When you think of enlisting in the U.S. military, serving as piano player in the Air Force may not traditionally come to mind. But even the nontraditional military journey and transition is a part of you and your brand as a veteran.

Adam Braatz is a U.S. Air Force veteran, author, entrepreneur, and communications / branding expert that pays it forward daily by supporting the Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce. In his post-military life, he advocates for his state’s veteran business community, and promotes economic opportunity for military veterans, military families, and veteran-friendly businesses.

Giving a Taste of Home to Troops Deployed Overseas

After hustling through the cutthroat arena of commercial music, Adam found that he was seeking out more structure and consistency during the post-9/11 fog the U.S. and DoD was navigating. Coming from a family of military veterans, enlisting was a natural fit…especially since the Air Force was looking for a piano player to give deployed soldiers a taste of home while overseas.

After going through basic training (band members are generally the only AFSC that is predictable after training), Adam toured and performed while deployed – doing a 3 month stint overseas in 11 countries, including some diplomatic performances. After redeploying, he felt it was time for a change. A musician playing for their job may find that they aren’t getting the artistic fulfillment their soul needs after playing ‘In the Mood’ 400,000 times.

An abrupt 90 degree turn is sometimes the fire someone needs lit during the soul searching process: he  sent in his package to become a Military Training Instructor (TI for short) at Air Force Basic Military Training (AFBMT), which transformed him as a professional and as a person.

EXPERIENCING THE GROWING PAINS TO CULTIVATE YOUR BRAND

Everyone experiences military transition obstacles and while there are resources upon resources available in today’s world, sifting through them can be the challenge. Adam’s biggest hurdle: all of the ‘unknowns.’ Along with the notion that many of the transitioning resources focus on all of the ‘known’ veteran stressors.

One thing Adam did know? Through writing and developing a platform online, branding and networking are of the utmost importance to the transitioning veterans.

BUILDING UP YOUR ONLINE BRAND AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOUR JOB SEARCH

Resume building, keyword optimized CV’s, and applying for jobs is about 10% of job seeking. The other 90% is building deep and meaningful connections through networking – and most successful veterans who have found fulfilling careers will agree that that is how they have landed that dream job, nailed their next promotion, or found more money in their pocket.

But networking isn’t all face-to-face anymore, no matter the industry. A hybrid approach where you are creating and posting content online to show connections what you are about, starts with coming out of your shell. So, talk about your journey, show your vulnerabilities, and engage with other veteran content to be your most successful self in the job search.

LOOKING TO NETWORK AND BUILD THOSE DEEP AND MEANINGFUL CONNECTIONS?

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Katie Keller is a marketing fanatic that enjoys anything digital, communications, promotions & events. She has 7+ years in the DoD supporting multiple contractors with recruitment strategy, staffing augmentation, marketing, & communications. Favorite type of beer: IPA. Fave hike: the Grouse Grind, Vancouver, BC. Fave social platform: ClearanceJobs! 🇺🇸