Benjamin Franklin famously said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” But developing a strategy is never an easy task. The first step in developing a transition strategy is to gain an understanding of who you are and what are your desires. With determination, you must work through this personal development process with introspection. But by doing so, you will determine your personal preferences for your desired marketplace, and career. You will also gain an understanding of your level of readiness for transitioning.

Three Step Process for Developing a Personal Military Transition Strategy

  1. Gain an understanding and control of your personal information and capabilities that you have, reducing unknown risks. If you are honest with yourself, you will find you have great qualities and areas that need improvement.
  2. Assess yourself honestly, identifying and analyzing what you already possess in your “kit bag”. Put these items on your resume and use them for interviewing through your transition and future job searches.
  3. Set goals based on the areas you decide to improve upon. These improvements should be charted and monitored on a personal strategic transition plan until they are achieved.

Your military experience tells you that every major operation needs a good strategy and a plan. You have performed planning at the personal and organizational level before. Now it is time to generate your own personal strategic transition plan or roadmap. The ability to plan and execute a personal strategy is potentially your greatest attribute. Strategy sets your direction and establishes your priorities in terms of goals. It defines your view of success and prioritizes activities that will make this view a reality. Strategy helps you know what you should work on and what should be addressed first.

Set Goals and Get to Achieving

Once goals are set, tactics are used to achieve these goals. While transitioning from the military, start framing your approach by reflecting on questions like:

  • What are my capabilities?
  • What are my qualities that an employer would seek?
  • How do I chart a course of action allowing me to unleash my superb capabilities as quickly as possible after transitioning from the military?
  • Do I know what career is best suited for me?
  • How do I get from where I am to where I want to be?

Write down your goals and establish how you will achieve these goals, along with setting the target timeframes for each goal. Track and monitor these goals until you achieve each one. You will need to monitor your goals on a recurring basis and track your progress. As goals are met, reward yourself, remove each of them from the roadmap and transfer each of these goals to your resume or exploit during your next interview.

As you re-assess during this transitional period, make sure you capture your improvements. Record your improvements not just for posterity. Make sure you incorporate them on your resume and for your discussions during the interviews.

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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