Photo Credit: U.S. Army RDECOM
There is not a set recipe for success in choosing a civilian employment track. There is not a specific career path outlined based off the rank with which you exit. For the senior military officer, choosing the next step for their career is both easier and more difficult than it is for the more junior populace.
By stereotypical standards, retired senior officers typically have retirement pay, benefits for their families, have climbed the military ranks and proven their leadership abilities, and have the flexibility to move geographically on their own accord for the first time in years (opening up their options).
Senior officers are desired in the workplace because they have exhibited steady success and have a sense of maturity that younger members may not bring to the table. There is the possibility that they may transition into higher corporate ranks due to their leadership skills.
However, the senior officer may have difficulty knowing what his or her value actually is and not feel that a civilian position fully matches the breadth and responsibility they had in the military. The corporate workplace may also want someone who is looking to grow with the organization and not want someone who has already reached what they feel is the pinnacle of their career.
Key things to remember if you are a military officer looking for a job:
- More senior leadership does not mean that you DESERVE a higher position.
- You cannot necessarily carry your rank into your new role; correlations vary.
- You have to define if you are seeking a new career or a new job. Are you looking for something with growth potential, or something to pay the bills as you continue on in life?
- Be a humble professional and make a list of the key items you want to take away from your new career. Will your goals be affiliated to the position, or to the rest of your life?
- Define your compensation standards off of the type of position you are seeking, not off of what you necessarily were making in the military – unless seeking a position of advanced career growth.
- As a whole, career fairs are typically angled toward junior to mid-level military members, not senior officers. As a whole, companies are not seeking those who want a second lifestyle decision. They want those who are looking to grow with the respective company.
The top positions for senior military officers fall into three categories: corporate leadership/project management, government contract roles, and lifestyle professions outside corporate walls. The member must decide what they are seeking to gain from the position and make those choices accordingly. Setting the expectations of career versus J-O-B will help to strategize the decision.
Before you run out and start applying for jobs that are a good fit for a former military officer, we want to make sure you are prepared. Here are four of my favorite blog posts to help you transition.
- 7 Questions to Ask During a Job Interview
- Out of Military Uniform: What the Heck is Business Casual?
- Interview Follow Up Do’s and Don’ts
- Interview Preparation: Ensure You Complete Your Mission