Sometimes the initial job you get when you first transition out of the military isn't a perfect match. When that's the case, you may find yourself back on the job market much like Ryan Kaiser, a former Air Force Captain. Separated as part of the Air Force Reduction-in-Force in 2011, Kaiser found a career in the industry he wanted right off the bat, but it didn't pay enough to make it a long-term career.
When it was time to change careers, Ryan knew he wanted to be in medical device sales and sought Orion's help. "I used Orion five years ago when I originally separated, and I was impressed with them. But I took a job that I found outside of Orion," explains Ryan, "This time, when I saw there were three companies coming to the Orion Chicago DCC in that field, I scheduled my trip." This time around, Ryan was hired by Medtronic as an SER (Sales Education Representative).
Ryan now works for the biggest medical device company in the world for spinal correction. He says he's part of a dynamic and extremely comprehensive program to develop a sales training force from within this company. "My first year's pay while in training will be $25K more than my previous civilian job, and it will go up another $40K next year, with a possible promotion at two years. I chose a top-notch company that offers a ton of benefits that are better than the industry standard."
Ryan's transition from the military was a rough one. "Being forced to leave the Air Force was like having a close family member die suddenly. I had not taken enough time to assess myself and where I wanted to go with my next career. I would recommend that everyone in the military start planning for their post-military career, even if you are not planning on separating for a few more years. It may take education or experience to get your foot in the door in that new industry, and you can start working on that now."
Ryan also encountered a steep learning curve when entering a new industry, but his time in the military prepared him for it. "I feel learning a new position was a constant part of my military career, so becoming competent in a new field was very easy. Medtronic looks for self-motivated, loyal people that can keep cool under pressure and work with people that are both senior and junior to them. Because of this, a senior O3/O4 or SNCO with a good educational background would be great at learning the industry."
Leadership is another trait that is invaluable when it comes to starting a civilian career. Leadership comes much earlier in the military, and Ryan explains that there are people that have been in civilian industries for 30 years that never lead 100+ people. "You can do that as a CGO with only a few years of service in the military. NCOs lead people very early, too," he reminds his fellow veterans.
"Every veteran comes with an amount of professionalism, work ethic, and loyalty that are extremely hard to match. Shoot high," Ryan advises, "You are extremely valuable and deserve a great job in your civilian career. Once you get it, work hard to keep it!"