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BY Joel Junker
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Do You Need a JMO Recruiter to Help You Find a Job?

Do you need a JMO recruiter to help you find a job in business?

You do not need to partner with Cameron-Brooks or any type of recruiting firm to land a job in business.

Does my answer surprise you since my life’s work has been helping JMOs find employment post-military?  It shouldn’t.  I am keenly aware of all the options available for JMOs to find work post-military to include internships, pathway programs, rotational programs, Service Academy Conferences, LinkedIn and more.  All of these can lead to finding a job after the military.

To understand why I said “No,” we need to agree on the definition of a “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.

Fortunately, Cameron-Brooks is not in the industry of helping JMOs find jobs or even just find employment post-military.  We help JMOs make the transition from successful military leader to successful business leader.

Let me 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.

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 4 years where the JMO 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 and, as a result, is now in the company’s succession planning process.

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.  Let me explain.

Imagine if a 6-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 those 4 years 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.

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 years.  You cannot be thinking short term if you want to transition from proven military leader to proven business leader with lots of potential.  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 succession planning because you appear to be a flight risk.

Why do you need a recruiting firm to help you do this?  I would advocate not just any recruiting 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 379 different hiring managers attended our Conferences in 2020.  We help you get in front of hiring managers who hire for opportunities that are designed to help you make the transition and get into that succession planning pipeline.  I know of no JMO who has a network like that.

You will also want to explore your options and compare them so you increase your odds of making a good choice that holds your attention through the 4- to 5-year mark.  In the article, “Power of Comparison: How it Affects Decision Making,” consultant Colleen Roller argues that comparing options allows us to define the criteria that is most important and specific to us individually.  This means that even when we have an idea what our criteria is before we choose, we don’t fully develop the criteria until we explore and compare options.  Think about your last major purchase.  Maybe you were buying a car and had all your criteria identified before you went to the lot.  Once you got there and started test driving some cars, suddenly features of a car you test drove that weren’t even on your list 24 hours ago became critical in your decision!  Second, without comparison, we make a decision in isolation not comparing and contrasting options.  I almost did this the other day buying a new golf club.  If I had only considered internet reviews and what other people told me I would have bought this one specific club.  Yet, when I tested out the club and compared it to 4 others, it did not come close to the performance of the other clubs I tested.  I ended up buying a club I never even considered before!  I can’t tell you how many times I hear candidates say something like this after the Cameron-Brooks Career Conference:  “I am interested in companies I never heard of or even thought I would have considered before.”

A lot of JMOs develop a career search strategy thinking that all “transition” strategies are equal.  All recruiting firms are the same.  If your goal is to land a “job” then it does not matter, but if you want to make a successful transition, you want to partner with a firm that can help you explore and compare options with a long-term strategy – a firm that can help you get in front of leading companies with hiring managers who understand what you bring and help you explore your options and compare them so that you can make a 3- to 5-year decision that sets you up for success in the future.

At Cameron-Brooks, we know how to do this.  Here is a small list of some of our most successful alumni.  They include:  Debra Crew, the former CEO of Reynolds American, Inc. and now President of Diageo North America; Anthony Noto, CEO of SoFi; Roland Smith, former Chairman and CEO of Office Depot; Howard Friedman, President and CEO of Post Consumer Brands; Andy Callahan, CEO for Hostess Brands; Chris Hsu, former COO and CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise and current founder and CEO of Zibo; John McGrath, CEO of Pactiv Evergreen; Bill Horton, CFO of Weber Stephen Products, LLC.; and, Michael High, Business Unit CFO of Shell Deepwater Gulf of Mexico.

Ready to start your transition?