1. Don’t be deterred. You will run into many, many folks who do not have any idea how DODSB works or do not believe that it is a “thing”. This includes the personnel who are tasked with advising you about transition! Take the OPNAV and talk to your CO directly. Don’t let the ignorance of others deter you.
2. Don’t ever pay. There are third party companies that will try to charge you or your civilian partner to participate. NEVER pay anyone to do DODSB. And always ask any third party if there are fees at the beginning or the end. This is a simple, free program and basically consists of you getting permissive TDY from your CO and filling out a simple MOU. We have provided a template. There are plenty of people who will you help you fill that out. It’s that simple. Third party companies who charge fees are probably using DODSB as a pipeline for recruiters or just making money off of service members. Shame!
3. Do start early. It is a good idea to start several months before you want to start your fellowship. Educate your command. Find out how long they will able to spare you or IF they will be able to spare you. There is no guarantee that your command will say yes. Give them a draft MOU that is all ready for you to “insert name of company”. Answer their questions and have any language included that they will want to see.
4. Do find a company. It is up to you to find a company, unless you want to look for companies though groups that have a more technical training pipeline like Onward to Opportunity. If you want to try being a simulator instructor or a biotech developer or a financial advisor then go to a company that does that work and educate them on DODSB. I promise you that they have never heard of it! And don’t reach out to HR. Find someone at that company on Linked In or through other networking opportunities and spread the word. You’re not being “hired”, you’re coming in as a paid fellow, so HR won’t normally make that call. And think about using DODSB as a hiring incentive. Maybe you have a company that you have already talked to. Go back and tell them about DODSB and how they can use it to test drive you for free! I know a servicemember who has parlayed his personal mission to spread the word about DODSB into interviews with companies who might not have even normally have taliked to him. All because he educated them about the program. Oh and be creative. What about a non-proft? or a start-up? They would count as places to do a fellowship.
5. Do list yourself on your resume/LI profile as a DOD Skillbridge Fellow. This looks impressive and shows that you have taken the initiative to use the program. It also lets other companies know that you may be available when the fellowship ends.
DOD SkillBridge Pointers to companies:
1. Do build a pipeline. Think about using DODSB to create a pipeline of service members with skills that you may want. There isn’t a limit on the number of fellows that you can have at one time. And no reason that you can’t reach out to a command that has specialized skills and tell them about the program and that you want to meet people who are transitioning.
2. Do get creative. I know several start-ups founded by veterans who are using DODSB to reach back into their current or prior commands and bringing transitioning service members onboard their new company as fellows. It’s a great way to bring in a new partner!
3. Do spread the word. Are you a member of a trade association? Do yo have a DODSB fellow? Tell people about it!
Do you have additional skill bridge pointers you would like to add? Please let us know below in the comments section or by contacting us.
Note: As of June 2019 the DOD SkillBridge Website is now back online. The below information intends to be a one stop summary for Army/Navy/Air Force/USMC service members who are interested in the DOD SkillBridge program.