Jeremy Duhancik is Marketing 360® Marketing Consultant and proud Veteran. He offers insights on not just transitioning from the military to the business world, but taking advantage of being a veteran to be a better business person.
It’s the last day of your Transition Assistance Program (TAPS). This course is designed to prepare transitioning military members of America to go out into the business world, but you’re more focused on finishing your out-processing paperwork. You’re so excited about starting life after the military you realize you’re not absorbing the very content designed to help you with this huge change!
Many transitioning military members have these feelings when they become Veterans and are faced with the complexities of the US business place. This was the case for me in my transition program as I realized I was about to be released out into the world to pursue whatever career I wanted. For someone who was in a totally structured environment for the past 4+ years, this came as a system overload.
Right away, I started to feel behind. When I had just a few weeks left in the military I realized I should have started looking at jobs and even applying to places as early as eight months before I left in active duty. This is because some hiring processes (I had applied at Law Enforcement Agencies) can take months and require certifications before even applying.
Even more of a problem was that I had no idea how to create a brand for myself. I felt typecast into only being able to do security or law enforcement. But I later realized that I gained a variety of skills in the military that would allow me to branch out into other professions.
For instance, I gained great customer service skills from working the front gate, assisting personnel entering and exiting the base. I also had supervisor skills from training and being the leader on certain posts from my rank. These skills helped me bridge the gap and show employers how I could be a benefit to their business.
Being out of active duty now for over 3 years and working at a company that’s mission is to help small businesses grow, I wanted to provide new Veterans with three tips that will get you moving in the right direction in the business world.
#1. Carry Over Your Military Work Ethic
When I mention military discipline it sometimes scares people. They automatically think of a drill sergeant yelling at trainees to do push-ups.
But discipline is key in business to get consistent, repeatable results. Remember having to report up and down the chain in the service? In business, you will be using many different mediums to communicate with people. Use those skills to know the best way to convey messages.
I loved the diversification in the Military, I was able to learn so much culturally it feels natural whenever I work with anyone. The discipline, communication skills and diversity you experienced are pivotal in keeping a positive and resilient mindset on the outside.
During the job-hunting process I relied heavily on keeping my military bearing which is maintaining a level of consistency and excellence no matter how tedious filling out the applications felt. It’s key to put the same amount of effort into each application to give yourself the best shot at moving further into the hiring process.
#2. Pursue Higher Education or Trade Schools
It may seem like you’re years behind your colleagues outside the military and you don’t have time to invest in yourself (I know I felt this way).
This is far from the truth. You’ve worked hard to protect our great nation and gained strong time management skills. Use them to take advantage of further education and training.
It’s true that with a family or even solo this is not easy, but keep in mind the flexibility you have now. For example, if you’re starting your own business you can create your own schedule, so it’s possible to work around your studies. This is very different than being required to show up at 0430 each day for work and not getting out until 1815 or later.
If you are not ready to jump into your own business don’t forget about the wonderful Post 9/11 GI Bill benefit given to Veterans. This provides supplemental income and helps pay for your education.
#3. Be a Proud Veteran
As I mentioned earlier the military members around me were ecstatic about getting out. At that point in time, the last thing they wanted to talk about, hear about or remember was anything to do with their military service.
It’s difficult during your transition to take a step back and reflect on all that you accomplished within your time in service. It’s something that makes you unique and can really help build your personal brand.
For example, at Marketing 360® I use the discipline and prioritizing I learned in the military to maximize my efficiency. I’m known as a person who gets things done. I also incorporate my Veteran status to work with clients that also have a military background.
Instead of trying to put your military experience behind you, use it to make you a more effective professional. I suggest doing this because I know some of my fellow Veterans tried to do a 180 and ended up with a negative attitude that quickly spiraled into depression or sometimes worse. If you feel this way, reach out to your friends, family, and fellow Veterans. They are there to lean on and pick you back up.
And I’m here to remind you: be a proud Veteran. Take that pride and apply it to your new career.
I think you’ll find, like I have, that serving in Military helped you prepare to be a professional in the business world. We bring the skills, work ethic, and a mindset many businesses need.
If you’re a Veteran getting started in the business world, contact Marketing 360® and ask for me personally. I’m here to steer you in the right direction and share my experience as a Veteran succeeding in a new career.