Companies are hiring even in the midst of all this pandemic. As Veterans and First Responders, we all have the necessary soft skills that companies are looking for to grow their teams. It is CRUCIAL for Veterans and First Responders transitioning into new careers/jobs to hone in on the transferable intangible skills.
(For Example) *Problem Solving *Program Management *Leadership *Continuous Improvement*Attention to Detail *Professional Written & Interpersonal Skills * Critical Thinking * Training & Development * Customer Service
Below are several templates and resources for enhancing a resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile for you or a Veteran and First Responder one of our Facilitators are working alongside. There are also resources related to “How to Win in Interviewing”. If you want to take it a step further, promote the individual job searching on LinkedIn through networks and groups to get noticed by recruiters and hiring managers.
5 Scariest Job Search Myths for Veterans
“I was a [military position]. You can’t do that as a civilian.” “I did explosive ordnance disposal. You can’t do that as a civilian.” “You should not get out; you’ll end up working at McDonalds.” “Employers think all Veterans have PTSD.”There are a lot of uncertainties swirling around the job search no matter who you are. But particularly for Veterans transitioning to a new career, it can feel like you’re walking down a dark and mysterious road with someone waiting at every corner to tell you one more thing to cause doubt. It’s time to dispel some of the scariest myths. These myths were gathered from conversations with Veterans, Spouses, and Advisors.
No one wants to hire Veterans.
Wait…what? There are SO many publicly military-friendly employers that actively recruit veterans. There may be some individuals or even organizations that have bought into the idea that all Veterans have PTSD and are unstable and unreliable. But far more recognize the value in an educated, experienced employee who has learned commitment, leadership, and relevant skills on a global stage. More are beginning to recognize that veterans are adaptable, resilient, and innovative. See the 2014 Forbes list of 100 military friendly employers.
Gaps in employment are impossible to overcome.
Veterans may take time off after leaving the military or decide to go back to school. Fill the gap if you can; input school or volunteer work. If not, the cover letter is a great way to briefly explain the gap. Don’t let a gap in employment keep you from applying to your dream job. Accept that it is part of your journey and be prepared to answer questions about why, but don’t spend much time dwelling on it.
There is no good way to translate military experience.
Working in the military can help you gain a lot of skills that may seem communicable only in acronyms (seriously, there’s a special dictionary). But translatable skills can be found throughout military experience. Keywords and skills can be pulled from summary documents like performance evaluations and the VMET. Each branch has a list of civilian careers that match the skills learned in each military specialty.
You will never be able to change career fields.
So, you worked in finance, but you want to be an IT Support Specialist? Okay! One of the great things about the military is that you are often asked to lead tasks that are outside of your specialty field. You may also have the opportunity to cross train. Career changes in particular reveal the importance of tailoring your resume and cover letter to key skills.
Recruiters and Hiring Managers are clueless as to what military experience means.
The Veteran population is always growing, and a number of these individuals work in human resources and many companies now have Veteran hiring specialists. Even for recruiters with no military experience, the good reputations of hard-working Veterans are spreading. Basic skills and years of experience can give even recruiters with little knowledge of military terms an idea of your abilities. Having a well put-together resume can still speak volumes about you as a candidate to your recruiter or hiring manager and can make their job much easier. There are several resources that can help to translate related skills.
7 STEP Military-to-Civilian Career Checklist
Gather Gather your performance evaluations (EPR’s, OER’s, NCOER’s, Fit Reps). The best place to know where you're going is by knowing where you've been. By compiling your performance reports into a digital or paper folder you can start developing a results-based resume. You will discover quantifiable experience and accomplishments. Your performance reports probably won't be 100% comprehensive, but it will aid you in getting a good start to crafting a top-notch resume. Print off your performance reports and start highlighting. HIGHLIGHT any sentence with a number. Research Research the type of jobs you might be interested in and better understand the job search process. It’s always smart to start checking the temperature of the job market before you are actually looking for a job. Search what companies and positions are available in the potential locations you want to live. Also, get to know civilian job titles and list these potential positions you would be interested in. Top 5 Job Search Websites:
Write Writing your resume can be the most difficult step in the job search, don't worry about crafting the top 1/3rd (Summary and Skills Section) until the very end. Start with your work experience and education. Write the information you already gathered from your performance reports. Make it easy on yourself and copy from your performance evals in the first draft and translate that information as you continue. Create a master resume listing everything you've done in your career. This master resume can be tailored each time you apply depending on the position you apply for. Editing and cutting out information isn't always easy, sometimes you need a professional to help you decide what is most significant and relevant.
Translate Translate military experience into civilian terminology. There is a significant amount of military jargon that civilian recruiters and HR professionals will not understand and certainly won't research. For example, instead of using the word, "Commanded," you would want to say, “Led, Directed, or Supervised." Start by spelling out acronyms, a human being might know what the acronym stands for, but an applicant tracking system (ATS) will consider it a misspelled word. The ATS used in 70% of large companies, and you want a Resume Writer on your side to teach you what keywords/phrases you need to beat an ATS. Military titles would also need to be translated from E5/O6 to Program Manager, Chief Operating Officer, or Program Director. Network Start networking and connecting with other veterans, acquaintances, and make new connections with recruiters and HR professionals who are working for companies you are interested in. Also, start following companies on LinkedIn who actively recruit and hire veterans:
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
Union Pacific Railroad
J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc.
Train Just like any training, we master the skills through repetition and ensure we can perform in various conditions, preparing for job interviews is no different. Getting to know the basic types of questions employers use to prepare for an interview and take away much of the anticipation can be a positive. The most common interview questions are situational/behavioral questions. Employers assume that past behavior will predict future behavior. These questions will often take the form of...
