Three Job Search Strategies for Soldiers in Transition

Three Job Search Strategies for Soldiers in Transition

My heart is grateful to the service men and women who’ve defended and ensured our country’s safety. As a civilian career coach on the front line of helping people in transition, I recommend three strategies to consider as you design a job search campaign.

1. Carry on with motivation and confidence to land your new position.

The military impressively trains soldiers for battle. They also prepare you with critical skills necessary for successful civilian employment.  Today’s employer needs professionals who work well under pressure, follow complex instructions, exert self-discipline, take the initiative and lead by quiet example. These core competencies are at the heart of a soldier and vital to a successful business.

The key to a successful job search campaign is the ability to exert a strong force of motivation in your daily job search activities.  If this energy equals your high mastery of skills, confidence to land the job will become stronger by the day. Searching takes time and is a full-time mission.  To discover and convince the right employer for you of the many skills you offer requires resolve and determination.  Stay focused on being the solution to the employer’s problem. Reconnaissance of labor market information where you want to work can empower every conversation and interaction as you translate combat skills into the business lexicon. Start the process with a daily action plan including small steps to accomplish. Connect to people each day to give you a continual boost of momentum to carry you. 

2. Look up when change seems overwhelming.

Change is the most consistent process of life.  The loss of military’s day to day structure and organization makes room for new ideas to be born.  Listening to a retired officer describe his anxiety of having too much time on his hands was palpable.  He wanted to work and contribute but was paralyzed by not having a routine and direction.  It is easy to feel overwhelmed by too much time to think without a clear plan to act. In the vortex of change, discouragement sets in when thoughts and feelings block action steps to move forward. Remember every closed door eventually leads to an open one contingent upon motivation remaining high.  Every civilian job-seeker receives (at minimum) ten to fifteen rejections before they hear “you’re hired.” The job search requires great mental stamina.

Look up each day with a resilience and determination to explore all possibilities until your mission is accomplished and check off every “no” you hear as one step closer to the “yes” you will be offered.

3. Reach out to civilians who are by your side.

Enlist the assistance of family, friends and colleagues to support you through the job search process. Master career counselors (MCC) certified by the National Career Development Association can help craft a targeted resume, prepare for an interview and utilize job search strategies that yield results. Your job offer is likely to come from a secondary source of contact from the primary relationships you’ve built.  This includes the friend of a family member or a brother of one of your high school classmates. Expanding your interpersonal connections will broaden the scope of available opportunities you would otherwise not know.

The process of finding civilian employment happens exponentially faster when you carry on each day with motivation and confidence, look up when discouraged and reach out to others for support.

What effective strategies would you add?  Suggestions welcomed.

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Create a Word Cloud of Your Resume


Do you want to see the cornerstone words your resume is built on? Have you taken a moment to see the word cloud of your professional expertise?

Wordle is an effective and fun career tool to discover the patterns of your experience using the text of your resume as the generator for creating a word cloud of your skills.

Here’s how to do it:
1. Go to
2. Click on the link “Create your own.”
3. Copy and paste your resume text into the box.
4. The word cloud is automatically generated. You can change the colors, font or scheme of your resume word cloud. It is a great exercise to determine patterns of the words used in your resume and skills you are building in a consistent progression.
What’s in your resume word cloud? Mine captures what I enjoy most: helping others develop a meaningful career.

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The correlation between life’s obstacles and cooked broccoli

Broccoli, is a vegetable clinically proven to keep our bodies healthy.

Rich in cholesterol-lowering vitamins, broccoli also reduces the risk of breast, lung and colon cancer.
The more you eat it, the more likely you are to enjoy a healthier life.

We can all agree, this leafy green vegetable provides amazing benefits.

But let’s face it, broccoli STINKS when you cook it.

Just the other day, my kids declared the after-dinner odor as intolerable.
To minimize the foul residue we lit candles as though the house lost electrical power.

How can something so good for you smell so bad?

Similarly, life’s obstacles are proven to keep our life priorities in order yet like cooked broccoli, it stinks to experience loss, challenges and difficulties to overcome.

The lessons of hardship provide long lasting benefits we may not always recognize including:

  • A deeper compassion for those who struggle in life and feel hopeless
  • A stronger resilience during tough times as we learn more effective ways to cope
  • A greater capacity to extend kindness during daily stresses such as traffic jams or waiting too long in a grocery line don’t seem worth the negativity they can cause
  • A far reaching appreciation for life’s simple pleasures grows in our hearts as we face difficult circumstances beyond our control

Our choice and resolve to face difficulties with a hopeful attitude can lead to wiser choices and a greater sense of what really matters.

Life’s troubles do smell like cooked broccoli, yet also bring out the best in us if we let them.

The challenges we face such as losing a job or experiencing great disappointment are rich opportunities to strengthen us.

When life presents  the “cooked broccoli” moments that stink, remember the benefits it provides if you allow it. And don’t forget to light a candle.


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