Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Moving From the Public to the Private Sector...Switching Tracks

At least one time every week, I am contacted by someone who was in the FBI, Secret Service, Department of State, CIA, Customs and Border Protection, US Marshalls, Military or Law Enforcement asking how I can help them to approach their transition to a private sector corporate job.

This type of transition does happen and it is entirely possible.  More often than not, the approach that people who are making this public sector to private employment transition could be improved upon.

Here are a few thoughts to consider:

  • The audience you will serve and work with in your new career speaks a different language than you likely did in your first career.
  • The way you communicate on your resume needs to align with the way your second career audience communicates.
  • Writing and speaking in acronyms and abbreviations will not make your transition to a private sector career easy.
  • The private sector career you’re considering may be with a business. Businesses operate on the basis of profit and loss.  You must learn to think, act and communicate like a business person.
  • In law enforcement, your authority may have come from investigating and/or enforcing criminal laws and procedures.  The business environment is different.  You will have to earn your new authority by building relationships, solving problems that matter to the business and demonstrating business value to business people.

There is significant value you can bring to the private sector from your first career experiences.  In order to make this transition successfully, you need to address these issues and more:

  • A resume that speaks in the language of your desired new audience.
  • A LinkedIn presence that aligns with your resume and communicates your business value clearly to your desired new audience.
  • Understand your own risk tolerance and make sure your risk tolerance properly aligns with the risk tolerance of the company you're considering joining.
  • To interview in a way that convinces your private sector audience that you have the capacity to learn and understand their business drivers and business culture.
  • Demonstrate the ability to support and enable business development, collaborate effectively, systematically assess risks, communicate and implement risk mitigation strategies.

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