This Week’s Reads

“No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.” 


Need to Break Your Lease?  How to Do It – LearnVest

6 Tips to Handle a Boss Who Hates You – The Grindstone

7 Money Moves to Make When You Get a New Job – Wise Bread

Negotiate for Lower Rent and Live Large on a Small Budget – Careful Cents

Spring Clean Your Resume (in less than 2 hours) – The Daily Muse

10 Outdated Job-Search Techniques to Avoid – Wise Bread

The Top 8 Reasons You Stay in a Career You Hate – HuffPost Women


What are you reading?

If you’re in the military, and you want to learn more about a piece of equipment, tactic, or mission, you do your homework.  You read the manuals, regulations, and research.  So why would your transition to Corporate America be any different?

There are a bunch of books out there that are recommended reading for those transitioning to business.  Some recruiting firms will even give you their reading list.  Others will recommend you subscribe to magazines, like Fortune or Money or Forbes.  But if you’re here, reading this, chances are you’re internet-savvy enough to dive into the blogosphere, and get some good reading in for free.  You just need to know where to look!

First off, a lot of those recommended magazines publish the SAME content online.  You can read the articles for free, and also read even more contributions from their team of bloggers and contributors.  The great thing about blogs?  It provides FREE personal experience and insight.  Sure, you have to wade through some opinions, and take it with a grain of salt.  But if you skip out on reading business/career blogs because you think they’ll be boring or too subjective, you’ll miss out on awesome gems like Alex Knapp’s “Five Leadership Mistakes of the Galactic Empire.”  (Seriously, you can learn great business lessons from Star Wars!)

Not all blogs update every day; some update only a couple times a month.  You can organize the blogs you read using Google Reader; most blogs have an RSS feed (similar to a URL) that you can use so all new entries pop up in your reader.  I installed an RSS reader on my iPad, so every new article is organized by subject so I can sift through to decide what to read.

If you don’t want to have an RSS feed, following these blogs/magazines on Twitter can allow you to scroll through tweets linked to articles, allowing you to “opt in” whenever you want.

A few blogs I follow:  (in reality, I follow 100+ in various categories)

What blogs are you reading?

Success Story: Brian

After four years at a service academy and a year as an Army officer, Brian knew what it was like to “adapt and overcome.”  But then life threw him a huge curveball: a career-ending training injury that thrust him into the civilian job market at the height of the recession.

“Like many other twenty somethings,” Brian says, “I was forced to move back in with my parents while attempting to come up with a plan for my future.”   (In these economic climes, 40-60% of twenty somethings move back home at some point, or plan to!)

Within a year, he crossed the country to begin a PhD program in History, with the intention to become a university professor… only to discover that it wasn’t the career path he wanted to pursue either.  Brian realized what many JMOs need to consider when they leave the military: your transition is the ultimate opportunity to reinvent your personal brand.

“Consider this an advantage,” Brian advises, “In the future, your personal brand will be defined by your education and career experience… Each future decision will affect your brand, so consider each option carefully with an eye to your long-term objectives.”

For Brian, that meant focusing on what he truly loved: technology.

“I focused on my career contemplation until I developed a laser-like focus on the objective of becoming a ‘techie’ and subject matter expert in a large firm with a technology focus, based out of a major city.”

Does a goal get any more defined than that?  Armed with his objective, Brian left the PhD program within a year, landing a job with one of the world’s largest publicly traded technology companies.  It’s obvious that he loves his job, and has found something many JMOs actively seek in their transition: career fulfillment.    He’s now a standout at his firm, one of the top-performing technical experts in his age group.

Continue reading

Book Review: The Military to Civilian Transition Guide

This book is one I received for free from the Army as I began my transition.  It is published by Corporate Gray, a website that helps connect veterans with military-friendly employers.  It has a lot of ads (probably why it’s free!) but contains some good information.  They also re-release every couple of years to stay relevant, which is always a good thing in this ever-changing economy and workforce!

The Military to Civilian Transition Guide is a great starting point for anyone, of any military background, to develop a transition plan.  It outlines a lot of resources out there for veterans, as well as provides a good sample timeline for finding employment.  There are a ton of websites provided for further research (many of them are located here on our links page).

I also liked the chapter on identifying your transferable skills/traits.  I’ve said it before, but veterans sell themselves short in terms of their value in the civilian world.  We have a lot of things going for us, and it’s important to OWN IT!

If you can get your hands on a free copy of this book, I’d recommend it.  Every chapter is not going to apply to every person, but there’s certainly good information to glean.

Book Review: PCS to Corporate America

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PCS to Corporate America is written by Roger Cameron, of the recruiting firm Cameron-Brooks, arguably the first person to hone in on the market for getting JMOs hired right out of the military.  While it is associated with a specific recruiting firm, it’s really the only book out there written specifically for the military officer going through this transition!

PCS is not the be-all, end-all guide to getting hired out of the Army.  Take it with a grain of salt because, as we repeat all the time, every individual’s experience is different.  But the book does give you a roadmap and some good advice, on anything from interviews to business suits.

I personally felt it was a useful resource, though judging by the reviews on Amazon there are those who both love and hate it.  But like I said, grain of salt.  This is written by the founder of a recruiting firm, and probably aimed mostly at his firm’s candidates.  (And if the information sounds dated, just adapt the lessons… I had to do the same when I read Carnegie’s classic How to Win Friends & Influence People.)

I chose to read it straight through, run through it with a highlighter, and use it as a reference as I prepare for interviews.  Cameron understands military-speak, and I learned a lot about communicating more effectively.  I gleaned that preparedness is paramount, and while I could have found a lot of this information online, I would never have found it all in one place.  I’m also thankful that they continue to update the book over time.

I’d definitely recommend this to an officer considering leaving the military for a civilian career; it ought to be at the top of your reading list as you transition.