Saturday, 5 April 2014

How To Craft A Winning Military Resume

We have already seen the most common mistakes made by military-experienced-professionals in their resumes in our first article( to read, click here) and our second article ( to read, click here) . Now, in this third article of the resume series, we will see how we can write a winning military resume that increases the probability of an interview call on the basis of resume.

In the times of recession, the jobs are fewer and the competition is increasing and hence it’s mandatory to showcase our military resume in such a way to recruiters that they understand it well.  Moreover, we must also know how the latest technology (LinkedIn, job portals, professional platforms, Facebook etc )  is being utilized by the recruiters to find the right employee.

Know Yourself Before You Write Your Resume
If someone ask us, do you know yourself, the most obvious answer would be, yes of-course who knows us better but when it comes to highlighting the same on our resume, we tend to miss a number of skills.   A good resume generally highlights three important issues about us, our work experience, our skill sets( both soft and hard)  and our values and these three are the most important parts in a resume. Since every human being is different, no two people can have the same resume. Each one of us has a different personality, different skill sets, and different values and thus has varied different experiences and achievements.  These are unique to us and thus reflect our personality.  Though a number of military professionals follow the same work routine for years, their energy level, interest, and passion will vary with each type of work and work-environment. Therefore our resume needs to reflect our unique personality and for that it is imperative to know our-self clearly.
Before you start the exercise of resume writing, one good way is to write down your entire                    work-experiences since the time you started working. Highlighting what all has been done and achieved so far will help in connecting the dots and helps you in understanding your personality before you pitch your resume for a job opening. It is extremely important to know who you are( your strengths and weaknesses) , what your personality is( your values, skills, likes and dislikes) and what you meant to do before you take actions to build your profile. This way writing own resume would not only be easy but it will be true reflection of your personality; rather the experience highlighted in the resume will automatically define your personality. It may sound tedious at first however it will give your resume a right alignment to your personality and thus will show no gap between what your personality is and what is highlighted in the resume, thereby increasing your chances of hire.

Military Soft-Skills- You Must Add
There are a few soft skills that are associated with most of the military professionals and that even the recruiters expect from the military professionals. Not only the recruiters assume that you have these skills but these skills give you an edge over your civilian counterparts, whose resumes are generally laden with professional certifications and work-related qualifications. Highlighting these intangible soft skills in your resume which were learned and/or honed during military career will give a competitive edge to your resume. While there are many such soft skills, here are a few which are the most common ones among the military professionals:-
  • Leadership & Team Building
  • Mission-Oriented Self Starter
  • Self- Disciplined and Organized
  • Team Player
  • Flexibility, Adaptability, & Multi-tasking ability
  • Honesty, loyalty, and Integrity

LinkedIn - Your Online Resume
It may surprise many as to why we have added LinkedIn in resume writing section; however it is generally forgotten that our LinkedIn profile is nothing but an online resume of ours. We must make note that technology (in this case LinkedIn)  if not utilized correctly may be the reason why we aren’t getting many interview calls.  Far too many recruiters check candidates’ profile on LinkedIn as well; the probability is high for middle and very high for top management positions. In a perfect sense, the LinkedIn profile must supplement your resume. IF you’re applying for a HR role and your LinkedIn profile talks of security and admin, your LinkedIn profile will turn out to be game spoiler.  Let’s see with a couple of examples on how to supplement LinkedIn with resume.  Lt Col A , a non-tecn candidate,  has recently retired from military and he is indecisive whether to join HR, or security or Admin rather he is ok with any good opportunity that comes first in his way irrespective of the domain. He has made three industry specific resumes, one each for security, admin, and HR and uploaded them on various job portals. His LinkedIn profile needs to highlight his experience of each of the three domain as well as relevant key skills of each domain. If he skips on one or two domains and write about only one domain in his LinkedIn profile, it may not align with his other two resumes. He is at disadvantage if a recruiter who is hiring for either of the two left-out domains looks at his LinkedIn profile and finds nothing relevant. Now let’s see example of  Lt Col B who  is a civil engineer and has been into the engineering domain in army, handling construction projects.  He wants to pursue a career as  project manager or project coordinator in real estate, which his resume highlights about. His LinkedIn profile need not cover his other domain experiences and expertise in great detail as was the case with Lt Col A.  LinkedIn in recent times has emerged as the most valued platform for professional hiring and therefore there is a need to understand how best we can leverage LinkedIn for increasing our chances of hire.  A couple of more articles by M2C that emphasis the importances of LinkedIn are here and here

