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Tips for Transitioning from Marine to Civilian

National Retirement Security Week 2019 runs from October 20-26 and aims to emphasize the benefits of preparing and saving for retirement, and especially taking advantage of employer-sponsored plans and offers for a secure retirement plan. Retirement planning should play a role throughout your career, in addition to preparing for transition out of the Marine Corps. To help you get prepared, former Marine Christian Reyes shares his transition success story, with tips to help fellow Marines planning for life outside of the Corps, so you can focus on developing that secure retirement plan.

If you're searching for more in-depth assistance with transition, contact your installation’s Transition Readiness staff and join the Marine For Life Network by completing the form at the link. You can also follow the Marine for Life Network on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

Success Spotlight: Christian Reyes

“As someone who has not only transitioned out of the Marine Corps, but done so in what I would like to consider an extremely successful manner, it can be done! Here are some of the skills and resources that helped me in my transition success.”

– Christian Reyes

While all Marines are told about the difficulties surrounding transitioning out of the Corps, like most things, the gravity of the situation cannot truly be understood until it is experienced firsthand. Juggling operational commitments, deployments, and annual requirements, all while taking care of your fellow Marines and family, makes preparing yourself to exit the Marine Corps a daunting task. But as someone who has not only transitioned out of the Marine Corps, but done so in what I would like to consider an extremely successful manner, it can be done! Here are some of the skills and resources that helped me in my transition success.

1. Create your Transition Roadmap

There are many things that can be done to ensure you have a successful transition. First among them is taking inventory of the skills the Marine Corps has engrained in you. I planned to execute my transition by creating a detailed one-year road map to my EAS with objectives set for every month.

2. Maximizing Transition Resources

Objectives in my roadmap included signing up for MCCS transition workshops, utilizing the Skillbridge Program that allowed me to attend the Onward To Opportunity program, and attending career fairs on and off base, which allowed me to practice my interviewing skills. While I developed this road map, I ensured enough foresight in order to be able to balance my commitments as a Marine. Time management and task prioritization were key skills required in order to balance everything.

3. Connect with Networking and Mentoring Opportunities

The Marine Corps taught me to seek out a mentor who could help me understand the civilian market place within my chosen sector and who had my success in mind. In order to find this mentor I connected with the American Corporate Partners (ACP).

Regardless of where you end up outside of the Corps, networking with organizations such as the Marine for Life Network is of critical importance. These organizations can connect you with fellow veterans and Marines, help you land your dream job, help you find a home in a good area, and help you learn about the area you’re going to next. The Marine for Life Network is a great example of this. When I was getting out, I connected with my Marine for Life Network Representative for the South East Region, Jason Kemp. Jason and I began to talk about my career goals and my potential for employment, as well as my EAS. While I ended up securing employment in the private sector, Jason put a great deal of effort into making connections at a few other companies in which I expressed interest. That level of help was incredible because although those companies were not hiring at the time, it showed me that someone was on my side, fighting to help me secure a future outside of the Marine Corps.

Currently, it has been a year since I transitioned out of the Marine Corps, and I have been working for Cisco as a Platform Engineer. This position not only brings me joy but allows me to continue to serve as I work on helping develop products for the Department of Defense and other government agencies. Another great aspect of my job is that I get the pleasure of working work hand in hand with dozens of veterans each day. For any Marine who is exiting the Marine Corps and is looking to discuss their future in the IT sector please feel free to reach out to me on my LinkedIn: Christian Reyes.

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