9 Ways to Execute Your Post-Military Career Search and Transition

9 Ways to Execute Your Post-Military Career Search and Transition - USAA Member Community


This is part three in a series on military-to-civilian transition. Check out the first article in this series: 9 Steps to Understanding the Current Business and Hiring Environments.

One of the greatest challenges of leaving active duty is to create a comprehensive and detailed career transition plan for your next career. There are a great many considerations, such as where to live, occupations to choose and how to begin to conduct research on all the possible opportunities.


In part one of this series we covered ways to understand the current business and hiring environments of your chosen field. In part two we highlighted, how to plan and target your career search, networking and transition plan. Up next we highlight:


9 Ways to Execute Your Post-Military Career Search and Transition


Planning where you want to be, what you want to do, and determining who to talk to so you can create your career goals is essential.  Too often, military veterans believe a career transition plan is applying for jobs.  Job applications are the final step, not the first in a good career transition plan.


1. Start letter-mailing networking campaign (goal should be 200-300 letters) to companies on your GIO list.

  • Plan to mail out 25-30 letters a day for one week. You should have mailed ~200 letters at the end of a 7-day week. 
  • Include a cover letter and resume requesting a meeting or phone call to discuss opportunities within the industry or the company.
  • In your letter, ask three questions about how to enter the industry, other people you can discuss how to be successful in the industry and what training and experience makes the person an ideal candidate.


2. Follow up on networking letters with phone calls to establish a networking meeting. This can be in person or over the phone.


3. Create networking questions, industry questions and opportunities to discuss at a networking meeting.


4. Set and conduct networking meeting. Send out thank you notes and ask for 2-3 other contacts that can help your networking search.


5. Set up informational interviews, personal meetings, and company visits.


6. Revise and improve your resume and cover letter based on the information and feedback from the networking sessions to ensure it matches the company needs.


7. Apply, interview and follow up with listed and potential job positions.


  • Once you apply, phone and email all of your contacts at that company to alert them to your application and ask for their assistance to get you an interview.

8. Update networking list with new information, new contacts and follow-up dates.


9. Evaluate and respond to job offers.
Up next in this four part series: Ways to Improve Your Post-Military Career Search and Transition Plan

Have something to add to this article? Share your advice in the comments below:


Related articles:
Part One: 9 Steps to Understanding the Current Business and Hiring Environments
Part Two: : How to Plan and Target Your Career Search, Networking and Transition Plan


Related resource:Leaving the Military - USAA


About the blogger:
Chad Storlie is the author of two books: Combat Leader to Corporate Leader and Battlefield to Business Success. Both books teach how to translate and apply military skills to business. An adjunct Lecturer of Marketing at Creighton University and Bellevue University in Omaha, NE. Chad is a retired US Army Special Forces officer with 20+ years of Active and Reserve service in infantry, Special Forces, and joint headquarters units. He served in Iraq, Bosnia, Korea, and throughout the United States. He was awarded the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Special Forces Tab, and the Ranger Tab. In addition to teaching, he is a mid-level marketing executive and has worked in marketing and sales roles for various companies, including General Electric, Comcast, and Manugistics. He has been published in The Harvard Business Review blog, Business Week Online, Forbes, Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, and over 40 other publications. He has a BA from Northwestern University and an MBA from Georgetown University.




231462 - 0516