For more on resume building, click here 

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Military Resume - 3 Issues That Recruiters Look For

In the first article we have seen the three major mistakes in military resumes that are very commonly made by military-experienced-professionals( To read, click here) . In this  second article of this five article series, we have highlighted  the top three reasons why the military resumes are rejected by the recruiters even when they have the potential and required skills for the job opportunity.

Lack of Keywords- Resume Heading For Trash
Because of the service constrains during the military career  especially in the final years, such as remote area postings, busy schedule, and no access to internet, we may not be aware of the latest trends in the constantly changing job market, where new methods and processes are introduced very frequently. One of the reasons for the rejection of military resumes is the lack of awareness on the latest trends about the resume writing among the about to retire or recently retired military professionals. Though many will not use the military jargon and instead use the corporate terms, they will still miss upon the right job specific keywords that give edge over others.
Receiving thousands of resume for a job opening, Many MNCs use Applicant Tracking Software ( ATS) or internet job boards to shortlist only those resumes which come up with the job-essential keywords. Similarly, LinkedIn is used extensively by recruiters to find the right candidate and one of the way to find right fit is by applying the keyword search method. Even when a recruiter is scanning your resume manually, recruiter’s eyes are constantly searching for those job specific keywords. Therefore the value of inclusion of keywords is that they can make or break your chances of being called for interview.
While some keywords are general, many of them are industry and job specific. A particular job description typically conveys what is the position, specific experience required, skills and education desired from a candidate. A number of job descriptions ( They  can be searched on various job portals) for the same position will have a number of common keywords which can be used in context of resume. Inclusion of these keywords will convey that your experience is  relevant to the job,  and increase your chances of success for a job opening.

Resume Left Open Ended- Results Not Shown
In corporate , You are recognized by your work such as  what  growth was achieved by you or what results were achieved with your involvement and most of the these results are shown with numbers and percentages.  With the availability of data matrix in corporate, it’s even more easy to quantify the accomplishments. Whereas in military rarely we quantify our work even though the there is scope  to quantify . By not highlighting  the results in figures, we leave our work accomplishment  open ended and very general in nature.
 Every military training increases operational efficiency and the same improvement can also be quantified. Every weapon training including firing conducted by an individual on his team would have improved the operational effectiveness by a few percentages. Similarly, every innovation or implementation of a new procedure that saved human effort or that made cost-cutting can be quantified to an approximate number and percentage. A good way to quantify is by asking a few questions  such as:-
·          How many staff you managed or How many individuals you trained?
·         What was the value of the equipment you managed?
·         What was the total budget you were responsible for?
·         How much money did you saved?
·         How much you improved upon efficiency or what is the percentage difference from before in productivity?

And the  results of the questions above can narrate the  work experience, and accomplishments  in a more quantifiable statements such as:-
·         Led 120 member staff.
·         Enhanced operational effectiveness of 60 member team from 65% to 80%.
·         Resulted in INR 10 million  savings.
·         Administered budget of INR 15 million.
·         Reduced inventory loss by 10%.
·         Developed result oriented training program for a 800 person organization, taking the professional standards from 70% to 80 %.

