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.


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.

Top 7 Interpersonal Skills

In any business environment, whether dealing with a customer or a fellow employee, interpersonal skills are indispensable. People who lack interpersonal skills are like fingernails on a chalkboard, or sand in the gears. They make all interactions more difficult.

What are these skills?

  • Verbal communication–Which words we choose and how we express them
  • Nonverbal communication–Body language, hand gestures, and facial expressions
  • Listening–Paying attention to correctly process information
  • Negotiation–Professionally discussing, and then reaching an agreement
  • Problem solving–Firefighting vs. Predictive Analysis
  • Decision-making–A professional environment requires a professional solution
  • Assertiveness–Self-confidence is vital; others must trust your decisions

Verbal Communication

SC&C Interpersonal SkillsClarity of speech is essential; no mumbling. Maintain an even and level tone; no yelling allowed, despite any provocation. The most effective communicators understand the principles of common courtesy. Applying that knowledge automatically makes you a better communicator. Most importantly, remember that what you have to say is not a monologue or a diatribe.

The best way to interact with other individuals is not to lecture, but rather to utilize open questions. Closed questions usually generate a “yes” or “no” answer and are essentially useless. Asking someone: “How do you think we can improve X in the next Quarter?” will be much more productive. They feel like they’re contributing to the conversation, that their input is valuable, that you consider them an asset.

Nonverbal Communication

Stand at ease and keep your hands off your hips; avoid crossing your arms, which looks defensive and distant; don’t loom over other people. If you’re particularly tall, stay just a little further back to reduce the intimidation factor.

Use your hands as a visual aid to explain concepts. Keep a pleasant expression on your face whenever you can. A smile goes a mile in a business environment.


If a fellow employee tells you that a client is waiting for you in your office, and you then leave for lunch, the repercussions could be very damaging to the whole business. You might even be terminated for such a blunder.

Being very focused in a conversation with someone is no excuse for not registering important information from an interruption. “Harry…Mike is waiting in your office.” Do something uncharacteristic, such as holding your keys, to remind you that there is another task waiting; grab a piece of scotch tape and put it on your palm…just about anything will work.

I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening —Larry King


The days of the Iron Fist are gone! When employees or clients complain or seek favors you must listen, discuss, and then develop a fair solution for everyone. And of course you can’t capitulate to every demand or request:

“I understand, Jacquie.  We have tried that strategy before. What I’d like you to do is speak to Bruce about it and figure out why it didn’t work last time. Then you can have a chance to implement it next month. For now we’ll stick with what does work—does that seem fair?”

Problem Solving

SC&C Problem SolvingFirefighting is a fantastic skill, but great problem solvers seldom need it. At the first sign of smoke they’re already working on a solution; they don’t wait for flames before they start considering whether a bucket of water will suffice, or if they should start looking for a fire extinguisher. The most desirable skill you have in this area is the ability to recognize a problem in development.

“If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.”
― Albert Einstein

Word of warning: If your department runs like clockwork, if everything is always done ahead of schedule, and if the employees think you’re the greatest thing since the Internet, watch out. Make sure people know about all your good work to keep it that way.

Higher-ups have been known to come to the mistaken conclusion that the department is “easy”; that it “runs itself”, when it seems to work flawlessly. You can miss out on raises or promotions that way. File reports and toot-your-own-horn periodically!


Split-second decisions can result from familiarity with factors in other problems someone has experienced previously. Given the time, however, it’s very seldom that you cannot provide a better, more comprehensive solution when you dedicate some time to research and thought.

This is the time where you get to break the problem down into its components, examine options, and work out strategies and objectives. Snap-decisions are good for emergency situations; in almost every other circumstance thoughtful decisions are better.


Louder is not assertive; it demonstrates an inability to think clearly and insecurity issues. People do not respect a wishy-washy leader.

Self-confidence is vital; others must trust that you trust your own decisions. Stick to your plan, and if you’re obliged to change your plan, make sure you have prepared a new and better plan, and explain the reasoning and changes to your staff.

Developing interpersonal skills is vital in every occupation. The ultimate secret is to be courteous, attentive, supporting, communicative, and a team player.

Job Search for Graduates

As you are leaving your military career, you can learn from the advice of recent graduates. Although you are different levels of your career, you can use these tips to be prepared for your next job.

College graduates need a place to apply their newly acquired skills. One person I know graduated in 1977, and two times since, most recently in 2012. Each time the consequences of graduating changed. Depending on the college, the administration staff, and the student & alumni associations, the experience can be quite different.

Network Company Recruiters

In its current iteration, if all of those bodies are on their toes, then each semester, just before the term ends, grads will be faced with recruiters from many industries, stationed strategically across the campus. Don’t fret if you still have a couple of years before you graduate; these folks are looking for a steady supply of young recruits on a permanent basis. There is no harm in getting in early.

