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Rerouting Through Rejection O


fficers are always in a state of transition. Throughout their careers, they’re on the move — and that doesn’t stop after they


hang up their uniforms, as Lt. Cmdr. Kent Meyer, USN (Ret), shared with attendees at MOAA’s fall 2017 Military and Veteran Networking Forum. Whether retiring from a second career, leaving


one job for another, or being laid off, “it’s all a state of transition,” he says. Not getting a call back after submitting a résumé or losing a job can get you down. Transitions are tough on your family, too, Meyer says, because they can throw you into a state of financial uncertainty. “Unfortunately, rejection is part of the job-


search process. Expect it to happen, and learn from it. Most of all, do not take it personally,” says Col. Brian Anderson, USAF (Ret), director of MOAA’s Career Transition and Member Services. “Keep persevering and you will be successful.” Meyer says preparation is also key to dealing with the more challenging aspects of finding and keeping work after the military. Two important beacons to help you navigate the


transition journey are research and people, Ander- son says. Here are Meyer’s and Anderson’s tips for planning for and persisting through rejection.


1. NEVER STOP NETWORKING. Networking is the lifeblood to a smooth transition, says Meyer, now a senior manager with Deloitte’s cyber risk practice. Anderson defines it as the act of developing and nurturing relationships, helping others, being genuine, and staying proactive. It’s important to stay in touch with recruiters, peers, and other professional contacts, Meyer says — even if you’re happy in your current position. “When you’re in the job and you feel comfort-


able, that’s probably when you’re at your most vulnerable,” Meyer says. “That’s because you don’t


PHOTO: JENNIFER MILBRETT


‘When you’re in the job and you feel comfortable, that’s probably when you’re at your most vulnerable ... because you don’t tend to the skills that you need to


network.’ — Lt. Cmdr. Kent Meyer, USN (Ret)


The job hunt can be disappointing at times. Lt. Cmdr. Kent Meyer, USN (Ret), and MOAA share tips for holding course.


tend to the skills that you need to network, like making sure your résumé is up to date, making sure you know how to have a conversation about what you want to do, and [making sure you] know how to market yourself.” Always be open, Anderson says. You never know


when new opportunities will present themselves, Meyer adds, so it’s important to exercise those net- working skills. By continuously expanding your knowledge


of target companies and industries and then building useful relationships with people in the industry and sector, you will become more aware of and focused on your career objectives and nonnegotiables — such as location, quality of life, compensation, and impact — just to name a few, Anderson says. You have heard repeatedly that networking is the most critical element of a successful transition plan. Just remember, it is the process of purposely developing relationships with others. The more you build, expand, and maintain your network, the more successful your transition, Anderson says.


2. TAKE A BREAK. Any time you’re going through a transition, Meyer recommends taking some time off to assess your next move. It doesn’t have to be long; just a week or two will do, he says. Anderson agrees. “Focus on you and your family,” he says. Regroup, think about what you’d like to do next, and come up with a career-search strategy and financial plan, Meyer says.


3. EXPLAIN YOURSELF. While you’re taking time off, Meyer says one of the most useful exercises is coming up with your “elevator pitch,” preferably one that is short and succinct.


January 2018 | MILITARY OFFICER | 57


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