Cut, Copy, and Paste- The Resume Sound Too General & Boring
Many a times we have seen the tendency that we ask for the resume from  other veterans who have retired and are working in corporate, thinking that the same resume will communicate about us also. The resume is all about highlighting your past experiences and your individual personality in an effective manner, gaining a call for the interview.  Since it’s about an individual’s personality who has different skills sets based on his or her personality, knowledge and experience,  No two individuals can have the same resume which highlights each one’s skills distinctly. The traditional method of cut, copy, and paste does more harm to your chances of shortlist for a particular opening.  Even if a very professionally written attractive but copied resume is able to fetch an interview; chances are very high that one will not go cross interview. Guess Why?
The online templates have been copied by millions and the same content is thus widely seen all around including on LinkedIn . The words and  the  content are too general and even if we try to tweak a few words here and there to make it work for us, The recruiter who must have seen hundreds and thousands of such resume makes out that this one is another copied resume.  So what?  A copied resume generally reflects that  the person shies away from work and adopts to easier methods.
The two most important steps in finding a job post retirement are preparing an effective resume and making a job hunting strategy.  Resume is the first contact of the job-seeker with the recruiter and recruiters are a experienced lot .If the resume has been accepted for the interview call, will one who has copied the resume will have more confidence during the interview or the one who has taken the time and effort to put exactly one’s own  personality, military skills, and experience in the resume?
To sum it up, Resume writing is a detail-oriented process and requires time, and effort as one needs to pen down the career history from scratch and pull out the ones that exactly conveys the correct picture. By not copying  from other resumes, one  will improve  the chances of success both during the shortlist of resume for interview call and during the interview process as what  one will speak will go hand-in-hand with what is written.
The articles in this blog aim at empowering the retiring/retired military professionals about how to approach successful transition from military to corporate . M2C is also sensitizing the corporate recruiters about the business advantages of hiring military professionals. Some of the articles published in top HR magazines can be seen here, click here . The Team M2C with the support of military community  is committed to create an environment where in each military-experienced-professional has a respectful and dignified job post retirement and corporate companies are eager to recruit military professionals especially in domains other than Security and  Admin.
If you think this article can be useful to someone who is about to retire or have recently retired, Do share generously.
To know more on military specific resume writing, click here

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Military Resume- Avoid These 3 Worst Mistakes

In the recent past, M2C published a number of job opportunities on its website for military-experienced-professionals in various domains such as business development, legal and admin, operations, and marketing for which hundreds of resume were received; resumes ranging from two pages to 12 pages, from stereotyped to professionally written, from general to job specific, and from military-jargon-laden to corporate-heavy-terms. The very basic idea of writing a resume is to effectively leverage your military skills, resulting in an interview call. However, there were certain pit-falls observed in some military resumes that prevented the candidate from being shortlisted despite having the required soft skills and work-content skills. The Team M2C will try to bring clarity on this subject through this five series article covering  the common mistakes in military resumes , how to avoid these mistakes and ,in the last, how to write job compelling resumes. Let’s first have a look at some of the most common resume mistakes.

Military Jargon- Recruiters Don’t Understand
You were ADC to GOC-in-C or a Col GS, Great! How does that sound to your civilian friends? Too much of military jargon confuses the HR recruiters to the extent that not only they don’t  understand what all skills you posses or what all role you played in military but also  they find it difficult to identify where you would best fit with the company.  It’s important to describe the skills, gained during your active duty, in a transferable manner thereby showing that these skills are equally relevant in corporate.  This would be possible if you translate the military training, professional experience, and technical courses into civilian terminology.  If needed, a line can be added about some of the topics studied during military courses which may be common to the job applied for.
Also, It’s important to add only those experiences, medals or awards that are relevant to the job applied for.  Mentioning that you were the champion of  divisional level shooting competition may make  impact if you’re applying for security job opening but would have no value for a HR job opportunity rather it would be better to mention how you earned those awards  and what is it’s applicability for the position you've applied for.  The translation of your military experience into corporate terminology is one of the most challenging task you’ll face, however it is also the most essential task. To see one of the example of the military to corporate  translation, click here 

