"Start your civilian job search early!" That's the advice folks get about a year before they exit the military. But if you send out a resume months before you exit, how do you say you can't start work right away?
Don (not his real name) wrote in with that question. So I wrote a sample military cover letter (below) to show him one way he could tell the employer when he was free to begin work.
Let's start with Don's question...
How Do I Say I Want a Job... But Not Yet
I am retiring from the military and would like to know what the best approach is to stating my available start date on my applications/resumes. I won't be able to start working for about four months.
My Sample Military Cover Letter
Congratulations on your retirement! I'd be happy to help with your civilian job search.
Your cover letter is the best place to tell an employer when you'll be available for work. Here are some ideas for how you might phrase it:
I'm available for employment any time after _____ (date), when I will have retired from the U.S. _____ (branch of the military).
I will be ready for employment after _____ (date) and am available for a job interview any time before that.
I will be available for employment in ____ (month or season), after I retire from the U.S. ____ (branch of the military).
And here’s a sample military cover letter. I made up your occupation and branch of service, but I hope it will give you a starting point for your own letter.
Director of Human Resources
American Blue Sky
123 Silver Avenue
Lansing, MI 12345
With the approach of my retirement from the U.S. Air Force, I am seeking employment as a commercial airline pilot. I would very much like to fly for American Blue Sky.
The enclosed resume details my flying hours in the military. Please note that I piloted both cargo and passenger planes, an experience I would be happy to duplicate for American Blue Sky.
I am available for employment beginning October 1st. I will call your office to learn about your hiring procedures and how I might schedule an interview with someone on your staff.
Best of luck with your upcoming transition, Don! And thank you for your service.