Season 2 Episode 79: Taking an Active Approach to Your Transition with Joshua Atkinson

Joshua Atkinson served 11 years active duty in the US Marine Corps and 2 years in the reserves. He now works as a logistics SME and consultant for Whitney Bradley and Brown and as a Business Development Director for PM-ProLearn, a veteran founded project management training company. 

Josh was not expecting to leave the USMC after 11 years. It was an unexpected process that was full of regret and bitter feelings. As a result, his transition was pretty rough. He wishes that he had started preparing for his post-military career very early in his military service, so that he would have been better prepared. 

Josh discusses hunting versus fishing, or an active versus passive military transition. When you blindly send out your resume and have no idea the type of fish you are trying to catch, this is a very passive approach where you are hoping to just “catch” any job. In the hunting analogy, you are very strategic in your approach of figuring out the “what and why” so you can create a targeted plan. This requires you to figure out your strengths and determine what best fits your personality and your own personal “why” behind what you want to do in your career. 

Josh compares your resume to using the right ammunition when you are hunting. You have to create a resume that is focused on the target or you won’t have the desired outcome.  This will increase your likelihood of success. 

Josh compares being a veteran to being a “foreign orphan.” The military shapes your personality and builds commonality among all of its service member starting with boot camp. If you don’t learn to speak the language of the private sector, you may find yourself as an outsider. It is very important to learn how to effectively communicate with employers in a language that they will understand.

Josh is the co-founder of PM-ProLearn and he discusses the importance of certifications. Certifications can help you improve your marketability against your civilian competitors in the job market. Taking the training for a certification in a new career field can also help you assess whether you enjoy the industry or not. However, it is important that you not become a “certification collector” and you remain targeted in your approach to completing certifications. Gaining certifications helped Josh regain his confidence after his rocky military transition. He sees a certification like a well-fitted suit, they both give you the confidence that you look the part when you go into the job search process. 

Josh advocates for doing your military transition YOUR way. It will be unique to you and you have to take your own approach, feel your own emotions and travel your own path. He advocates treating LinkedIn like a “bar” and advocates for starting your LinkedIn networking by seeking out the people you have things in common with first. Be willing to reach out and take initiative to ask for information or assistance.

Please head to the Lessons Learned for Vets brand new YouTube channel at to hear Josh answers a BONUS QUESTION about what he'd do differently if he had to do his military transition over again. 

You can connect with Joshua Atkinson on LinkedIn at

You can learn more about PM-ProLearn on their website at:

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