10 Ways Military Vets Benefit Their Civilian Employers

Military Networking - Soldier and Civilain Shaking handsMilitary veterans possess a built-in work ethic, which translates to a strong sense of dedication, discipline, and reliability in the workplace.  Additionally, many of the skills and expertise acquired during their time in the military are invaluable assets to employers in all types of industries.  However, despite these facts, it is often difficult to make the transition from the military into the private sector, which is why veterans should never lose sight of their true importance and worth to the civilian work force.

Here are some of the most positive attributes military veterans consistently offer their civilian employers:

1.  Ability to Lead

Soldiers receive special training where they acquire the ability to inspire, motivate, and lead. They are adept at taking responsibility for their duties and actions; all attributes of a superior leader.

2.  Strategic and Organizational Skills

Meticulous planning and the capacity to create and maintain an organized work space is a valuable proficiency common to military veterans, making them indispensible to any work environment.

3.  Capacity to Work Under Pressure

Military training often converts into an elevated threshold for pressure during stressful situations.  Staying cool during high-stakes situations and the ability to view the larger picture are also favorable characteristics to civilian business leaders.

4.  Team-oriented

Teamwork is fundamental to all areas of the military, and subsequently, most jobs in the civilian sector as well.  However, the intensity and degree of collaboration learned by and required of soldiers is in a category all its own, and therefore, highly valuable to civilian employers.

5.  Strong Work Ethic

Since soldiers are conditioned to work until the task or mission is completed, employees with military background are known for applying this ethos to their post-military employment. Timeliness and attention to detail are also common qualities found in veterans, making them often relied upon as key employees in the civilian workforce.

6.  Technical Competency

Technological know-how is essential for military recruits, and the army is where some of the most advanced technology is learned. Members of the military are often among the first individuals to learn and adapt to brand new technological advances as well as the latest global business developments.

7.  Goal-oriented

Veterans have learned to maintain an enormous level of focus and dedication; the concept of giving up or quitting before a goal is reached is simply not an option.  This is strongly advantageous to civilian business leaders who often share a similar mindset and seek employees who do, as well.

8.  Honest and Loyal

There is simply no room for deceit or dishonor in the military; therefore, when an employer hires a veteran, they can be confident in the star-stripe-flag-american-old-glorycharacter and honorability of their new employee. Also, an individual loyal enough to pause his or her own life to serve their country is sure to apply the same ethos to other aspects as well, including post-military employment.

9.  Compliant

Military veterans understand that specific structures and policies are implemented to ensure the well-being of an organization and its associates.  They believe in maintaining a level of respect for rules as well as those who have implemented them.

10.  Maintain Transparency

Parallel to honesty, transparency is highly valued in today’s workforce, and soldiers customarily exhibit this quality.  Owning up to errors and avoiding cover-ups is highly upheld by both the military and civilian employers, alike.

It’s clear that veterans present an exclusive set of skills and principles that are often uncommon in today’s workforce.  Be sure to include these competencies when preparing your resume, cover letter, job application, or interview responses; and do not lose sight of your immense potential when making the often challenging transition into civilian employment. 

 

 

By Fred Coon, CEO

 

Take your job search and LinkedIn profile to new levels and achieve your career goals with LinkedInSecrets.us. Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success 2015 will transform how you use LinkedIn on a daily basis and create a profile that will WOW recruiters and hiring managers.

Tips for Writing a Post-Military Cover Letter

When seeking any type of employment, a skillfully written cover letter should offer a valuable introduction, addressing aspects that are often more difficult to explain on a resume, such as work ethic and detailed accomplishments.  Since a great portion of Tips for Writing a Post-Military Cover Letterenergy and effort is rightfully expended toward creating a powerful resume, it is common for many job seekers to overlook the importance of a well-composed cover letter.  Moreover, as a former member of the military, you will also have the chance to reveal and explain qualities and achievements even beyond that of a civilian job candidate.

