Military Career Transition: Insights from the Employer Side of the Desk by William E. “Bill” Kieffer (2021, 214 pages)
Transitioning from the military can be very stressful. The work culture in a private sector company can be very different from the culture of the military. There may be a steep learning curve for military members as they transition from Active Duty. Author and U.S. Army veteran William Kieffer has focused his post-military career on helping veterans successfully make the transition and aiming this book at those in the military to share the perspective of an employer in the private sector.
The book contains 150 chapters or “insights” that range from a couple of sentences to a few pages. They cover a wide variety of topics, from general business tips, the culture of the private sector, the importance of networking, and the overall hiring process. The book includes many short stories, examples, and graphics to help explain particular points.
The author clearly states that transitioning from the military is not something a person can do alone. He highlights the importance of engaging with mentors, conducting informational interviews with professionals, and building a strong network as critical to helping veterans successfully move to a post-military career.
There is a lot of information aimed at transitioning veterans being shared on the internet, especially on social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. It’s overwhelming to know where to find information and determine who you can trust. Kieffer has made it easy by sharing important lessons that veterans should know, whether they are leaving the military after their first enlistment or are retiring after a twenty-plus year career. The brief chapters and first-person perspective make it seem as if the reader is getting a no-nonsense mentoring session directly from Kieffer.
As a Navy veteran who transitioned to the private sector in the last year, I can attest that it would have been very useful to have read this book a year ago. Kieffer’s focus on the importance of networking and mentorship as vital to the job search cannot be overemphasized.
All military members should read this book when they are even thinking about transitioning from the military. It is a quick, easy read that will help set expectations for the journey to the private sector.
Book review submitted by Stephen Lepper, who served 21 years on Active Duty with the U.S. Navy’s Civil Engineer Corps. A licensed Professional Engineer, he currently works for CACI International Inc as an advisor on Military Construction for an international shipbuilding program. He lives with his family in central Massachusetts and is always on the lookout for what to read next. You can connect with him on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephen-lepper.