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Small American flags in celebration of Memorial Day.

I hope you are having a fabulous Memorial Day! It’s a perfect time to grill out with loved ones and take a little time to reflect.

Traditionally, Memorial Day is a federal holiday to remember and honor those who died while serving our country in the armed forces. First, let me say THANK YOU to those who have served and have allowed us to live in such a wonderful place.

My coaching practice has provided me a window into the armed forces that I would not have otherwise had — and has deepened my appreciation of their hard work.

I have had the honor to work with a number of veterans who are retiring or moving on from different branches of service. The transition from the military world to the civilian world can be an incredibly stressful one that can take years to truly figure out.

A veteran may go from a 20-year career doing something they are great at and understand the political rules to — to a corporate job that is completely foreign to them. But, before even beginning the corporate job, they must go through a grueling job search and interview process.

If you know a veteran going through this transition, don’t underestimate how challenging it can be. If possible, lend a hand. Offer to meet with them to discuss their career goals, or just to be an understanding ear.

The civilian job search process is completely different from the military career progression. In addition, it seems that many veterans are not completely prepared for what to expect on the other side. They’re told that the transition will be easy and that others will truly value their skills.

It doesn’t always happen that way; at least not as quickly as expected.

For those transitioning out of the military, here are a few key tips:

  1. Sign up for LinkedIn. It can help you to stay connected to those you’ve worked with, and help you to meet new people.
  2. Get help with your resume. A civilian hiring manager often doesn’t understand what you did. It’s such a different world and a different language. Get help translating what you did into a resume that is understandable by everyone.
  3. Smile. Even when you’re nervous in an interview situation, try to make eye contact and smile. Be happy! It helps to put the other person at ease and can help make a great first impression.
  4. Learn the hidden rules. No longer will you be able to look at someone’s sleeves and understand their rank. Start learning what unspoken social queues help to separate out various levels of management within a company.

Thank you again to everyone who is serving and has served in our military. And, if you know someone transitioning out of the military, be sure to take the time to check in on how they’re doing. Get the real scoop and offer to help out if you can.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland


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