Whether you’re transitioning out of the service or you’re looking for your next job there are several risk elements that should set off warning bells.  The keys to a successful job search are vision, preparation, timing and attitude. Even if you have worked these areas diligently, you still have multiple risks associated with each key during your job search.

lack of Vision

Have you considered the risks of not knowing what you want to do?  What if you land a job that you’re not well suited for? You may be applying for all types of work, but knowing what you want to do and your capacity to do it are essential factors in developing your personal vision and finding a job in which you will be happy.  Have you ever thought about how miserable you’d be if you overstated your capabilities and were expected to perform in a position that you were not well suited?  Nothing can be more miserable than getting into a job and realizing you are going to have to move on and start a new job search because it’s a bad match.  Take time to understand who you are and what you want to do before you begin your job search, It will help you reduce some of these risks.

Failure to Prepare

The Roman Philosopher Seneca stated, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Risk increases exponentially if you do not have the right products available at the right time.  Make sure your resume is in good order and reflects your capabilities.  Do you have copies of your education and certificates?  Do you have good contact information for all your references?  Have you put together a quality cover letter?   Do you know where the interview location is?  Is your computer capable of video conference?  Does your cell phone drop calls on occasion?  Upon occurrence, you cannot recover well from most of these risk elements.

Another associated preparation risk is how you perform your search.  If you currently have a job, you don’t want any of your search activity to be observed by anyone associated with your current job. In fact, you may want to keep your job search strictly to yourself.  Be careful in asking for time off for interviews.  Speak cautiously with your network and how you talk about your current situation.

bad Timing

You do not want to begin your search too early, be unavailable for a perfect position and unable to negotiate a favorable start date.  Conversely, what if you wait too long to start networking and are slow meeting the right people?  It can be miserable knowing you just missed out on a great job by a few days.  Being at the right place at the right time is critical and a challenge. Be transparent about your transition timelines, and once you start looking, be ready to make a move immediately if the job is right.

bad Attitude

Keeping a good mental attitude is essential.  You are at risk if you do not check yourself and understand how you appear to others.  You may think you have a great attitude, but it can be very stressful looking for work.  Remember, attitudes change quickly.

As an example, suppose during the interview, you suspect you are being subjected to perceived discrimination; maybe due to age, race or sex.  You have lots of options.  Do you lash out or pursue this issue during the interview?  Can you soften your concerns by asking the panel if the company sees you as a risk? Do you ask why or what you can do about the perceived risk?  Or, do you just let it go…. deciding that maybe this is not the right place or job for you, anyway.  Even though job search is stressful, try and keep a positive mental outlook.

In sum, risk awareness can help you overcome transitional challenges.  Remember to mitigate as many risk elements as possible during your job search.

Wishing you a successful and lucrative transition.

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Jay Hicks is an author, instructor and consultant. With a special kinship for military personnel, Jay provides guidance on successful civilian career transition and has co-authored “The Transitioning Military Series”. He is the co-founder of Gr8Transitions4U, where advocating the value of hiring military personnel is the key focus. More about Jay and his passion can be found at Gr8Transitions4U.com.