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BY Joel Junker

Using Military Headhunters in 2023

As we are in the early stages of 2023, you may be wondering if now is a good time to transition from the military.  If so, when is the best time to get out?  Is Corporate America the right fit for me and vice versa?  How do I know which transition option/program is right for me?  How strong is my personal network?  Should I consider using military headhunters or recruiting firms?  These are all valid questions if you are  JMO considering a transition to Corporate America.

So let’s first start with some of the economic numbers.  As of this blog post, the current unemployment rate in the United States is 3.4%, compared to 4.0% this time last year.  If you are over the age of 25 with a college education (aka the JMO profile), the unemployment rate is 2.0%.  Additionally, in the month of January, the US economy created 517,000 jobs.  Now, inflation still remains higher than we’d all like.  It currently resides at 6.4%, a slight decrease from the end of 2022.  Most articles I have read recently have economists predicting inflation to decrease, but there is much debate on how much and when.

If we recognize there are positives in the economy (and just to be clear, there will never be a perfect economy or a perfect time to transition), a successful transition is very achievable with the right strategy! So what is the right strategy?  Well, that answer may vary depending on your career goals and specific parameters you might be using in your search (location, type of industry, the strength of your network, etc.)  Since I am a principal and transition coach at Cameron-Brooks, let’s briefly discuss one of those ways to transition – using a military headhunter, military recruiting firm, etc.

Let’s address the first question – do I even need to be using Military headhunters or JMO recruiting firms to find a job in business?  The simple answer is no!  You do not need a recruiting firm to find employment in Corporate America.  There are many more options available to JMOs today (Skillbridge, veteran rotational programs, LinkedIn, etc.) to find post-military work than when Cameron-Brooks was founded.  Many, if not all of them, can lead to finding a job after the military. But not all options or firms are created equal.

Understand Job vs. Career

The keyword in that previous sentence is “job” which, as I like to define it, is “Doing routine tasks in return for pay.” Cameron-Brooks is not in the business of helping JMOs merely find jobs or even just find employment post-military.  There have been many monikers over the years to describe what we and other military recruiting firms do.  We are not really even a recruiting firm as we exist today.  At Cameron-Brooks, we are a Junior Military Officer Transition Firm because we truly help JMOs make the transition from successful military leaders to successful business leaders.

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 resigns 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 and if you do not consider your personal network in the business world to be all that strong.

Leverage the connections/network

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 in 2022 and our January 2023 Conference.  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!

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

Additionally, if you are interested in exploring your options with Cameron-Brooks or 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.

Rob Davis