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Military Veterans Must Network When Job Searching

It can be difficult for a veteran to find satisfying work after their unique lifestyle. A vital element to any veteran job search is networking. Dear J.T. & Dale: I served in the military for more than 20 years before retiring. I've been looking for a corporate job and feel like a fish out of water. I've talked to some fellow ex-military who are working corporate positions and are miserable. They are finding it hard to respect the people they work with. That scares me. Any suggestions? — Craig Dale: You've been talking to the wrong people. The problem is, the right ones are hard to find — the right people being those with a boss they admire. As someone who has made a study of great bosses for a book called "The Gifted Boss," I'd say the truly admirable ones are about one in 20. That means 95 percent of employees do NOT have a great boss. Moreover, the best ones rarely use the traditional job market. J.T.: We recently heard from Chad Storlie, author of "Combat Leader to Corporate Leader." I asked him about his own experience, and he said:
"One of my hardest transitions came when I moved back from serving as a U.S. Army Special Forces officer in combat in Iraq. Based in Baghdad, it was a dangerous, demanding and complex position, where small errors led to enormous consequences. Then, in less than 20 days, I was back, working at a desk and relearning how to apply my military skills to make a new organization successful."
When I asked Chad about the mistakes veterans make in transitioning, the first thing he said was that they put far too much emphasis on online job applications. Dale: Which takes us to networking. Military connections give you access. However, instead of asking those contacts if they know of any great jobs, start by asking if they know of any great bosses. That will lead you to some productive conversations, and ultimately will yield more job leads than asking about jobs. J.T.: Also, I'd suggest checking out Chad's work at CombatToCorporate.com. You'll find great, free advice on how to leverage your skills and expertise when you finally get to meet with those elusive great bosses. Feel free to send questions to J.T. and Dale via e-mail at advice@jtanddale.com or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019. © 2012 by King Features Syndicate, Inc. Photo credit: Shutterstock