What to include:

A cover letter should be concise, yet allow you to elaborate on certain abbreviated aspects of your resume.  Choosing approximately two or three military achievements from your resume in addition to a couple of post-military accomplishments, such as volunteer work, internships, or education is recommended.  By expanding upon what is listed in your resume with some pertinent details and highlights, you are giving your prospective employer a better idea of who you are as a job candidate transitioning into the civilian workforce.  However, remember not to ramble or digress away from the main idea, as you don’t want your cover letter to carry on too long.

Bear in mind that your ultimate goal is to convince an employer that you are a perfect match for the position you are applying for.  Therefore, when choosing what to include in your cover letter, select aspects of yourself that are most applicable to your desired position.  The purpose of any cover letter is to support and draw attention to the most important sections of your resume, not duplicate its entire contents.

Your cover letter also provides you with a chance to let your prospective employer know why you have decided to transition into the civilian workforce.  This is particularly important if the position you are applying for does not have direct ties to your previous experience.  Research the organization you wish to work for.  Unless they are openly military-friendly or express a partiality for hiring veterans, focus on civilianizing your cover letter by drawing attention to exactly how you would fit into their organization.  An effective way to achieve this is by interpreting your skills and experience without use of military terminology, and by illustrating direct correlations between your own specific competencies and important aspects of the job description.

One piece of information you should not be afraid to duplicate from your resume is your contact information, namely phone number(s), email, and mailing address.  Some choose to include this in the closing line of the letter or under the signature line.  When writing a formal business style letter, mailing address information is usually included at the top of the letter.

What not to include:

When writing a cover letter, what to leave out can be just as important as what to include.  For instance, unless a job posting directly requests your salary history or requirements, this is something you definitely don’t want to include. Another practice to avoid is stating what the job will do for you; always keep sentences centered on what you can offer the employer.  For example, stating that the job will fit well into your post-military lifestyle or offer a stepping stone into a higher level civilian position, although maybe true, is not showing your potential employer that you are aiming to be a loyal contributing team member.

Additionally, you should avoid including extraneous personal information in your cover letter for the simple fact that it is unnecessary and can also be viewed as unprofessional.  Remind yourself that you don’t want to include specifics that you will not be able to accurately explain in an interview.  Moreover, don’t conclude your cover letter with a statement implying that you will follow up, unless you are absolutely sure that you will.  In other words, make sure you can back up what you write.

The next step: Cover Letter Tips for Vets - Hire me device screen

After you have completed your cover letter, proofread, edited, and proofread some more, now it is time to ask a civilian friend or family member to read it over.  If you are working with a job placement service, a recruiting representative should be able to assist you in this area as well.  Another set of eyes may be able to catch any small mistakes you might have missed, and this makes a huge difference when it’s finally being viewed by a prospective employer.  An external perspective can also give you an opinion as to the general style and tone of your letter. If a civilian is having difficulty understanding any of the military descriptions in your cover letter, you should probably address those areas and rewrite them in a clearer manner.

Transitioning from the military into the civilian workforce can be a hopeful and exciting time in your life, and through some simple guidelines and the right support, you may just find yourself landing the civilian job of your dreams.

 

Fred Coon, CEO

 

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

Two Ways a Military Background Benefits the Boardroom

Military servicemen and servicewomen are a select group that can bring many unique attributes to the table, displaying several qualities that are very nearly unattainable without the singular experience and knowledge gained by their time in the military. We are going to examine two key points that serve to highlight some of these characteristics, and the way by which they can bring invaluable service to not only the boardroom, but the company at large.

SC&C Military Transition Resume Advice

And make no mistake, the position of CEO is one of the toughest and most demanding in the civilian world, so it would seem a natural expansion to filling that role with an individual who comes already trained to face down a multitude of responsibilities and make the hard calls.

 

Military Exclusivity

 

First, we have to take a look at, as previously mentioned, the manifold levels of experience service in the military renders. This not only fills in crucial gaps of world experience and first-hand knowledge of other cultures and practices, but grants of a variety of perspective that is almost exclusive to the globalized military officer.

