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How a JMO Can Balance Location Preferences in a Career Search
Many JMOs leave the military because they feel a lack of control over their career and professional lives. They want more agency, also known as the ability to make their own decisions. Additionally, many JMOs decide to transition because they want a better quality of life and more time with their family. With this desire for control and more time with family, some JMOs make where they will live the top priority in their transition. This could be a region such as the Midwest, a state like Georgia or a city like Chicago. However, a career transition is full of trade offs. By narrowing their search geographically, many JMOs do not understand what they are giving up.
I want to address some of these trade offs in the blog post and also share a video with you that explains it, graphically.
The video does a better job than writing about it here but these are some key points:
Just about every JMO uses location as a factor in a career search.
We recommend having preferences to evaluate all of your options and using location as a deciding factor at the end of a career search after evaluating all of the other criteria.
Often with restrictions, JMOs will force the fit with a company or a position because they like the location so much.
Forcing the fit leads to a misfit and the JMO doing another career search in 18 months. In other words, a do over.
If JMOs want a top tier opportunity, the best strategy is to prioritize the quality of company and position over location. This is not saying location is not important or it should not be a factor, but rather, make it a factor later. With this strategy, JMOs get to see all “A” tier opportunities in their ideal location plus “A” tier opportunities in other locations.
Many JMOs end up with offers from companies in their ideal location and second tier location. They are able to make a decision with all of the factors like company, position, industry, compensation and location.
While most JMOs that partner with Cameron-Brooks start in their region of preference, many have offers in their region of preference but choose another opportunity outside their preference because the other factors outweigh location.
We understand the ideal situation would be to start in an “A” tier opportunity and “A” tier location. We recommend the second choice be start in “A” tier opportunity with “B” tier location because one can navigate back to the “A” tier location and be in an “A” tier opportunity.
Our experience has been that if JMOs do not start in their ideal location, when they transition into an “A” tier opportunity, it is easier for them to navigate back to the ideal location. (In the video that is the top left quadrant).
Those JMOs that trade off settling for a lower tier opportunity but ideal location have a much harder time navigating to the top tier opportunity. In other words, “A” tier companies do not go to “B” tier companies to find their future talent.
Too many JMOs make the mistake of starting in a “B” tier opportunity but “A” tier location thinking they can navigate to the “A” tier opportunity. Using the sports analogy, rarely do NFL football teams find their next star player in the Canadian Football League.
We recommend having preferences, starting broadly with the search, exploring the full marketability and numerous options. Most do start in their region of preference, and those that don’t within a few years after the transition typically have the opportunity to navigate to their ideal location. This strategy ensures “A” tier career path and “A” tier location.