Today I read a great LinkedIn post authored by Brittney Kowalski, founder @BMUR Branding Group, entitled “The Ladders: 5 team-building tips from a former Green Beret.” In this well-done article, Brittney shares tips from former Green Beret Patrick Gaumond.
As I read the article, it struck me that these tips have applicability to career transition and job search, whether you are a military veteran or not.
Tip 1: Cross Train - Often times career transition and job search is a new “battlefield”; a foreign environment where one has never journeyed. There are new players, new situations, new processes, new opportunities, new challenges, new everything. Learning as much as possible about all of these “new” elements - “cross-training” yourself if you will, is tremendously helpful to optimizing your success.
Tip 2: Give Feedback - Most veterans (and many others) are quite familiar with the “AAR” (after action review) as an important tool/process that provides real-time feedback and learning. This can be exceptionally value-adding during transition and job search. As noted above, for most people this is a time and environment where so much is new and unfamiliar – thus it is an ideal time to purposely build in the AAR, assess the situation, define lessons learned, and focus on solutions and continuous improvement.
Tip 3: Empower Decision Making - Through your transition / job search you will find that most people want to help you. But to paraphrase that famous line from the movie “Jerry Maguire”, you have to “help them help you”. When connecting with people be clear about what you want. Be decisive when asked “What are you looking for?” People want to help but if they don’t know what you are looking for, they won’t know how or when to help. Empower their decision making about how to help you.
Tip 4: Make Good Use of the Past – We each bring unique knowledge, skills, experience, and perspectives to the job market. Do you know what yours are? Do you know how they differentiate you from others to make you the best candidate for an opportunity? Have you considered how you will make others aware of your “distinctive advantage”? Invest the time in yourself and your search to consider these points. Your transition / search will be better for it.
Tip 5: Build Relationships, Not Checklists - Relationships are the key to transition / job search success. While having a checklist, process, method or similar will help organize your transition / search, they will not in and of themselves optimize your result. Relationships are the secret sauce. The vast majority of jobs are landed because you know someone, who knows someone, who has an open job. You will only know about that opportunity if you have relationships with people. Similarly, consider your "connections". LinkedIn uses this term regardless of how well you may/not know the person. Are these folks "connections" or are they simply "contacts"? I liken the difference to the experience in large, metropolitan subways. You likely will have "contact" with many (bumping into each other on the crowded platform or in the busy cars) but there is no "connection". Take the time to build the "connection" - a "relationship"; it may just lead you to a great opportunity.
Thanks to Brittney Kowalski and Patrick Gaumond for their article and insights!