 

Also bear in mind that one of the single most important – and “unteachable” – traits for a valued executive is leadership experience. Everyone wants an executive with experience, but there are very few places to obtain a role with real, demanding leadership requirements without already having proven oneself. Enter the military — the place where comparatively young individuals can gain considerable leadership positions under the most extreme conditions.

 

Military Experience

 

As mentioned, individuals who lead the military lifestyle often have the opportunity to obtain a depth and diversity of experience that is difficult to match in other circumstances. While not all service members come directly under fire, the vast majority nevertheless learn how to keep a cool head in trying conditions – whether this takes the form of an emergency equipment failure or learning to operate under the withering and constant barrage of a drill instructor.

 

This degree of tactical detachment transitions extremely well in highly useful ways to the corporate office – once you’ve dealt with life-threatening situations and are cognizant of your ability to come through the other end, deadlines and harsh meetings don’t tend to hold quite the same impact that they might otherwise.

 

Professionals in boardroom

To Close

 

In all, we can well see that the motivation and the discipline that comes from dedicated military service can lend itself to profound advantages in the executive arena. The ability to cope with extraordinary duress creates a rich profile of exactly the characteristics one hopes to find in a business leader – namely, reliability and unshakable stability. We trust our service men and women to protect our interests overseas, and it stands to very good reason that they are worthy of our trust and respect in the boardroom.

 

By Fred Coon, CEO

 

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

Is Your Prospective Employer a Military-Friendly Company?

With approximately 400,000 people leaving the military service every year, it is important to have resources that will help them transition into civilian careers.  Some veterans worry about this transition because of concerns that their skills and experience in the military may not be of any use to them or a prospective civilian employer.
Building with American FlagsFortunately, these days, there are many more military-friendly employers, in comparison to the 1990’s. After all, Americans would like to honor and thank U.S. veterans for their dedication and loyalty in serving the country.
But what exactly is a military-friendly organization? How will you know that a prospective employer is truly military-friendly?

1. Does the management team work with transitioning employees to help leverage their skills to a corporate setting?

The estimated unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans as of March 2016 was 6.3 percent compared to the 5 percent national unemployment rate. Although the US Department of Labor has helped veterans secure civilian jobs, veterans still have some hurdles in securing work outside of the military. For this reason, several private employers have announced their commitment to hire veterans and military spouses. In addition to their commitment, many of these companies have an affinity group for veterans that mentors the new employees and participates in the military community to ensure that veterans and/or military spouses feel that they have a community at the workplace.

 

2. Does the company offer roles that positively incorporate the standard skill-set of military trained employees?

Military-friendly companies will make sure transitioning employees are placed in a department where they can use their specific skill set in their work. They see the value of work offered by veterans who want to transition to civilian employment. These veterans are hired because of their leadership skills and technical know-how, in addition to the field experience they earned during their military service.

 

3. Are there any other ex-military employees already working there?

Don’t hesitate to ask around. If a company is military-friendly, you will find military veterans or military spouses working there. There are several military-friendly companies hiring veterans these days. There is a high probability that you will find veterans or military spouses you may already know, working for these companies. When you do find someone familiar, it is best to ask that person about the company and its practices, especially where the treatment of veterans and their families are concerned.

 

4. Military-friendly companies give to veteran non-profits in a meaningful way.

Serious military-friendly companies do not call the media whenever they donate something to non-profits for veterans. Do some research and you will discover which non-profit organizations they are supporting. If you belong to one of the non-profit for veterans that they do support, these companies will usually match employee donations, and others even allow their workers to volunteer on company time.

 

5. Is the company marketed as a choice military employer?

Perhaps the easiest way to find military-friendly companies is to check the list of Top 100 Military-Friendly Employers listed on Victory Media’s site, MilitaryFriendly.com. Every year, this organization publishes the list with the ranking based on a survey comprised of 100 questions that is overseen by an independent advisory board of industry experts.

