Although transition assistance programs offer useful information and skills to help you each step of the way, the ultimate responsibility for a successful transition rests with you and your family. There will be many important decisions that only you can make and new roles that no one but you can take on. Here are a few things you can do to help make your transition journey a success:
- Make the most of your Individual Transition Plan (ITP). The ITP is your transition blueprint. Develop it with care and thought toward your goals and objectives for career, family, finances, continuing education, and any other areas of your life affected by the transition. ITP action steps and timelines, to be updated and refined as you go along, help to keep you focused and on track. You will receive information on developing an ITP during pre-separation counseling.
- Stay motivated. It's easy to let feelings about leaving the military get in the way of moving forward with your plan. But this is no time to procrastinate. Successful transitioners approach the challenges ahead with the same "can do" attitude they have for the military mission.
- Practice networking. Transition assistance programs emphasize the importance of networking as a way to find out about job opportunities that aren't advertised. Networking simply means seeking out people who may be able to help you with advice, job leads, and contacts, then letting them know about you and your employment goals. Networking involves promoting yourself and asking for help; two skills that do not always come naturally. But the more you practice networking with friends, current or former colleagues, and acquaintances the better you'll get.
- Have confidence in your military experience. Transitioning service members sometimes wonder how much civilian employers will value their military experience. But if you take time to recognize and appreciate the scope of knowledge, skills, and abilities you acquired in the military, it will be easier to present yourself to any prospective employer with confidence. Not only do you have exceptional technical skills and training, you've also mastered the military traits of good discipline, teamwork, leadership, and the ability to put mission first. Employers value these qualities in applicants regardless of the nature of the work.