You have served your country and while on your path to achieving a senior military leadership role, you developed a full set of executive skills. These skills have allowed you to succeed in your career.
In the past, senior military leaders were confident that their transition would be smooth. They knew their background and skill sets were valuable and that their skills would be recognized by the defense industry and by government agencies and contractors. They were often employed in a leadership role and could steer their new company to an immediate and compelling success.
The video below is Craig “Bluto” Baker, USAF Brig Gen Ret speaking about the challenges of transition from the armed services to the civilian sector.
Today the defense sector marketplace has changed dramatically. The U.S. fiscal environment is always challenging with pressure coming from all sides, both domestic and international. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the number and quality of great opportunities are no longer the same as they were. Defense-related employment will continue to be under intense scrutiny for the foreseeable future and, correspondingly, the variety and choices that were once available continue to dwindle.
There are options for you beyond the defense-sector of the economy. One such option is employment in companies that are not dependent upon the Federal Government or defense spending. There are employment opportunities in the commercial non-defense sector of the economy.
Most importantly, many non-defense sector companies look at you and try to visualize how and where you might fit into their organization. They want to know the value-add you bring to their company and how you will contribute to their top or bottom line or both. Unfortunately, the private sector is making generalizations about you. They are unsure of what you can offer them. These assumptions are challenges you must face and overcome as you face your job search and make a career transition. As a senior military leader facing retirement, there are three critical questions you must answer.
- “What value do I bring to a non-defense sector position?”
- “How do I communicate that value to target companies?”
- “How do I bridge the gap between what I don’t know about them and what they don’t know about me?”
- How do I compete with all of the civilian leaders who are also competing for a position I am seeking?