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5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Leaving the Military in 2017

Here are 5 things I wish I knew before I decided to leave the Military back in 2017:

1. Networking is key - start early and build relationships: Whether you're a current or former serving member, you have a unique set of skills that are valuable to the civilian workforce. It's important to leverage your skills and start networking early to build relationships with professionals in your field. You'll find value in attending career expos, joining professional organisations, and connecting with others on LinkedIn. The more people you know and have good relationships with, the better your chances are in securing meaningful employment down the track in line with your skills and experience.

2. Identify your transferable skills and highlight them in your job search: Your military experience has provided you with a range of skills that can be transferred to a wide variety of civilian jobs. You'll notice during your job search, that you have skills that you can transfer, and others that'll need to be acquired through civilian training and experience. When you start searching for your new role - identify your strengths and highlight these for the hiring manager. This will maximise your chances of securing a job interview and get your foot in the door.

3. Invest in yourself and up-skill where necessary: The civilian workplace may require different skills than those you developed in the military. Use the job requirements for your chosen roles to identify gaps in your skillset, so that you can take the necessary training to up-skill. This will ensure you tick all of the necessary requirements before applying down the track, and will set you apart from others when coupled with your military background.

4. Understand that the civilian workplace is different and may require a new mindset: The civilian workplace operates differently than the Military, and it may require a new mindset to be successful. Learn how to adapt to a new culture, communicate effectively with civilians, and navigate office politics. You'll also notice in some workplace settings, depending on the role, that there are commercial aspects which you may not have been exposed to in your time. Use your lack of knowledge and uncertainty as an opportunity to learn, rather than a roadblock in your transition.

5. Maximise veteran support organisations and resources: There are many resources available, including Critical Alpha, to help you navigate your transition to the civilian world. From job placement services through to mentoring programs, you can use these resources to make your transition smoother. Join veteran support groups and connect with other veterans who have gone through similiar experiences in life. Some that come to mind include Soldier On Australia and WithYouWithMe, and Critical Alpha.

Join us on the Critical Alpha Methodology podcast for more insights and practical advice.

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