Tell me about a time when...you had to meet a tight deadline?
Give me an example of...a time when you had a conflict with a co-worker or peer?
Smile One of the most common issues with Veterans I see is when working with clients to enhance their LinkedIn profile, they do not have an appropriate head shot. The photo doesn’t need to be a professional one (although it will be higher quality) but you first should not be wearing your uniform. You want civilians to see you in a more personable way. “Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have.” Be sure to smile! When you lack emotion in a photo it is read as an absence of emotional intelligence. You want to appear friendly and approachable when seeking your next opportunity.
Job Searching During a Pandemic
What are you doing in this pandemic? Have you found yourself looking for work? Did you decide to make a change in your career during these troubling times? While many people are frantic, job seekers are dealing with a letdown. Why? Let’s talk about the myth out there and ways you can keep your search active and positive. The “Myth” The most common issue you out there is “what do employers expect.” Many job seekers believe that no one wants to hire during all this because of the “what if”. While this is true for some, so many companies are maintaining or even increasing their hiring efforts to fill positions. But what can you do? Don’t give up! Career Advising site, Ladders, says while applying and waiting for call backs, do a mock interview with a friend or mentor to get some feedback. Also, consider temporary options. You’ve heard that it’s easier to get a job when you have a job? This may seem like a step back if you’re searching for a career, but you never know what this might lead to. You may get into conversation with a customer who is looking to hire for your dream job, learn a new skill that gives your resume that edge you were needing, or meet a new colleague who can help you network with your next potential employer. Network, Network, Network! Even volunteer, these opportunities will be all around you. These can connect you with more and more people while you give back in wonderful and meaningful ways. And if you interviewed at a company you really liked, but didn’t get the job? Reconnect with them. Send a thank you / small note to remind them that you are still open to opportunities with them. And be sure to enhance your LinkedIn page!
How Do You Maximize Your Network?
Benefits of utilizing your network to its fullest extent
Access the hidden Job Market
93% of recruiters are likely to look at a candidate’s social profile
78% of recruiters have hired through a social network
61% of candidates hired through referrals and a company’s career page are more likely to be hired than if they only apply on a job board (14%).
*** Explore employment within your professional and social network *** Obtain LinkedIn “Job Seeker” Membership - One year for FREE
Must have military experience listed in profile to be approved of free membership
Join the group, “Veteran Mentor Network”
Join Groups and follow companies relative your career search
When approved, you will have to register the membership using a credit card - You will not be charged at that time
In order to not be charged after the first year, renew the membership in your 12th month of use
Working your net to increase your Networking
Before you even THINK of applying for a job (any job), talk with someone who’s experienced in that ROLE (preferably in that company!) You need to hear the INSIDE SCOOP — and reaching out to those people can make a HUGE difference! Why would they choose to help YOU?
Because you’ve built a RELATIONSHIP with them in advance (usually through LinkedIn) based on common INTERESTS and PASSIONS. So, it’s VERY important that you add those things to your profile. Make it EASY for them to find what they have in COMMON with you! Do lots of research about that role and company (BEFORE asking for help). Don’t waste their time on things you should have known. Something I hear from recruiters all the time is so many job seekers AREN’T EVENCLOSE to being prepared when they APPLY, let alone when they INTERVIEW. (This causes so much UNNEEDED SUFFERING!!) Remember this: Recruiters APPRECIATE it when you’re personally REFERRED by someone who already works there. (In fact, that person even get a BONUS if you get hired!) So, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. Just do it in the RIGHT WAY. Take the time to learn how to REALLY use LinkedIn!
The world becomes a brighter place after learning the ART OF CONNECTING!
4 Steps to Ensure Your Resume is On-Target
When applying for a position online, you may wonder:
What happens when I apply to a job online?
Will my get past the ATS (Applicant Tracking System)?
Is an actual human being ever going to read my resume?
These are all excellent questions and the only way to give your resume the best chance possible to beat the applicant tracking systems is to tailor your resume EVERYTIME. This is a phrase that is often used in the job seeking world, but it is rarely explained. Step #1: Establish an excellent master resume: Constantly tailoring your resume can really wear you down. Therefore, the best tool for your job search is to ensure that you have a resume that can be tailored quickly and easily. By having a master resume that encompasses all your experience and skills you will have a resource that you can consistently pull information from in order to target your resume. TIP: Work with a Career Coach or Resume Writer that can help you identify what your top accomplishments while simultaneously adding quantitative and qualitative information to your resume. Step #2: Ask yourself one question: Is this experience relevant to the position I am applying for? Ultimately your resume is a strategic marketing document and the information within needs to emphasize your skills and experience that is most relevant to the position you are applying for. On average, recruiters only look at your resume for less than 10 seconds. Therefore, they want to see your most significant and relevant experience up top and easily. Because of this quick scan, best is to have a strong summary of qualifications within your resume which highlights your top industry-related accomplishments. Step #3: Identify keywords/phrases: The best rule of thumb when identifying keywords/phrases is to determine the number of times a specific word shows up within that job description. There are two resources you can use: Jobscan.co and Resume Worded. Also, you want to make sure to identify the action verbs within the job description. Here is an example job description with keywords in bold:
3-5 years project management experience
Bachelor’s degree in Project Management, Business Administration, Logistics, or another relevant field preferred
Detail oriented with strong organization skills
Experience developing custom manufactured retail products a plus
Experience with vendor relationship management
Experience with Microsoft Word and Excel
Excellent verbal and written communication skills and the ability to present information clearly and concisely
Step #4: Connect with a Job Search Strategist or Resume Writer! The best way to give your resume a fighting chance is to talk to a specialist, who will help ensure your resume is on-target.