 One Size Fits All - No, Recruiters Need Specifics   
Another most common mistake in military resumes is that they are written tangent to the way what recruiters want.  Many prepare a general resume that reflects a bit of everything, including HR, security, Admin, operations, finances and many more, and shoot that resume for every job opening that they come across. While on the other side, if a job opening is for HR, the recruiter is only looking for specific work-content skills relevant to HR  domain. In India’s competitive environment, these recruiter get hundreds of resume for a particular job opening. They have a limited time to go through each resume and when they read vague objectives such as  “A  sincere and hardworking professional seeking an opportunity  that will utilize my skills”  or when they read skills that aren't related to that specific domain, probably they don’t even think twice to discard such  resumes. This one size-fits-all approach doesn't go well in job search and therefore it’s pertinent to prepare a separate resume for HR, a separate one for Admin and similarly for other domains; each one highlighting the specific skills set and specific experience pertaining to that particular domain. You have to tweak your resume according to each job opening, changing the content in such a way that it emphasize the skills recruiters are looking for. A word of caution here is that don't apply for jobs that you don't qualify for. It's important to target your resume to individual jobs and domains but it is equally important that all the information mentioned is factual and not faked just to meet the job description.

A Long Resume-But Recruiters Have No Time
Another sore point, We did receive many resumes that were almost 10 plus pages. There is no denying the fact that military professionals, by virtue of their numerous postings in different positions, gain enormous real life leadership , problem-solving,  team building, and crisis management experience and therefore there is always a temptation to put across every bit of the vast experience, thinking that it may add value to the resume and impress the recruiter. In today’s fast-paced environment, we all are looking ways to do maximum work in minimum time but at the same time we are compelling a recruiter to read our research-paper size resume and expecting  even positive result.  Are we correct in that? .  Mentioning that you enjoy playing golf or you like going for long drives ( Trust, we did receive such ones also ) will not have any positive impact on the HR recruiter.  Of-course we never got any resume writing  training or assistance in military  during our retirement phase  but we can seek professional help or even we can take help from our civilian friends especially those who are working in the similar positions  that you are seeking .

Military professionals have rare real life experiences and qualities that have enormous business potential , however it is observed that much is lost in translation. In our next article of this series,  we will highlight  more such avoidable  mistakes so that the resume doesn't place our veterans at a disadvantage against civilian counterparts. To read the next article on military resume, click here  For more info, clickhere

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Are You Shooting In Air Or Shooting On Target

Career Transition Tips # 5; The Importance of Focused Approach

In this five article series on career transition, we have already seen the importance of accepting the change from military to corporate ( click here), the overwhelming benefits of starting early in career transition ( click here) , the importance of doing self assessment ( click here ) and the value of networking ( click here) . In  this fifth and  last article, we will see  the importance of following a focused approach during career transition and the requirement of bridging the gap between the possessed skills and the required skills for a particular career to  find the right opportunity in the corporate world. Here, I would like to highlight upon a tendency or rather a practice that is generally followed across the board in military and that hinders our chances of finding the right career opportunity.  In military, The diversity and the varied nature of job allow you to qualify for a number of career options during transition; you can be  good in  administration, HR, or  security besides the technical field that many of us are mastered in. Therefore, most of us remain indecisive till the very end of our military career about which field is most suitable for us post retirement. On the contrary, in the corporate world, people have specializations in one specific field wherein they acquire skills pertaining to that field, do relevant certification courses, and acquire mastery of that specific field. Also, If a job opening is in field of HR,  the recruiters are looking for an individual who is competent in HR profile and the knowledge that one has of other domains such as security doesn’t have any weight-age or very less, if at all any, for these recruiters. In their language, for other domains, they have different people working and they are thus focused with the skill-set required for one particular domain only.

