Interested in Subscribing to our blog?
How I Prepared for the Military Transition
Recently, I wrote about my personal transition story and gave some tips and advice that I have gathered from my father, friends, and other mentors in my life. I told you about my transition story, but I want to now tell you HOW I prepared for the military transition. Every person has a different situation. A different story. Different timing. Some have a higher OPTEMPO when they are getting out.
Cameron-Brooks has helped Military Officers successfully transition to the Business World for over 50 years. A lot has changed in the past 50 years in the military as well as business, but what it takes to succeed in the transition has not. To successfully transition requires a desire and willingness to learn. You must be organized and committed to learning about how the Business world operates.
For the last 5-10 years for most of you, you’ve spoken the language of the military. Military jargon, acronyms, and lingo. If you’re anything like me, you went home on Holiday breaks, spoke to your family and friends, and used military acronyms fully expecting them to know what you were talking about. You probably didn’t even realize it then, but they were confused. The same applies to your interviews. You cannot expect a Hiring Manager to understand all the lingo, so you need to change the way you speak and translate your accomplishments into terms they will understand.
The preparation required is the same for any major decision you make in your life. Take buying a house for example. Are you going to just buy a house without reading about the market? Learning about mortgages? Understanding what your options are? What about investing in stocks? Most likely, no. You will read up on it, get well versed in what your options are, and then make a good decision. You should take the same approach when it comes to getting out of the military. Read as much as possible.
So, what did I do to prepare for the military transition?
- Reading: I read as many business books as possible. 26 books in 10 months and half of that was while I was on deployment working 16 hour days. I became obsessed. The more I read, the more I knew this was the right decision for me. I realized there was so much that I didn’t know, and that motivated me. I started reading the Wall Street Journal on my phone every morning. I read Forbes articles and sometimes read FORTUNE magazine. If there was something I didn’t know, I wrote it down and looked it up. If you want recommendations or the list of books that I read, give me a call, or shoot me a message at any time here. I’d be happy to share a comprehensive list with you and talk about the transition.
- Podcasts: I primarily listened to the Cameron-Brooks PCS to Corporate America podcast. I also listened to Morning Brew Daily occasionally. These were great as I was able to download them while in port and listen while I was out at sea.
- YouTube Videos: I watched YouTube Videos to learn more about Excel, Pivot Tables, Data Analysis, Agile, Scrum, and Lean Six Sigma. I watched Videos on the Basics of Economics to refresh my memory since I was a Quantitative Economics major at the Naval Academy. Topics to include Supply and Demand, Interest Rates, Inflation, Unemployment, etc., and how that affected the overall market.
- Credible sources: I reached out to as many people as possible who made the transition already. As a non-traditional hire, I knew I needed a non-traditional approach. I knew that I needed to differentiate myself from the rest and be ready to interview for positions that others with industry experience wanted. I took the advice of a good friend of mine who was a former USNA graduate and USMC Artillery Officer and had successfully transitioned and launched his career for an industry-leading Renewable Energy company. He told me, “Call 3 people in every single industry and career field you can and ask them as many questions as possible. Take what they say, write it down, and go learn about it.” That resonated with me and that’s exactly what I did.
- SkillBridge: I was fortunate enough that my command let me do a SkillBridge with Cameron-Brooks. I was fully remote and could invest all my time and energy to prepare for my interviews. While on SkillBridge, I also obtained my PMP certification through the Onward to Opportunity program through Syracuse University since I had the time. My goal in doing this was to learn more about the Fundamentals of Project Management so I could effectively speak about the projects I led in the military so a Hiring Manager could understand me. Had I not interviewed with Cameron-Brooks before the August 2023 Career Conference, I was going to be ready to interview with anywhere from 8-10, A-Tier, Industry-leading companies. I valued the fact that my SkillBridge led to multiple interviews and opportunities where I could align my strengths and passions to company cultures because and evaluate my career options. I ended up landing in the right place for me here at Cameron-Brooks.
I’ve learned so much over the last year. And I am here to tell you that I am still learning. When I got my Surface Warfare pin in the Navy and passed a rigorous process with multiple “Boards” to validate my level of knowledge (Basically interviews), my Commanding Officer told me it was only a “license to learn. Now is the time when you can truly start to learn and become a better Officer. Don’t ever stop learning.” I feel the same way now that I am on the other side of the transition. It’s fast paced on the other side, but I am loving every minute of it.
If you’d like to learn more about your options outside of the Military, explore your marketability, develop a game plan, and speak to a Transition coach at Cameron-Brooks, please feel free to email me below. You can also give me a call at: 210-874-1495.
Principal, Transition Coach