Plan your transition


As I transition into the civilian business world after a 25-year military career, I wanted to pass along some fresh lessons learned to aid others pursuing a similar journey – whether retiring or separating.


Start Early – Do lots of research but start at the Airman and Family Readiness Center. They have lots of resources. Don’t wait until you are only a few months out. I recommend starting at least two years prior to your planned or potential end in service.


Get Familiar with Networking – I used LinkedIn which is a very powerful professional networking tool to establish contacts to get questions answered on companies, jobs, salaries, benefits, interviewing and anything else you need information.


Have Stories to Illustrate Skills/Experiences in an Interview – Civilian interviewers will remember stories better than stats and facts only. Most job resources recommend the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Response) technique for interview responses. Make yourself memorable to them.


Leadership Sets Us Apart – The leadership experiences offered by the military are virtually unparalleled in the civilian business world. Don’t undersell your experiences in leading.


Don’t Use Military Jargon/Acronyms – Most interviewers won’t understand what you’re talking about. Whether in your resume, which you should have reviewed by as many non-military people as possible, or in your interviews, you will not go far if your civilian interviewer has no idea what TDY, AETC or CAFB is. 


It’s been a great honor to wear our Air Force uniform and serve alongside such an awesome military and civilian professional workforce. God speed and thanks for the memories.