things about how he or she was firm, extremely knowledgeable and perhaps unapproachable. You were nervous and wanted to make sure you said all of the right things? Well, it is even harder with Roger. However, the sooner you get over this fear, the better. Don’t try and hide from Roger; if you can interview well with him, you’ll have no problem with ANY company interview. I made it a point to sit with Roger to practice my interview questions and connecting points. He is a wealth of knowledge; make sure you sit with him one-on-one at least once during the conference. (NOTE: Before the conference call him to do a mock interview if you have not done so, but be ready!)

Tish Bivins

August 2009 Conference Candidate”