Handshake_across borders / military
Today, veterans have more employment opportunities and support compared to decades ago, when veterans who wanted to transition to civilian employment. However, veterans need to do research on their prospective employer. Veterans should choose organizations where they can use their military skill and/or experience and seek companies that truly support veterans and their families. Additionally, just like civilian employees, veterans should choose a company where they see themselves happily working for several years to come.

 

By Fred Coon, CEO

Take your job search and LinkedIn profile to new levels and achieve your career goals with LinkedInSecrets.us. Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success 2015 will transform how you use LinkedIn on a daily basis and create a profile that will WOW recruiters and hiring managers.

Military to Corporate: How to Shift Your Communication Styles

communicating ideasThe transition from the heavily ingrained military culture to the corporate, civilian environment can be one of the greatest challenges facing post-duty service men and women today. And one of the key aspects of this transition is the manner in which communication differs in these starkly contrasting worlds.

It’s vital to understand here that this isn’t simply a “different way of doing things”; the subject today, is about fundamentally different cultures and different languages.

The Military

On the field, force of arms and virtue of rank carry the day. The demands of performance that flow from that environment are rapid-response, no hesitation, and unswerving commitment to the task at hand

A key concept here is that of military bearing. You have been trained to take a full dressing, up and down, and maintain an impassive discipline. The civilian world operates under different rules, where that manner of communication occurs only if something has gone very, very wrong.

You’ll also be accustomed to an exacting precision of both conduct and hierarchy. Both of these, though the former more than the latter, will be far more mutable in the civilian world.

 

The Corporate

In the boardroom, the spoken and written word is the driving force.

One of the key differences that may take the most adjustment for soldiers is the environment which fosters creativity, or collaboration. The blending and melding of ideas and the free flow of working concepts is the heart of innovation. As such, many roles, attributes, and responsibilities are flexible and fluid as collaborative projects spanning multiple departments flow back and forth – this is the realm of lateral strategy and assignments.

One of the greatest advantages to the corporate field is that the more matrix-oriented organizational system (rather than the militaristic ladder dynamic) is the near-unbounded potential for rising up the ranks – and fast, depending on your skills, leadership, and networking abilities.

 

The Common Misconception

One of the most persistent misconceptions is that military members are only good for following orders – their contribution to the corporate structure is simply carrying out directives. Rather, the truth is that many, in their time in the military, are taught leadership skills that are of rare quality in the civilian world, such as: fast decision making, taking full responsibility, keeping a cool head no matter what’s happening, and so much more.

There will be an adjustment period – acknowledge and accept that. It is both normal and perfectly understandable. It also helps to know that your biggest challenge is in the narrative, because it is a very well understood issue.

Conclusion

Group sharing ideas in office settingThe journey from one side of the uniform to the other can be a daunting one, in both the coming to and the going from. The most important thing to know is that you’re not alone, and there are resources and people ready and waiting to work with you toward your next successful steps.

By Fred Coon, CEO

Take your job search and LinkedIn profile to new levels and achieve your career goals with LinkedInSecrets.us. Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success 2015 will transform how you use LinkedIn on a daily basis and create a profile that will WOW recruiters and hiring managers.

What Can a Job Search Coach Do for You?

Should You Hire a Job Search Coach?

SC&C Job Search CoachYou may have very little recent experience searching for a job.  If you’ve been in the same position for five, ten, or even more years, the job search landscape has changed significantly enough that you will need at least some help.  Job search coaches are knowledgeable and skilled in all of the latest techniques and requirements for a successful job search.

They not only help you plan and execute your job search, they provide tools to help you become a better candidate.  They’ll help you with self-assessment to figure out where you belong in the work force.

Resume Writing

Job coaches help you with resume writing, showing you how to make it effective when dealing with applicant tracking software (ATS), where a computer program weeds out the irrelevant entries, but at the same time eye-catching enough when a human being actually looks at it.  You’ll learn how to properly target and influence employers.

