What do I do now? That was the question I posed to myself when I retired from the Air Force in 2000 after 24 years of service. My immediate options were to stay in California or move back to the east coast and be closer to our families.
I had a number of decisions to make, such as; where can I find a good job, will my wife be able to find a position in the same field (education), and would my daughters be able to adjust to civilian life?
After attending the Transition Assistant Program (TAP) classes and paying close attention to what they had to say, I was able to focus on what I wanted to do. At first I took a long hard look at my resume and polished it up (made sure not to use too many military acronyms). I used action verbs to describe my work experience, then I started applying for a number of positions which I felt I qualified for. I wanted to cast a large “net” and not limit my job search to just a certain field.
One of my applications was for a job as a Buyer in St Petersburg Florida. Although I had no experience working in Purchasing, I did have some knowledge (while in the Air Force), of using a government issued American Express card which I used to purchase equipment using local vendors. Surprisingly enough, I received an email from the president of a small women owned staffing company. She liked what she saw and asked me to see her once I made it to Florida.
Toni gave me a number of administrative tests which I passed, she then scheduled me for an interview with a major office imaging company (DANKA). I did some research on the company, just in case they asked me what I knew about them. I also showed up early and checked myself in the mirror before the interview to ensure I looked the part. The person interviewing me liked what I had to offer, even though I had very little experience as a Buyer, she offered me the position.
We all have our assigned duties under our AFSC’s, MOS, or NEC’s, but don’t forget the additional duties you were responsible for such as Safety NCO, Inventory Management monitor, Disaster Preparedness NCO and so forth. These additional duties may be your ticket to landing a new job.
My recommendation for those fellow veterans who are separating or retiring from the military is not to rule out staffing agencies. These agencies have numerous clients that only go through them to fill open positions. So when you cast your net out there, make sure to add them to your list. There is no cost to you and they can help and prepare you to land that new career position you’ve been looking for.