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Asked by Anthony on April 13, 2017

I am a US Soldier that is planning on getting out of the Army in 2020. I have 13 years as of right now in the Army, when I leave I will have 16 total years. 13 in Logistics and 3 in Human Resource. I have a Bachelors in Business Administration, Masters in Trade and Logistics Management and working on my Doctorate in Leadership. What type of position should I be applying for in the future? What type of research should I be doing?

Answered by Ellee, Hiring Expert at Textron Inc., on April 19, 2017

Hello! I want to thank you for your service to our country – it is greatly appreciated! It is great that you are starting to think about your post military career a few years early. My recommendation would be to determine what career path you want to take and what degree you want to utilize in your next role. It will be beneficial to determine what industry you want to move into – manufacturing, government contracting, etc. This will help you narrow your selection and begin researching companies and roles in the industry that you are interested in. When researching companies, I would recommend looking into companies that are veteran friendly – you can typically find this information on their company website or through veteran recruiting sites. If you can begin networking and speaking to professionals within the industry, function, or at a company you are interested in, this will allow you to hear firsthand experiences and build your network. Building your network will allow you to keep in contact with various professionals over the next few years and they may offer you guidance and recommendations come 2020 when you search for your next role. Again, thank you for your service to our country and best of luck!

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Answered by Bret, Hiring Expert at Emerson, on April 27, 2017

Thank you for your question and your service!

Having not served in the military myself, I reached out to two of our veterans who joined Emerson through our MBA program. I felt their perspective would be more valuable to you. Please find their combined comments below:

  • Familiarize yourself with corporate organization. HR, Operations, Finance, Marketing, Strategy, Etc.
  • There are many corollaries to the military organization structure, but some critical distinctions. From there you can think about which functions entice you. Any recruiter will obviously see your logistics and HR background, but that doesn’t mean you’re bound to them.
  • Familiarize yourself with the types of organizations that offer employment: non-profit, for profit, gov’t ----each of these has very different missions and goals which translates to culture
  • Think about the size of the organization – less than 100, less than 1000, 10K, etc. There are pros and cons for both small and large organizations.
  • Think about ownership structure – is the company publicly traded, privately held, run by investors (with intent to sell at some point). Will affect culture and climate of organization.
  • Think about industries that interest you – energy, tech, consumer goods, aviation, automotive, consulting, wealth management, banking---it’s a big world out there but you have to fundamentally align with the mission of the company or it will just be a job for you. You want to be passionate about your work and the work of your organization (directly correlated with success).
  • Familiarize yourself with civilian “rank” structure--- analyst, manager, leader, director, VP, president, etc. Each firm has their own version, but this is the ballpark structure. Be ready to “take a step back in order to take a step forward.” Civilian employers will give you a chance based on your military career, but often you will need to prove yourself at a somewhat “lower equivalent military rank” for a period of time initially.
  • Clearly define your non-negotiables. You are planning to leave the Army for a reason. What is it that they are not willing to do or give up as you make this transition? Do you want to work in a certain region or city? Are your set on joining a certain company or industry? Do your want to avoid future moves? Are you open to international assignments?
  • There is no reason forcing fit. If opportunities clash with your non-negotiables, then it is best to look elsewhere. Likewise, if a role checks the most important boxes on your list, look at the mid-term and long-term opportunity, which may mean taking a step back in the short-term.

From the HR and leadership perspective I can say that your experience will bring highly transferable skills and education. That will easily make you an interesting candidate to many organizations. Staying on top of HR and leadership development trends in the marketplace and in the private sector will help you talk the business language required in interviews and will help you navigate your transition.

Good luck!
Bret and the Emerson Leader Team

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Answered by Brandy, Hiring Expert at Archer Daniels Midland, on June 27, 2017

Thank you for your service!! With the skills you have gained from your military experience combined with your knowledge from earning your multiple degrees there are many career paths you can take. My recommendation would be to take some time to figure out what exactly you enjoy doing. What truly makes you happy and want to get up every morning and do? Research different areas of Human Resources, logistics, and business. You will find there are many options in each field. Don't get discouraged along the way. Good Luck with your search!!

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