8) Clean up you online Social Media presence. As mentioned in a previous article entitled How You See It, How You Don’t, I shared a cool website that has a unique tool designed to help you give your web presence a check-up. More and more, prospective employers perform some serious data-mining in an effort to find “fool’s gold” – those crazy things you might have posted online! We’re all guilty of posting things we maybe shouldn’t have – especially given the fact that much of what we post can be easily and erroneously taken out of context. But, I think it is important to pay close attention to your posts and pages. As a general rule; clean them up if you think Grandma might blush. Then someone said, “You haven’t met my Grandma!”
9) Seek out new networking opportunities! You can expand your network easily these days with just a few mouse clicks or the old fashioned way. Join a Group on your favorite social media website. Attend a meeting at your local civic organization. Next time you go to the VA, stop by the employment assistance office. Go to the military-centric organizations that have their fingers on the pulse of who’s hiring; the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post, the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), etc. All kinds of organizations exist out there and you can simply make a new Friend and connect with the larger military community!
10) Set goals! A new year means a new set of goals. You need to set realistic goals. Use this time to plan your next move and make a plan for success! And remember, a goal needs to have a specific date attached to it.
11) Stay connected with people who can help you get to where you want to go. Think about your military career – did you do it all alone? Of course not! You had lots of people screaming at you at the beginning, and maybe throughout your career. Maybe that was just me! Ha! On a serious note though, some of the people you served with know what life on the outside is all about. People you served with have job leads. People you served with can help you stay positive NOW, just like they did when times were tough while in uniform. And let me just say, the challenges you’ve faced while in uniform pale in comparison to your challenge of getting hired. You already have that “stick-to-it” attitude that will serve you well as you move closer to getting hired!
12) Tell a POSITIVE story! Ever been around someone who complains all the time? Have you ever been around someone who absolutely drains you while you’re in their presence? Remember a fun time you had up until the point someone became a “buzzkill”? My advice to you: Don’t become that person. Think about it. Would you hire someone who lives in a world of negativity? I know what this is like, as once upon a time I was unemployed. If you let negative thoughts override you, the best you have to offer will be smothered. The end result, you’ll have a long road to travel until you arrive at “Hired!” Ask those around you how you come across. Ask them to be honest, and then be honest with yourself. Strive to keep the most positive attitude possible and watch how people respond to you, especially a prospective employer.
13) Take a break now & then. You can sometimes become obsessed with getting hired and avoiding the unemployment line. You need to maintain balance in all you do in order to keep your sanity while awaiting the call for an interview or an offer letter. You might consider making a solid plan in which you schedule your job-hunting time. For example, you already have the habit of physical fitness nailed as a result of your military upbringing. Maintaining an exercise schedule now will do what it did while you wore the uniform – that workout helped keep you healthy, mentally alert, and focused at the start of your day! Make sure to get plenty of sleep so that your mind is razor sharp during any preparatory tasks, phone interviews, and LIVE interviews. And, have some fun while you wait for that good news that’s bound to happen at some point.
14) Finally, STAY ENCOURAGED! I want you to take a moment and think about your entry into military service. Seriously, take a few moments to reflect on that before you continue reading this. What did you really and truly know about the military before your first day in uniform? Who did you know who you could reach out to and ask questions about the military? How did you feel the first day you had your Drill Instructor screaming in your face versus the day that same person shook your hand and congratulated you on a job well done? Can you name the people in your unit that called cadence, spoke or yelled encouraging words to you when you thought you’d fall out of a run? Or maybe you served in a combat zone with people who had your back. Do you remember things they did to encourage you to make it through? The point is that you’re about to enter a new phase in life. Just like when you ventured into the unknown military life, your next journey has a lot of uncertainty. But, I’m here to tell you, the things you experienced while in uniform prepared you for life out of the uniform! You will succeed if you surround yourself with people who have YOUR best interests in mind. So, please remember that you already have a track record of success! You can do this is you STAY ENCOURAGED!
I sincerely hope these GOING CIVILIAN Blog articles help you! Please feel free to scroll through the pages of articles and read the information. Expect even more in 2014 as my goal is to continue to “put a face on civilian life” so that your Military-to Civilian career transition is as smooth as possible.
May you have the strongest finish ever along with the best new beginning in the upcoming year!
All the best, and continued success now and in 2014!
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