How far ahead is TOO far ahead to begin a job search?

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  • How far ahead is TOO far ahead to begin a job search?

     Suzanne updated 1 week, 6 days ago 6 Members · 11 Posts
  • Francisco

    Member
    November 17, 2020 at 20:44

    I’m asking this question for those who like to take the long-view approach to enter the job market. Right now, I’m looking at retiring from the Army in about 3 years and 4 months from now (Yes, I have a count-down timer!). I’m a little worried about what the job landscape will demand of new entrants into the market. I’m also keeping tabs on how the tech industry is fighting (or at least admitting to) ageism, particularly since I’m going to be 47 years old when I retire out.

    Is starting the job search and its associated research this far out (3+ years) counterproductive?

    What am I missing about the evolution of the job market that I should be paying attention to?

    Any advice would be very much appreciated!

    ~Francisco

  • Donielle

    Moderator
    November 17, 2020 at 20:55

    Hi Francisco,

    Thank you for your service to our country. What I recommend to you is, start building your “civilian network”. Get to know people at organizations you might want to target and remember to be open to building a rapport with those at companies you may have never thought of or considered. Be intentional about building relationships without motive…. without your future motive. The benefits of networking early, before the job search, will help you to be more targeted and focused when it’s go-time. You’ll have the opportunity, for example, to get your own, personalized “Glassdoor Review” from employees at the companies of interest; you may also learn more about the culture of the company in a more authentic way; and hopefully gain access and favor with influencers/decision-makers who can help you proactively (unposted/future roles) or when the time comes.

    Donielle Ori, HR Talent Partner (ISC)2

  • Ernest

    Member
    November 17, 2020 at 21:30

    Hey Francisco,

    Totally agree with Donielle (and thank you too), and to add on: I’d highly recommend you establish (or refine) your LinkedIn profile (along with other social media presence), build your professional brand, build a target list ~50 companies, and start networking now to build up your network (shoot for 100 meaningful connections initially, then try to reach 300+ over time). Lastly, it’s a two-way street, ask for advice and guidance, and offer your help to those in your network.

    Good luck and take care,

    Ernest

  • Tina

    Moderator
    November 17, 2020 at 21:33

    Hi Francisco! Welcome to the Career Center and it’s never too early to plan ahead. First of all, thank you for your dedicated service. For career planning, you might consider including Donielle’s suggestions into a 3/4- year plan….set a few milestones along the way. One thing to start working on now is understanding how your military experience translates to the civilian job market…learn the civilian lingo and use it in your resume. Learn how to link core skills and key attributes into what the job posting is looking for. That may require some research so planning ahead is good!

  • LaNiece

    Moderator
    November 17, 2020 at 22:30

    Francisco, thank you for your service; that’s a great question.

    Simply put, it is NEVER too early to start growing your network and establish yourself as a professional in your industry or a SME. LinkedIn is a great platform that can assist you as long as you continuously add meaningful content to your profile and in various groups focused on your skill set. Next, there are some things that you can do to help eliminate bias on your resume for example, avoid sentences that include years of experience like “professional with 20+ years in the industry.” Ultimately, no one has a crystal ball to see the future but it is a great idea to continue to monitor the job landscape.

  • Francisco

    Member
    November 17, 2020 at 23:04

    To Donielle, Ernest, Tina, and LaNiece,

    Thank you all for your insights!

    To date, I have been tending my LinkedIn “garden”, so to speak. (https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-francisco-r-polzin/)

    And, along the way, I completed my doctorate in computer science last year. Speaking of the doctorate, is possessing a doctorate considered “intimidating” to companies seeking to recruit new employees?

    • Suzanne

      Moderator
      November 18, 2020 at 01:41

      Hi Francisco, Thank you for your service. You are smart to start early. Retiring from the military, if you want to work in DOD, you will not find ageism to be a large factor. Having a Doctorate, that is backed up with relevant experience, will help you. I suggest you start engaging in career branding techniques now. LinkedIn is one strategy. But also start speaking at conferences, at meetups, or anywhere that will allow you to speak. Do you know where you want to retire? This will help us guide you.

      • Tina

        Moderator
        November 18, 2020 at 19:17

        On your doctorate, that speaks to the depth of your expertise, and any organization worth your merit will not find that intimidating but welcome the experience and scope you bring to the role.

  • Francisco

    Member
    November 18, 2020 at 18:52

    Hi Suzanne!

    I figured that a doctorate plus my CISSP (which I also earned in 2012 and am keeping current) would make a lot more marketable.

    I honestly have zero interest in coming back to the DoD, given my experiences to date leaving a sour taste in my mouth. At most, I would work as a contractor, preferably overseas.

    I intend to relocate and “retire” in either Colorado or Arizona, with the intent of finding a balance between a great salary and a healthy organizational culture. But, I’m concerned about whether my age will bar from those organizations which would meet my needs. My underlying assumption is that such places will be more keen to hire younger candidates than someone in my age bracket.

    I hope my answers helped clarify my situation and concerns.

    Thanks so much for your help and advice!

    ~Francisco

    • LaNiece

      Moderator
      November 18, 2020 at 19:43

      Hi Francisco, working as a contractor could be a great opportunity. I believe Suzanne’s question was directed more towards what role do you wish to play once you reach retirement. You may want to be at a large company in a C-suite position or you may find yourself comfortable in a consultant role where you can pick and chose what projects you take on.

    • Suzanne

      Moderator
      November 18, 2020 at 20:33

      Thanks Fransciso. You may want to look at what type of military support programs the areas you retire into will have. This will help you with non-DOD placement. We have an active Hiring our Heros program in Tampa and they have several HOH Fellowships. The program is national. https://www.hiringourheroes.org/ In addition, there are other very successful programs that help veterans transition. Check the local areas where you will retire and see what they offer. Good luck!

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