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BY Joel Junker

Are JMO Recruiting Firms Outdated?

As you navigate your transition decision, you might be asking yourself, “Are JMO recruiting firms outdated?” When Cameron-Brooks was first founded in the 1960s, we were one of the first JMO Recruiting Firms in existence. Corporate America needed leaders, and we discovered a way to link the leadership and experience of a JMO with the business world. Corporate America was thrilled – they had stumbled upon a pot of military leadership gold! Fast forward to today, there are more options than ever for military members: military recruiting firms, MBA programs, internship opportunities, Skillbridge, rotational programs specific to veterans, LinkedIn, Service Academy Career Conference, etc. So, you may be asking, with all these options, are JMO recruiting firms outdated, and if so, should I even consider partnering with one? Let’s explore this topic.

The first question to ask yourself is – do you even need a JMO recruiter to help you find a job in business? No, you do not need to partner with Cameron-Brooks or any type of recruiting firm to land a job in business. This answer may surprise you, given I am a principal and transition coach at Cameron-Brooks, but it really shouldn’t. As I stated, there are many more options available for JMOs today than when Cameron-Brooks was founded to find post-military work. All of them can lead to finding a job after the military, but not all firms / programs / opportunities are created equal.

Understand Job vs. Career

The keyword in that previous sentence is “job.” Webster’s dictionary defines “job” as a “regular remunerative (financially rewarding) position,” or what I like to say, “Doing routine tasks in return for pay.” No JMO needs help getting a job, especially with the current unemployment rate sitting at 3.7% as I write this blog post. Cameron-Brooks is not in the business of helping JMOs merely find jobs or even just find employment post-military. We are not really even a recruiting firm as we exist today. Cameron-Brooks is a Junior Military Officer Transition Firm because we truly help JMOs make the transition from successful military leader to successful business leader.

Define Transition

Now, allow me to define “transition” so you can see how it differs from “job.” Most JMOs would define a military-to-business transition as finding a good job (“good” meaning they like the work, location and pay). The duration of this type of transition starts around the time the JMO submits a resignation to when he or she starts in the new job. It is very short term. This strategy often leads to looking for the next good job within the first couple of years because the focus is on the short term and not the long term. A lot of JMOs are not thinking of making an investment in their career – the idea of giving something in the short term to get something in the medium and long term.

At Cameron-Brooks, we define the “transition” as “where a successful military officer (track record of success in military/high performer with high potential) becomes a successful business leader (track record of success in business/high performer and high potential).” The duration for this type of transition lasts 3 to 5 years where the JMO invests in their new career and over that time transitions from being a proven military leader with business leadership potential to a proven business leader with continued potential who happens to be a former military officer. As a result, they are now in the company’s leadership succession planning process.

Create a strategy to get around the “noise”

So, let me rephrase my earlier question. Do you need to partner with a recruiting firm like Cameron-Brooks if you want to transition from the military to a business leadership career? “Need” might be too absolute, but I highly recommend it because it is a lot harder to do this on your own and will involve a lot more variability, especially with all the “noise” out there in today’s market. Again, allow me to explain.

Imagine if a 7-year business person decided to enter the military as an officer and step right into being a mid-level O-3.  What would this person need to do to catch up with the experience of the other 0-3s in order to be considered as a potential future 0-6 (the military equivalent of the executive level in business)?  They would need to be able to be considered for 0-4 potentially below the zone and for sure within the zone.  They would have a lot to learn and prove in that time to catch up.  The same is true for military officers transitioning to business careers.  Companies value the leadership, but the JMO has some ground to make up.

Prioritize to get ahead

So, if you need to make up ground in your new business career, you will want to have 3 priorities.

  • First, get onboard with an industry-leading company because not all experiences are the same, and industry leaders will typically provide the most challenging opportunities allowing you to grow. Industry leaders will also provide the opportunity around the 4-year mark for your first major promotion within your company or if needed.
  • Second, you will need to find a career path that will allow you to have multiple accomplishments to prove your skills and potential. These will become the accomplishment bullets at the top of your new revamped resume with business experience on it.
  • Third, you will want to choose a company and work that will hold your attention for about 4-5 years. You cannot be thinking short term if you want to transition from proven military leader to proven business leader with lots of potential. Again, remember what I said about making an investment in your career early! The last thing you want to do is start with a company and quit within the first 18-24 months because it does not interest or challenge you. If you do that too many times, companies will not consider you for their leadership succession planning because you appear to be a flight risk.
Leverage the connections

I would advocate not just any firm but one that has access to hiring managers at industry-leading companies that value the JMO skillset.  At Cameron-Brooks, we are connected to 5,000+ hiring managers across Corporate America, and over 100+ different recruiters attended each of our Career Conferences thus far in 2022.  We help you get in front of hiring managers and decision-makers who hire for opportunities designed to help you make the successful transition and get into that succession planning pipeline.  I know of no JMO that has a network like that!

So, as of this blog post, we are working to prepare for the upcoming and final Career Conference of 2022. As we put the finishing touches together in preparation for the November Career Conference, we have a fantastic lineup of companies and opportunities awaiting our candidates this weekend. We expect the average number of interviews to be ~12 per candidate. In terms of client companies, we are expecting over 45 hiring groups and over 40 distinct companies to attend the November Conference.

Here is a quick sampling of what we have in store for the November candidates:

Sample Industries Include:

Consumer Package Goods (CPG); Consulting;  Banking; Oil & Gas; Alternative Energy; Medical Device; Professional Services, Logistics; Facilities Services; High Technology; Semiconductors; Mining; Pharmaceutical; Healthcare; Crypto Currency; Industrial Gases; and many more.

Sample Companies Include:

Corning Inc.; NextEra Energy; Protiviti, Inc; Mondelez International; Boston Scientific; Brightview Health; Conagra Brands, Inc; Messer Americas; Citigroup, Inc; DaVita, Inc; Medline Industries, Inc; Komatsu Mining Corporation; Kite Pharmaceutical; ASM International; Love’s Travel Stops; AP-Networks; Schneider National; and many more.

Sample Positions Include:

Area Service Manager; Global Product Support Engineer; Regional Operations Director; Senior Financial Analyst; Facilities Manager; Field Technical Specialist; Reliability Engineer; Manufacturing Supervisor; Quality Engineer; Senior Account Executive; Senior Development Project Manager; IT Consultant; Client Service Operations Manager;

Sample Locations Include:

Boston, MA; Houston, TX; Charlottesville, VA; Phoenix, AZ; Chicago, IL; Detroit, MI; Cincinnati, OH; Tampa, FL; Omaha, NE; Philadelphia, PA; Washington, DC; Raleigh, NC; Dallas, TX; Atlanta, GA; Santa Clara, CA; Los Angeles, LA; New York City, NY; Indianapolis, IN; Milwaukee, WI; Remote; and more.

If you’d like to learn more about the Cameron-Brooks transition firm advantage and how it’s impacted the upcoming November Career Conference Candidates, click here and watch the short video below.

Additionally, if you are interested in exploring your options with Cameron-Brooks, or if you’re curious about how to make a successful transition, I encourage you to call us at 210-874-1500! You can also check out our website, YouTube Channel, and follow us on LinkedIn.

As always, stay tuned until next week. I’ll be back to post the results of the Cameron-Brooks November 2022 Career Conference!