We may think that remaining flexible allows us to enter the corporate world with a number of options to choose from but the fact of the matter is sooner or later one has to make a decision as to which particular domain one wants to enter into and sooner we make the decision, better it is. Let’s understand with the help of an hypothetical example of two candidates as to why it is important to pick the right field early and thereafter apply efforts to become competitive in that field. Two years prior to retirement, Lt Col A did his detail self-assessment of skills, carried out analysis of various career opportunities available, matched his skills with various careers, seek professional help, and after adequate brain-storming over a period of time, decided that HR will turn out to be the most suitable career path for him. Thereafter, once decided, he  learned more about HR and contacted a few of his friends already in this field. He also networked with a few top professionals of the same field and realized what is necessary to fill the gap between his present skills and required skills for a competent profile in HR. He also studies the profile of a number of professionals in the field of HR and noted the common courses/certifications done by all.  Thereafter he crafted a road-map on how to be a competent job seeker in  HR profile ;a plan that included the skills required to be gained, certification courses needed to be done and knowledge required to attained. During his interaction with the senior HR professionals, he realized the importance of an MBA degree from a top b-school and hence decided to give GMAT well in advance,while in active service only. His profile on his resume and LinkedIn was also very much align with the chosen field of HR. He also joined a various HR specific groups on LinkedIn and actively participated in various discussions.  Whereas Lt Col B was  happy with the fact that he has a number of options to choose from and hence can apply for any job in the corporate world when he retires. He neither did any course or preparation for MBA nor gained  any specific knowledge pertaining to one particular field. He prepared a general resume from the available template resumes on web and uploaded that on various job portals and  his LinkedIn profile.
Out of Lt col A or Lt col B, whom do you think have better chances of a progressive career field. While candidate A adopted a very focused, tunnel approach , which is in line with the approach followed by  successful corporate professionals  in that field, candidate B adopted an extremely general approach and is ok with any opportunity that comes his way. In about 10 years time, it is highly likely that A has climbed from middle  management to top management whereas B has changed a few jobs and now feels stagnated in his profession.  It is extremely important to understand that , in today’s highly competitive world, planning for future career will do us no good until we have the necessary skills to compete for these jobs.  Until we decide which career we want to choose, it would be extremely difficult to gain skills required for that particular career.  Many  of you would be surprised to know that even b-schools are known for their specializations and hence if someone has chosen the field of consultancy, INSEAD has to figure in the chosen b-schools list, or  entrepreneurs would prefer to be in Babson. The corporate world demands that you be specific and specialized for one particular job; your familiarization with others is a secondary issue but the primary and the most important remains is your competency in one particular field.  

Even for candidate A , it is mandatory to remain current and up to date with the required competencies and therefore remain in learning mode through opportunities available in institution or through own endeavors for optimal performance in the current role and for any contingencies such as change of job. How can we afford to ignore the corporate requirement and remain convince with self-held opinion that it’s good to remain flexible till the very end and choose any field that comes our way.  For those who find it extremely difficult to choose which career path is most suitable, A better option would be to pursue an MBAdegree ( click here )from a top b-school immediately after your transition and decide there in b-school on which career path to be taken.
How did you find this five-article series, If  you liked the articles, kindly press the like button ( click here) and share with your friends for creating awareness among the military community and for empowering each one of us to confidently face the corporate world, helping in seamless transition from military to corporate.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Military Professionals - Are You Missing On Networking ?

Career Transition Tips # 4; The Power Of Networking

“Networking has turned out to be the most powerful tool for job hunting in the recent times”.

In this five 
articles series  on career transition, we have already seen the value of accepting the change of uniform from military to corporate( click here), the overwhelming benefits of starting early in  career transition( click here) , and the importance of knowing yourself ( click here). In this fourth article, we will see the advantages of networking and what best practices the retiring/retired military professionals can employ for a better career.

With the popularity of social and professionals platforms such as facebook and LinkedIn ,Networking has gained enormous importance in today’s time for finding the right job opportunity. The traditional method of meeting each other also hold the  importance though in today’s fast –paced environment , there is too little time for face-to-face socializing and networking. 
Military professionals aren't encouraged to take active participation on social platforms during their military service due to the services constrains. On the other side, Networking is an art which an individual learns gradually, spending time on these platforms and examining new techniques. Therefore, when a serving personnel is on the verge of retirement, his network is restricted to only his circle, which constitutes mostly military professionals, whereas he is stepping into a world which is full of corporate people, who are unfamiliar to him. Also, In the times of recession and gloomy economy, employers and recruiters just don’t want a bad hire and therefore they want to recruit someone whose referrals are available to them from a trustworthy contact. All this together places the military professional at a major disadvantage when it’s time for him to enter the corporate world.  A few practices can help military professionals in finding their dream job with less stress.