Interview Practice

They will provide job search preparation to let you know what to expect, as well as tools to show you how and where to search.  These would include things like interview practice so that you’re comfortable and confident during the interview process.  And they won’t be shy about providing you research resources to help you explore new avenues, narrow your focus, or simply find employers that you would like to work for, along with what jobs are available.

Networking

SC&C Job Search Coaches can help networkFinally, a job coach will help you with your networking, showing you how to connect with people that are in your preferred field.  They’ll show you how to position yourself strategically in the target market so that you are ready to receive offers.

Finally once you have an offer, you’ll have all the information they can provide on how to negotiate your deal.  You’ll know what you need to ask for and what you can expect to get.

Selecting a Job Search Coach

You may have spoken with colleagues that have used the services of a career and job search coach, and they may have wonderful things to say about them. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean a particular individual is some sort of universal panacea.

Selecting a job search coach is a personal experience. What works well for one person might not work at all for another.  If you were to Google “job search coach” you would get over 100,000,000 listings. Thus, if one of your friends has had an excellent experience with a particular coach, by all means, take the coach up on their free introductory session to see if their style and abilities might suit you.

Note, some coaches charge a large upfront fee before they’ll speak with you, and don’t offer a free introductory session.  I wouldn’t give Donald Trump $1 to give me business advice even though he’s smart enough to have failed and remade himself several times over.  Our styles would never mesh.  On the other hand I would probably get along famously with Elon Musk or Richard Branson.  The coach must fit you.

Benefits of Working with a Coach

When you have a coach in your corner you have someone that you report to on a regular basis.  This keeps your feet to the fire and obliges you to accomplish things because you’re going to have to report your activities and what actions you took.

In addition, you have someone to phone or make contact with when you’ve got problems, questions, or self-doubts.  You’ve hired them to give you advice, to help you fine-tune your activities, to provide an outsider’s perspective.  Make sure you take advantage of that.

They can provide insights about your plan, suggest new or more profitable actions, and even provide additional contacts that you can use in your job search.  Having someone like that gives you much more confidence.

By hiring a job search coach, your journey to a new job will be much briefer than if you undertook it on your own.  If you have been out of circulation in terms of job searching, a coach could be just what you need.

Take your job search and LinkedIn profile to new levels and achieve your career goals with LinkedInSecrets.us. Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success 2015 will transform how you use LinkedIn on a daily basis and create a profile that will WOW recruiters and hiring managers.

Career Resources for Retiring Military

For those who have decided to end their military adventure, whether it is three years or 20, there is plenty of advice available that reminds you to start planning 18 months before ETS (Expiration—Term of Service). It begins with recommendations to build a profile on RallyPoint, a website very much like LinkedIn, designed by Iraq veterans in 2012, for those in the Services.

RallyPoint for Retiring Military

SC&C RallyPoint for Professional MilitaryIn particular, RallyPoint offers listings for 13,000 employers, most with multiple positions, who are looking to hire veterans. As well there are over 2,000 universities that want you to take advantage of your GI Bill to obtain further education to make you a more valuable asset to the employment market.

RallyPoint, and other similar services, advise using automated translation services to convert your military experience into something that civilians will understand. For example the skills translator at www.military.com, requires at least one entry in one of three fields. You can go through it in a systematic way and select your service (Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, or Navy), and then select your pay grade (E1-E10, W1-W5, O1-O10), and finally, your military job title, or the numeric designation.

For example, in the job title, if I just enter 0101, it immediately knows that is a Marine Corps designation for either an Officer or Warrant Officer, under the designation Basic Personnel and Administration Officer. It then tells me that there are 500 matching jobs for that particular designation, in locations all over the country from Maine to Florida, from Washington to California—just about anywhere you can imagine.

Currently there over 300,000 members on active duty, and well over a quarter of a million veterans, ready to offer advice. The latter have already gone through much of what you’re about to go through. Their experience can smooth your exit and employment process.

