Phases of Individual Transition Planning
Many professionals in the personnel industry have published guides on career changes. These show that everyone undergoing a career transition seems to go through the same fundamental stages. This section describes the activities and outcomes of the seven phases of individual transition planning.
Phase One: Assessment
Who am I? What talents and experiences do I possess? Why would someone want to hire me?
In this phase, document your portfolio of knowledge, experience, skills, talents, and abilities. For starters, create a list using your personal Verification of Military Experience and Training (VMET) document, DD Form 2586. This document is available to you online at https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/tgps/. Contact your supporting Transition Office for assistance if you are unable to access the VMET On-Line website. Your VMET outlines the training and experience you received during your military career. It is designed to help you, but it is not a resume. Add anything else you can think of to this list. In essence, you are now creating an “asset bank” from which you can draw later when called upon to write a resume or attend a job interview.
If you need help, use the professional guidance available through your local installation Transition Office or Education Center. Or refer to the self-help section of your local library or bookstore for useful career planning books. The investment you make now in conducting your assessment is very valuable. It will bring the “professional you” into clearer focus, and it will have a major impact in making and implementing your career decisions.
Phase Two: Exploration
What are the current and emerging occupational areas that are attractive to me? Do these jobs coincide with my values and aptitudes? How do I find such jobs?
With your assessment in hand, you probably have some ideas about what you want to do. Now is not the time to limit your opportunities. Expand the list of job titles and career paths that appeal to you. Broaden your geographic horizons to include several places where you might like to pursue your career. Many resources are available to help you explore your expanded set of options.
Do your homework. The Transition Office can help you focus on jobs that employers need to fill today and will need to fill in the near future. Transition staff can help you identify the geographic areas that have opportunities in your fields of interest.
Your state employment office is another good resource during this phase, offering such services as job interviewing; selection and referral to openings; job development; employment counseling; career evaluation; referral to training or other support services; and testing. It can lead you to information on related jobs nearby and can introduce you to the Department of Labor database, DoD Job Search, which has listings of thousands of jobs across the nation. Many other assets are available; your Transition Office can tell you about them. Use the library too; the Reference Section has helpful publications. And, do not forget about the unlimited number of resources found on the Internet.
Phase Three: Skills Development
How do I prepare myself to be an attractive candidate in the occupational areas that I have chosen? Do I need additional education or training?
As you continue through the exploration phase, you may find some interesting opportunities for which you feel only partially equipped. Your local Transition Office and Education Center can help you determine the academic credentials or vocational training programs you will need and how to acquire them.
Phase Four: Trial Career Programs/Intern Programs
Do I have the aptitude and experience needed to pursue my occupational interests? Are there internships, volunteer jobs, temporary services, or part-time jobs where I might try out the work that interests me?
To learn about intern programs, inquire at your Transition Office, your local civilian personnel office, or the state employment office. Some government-sponsored programs, such as obtaining teaching credentials, can provide income and training in exchange for guaranteed employment. Check local and base libraries and the education office for books containing intern program information. Temporary agencies are also a great way to become familiar with a company or industry. Explore internship possibilities with private employers: Many companies have such programs but do not advertise them. Don’t necessarily turn down an interesting volunteer position. Volunteering increases your professional skills and can sometimes turn into a paid position.
Phase Five: The Job Search
How do I identify job requirements and prospective companies, find networks and placement agencies, and generally increase my knowledge and experience in the job market? How do I write a resume, develop leads, conduct an interview, and complete a job application?
Once you have selected your future career, you must now begin the challenge of finding work. Millions of people are hired all across the country every year. Employee turnover opens up existing positions, and entirely new jobs are created every day. Nevertheless, the job market is competitive. The best way to improve your odds is to play your best hand: Seek the opportunities for which you are best prepared.
Work hard at finding a job. Network! The vast majority of jobs are filled by referrals, not the want ads. Use your network of friends, colleagues, and family; as well as the job listings provided by your installation’s Transition Office, the local personnel office, or even the nearest community college. Take advantage of job-hunting seminars, resume-writing workshops, and interviewing techniques classes too. Attend job fairs and talk to as many company representatives as possible.
Phase Six: Selection
How do I select the right job?
Although it might be tempting, you do not have to take the first job that comes along. Consider the type of work, location, salary and benefits, climate, and how the opportunity will enhance your future career growth. Even if you take the first job offer, you are not necessarily locked into it. Some experts say employers are biased against hiring the unemployed. A shrewd move might be to look for a job from a job. Take a suitable position – and then quickly move on to a better one.
Phase Seven: Support
How do I make a smooth transition to a new career?
For your transition to be truly successful, you should manage the personal affairs side of your career change with the same professionalism and care as your job search. Things like out-processing, relocation, financial management, taking care of your family, and coping with the inevitable stress are important too. Your ITP provides an opportunity to integrate these issues with the career-oriented activities that are the central focus of your transition effort. You are eligible for transition assistance for up to 180 days after your separation.