If I can sum up the top three things learned in the military, it would be: attention to detail is essential, recon and preparedness is everything, and chow hall food builds character.
Questionable food aside, the first two are important and life lasting skills which will help you find and excel at your next job.
The first step is to find exactly what career you are looking for. Use those recon skills to search, search, and search some more for the industry which makes you happy. Don’t get tied up into a specific employer; this is a mistake I see all too often. Many people get tied up and want to work for a specific company and lose site that there are so many more options out there that could fulfill your passion. I did it myself when I first got out. All I thought I wanted was to work for a defense contractor due to my military experience. Never would I have imagined a career in market research, but here I am five years and running and continuing to learn and grow!
Think outside the box, and find what makes you happy, not who you think will make you happy.
Once you’ve identified the career you want, and you’ve combed the job boards finding that perfect job, make sure you craft a well branded and specific resume for each position. Some tips on writing a powerful resume can be found here on SHRM.org.
When it comes to the interview, nothing will set you apart more than being prepared. Research the organization you are applying to. What is their history? What makes them unique versus their competitors? Who are the people that work there and who will be interviewing you? The interview is a two-way process; make sure you ask questions and dig into the interviewers on what makes them want to work there and why you should choose them over another employer. My colleague recently wrote some great tips on interview preparedness you might want to check out. The more prepared you are, the better. Not only will you be able to answer specific questions thrown at you, but you’ll go into the interview more confident which will show in your behavior and responses.
Use those unique skills that were drilled in to you from day one of boot camp to your advantage. Research, prepare, and conquer that next interview and you’ll be rewarded with a fulfilling and long-lasting career!