3/3 Tarey Gettys 97 - D-D-D-Don'ts
In most cases, military service, both shapes and provides Veterans with valuable skills that are directly transferable and highly sought-after by many in the private sector. However, while the skills, as well as experience, are important to getting a job, it's the following that will help you accelerate your career:
Matching of specific skills to job opportunities with growth potential
The ability to strengthen and develop new skills
Adapting quickly to a completely new environment and culture
While keeping these factors top of mind and making progress with your transition, there are a few things to avoid. Specifically,
Don't #1: Don't Translate Rank or Military Seniority to a Private Sector Equivalence. I have yet to see the title, General, in any private sector organization. So, while your rank/military status is the culmination of years of hard work, and likely, well deserved - unless this status provided you with the skill-set and/or experience to match the 'stated' need of a particular job and/or company, please do yourself a favor and leave the collar devices at home... and most definitely, no butter bars.
Don't #2: Don't Heed All Advice. You will undoubtedly come across many well-intentioned individuals offering all kinds of free and sometimes not-so-good advice. Many of them are just civilians (maybe they had a relative who served) trying to be helpful. Some are Veterans, who are still figuring things out and may have unknowingly received bad advice themselves and are now paying it forward. Unfortunately, there are the few Walter Mitty and even worse, the rare Eugene Tackleberry types that can sneak up on you. Beware, as taking bad advice from anyone, can set you back and derail your transition. Be especially cautious of accepting a job offer without fully vetting and understanding the opportunity, culture, and values of the organization as some employers utilize 'bait and switch' tactics and this can be an extremely challenging situation that is hard to unwind. Remember, sometimes you do get what you pay for and just because it's free, doesn't mean it's good... unless of course, it's pizza.
Don't #3: Don't Follow the Crowd. It's easy to do what everyone else is doing, and perhaps easier to rationalize possible success by choosing a similar path to someone you know - especially, if you believe yourself to be more capable in some way. Does this sound familiar:
"Joe got out, got an MBA and is now an Investment Banker. Hmm, I can do that."
Or, "Sally's at Facebook and she worked for me, so I should be able to get a job at Facebook too."
How about, "Farquaad always said that he'd hire me at his security company. This seems like a no brainer."
Yes, I'm slightly kidding with the Farquaad example, but my point remains - don't follow the crowd. Take the time to figure out what you want to do and focus your energy on finding the right fit. Just because at one point, you may have been lumped into the same unit or team in the Military, doesn't mean what works for one person in the private sector will also work for you. Now is the time to dig-in and discover what sets you apart from others.