Companies Focused on Hiring Service Members

SCC companies hiring militaryJust about any company you can imagine wants to hire you, at least the particularly clever ones. Their HR (Human Resource) people know that, although you come from a strikingly different working culture, your training is second to none, and superior to most. They know they couldn’t ask for a better employee.

A quick search at the first few pages of potential employers for just that single designation reveals names like Spherion, Amazon, Comcast, Sears, Randstad, Reynolds, United Health Group, U.S. Cellular, Manpower, and so on. So there is really no shortage of companies who want you. It’s more a question of what sort of job would you like and what state would you like to live in.

If Afghanistan or Iraq made you hate the heat, the sand, and the dust, maybe a stint in Alaska will serve to cool you down. Or maybe consider the menu in your venue! Down Louisiana-way you can get Cajun food, or try Maine for lobster, Wisconsin for cheese, and I hear you can get crabs in Maryland!

Recruiting Firms for Retiring Military

Firms like LUCASGROUP make a particular point of seeking out retiring military. Their military recruiters are former military personnel themselves. They are experienced and equipped to deal with your questions. Any problems you run into, they’ve seen dozens of times before, and they have ready answers for you.

Similarly, Bradley-Morris, Inc. is part of the solution as well as your advocate, because their military recruiting personnel are also a former military. Like they say, it takes one to know one.

If you happen to be a JMO (Junior Military Officer) it could be that Cameron-Brooks is the place for you, since that is all they do. One of their customers even went so far as to say their training system is like giving each JMO a mini-MBA.

As well, Booz Allen has been in business for a century and is an “Employer of Choice” for former and transitioning military personnel. They have page after page of positions available.

There are plenty more available that are easily located with a simple Google® search. Some will be better than others, but try to find one that is reasonably close, to facilitate face-to-face meetings.

Military Job Fairs

Veteran job fairs roll around fairly regularly. Since one-third of the U.S. workforce is comprised of ex-military, recruiters are anxious to get their fair share. One veteran-owned site, recruitmilitary.com, tells what is happening over the course of the next month, but if you click “See All Events” the schedule opens up and actually shows events as far ahead as December 2016.

Attending one of these events that happens to be close by is not a bad strategy, but while you’re on their website, don’t forget to look at the 986,000 jobs that they have listed.

Surmounting all is a map of the country showing where the fairs are going to take place. Sadly you won’t find any events in Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, the Dakotas, New Mexico, Arkansas, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Mississippi, Hawaii, or Alaska, but for the continental United States, in most cases there is something else nearby.

The Failure Point—PTSD

Finally, this is the sad part. Undoubtedly there are lots of opportunities, and the biggest failure point seems to be returnees not accepting the fact that they might have PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and seeking appropriate treatment for it.

SCC PTSDSome ex-military personnel, both male and female, are homeless and living on the street because they can’t cope; they assume that PTSD is a weakness—a failing of some sort—rather than a very treatable psychological disorder.

Not getting treatment is an incredible waste of resources and very expensive training. If you have any doubts, or experience rages, sleeping problems, or mood disorders, schedule an appointment and get assessed. It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that you don’t drive a vehicle until it breaks; everything, including you, requires maintenance. Get that taken care of ASAP. It’s not your fault and you really can’t fix it on your own.

It might take a lot of work over the course of months with Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), or it might be individual or group sessions for just a few weeks, and, in concert with your physician, a prescription might be in order for a completely non-psychotropic drug (does not affect your motor skills, your ability to think, cause drowsiness, or make you feel “high”, except occasionally for transitory side effects during the first 24 to 48 hours which usually dissipate). It simply allows your brain to cope with stress more easily.

Being on full-time, high-alert changes your brain chemistry. Get the help you need now. That might include a modality consisting of multiple regimens. I truly hope the preceding section doesn’t describe your current situation but, if it does, get help and get it handled. This is not a one person job. It requires a team. Think of yourself as the sniper and the Doc as your spotter. Without each other you are both helpless.