Talk to their representatives and see if the company is doing things that interest you. You are developing a professional network, and this will be the key to landing a job.

Learn to tell a great story of how you grew up, an event that shaped your life or even a vacation that took you to a new place. People want to hear new perspectives. They want to get a sense of your ability to articulate, and they want to know that you are interesting—Monica Smith, founder and CEO MarketSmith and I.Predictus

Tell them what you’re good at; what you’ve accomplished; what makes you special. Stand out for them, and collect business cards. Don’t count on just giving them your résumé and hoping for the best.

Find out what they’re up to; if they can somehow be a part of your success strategy. If you are particularly interested in a company, keep them apprised of new accomplishments. Take an internship between semesters if available. Stay in contact.

Those that passively send out résumés, or post them to the most common job boards are not going to stand out. They will find themselves up against thousands of people with identical skill sets. You need to network your way inside a company by creating contacts.

Research Career Paths

You go to the airport with your bags packed and speak to the ticket agent:

“Give me a ticket to somewhere great!”

“Where do you want to go?”

“I couldn’t tell you—just make sure it’s exactly what I want.”

Not very realistic, is it? Instead, whatever your interest, it’s up to you to put some time aside daily to read up on your field. What are the big guys doing? What are the amazing little startups doing? Do you want to be a cog in the machine (nothing wrong with that—it took thousands to get the Apollo astronauts to the Moon and build the International Space Station), or do you want to be on the bleeding-edge and be the first person to walk on Mars?

Whatever it is, you have to have a pretty good idea of where you’re headed or you’ll never get there. Consider: Google has 57,000 employees worldwide. In the United States, if only one person in 100,000 wants to work there, you would have over 3,000 competitors. Luckily 90% of them send a single résumé on the “off-chance” that they might get noticed. The remaining 300 do a pretty good job, so they’re the ones that you have to outsmart.

Having a strong personal brand involves knowing where you’re going in life. Recruiters want to hire young people who have put serious thought into their futures— Alexa Merschel, campus-recruiting leader for PwC US

Know Company Terms and News

Know the vernacular, jargon, and industry-appropriate terminology when talking to recruiters or the HR department of your favored industry or employer. Try to avoid empty buzzwords, instead showing a thorough understanding of your subject.

Remember: nothing is more impressive than being knowledgeable about the company you’re talking to. Want a job at Dell? Ask about the overlap between storage protocols after the acquisition of EMC for $67 billion this year. Ask what the consequences of control of VMWare will have on worldwide Data Centers. You’ll see recruiters scribbling notes about you when you show insight.

Stay Active

Keep in touch with your contacts; stay aware of newsworthy events that are happening in their companies. Hook up with them on LinkedIn, following their commentary, and contributing to that community. You’ll reinforce your connection with them, and you will be visible to other people that might be looking for people with your skill set.

If your dream company doesn’t have any openings, try sending them a proposal for a new position that fits your skill set. Just make sure you explain how this new job will make them money, not just benefit your career—Andrew Strieber, producer—CareerCast.com

If you have graduated and still don’t have an offer, take part-time work in your preferred (or associated) industry to build your résumé. Perform related volunteer work for the same reason. Find an internship that offers a real learning opportunity.

Just be aware of illegal, exploitative activities, where you’re doing real work that is generating income for the company, if you’re not being paid. The law says they’re supposed to be offering you a learning opportunity, not profiting by having a “free” employee.

With that cautionary note in mind you can avoid companies with dubious ethics that feel entitled to exact a toll before they “honor” someone with a job offer. You’re smart; you know what ethics are. You’ll do just fine!

New Year, New Job Search Strategy

If a new job is on your list of resolutions, which is #4 on most everyone’s list, right after weight loss, improved finances, and increased exercise, then it’s time to take a new approach to your search. There is no doubt that there are jobs available. If you haven’t been selected for interviews maybe it is time to take a quick look what you’re putting out there.

Your Top 4 Must-Do’s for 2016

Your Resume

SC&C Update resume for 2016Most businesses use ATS (Applicant Tracking System) software. Most of it is really good at pulling out useful information. It recognizes keywords in relationship to each other (which is why putting a list of keywords in your resume does not help—that can actually cause your resume to be kicked out of the system as “abuse”). Properly set up it can recognize industry-specific jargon or vernacular; it can recognize educational institutions, or even degrees earned or granted.

Amazingly, I have seen resumes for high quality programmers that never once used the word “programmer.” They may have created, designed, or initiated systems to drive high level processes, but never once designated themselves as being “programmers”. That plays havoc with the sorting algorithms for ATS software.

Your resume should not be generic. It should be customized for each job you’re applying for, and more specifically, it should incorporate the language of any advertisement related to the position. Those are the words they used. Those are the words they seek in responses. Give them what they want.