An account on these social platforms will mark your presence for further exploitation. A LinkedIn account is your mini-resume and hence gives a good glance of your profile. Make sure to complete your profile in all aspects as doing so increases your chances of meeting the eye of the recruiter. LinkedIn is used extensively by recruiters to find the suitable candidates for their companies. Make sure your profile has recommendations from your links or contacts.

If you have lost touch with your school or college friends who are in corporate, use facebook and LinkedIn to get in touch with them. Those friends  have been in corporate for long and can really help you not only  in understanding the corporate dynamics but also in finding a suitable job in corporate. Suppose your school days friend happens to be connected with the recruiter of the company that you would like  to work with, Your friend can act as the required link between you and the recruiter. Try to take out some time during your leave to connect with some of your friends in corporate.

The social platforms also have companies pages and following them may help you in finding the job openings in that particular company( For M2C’s company page, click here and here).

Once you've shortlisted the career that you’re interested in, you can join the domain specific groups to know the various practices,  and take part in discussion related to these groups. For example, if you’re interested in Aerospace and Defence industry, joining groups of this field will allow you to interact with professionals working in various Aerospace and Defence industries. You can even connect with them and seek their suggestion on how to make your profile stronger. Also once you actively participate in various discussions on these groups, you will start getting noticed by the industry people and you will find more and more people are viewing your profile. This way you increase your chances of your profile meeting the eye of the recruiter.

Once you’ve shortlisted 20-30 companies that you want to work with, you can use the search engine in LinkedIn  to know which all employees are from military in that company. For example you are interested in working with XYZ company  and you want to know the work culture and the environment from a ex-military professional working in that company, you may search with the company’s name and Indian army or Air force or Navy , you will get a list of military experienced professionals who have worked in the past or are working presently with the company. You can even be friend with them to get a lead for working with that company. The shared values of our past military profession allows an opportunity for us to connect with  other military professionals and help out each other.  

In this telescopic world, networking has become an essential job finding tool and a detailed understanding of the best practices in networking allows the exploitation of this tool to our advantage. Those who actively engage with other professionals face to face and also on social platforms will gain more than those who use only one of the two ways. Other related articleHow to exploit best out of networking sites
For more info, visit 

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Know The Machine Before You Start Firing

Career Transition Tips # 3; Know Thyself Before Choosing Right Career

In this five articles series, we have already explored the value of accepting the change of uniform from military to corporate( click here) and the overwhelming benefits of starting early for our career transition ( click here). In this third article, which is also written in the logical sequence of events during transition, we will understand what all we need to know about our-self  and what is the value in doing some homework on ourself  before we move onto finding the suitable career path for our second innings.

While many will contest this need of knowing our-self  with the statement that you've been living with yourself all life and no body knows you better than yourself and  therefore, you don’t require any discovery of yourself. The fact is that we don’t understand to the fullness who we are and what skills we have to offer. Many a times we would have come across so  many veterans who switch from one industry  domain to another on the pretext that a particular industry doesn't suit their requirements, however  they fail to first identify three issues i.e what do they like the most, what best they have to offer and which domain aligns the most with the first two requirements. The most suited industry for a person will have an environment and work requirement which is most align with skills and preferences of that person. Therefore, before we explore the web for the various career options, It’s mandatory that we do homework on our self. So what does this homework entails and how best we can do it? The answer to this question can possibly be found in answers  to a set of these five questions:-

Ø    Do you know your soft skills and hard or work content skills?

Ø    What you want to do for the rest of your life? Do you feel that you don’t want to join any hierarchical structure and you feel comfortable with independent work without any external interference? or Do you feel comfortable with hierarchical structure of the corporate organisations?

Ø   Do you know which work you like, and which you don’t and what are your favorite working conditions- team member/independent or isolation, field work/indoor work, geographical location such as urban/semi-urban/rural, weather condition in terms of cold/warm and so on ?

Ø    Are you a go –getter or you generally work at your own pace without time constrains?

