Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Professional Development is for your Career Search, Too

When you think of professional development, the first thing to come to mind may be a quarterly review, OER, or FITREP with your manager or commanding officer where you go over what you can do to grow professionally. But this isn’t the only time you should put this into practice. There is no better time to acquire new skills and knowledge than during your job search. Professional development can include everything from obtaining a valuable certification to connecting with a mentor. For the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on perhaps the simplest and least expensive form: professional reading.

Over the years, Orion has seen a significant difference in the success rates of military job seekers who have invested the time to read professional books and materials as they prepared for their transition versus those who choose not to. No matter when you’re leaving the service, reading professional literature can only enhance your knowledge of Corporate America and ensure you are as prepared as possible for an interview. The investment you make now will pay dividends when you interview. You will be more comfortable in an interview setting and will be able to better articulate your background and professional experience to an interviewer.

However, you have to be careful not to inundate yourself with literature to the point where you are simply reading books without retaining the knowledge. It’s better to pick a few books and concentrate on understanding, learning, and applying the material. Focus on the industry you’re interested in entering, a skill in which you feel you are lacking, or general career transition books.

Orion has a large suggested reading list, including books on various transition topics, interview preparation, leadership and management, manufacturing and engineering, and sales. Below are a few selections from the list.

Remember, in order to enjoy a successful transition, you need to dedicate yourself to a detailed self-analysis of your strengths, areas that need improvement, special skills, abilities, and desires. By committing to professional reading, you’re not only making yourself a more well-rounded candidate, but you’ll better be able to articulate your value to a company. Check out our complete Suggested Reading List here.

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