North Star: Moving Ahead with Purpose (MAP) Seminar
The unique Homeland Security Careers (HSC) North Star MAP Seminar provides the tools, skills, and strategies to ‘Move Ahead with Purpose’ outside of the military team environment. MAP provides HSC clients a proven, guided process to discover their unique gifts, strengths, job skills and experiences that will lead them to a future career in the area of their strengths and core values.
Whereas the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) gives training in skills such as resume writing, interviewing and so forth, the MAP Seminar takes their clients well beyond this point by adding strategic integration and purpose to the knowledge acquired from TAP, in addition to providing new skills, analysis and direction that will enable their journey to a satisfying civilian career.
The MAP process can be seen as a series of distinct steps and accomplishments with each having its own purpose, process and result.
1. The ‘North Star’ is the unifying theme woven throughout the entire HSC MAP process. It is not only a metaphor for guidance that orients our map, but is also seen as illuminating the path through the obstacles, dangers and opportunities encountered on thejourney from military life into the civilian community.
We can best describe this journey through the eyes of a client. As that HSC MAP client, we will construct a diagram of a 5-pointed “North Star” that is completed as we undergo and analyze various self-assessments regarding our key strengths, values, job skills, motivators and accomplishments. This North Star will be referred to continually as we journey towards a satisfying place in the civilian workforce and community.
2. Part of the self-discovery process involves assessing the activities and occupations that tend to drain our energy, because they don’t draw on our strengths. This is called our Black Hole, and identifying it is an important aspect of our journey, which differs in important ways from the military world’s needs and mindset. It is of course desirable to be able to perform a wide variety of tasks when circumstances dictate, but in the civilian world it’s important to avoid career fields that constantly drain our energy. Understanding this will help us focus on the career fields and occupations that will best relate to our strengths.
3. Building a Personal Brand is a key part of the MAP process. A brand could be considered the real estate that we occupy in a person’s mind, as well as the impressions we leave behind. Some two-thirds of civilian jobs are never officially posted, but filled via personal referrals, networking and other unofficial channels. Personal branding is a way of projecting our identity and qualifications into this hidden job market, and reminding our friends, associates and employers of the value we bring to our professional and personal relationships.
Branding is more than just image and packaging, though those are important. Our brand should have a basis of integrity and excellence, but also should help others know how we can best meet their needs and expectations. MAP helps us develop a memorable and repeatable statement about who we are, what we offer and what we seek, in a winsome and distinctive way.
4. This leads us to our Conversational Introduction, a 10-second ‘elevator speech’ which is part of the MAP refinement process. It takes several iterations to reduce our self-description down to this nugget of information, but it’s important for our career discussions and advancement.
5. HSC sponsors many Networking Opportunities, from semi-weekly Hub meetings (meeting with other transitioning military and civilians), to monthly Mil-2-Biz meetings where a larger number of people can gather along with key members of the civilian community having advice (and possibly, jobs) and opportunities for networking, to the annual HSC Career Summit meetings where attendees can hear and meet key leaders and expertsin the Homeland Security / Homeland Defense arena, as well as meet employers and people currently working in those fields.
6. Attending Community Sponsored Networking Events is encouraged and facilitated, through extensive connections and working relationships that HSC has with the civilian community, covering everything from Chamber of Commerce activities to local, state and national Emergency Planning groups and more. We are encouraged to attend many of these, both for training in the growing field of Homeland Security (which includes community and business survivability, continuity, and resilience), and for meeting people already working in those fields, many of whom are former military who have continuing close connections to military facilities and capabilities. This is a chance to demonstrate our value and brand, as well as hear of possible new employment opportunities.
7. Embedding in the Community is another key element of the HSC MAP process, usually by volunteering in key functional areas. This is not only strategic from a networking and training perspective, but is key to building strong, resilient and capable communities that are prepared for emergencies (whether natural, accidental or man-made), even as they face shrinking budgets in today’s economy.
8. The goal of this process (besides the accompanying personal benefits) is finding employment in the civilian community, in an area of our strength, where we can serve with satisfaction and continuing professional growth.
In addition to the primary goal of providing military members and their families a proven, productive and satisfying pathway into the civilian world, the HSC MAP process can be a lifelong endeavor of self-discovery, career growth, and strengthening of their community.
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