Networking and managing professional relationships significantly contribute to career advancement and finding meaningful employment. The majority of job vacancies are never advertised, therefore landing a job through a professional network is more common than you think.
Networking and Managing Professional Relationships
Traditionally, networking occurred face-to-face and involved looking someone in the eye and physically shaking their hand. Today, with Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and the many other social networks out there, it is very easy to find people who are currently working in the field that you want to be pursue. Connect with them and find a reason to strike up a virtual discussion.
If your new connection served in the military, you already have an in. If you are feeling a little more social, ask if she or he would be willing to go out for coffee to share their thoughts on their industry. Making that face-to-face connection is much more likely to leave a lasting impression, but if you are not ready for this, that is fine; try a phone call or simply stick to emails and instant messaging instead. The point is to establish that you are passionate about the industry and are not there to ask them to help you, but to establish a rapport and raise your profile.
Don’t forget to regularly engage with your contacts and find opportunities to assist them in order to help strengthen the relationship. By doing this, you sow the seeds for reciprocal assistance when you need help to achieve your goals.
Active networking and relationship building helps to keep you top of mind when opportunities such as job openings arise and increases your likelihood of receiving introductions to potentially relevant people or even a referral. You never know who might be hiring for your ideal job, or know someone who is, and the more people you have in your network, the likelier you are to be the first to know when those big job opportunities pop up.
The opportunity to gather new information is an often-overlooked benefit of networking, as it’s not the most obvious one, but it also offers career progression and development. The more conversations you can have with those who have been through or are going through a similar situation as you, the more you can learn. Exchanging information on challenges, experiences and goals is a key benefit of networking because it allows you to gain new insights that you may not have otherwise thought of.
For example, former CAF members are aware of the difficulties that can come from adjusting to life outside of the military. Whether it’s acclimating to a new job title and company or understanding the inner workings of today’s corporate culture, former CAF members often face obstacles not well-understood by those without similar experiences. Given this reality, it makes sense for former CAF members to start forming connections and building relationships with those who understand their unique point of view.
That is why we invite you to connect with our NavPoint Consulting Group Inc. team that consists of former CAF members like you and who are willing to assist the next generation of retired CAF members (or retiring) to enter the IT and Management Consulting field. Engage us on LinkedIn or send us a brief note at firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch.
Consulting Opportunities in the Canadian Federal Government
Business Management Consulting is primarily focused on supporting government departments and agencies with large-scale transformation efforts and the implementation of programs and new capabilities. These initiatives normally involve moving to a new way of doing business, such as major technology modernization or reorganization.
Government departments and agencies are regularly seeking professional services to fulfill resource capacity issues and competencies in the project delivery teams for their transformation efforts.
The roles below are just some of the few that the Federal Government is seeking to fill on an ongoing basis in order to deliver on government‑wide priorities and key activities to modernize service delivery, improve sustainability and promote digital stewardship.
Military Role and the equivalent Government Role
- SAP S/4HANNA
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
- Human Resource (HR) Management
- Operations Management
- Project Coordination
- Project Management (PM)
- Team Lead
- Purchasing and Supply (PG)
- Auditing (AU)
- Data Processing (DA)
- Project Manager (PM)
- Program Manager
- Business Architect
- Risk Management Specialist
- Database Administrator
- Information Management
- Business Analyst
- Course-ware Developer
- Life-cycle Manager
- Application Services
- Support Specialist
- Information Architect
- Project Management (PM)
- Project Coordination
- Team Lead
- Business Analysis (BA)
- Risk Management Specialist
- Social Media Specialist
- Communications (CM)
Transferable Skills and Experience
Translating military experience to what private industry values is a key critical function for military members considering consulting opportunities.
We do this by:
Focusing on verbs not nouns – for example, if someone was an aircraft mechanic, they do not need to list every type of aircraft they repaired. Instead, they should find strong verbs that convey their transferable skills, e.g., Diagnosed mechanical problems in aviation equipment. Installed, maintained, calibrated and repaired sensitive navigation devices.
Highlighting core competencies – for example, if someone was in charge of transporting materials, coordinating logistics and ensuring timeliness, these are all aspects of being results-driven and detail-oriented. Treating campaigns and operations as projects – in a resume, campaigns and operations can be highlighted just like a private-industry project.
Former CAF Members We Helped
Read about Terence Kazimierczak’s journey from former CAF member to top Management Consultant on the NavPoint Consulting Group Inc. roster.
“Fear of the unknown, leaving a steady paycheck and wondering if skills learned in the military are transferable are just some of the many negative thoughts that would play on loop when I decided to voluntarily release from the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). Over the course of my 11-year military career, my family has had to adjust to multiple deployments and several residential relocations across Canada yet transitioning out of the CAF was the biggest adjustment we would have to make as a family.
We would quickly learn the fears we had were for not, especially when I was blessed with the opportunity to embark on a new career path as a consultant. In many ways, it’s a perfect fit for a former military member, as we are adept to managing the risks of the unknown and we are trained in using a structured approach to problem solving. These skills only scratch the surface of what makes former CAF members an ideal fit for the consulting world. In the follow paragraphs, I will make a case for why former CAF members should consider a career in consulting.
What is a Consultant Anyway?
A consultant is hired by a company or branch of government to solve a problem or to suggest a more efficient way of doing business. We are a pair of fresh eyes that don’t come with a bias, as we’re outsiders looking in. The projects are usually temporary, which is what separates us from being employees of the company or government branch we’re assisting.
Think of each contract as a mission. Every mission is different in the military, as is every contract in the consulting world. This makes the transition from CAF into consulting seamless, as we’re used to accomplishing the mission, and moving on. As a consultant you will “deploy” to a new contract, where you’ll find the problem, recommend the solution, and assist in implementing it.
Fear of the Unknown
Leaving the comfort of the discipline and structure of the CAF will take some adjusting – after all it is a transition, nonetheless. Yes, you will have to find your own dentist and cook for yourself, but the discipline engrained in you during your time in the CAF will make you a standout consultant.
There’s also a level of uncertainty going into any project, especially your first. This is something as a former CAF member you should be able to handle with ease, as this is a familiar feeling that came with every course and deployment. Just like in the military, civies also have their own lingo, but don’t worry, you’ll pick it up quickly and speaking from my own experience, your employees will be amused be your CAF jargon.
More Than Just Making Things Go Boom
Another misconception I had was that my skills weren’t transferable. Sure, I can clean a rifle and press a shirt, but why would any consulting company care about that? Through your career, believe it or not, you have carried out the duties of project coordination and project management, two highly desirable and sought-after skillsets. Whether it’s organizing a graduation ceremony, managing sports equipment, or leading a platoon, you have demonstrated you can be trusted to carry out projects competently. This is valuable when it comes to joining a team, as it requires many moving parts to come together to accomplish the mission at hand; helping a business solve a problem.
My Experience and Final Thoughts
Everything in life is a trade off and transitioning from the military world to the consulting world is no different. I left behind a brotherhood that can’t be replicated anywhere, but I gained freedom and more time with my family. To me, that’s invaluable. From a professional perspective, the transition was rather seamless.
Addressing problems by consulting with subject matter experts and making recommendations is something I had been doing for 11 years as a Naval Warfare Officer and that structured approach is exactly what is required in the consulting world. The term “consultant” is rather vague, but in reality, you’re using the tools acquired over years of military training. If you’re a former CAF member, unsure of where to take your unique skillset, I strongly recommend you try your hand at consulting. Becoming a consultant with NavPoint Consulting Group was, without a doubt, the best career move I could have possibly made for me and my family, after 11 unforgettable years in the Canadian Armed Forces.”