Ø  Do you look forward to a busy, responsible and progressive career or you want a easy workplace having time for yourself and your family? Do you want to earn lots of money or you are happy with a limited amount?

Once you will sit down to write answers to these questions, you will find that each question has raised many more sub questions to be answered before you find answer to any one of the above mentioned five. If you find answer to the first question “ Do you know your soft and hard skills”, you will come across questions such as what have I done till now , what are my strengths and weaknesses, which areas I have expertise in, which all transferable skills I have and so many other  logical questions. Therefore, it’s a comprehensive exercise in itself before we know which career path is the most suitable path for us. It’s only when we have done this exercise on our personality, skills, interests and liabilities that we can move forward to finding which career option  is most suitable and which one is least. A career councelling can help you in self assessment and in finding the right career in your transition (click here)
Other related Articles
Listen to your heart in choosing your career

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Be The Early Bird In Planning Your Career From Military To Corporate

Career Transition Tips # 2- Start Early

                                                                                                                                                               We understood the importance of accepting the change from military to corporate in our previous        article( click here).  In this second article of this five series articles, we will understand the importance of starting early and what role it plays in the seamless transition to civil world. But before that, An exercise we all must do is to find out the right time to hang your boots. This will not only bring clarity to your thought process and allow you to prepare better for your second career but it will also prevent you from taking knee-jerk decisions during transition. We have adequately discussed the ways to find the right time to hang your boots. ( click here and here ).

 In military whenever we’re assigned with a mission or task, we generally execute the task in a meticulous and organized  manner, applying time, effort and skills in ensuring the success of it. However, we don’t apply the same process when it comes to planning our career post retirement from military; rather planning for career transition is given the least priority in our scheme of things. Why do you have to wait till the last day to see a career possibility outside. Why don’t you start preparing your career transition diligently when you have about two plus years to retire.  Although it looks like a very general point, however, if executed properly, it will pay you rich dividends in terms of progressive career and high salaried job opportunities. Starting early will place you in an unimaginable comfort zone much ahead of your counterparts who started late.  One analogy that has been most commonly heard across the board in military is that there is a lot of time in the transition and one must live in the present. This wrong analogy is the reason why many of us don’t get successful at the first hand in the corporate world and it increases the difficulties of the challenges faced by military leaders during career transition( click here) . Why we didn't apply the same analogy while preparing for staff college or some similar exams for which we start preparing a year plus in advance. Preparing for career transition is no different than preparing for staff college exams. Let’s see the disadvantages of not planning  your career early:-
  •           Unaware about the most suitable career at the time of transition, high probability of  choosing the wrong career path.
  •            Lack of knowledge about the industry and the current practices in corporate.
  •            Lack of corporate munitions such as professional certifications/GMAT score.
  •             Poor networking in corporate.
  •             Unaware of the right practices for job search.
  •        Difficulty in transformation from military to corporate and problems in translating skills  
  •         Extremely stressful career transition.

Having realized  that starting late is an extremely wrong decision and having found out the right time to hang your boots, The question arises in our mind is what is the right time to start your preparation.  The ideal time to start with serious preparation for your second career will vary from individual to individual as those who have been well connected with the corporate world, into reading about the industry practices, and networking with the right connections in corporate will probably require less time than those who have restricted their vision to four walls of military compartment. Ideally one must retouch with the  lost civilian connections irrespective of the years left in transition. Networking is the most important tool now a days for finding the right job and therefore it pays to network with the right set of people.  As a broad guideline, starting two years before your retirement will provide you the right start for your second career.  Again, It is important  that we keep our-self abreast with the issues of career switch, know the latest trends in market, and gain knowledge pertaining to your selected domain as much as possible and not wait for last two years.  

Starting early has overwhelming benefits and it gives adequate time to you to choose the right career path, gain knowledge and certifications about that career, prepare and give GMAT for MBA, network with the right people, and exercise the right job hunting practices. If you have time for your career transition, a career counseling can help you in finding the right career and how to employ your efforts in the right direction, resulting in a successful career transition( click here). To read the second article of this five article series, click here