Finding your Recipe of Success during a Military Transition
There is no simple formula to a smooth transition from active duty into a civilian career. I’d compare it to cooking. A dish can still turn out differently from the recipe no matter how closely you follow it. However, there are four common ingredients that are necessary to a successful transition into tech sales: motivation, networking, faith and Tech Qualled.
One of the inherent values that most of us came into the military with and practiced every day is ingredient number one- motivation. Companies and managers look for this quality and judge from the moment they meet you whether you have it. Anyone can be motivated when a major opportunity is just ahead, but what separates the successful from the rest is being motivated before even the scent of an opportunity becomes a reality.
Your motivation will first be challenged when you are faced with the question everyone asks, “What are you going to do when you get out?”
This can be very intimidating. Most of us do not immediately know the answer to this; however, do not avoid the stress, struggle, and agony of putting in the time to zero in on it. Since the military only provides so many different pathways in a career, transitioning is difficult because there is no detailer to narrow down the choices and then tell you where you are going. It all comes down to you. The civilian world has much more ambiguity and competition.
Just like in the military, your motivation will determine your preparation. You must prepare for your transition both personally and professionally. For me, Tech Qualled was a huge part of that.
Tech Qualled was a turning point in my life. While I knew that a career in sales was the path for me, I thought I wanted to go into commercial real estate. When I did my research, I learned that tech sales provided much of the upside that commercial real estate had with less of the risk. Tech companies offer base salaries and some of the best benefits of any industry. After reaching out to probably 30-40 prior alumni, I knew it was the right program to prepare me for my new career.
Very few people figure out a good career fit on their own. You need a balanced network. At the one-year mark before your transition be sure to add ingredient number two- networking. Your network should include the people who know you in a personal way like family and friends. The next group to include are peers who are ahead of you in their careers and transitioned within the last few years. You should also take advantage of mentorship networks, such as ACP and Veterati. Lastly, you need to build a professional network by connecting with people in companies you would consider working for. While this can be challenging, I found success by utilizing LinkedIn. In my messages, I simply explained that I was a veteran transitioning and was interested in their field. I asked to connect with them to discuss their experience and gain mentorship. Most people love the opportunity and feel great satisfaction helping a veteran, so use that to your advantage. You will be surprised to see how many doors can open. In fact, one networking opportunity I created for myself was to shadow an account executive for a day. Being able to spend a day with this individual at an OEM gave me all the confidence I needed to know that this industry was for me.
The third and sometimes overlooked ingredient in the process is faith. While it can mean many things to many people, to me it was understanding that there are some elements out of our control. It takes a bit of faith and a lot of hard work to be blessed with success in a great career. If you are putting in the work required, you must keep the faith that with time those efforts will pay off. Sometimes success may come slower than you want, so remember to focus more on controlling the things you can control and keeping a positive attitude. I am married with three kids living on a single income, so I know it is easier said than done. Keeping a positive attitude is important to keep your sanity!
4. Tech Qualled
Finally, the secret ingredient to my transition is Tech Qualled. The sales training was top notch and I landed a dream job at Nutanix. The culture at Nutanix is phenomenal! I feel so blessed to have had the door to this opportunity opened by Tech Qualled. I mean it when I say the first day I arrived at Nutanix and listened to the other sales reps having conversations with their customers, I felt so confident in my abilities to be an ultra-high performer.
I was extra fortunate to start with two other Tech Qualled graduates. The three of us have a common bond and friendship that goes beyond just being veterans. We are also Tech Qualled trained! As corny and cliché as that may read, it means something to us. We regularly get to check-in with each other, share everything we learned, and keep each other motivated to do all the right things to find success. I made two sales within my first 5 weeks on the job, and I couldn’t be happier with where I am at post-military.
I had my stress, doubts, fears, and anxiety about getting out, but the Tech Qualled staff really took the extra time to help me get where I am. I want to give a shout out to Chris Hurst who took the time to help me prepare for interviews with the upper echelon of companies. I also want to give a special thanks to Kristina Hill who spent many “off the clock” hours texting, reading emails, listening to voicemails, and advising me. I am sure I drove her crazy at times, but she was so committed to helping and providing useful feedback.
Tech Qualled is like everything else in life, what you put in is what you get out of it. Use the coaches, the staff, and especially use the alumni network. I wish you all the success in your transition and future career. Please reach out if I can ever help.
About Sam Ansel: Today, Sam lives in Raleigh, NC with his wife and three kids. A former Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy and graduate of Launchpad Academy Cohort 13, Sam is now an Account Executive at Nutanix, Inc.
About Nutanix: The Nutanix solution enables easy deployment of any virtual workload, including large-scale virtual desktop initiatives (VDI), development/test apps, private clouds, big data (Hadoop) projects and more. Nutanix customers can radically simplify and seamlessly scale out their datacenter infrastructures with cost-efficient appliances that can be deployed in under 30 minutes for rapid time to value.