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Readiness course assists with job hunt

Courtesy graphic

Courtesy graphic

Published: March 21, 2014

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (March 21, 2014) -- Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher, once said that change is the only constant in life, and it was Louis Pasteur who is quoted as saying, “Fortune favors the prepared mind.” Anyone affiliated with military service understands the truth in these shreds of wisdom.

Transition into civilian life is one of the changes all Soldiers and their Families will face with either confusion or confidence, but Mike Kozlowski, Army Community Service personal finance specialist, thinks confidence comes with planning, particularly when it comes to answering the big question, “What will I be doing when I get out of the Army?”

To help with those types of questions, ACS will be holding employment readiness classes in the Soldier Service Center, Bldg. 5700, in Rm. 350 and 371A April 3 and 15 at 8:45 a.m. People must register before the beginning of class by calling 255-2594.

“My job is to lend (Soldiers, spouses, dependents, retirees and DA civilians) a helping hand with their employment-related concerns,” said Kozlowski. “If they are thinking about getting a job for whatever reason, such as to strengthen their financial readiness or to gain a measure of professional fulfillment, then they need to attend an employment readiness program orientation session.”

The class is not a series of classes; just one session is all it takes. Doing so registers participants into the program and affords them access to several valuable employment-related resources, he said, such as the Virtual Career Library, and a personalized account with the spouse education and career opportunities program.

Registration has another perk. Kozlowski provides free résumé reviews and one-on-one career counseling.

Because each session is jam-packed with employment information, the class is mainly lecture, but there are times for questions and comments throughout the session as well as videos. The class covers interview and resume skills, obtaining federal and off-post jobs, the impact of social media, professional image, networking and vocational trends. The classes typically last an hour and a half and are free, he said.

“(People) don’t plan to fail, (they) just fail to plan. Entering the civilian marketplace sets up a whole new set of challenges, which may become obstacles to success after transitioning from military service,” said Kozlowski. “My constant advice to Soldiers who are even thinking about entering the civilian job market is to plan, plan and to plan some more for every possibility that would affect them financially and vocationally.”

He said the job environment is a tough one with a number of economic factors affecting companies’ abilities to hire on full-time employees, which makes a class such as this one that much more valuable.

“You can count on a three to six month timeframe for your job search. During this time, bills will keep coming in, and with no income the question becomes, ‘How am I going to survive this job hunt?’”

Kozlowski said the time to start a financial fund is not a month or two from separation or retirement, but at least a year in advance of the anticipated date.

“I always encourage Soldiers, near-retirees and their spouses to begin the transition planning process early and to practice it daily. It relieves them of most stressors associated with the unknowns out there in the civilian marketplace,” he said.

Kozlowski said National Guard Soldiers on Title 10 orders going through flight training would greatly benefit from the class.

“They usually have no job to which they can return following their training here, and my sessions, and the one-on-one counseling I offer, can set them up for success when they return to civilian life. Knowing that they will have meaningful employment when they return home allows them to devote more attention to becoming Army Aviators,” he added.

To learn more about ACS employment programs, refer to the session schedule at www.ftruckermwr.com/acs/.

This article was originally published at http://www.army.mil/article/122340/

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