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A Successful Civilian Job Search Starts With Six “Ps”

Making the transition from a military career to civilian career can make you feel like you’re on a roller-coaster full of twists and turns. Emotions can run high and range from having high hopes to being disillusioned, confident to questioning oneself, from feeling sure-footed to clumsy and bumbling.

In most military organizations, you follow the five P’s: Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance. This is critical since the military is a very structured and systematic organization. In the military transition to a civilian workforce however, there are six P’s which you should be familiar with, and which you should use to improve your chances of a successful career. Let’s delve into each of these six P’s to have a successful civilian job search and see how you can use them to your advantage.


As a person with military background, you should know the importance of proper planning. When you start looking a job in the civilian sector, it is best to have knowledge of the industries that are hiring. This is important so you could avoid problems other jobseekers are faced with. You may want to see if they are favorable towards people with military experience, military skills or military backgrounds. When you have chosen the industry you think is a good fit, you should start to learn about the organizations that are hiring, the positions you are vying for and most importantly, about your own strengths. Be prepared to send in a customized resume for each position.

Personal Appearance

First impressions usually make or break a jobseeker. For most former military members looking a job, grooming and dressing appropriately come naturally. Remember that a big part of your appearance is not in house you dress, but in how you present yourself. Being confident in your movements and in how you answer questions will give a lasting impression on an interviewer. The right appearance plus confidence will give you a greater chance of landing that job you are eyeing.


Your military experience and background can be an asset for you. Most employers recognize that honor is a part of your military protocol. Former military personnel looking for a job in the civilian environment would be looked upon to deliver what they say they will do and perform professionally. You should also be able to recognize timelines and deadlines. Submit applications on time and attend interviews on time. Make follow up letters and phone calls respectfully.


Being courteous and showing humility are military skills you can use to your advantage. Showing up with a smile; saying “thank you”; and respecting the people around you when looking for a job can create a good lasting impression. Being polite even to the lowest person in the organization you are applying for can make a difference in your chances of being hired.


As with any other undertaking, you should be persistent once you start looking for a job. Although you may look at your military skills as being inappropriate for civilian industries, always know that during your military career, you have also gained other attributes which you can use. You may not have the skills you need now but you will eventually learn them if you keep on improving yourself.


With every change, you should remember that things may not work out as you have wished. Opportunities and breaks may not come immediately. For these reasons, you need to be patient when you go searching for a job.

Observing and possessing the first five P’s does not guarantee you of quick employment, but they could be your ticket to be noticed. They can greatly help you while you undergo transition from a military career to a civilian career. Your military skills, military experiences and your common sense will be your best tools to develop your use of the six P’s.

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