1.) Listen to what people are saying and read reviews on whatever it is you think you are interested in.
2.) get on distro lists for jobs (6-12 months prior to ETS) like Beyond SOF Jobs/Newsletter and others. These job postings range from former GO’s down to junior enlisted, from senior operations management down to pipehitters or intel roles, IT or logistics, etc.-the key is that the positions come to you to field them rather than you spending time and resources seeking; compounding your time and effort.
3.) LinkedIn-go to groups and start joining ones of interest, this allows your ‘net’ to be cast miles instead of feet
4.) knock out a couple interviews for interview sake. Even if it is a job you might not want, go see them in person so you start to see what type of questions are asked and get the feel for the corporate culture. Don’t feel like you have to change all that much because people expect to see a military disciplined presence, that is why they called you into their organization.
5.) never be “sold” a job that is “contingent” on anything (don’t sell a home and move somewhere if a job is contingent)…field it, but look for others as contingent means that the company you are talking to has not been awarded that contract as of yet and hence there is no solid position for you
6.) MAINTAIN YOUR CURRENT CLEARANCE if you are looking to get hired supporting government departments or agencies. Getting sponsored for a new one or a higher one is more rare than a Unicorn sighting..and as difficult to capture.
7.) ask companies what the “period of performance” is for the job…how long they are contracted to do what they are hiring you for..i.e. “base+4” means 1 year with an option for 4 more. Do not wait until the option becomes open or the contract ends to look for other forms of work…continue to be a hunter as things happen, budgets are cut, VISAs are denied, etc. Ask companies what their “past performance” is in the line of work they are hiring you for.. this is a seasoned question that gets them into a different gear when they talk to you and they will explain how long they have been in that particular line of work and to what degree.
8.) know what you are worth:
this will help you determine if what they are offering you is a good deal or not. Remember your BAH was never taxed, so that $40K for BAH means you need to make $58 before taxes to have that same cushion. Make sure you know what you are getting paid money wise..Companies use terms like $150K including benefits…that means approx. $125 without.. Read the benefits carefully. Consider special pays: language, demo, MFF you received that you normally do not get after the military
9.) get a good accountant who knows defense contracting if possible i.e. for 1099/W-9 employees, suits you buy for work-write off, biz lunches in town..1/2 write off. If you do not know the difference between 1099/w-9 independent contractor and w-2 full-time employee..learn it, ask about it on LinkedIn, forums, etc.
10.) drive your route to the possible work location during rush hour…if it is over 2 hours round trip, you are losing money/time over time so weigh the cost/time benefit.
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