February 2, 2013 2 Comments
I went to an interview at the local shipyard for a curriculum developer job. I thought my resume was pretty good for this. I have a 9518 NEC (Facilitator) in there. I also have my Master Training Specialist Certification, along with a Master’s Degree from a major university. Part of my selling point for the position was that I was a lead developer during the development of the Leading Petty Officer’s course at NAVLEAD.
Ed note: Yes I’m the one to blame for the leadership week exercise in the class.
During the interview I thought I did really well. I was able to handle all their questions and felt like I had some great responses to the questions they asked. There were two managers doing the interview and when I walked out I felt great about the interview and got some positive feedback from one of the managers.
Turns out I didn’t get the job. However, when I called and talked to the manager that seemed very enthusiastic, he told me I could not have done any better at the interview. He told me that there was a guy that walked in after me that had exactly what they were looking for. He didn’t tell me what that was but did tell me he would forward my resume up to his boss and “put in a good word for me.”
A few weeks after that interview, I went to an interview for a position as an adjunct at the university I graduated from. The interviewer told me that he was very excited to have me and thought my resume was great for being a college instructor. He then started going through the course guide to find a course that would fit my professional experience. He looks at resume, then looks at me and says, “Your biggest problem is, you are a Professional Generalist.”
A Professional Generalist? And this is bad?
We as senior enlisted are taught to be jacks of all trades and we are good at learning new skills and putting them to use. I felt like I was successful in the Navy because of this fact right here. I also thought this would make me desirable and hirable in the civilian world.
Very true, this does make you extremely successful in the military. If you are able to do your trained profession well and adapt to doing leadership roles outside of your NEC or MOS along with an ability to accomplish a wide variety of collateral duties you have a better chance of success. These are all the reasons I thought I would be successful finding and getting a good civilian job. I had a variety of different duties from rotor wing to fixed wing, from prop to jet, from sea to shore, from combat to instructor duties. I also took on collateral duties from training to safety to Drug and Alcohol Program Manager. I was awarded and promoted for my success in all these endeavors.
I’ve mentioned it previous posts, the question so many of us wrestle with as we go through our military careers: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I don’t think my answer to this was much different from many who served or are serving now. We didn’t know and weren’t too worried about it because we had a job to do and we were/are very dedicated to the job we have. But this goes against why many of us enlisted in the first place.
Many of us, if not a majority of us enlisted in the first place to serve our country, but I believe it was in the back of most of our minds that we could enlist at the age of 18-20, do our 20 years and still be young enough to start another career. It is important that you make a decision early for what you want to do when you grow up.
To begin your decision on what you want to be when you grow up I suggest you use a job hunting site like Indeed.com or Monster.com. Simply type in the words of an occupation you think you would enjoy doing, into the job search block. With the results you get, look at the qualification needed, paying particular attention to the certifications they are looking for. This should be done as early in your career as you can. You don’t need to apply for any jobs at this point this is just an information gathering exercise. Look at several different job listings, compare similarities and differences in qualifications in each job. Now you have an idea of what you need to work at to gain the qualifications you will need to transition from the Navy into your next career. It is also important to begin thinking about where you want to live after transition. Begin looking for the jobs in that area and the requirements for those jobs.
Civilian employers, for the most part, do not want generalists. They want people with a particular set of skills. Those skills need to be very particular to the job you want. It is not simply enough to have a resume that is aimed at the job you also need all the qualifications and certifications of your career choice.