Your Cover Letter

Again, this should not be generic. Get the name of the person who is responsible for filling the position. Letters addressed to “To Whom It May Concern” do not concern anybody. If you put a name on it then it becomes that person’s responsibility to deal with it. It only takes a few online inquiries to find the right name to put on your cover letter.

Review your letter, too. It should not be “all about you.” It should tell the story of how your skills will help the company; how it will make the company more money, or increase the efficiency of a process. They don’t care whether your mom needs surgery or if you’re putting your brother through college. Tell them why the company will benefit by hiring you.

Ideally you’ll have a good general set of skills, but so do a lot of other people. Stand out by telling them your three best skills. If you have online certifications for particular skills, let that be known, too.

Your Approach

People get hired because they are the solution to an employer’s problem. Understand most of the pain-points of the employer you’re considering. If they’re having a problem with “X” and you’ve had a lot of experience with “X,” tell them that and, stipulating incomplete knowledge, try suggesting a solution. It may be the wrong solution, but it gives you a chance to show insight and perhaps elicit interest. People with problems love people that offer solutions. You’ll stand out from the crowd.

In 2014 17% of new hires were based on employee referrals; 2015 saw that number rise to 26%. This trend is likely to continue—LinkedIn’s 2016 Global Recruiting Trends

Your Referral Friends

SC&C your referral friendsIf you have found a company (or four) that you’re particularly interested in, track them on LinkedIn. Join groups related to the company; work on getting some LinkedIn connections within the company. Follow the discussions, ask questions, and if you’re capable, contribute answers. You’ll build credibility in the community.

Then when it comes time to apply for a position within the company, you can consult with your “friends” and see if they can give you a particular name to address your inquiry to. More importantly, you might get one of your newfound friends to recommend you for the position. More and more jobs are being offered based on internal references. Getting to know someone on the inside is often the key to success.

If you are working part-time, or are under-employed, there are plenty of organizations that will happily accept you as a volunteer no matter how sophisticated your skills are. It’s a great way to fill in time gaps in your resume and it garners respect from employers that you make the effort to keep yourself busy and productive.

Many companies don’t begin posting open positions until several weeks into the New Year. Even companies that are in the middle of a candidate search often put hiring on hold for a little while—Katharine Paljug

If you’re working but need to fill in some skill gaps, look online for training you can do at your own pace, or see what evening or weekend courses are available at your local college. Lots of courses start now to capture the people with resolutions to uphold.

With all your documents tuned-up, a new dedication to networking, and ambitions to fill in any gaps, you’re all set for the New Year. Make 2016 great!

Want to unlock the secrets of LinkedIn? Looking to take your profile to All-Star status and start getting unsolicited job offers? LinkedInSecrets.us has all the material to take your LinkedIn profile to the next level with tips, webinars, and Fred Susan’s new book, Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success 2015.

4 Things You Must Do on LinkedIn

SC&C 4 Things to Do on LinkedInJob seekers seem to be missing a piece of a very important puzzle: even though almost 95% of recruiters use LinkedIn to search for candidates, only about 36% of job seekers are active on the site. If you are serious about your job hunt, sign on and start networking!

4 Must-Do’s for LinkedIn

Here are four things you can do to get the most out of your LinkedIn profile.

Complete it!

A complete, up-to-date, accurate LinkedIn profile shows that you’re serious about your career. When a recruiter comes across your page, if it’s lacking a lot of your vitals, they’ll simply move on to the next candidate. Those anonymous views that keep popping up could potentially be hiring managers or recruiters attempting to fill a job order.

Also, your complete profile will generally rank higher in Google search results for your name. More and more employers are screening prospective employees, and a well-written, complete LinkedIn profile would be a great nod to your professional status and dedication.

“Whether you like it or not, hiring managers are using social networks to screen job applicants,” explains The Under Cover Recruiter. “This means it is important to carefully manage your image on these types of sites.”

POWER TIP: Make sure your LinkedIn profile and resume complement one another rather than duplicate. LinkedIn offers the opportunity to be more casual and to expound on your background more so than a traditional resume – so use that to your advantage! Let your personality come through in order to reel in the hiring managers and recruiters.

Grow it!

LinkedIn is the one place where the captive audience is industry professionals; folks you would hope to meet at a networking event are right at your fingertips. Don’t be afraid to connect with people you don’t know. The connecting and networking process is perpetual; the larger your network, the easier it will be to grow. If a potential connection is in your industry or works for one of your target companies, the principal of “six degrees of separation” could end up working to your advantage. That way, when you apply for a position, you’re a familiar name and face.

POWER TIP: Personalize every invitation. As Social Media Examiner puts it, “explain why they should connect with you, and you’ll find they’re far more likely to accept.” Which “is especially important when you’re trying to connect with prospects you’ve never met.”

Include a brief paragraph about why you’re looking to connect, what you have in common, and a possible call to action, where applicable.

Give it!

SC&C Give back on LinkedInAuthentic recommendations can spell the difference between a mediocre and an outstanding LinkedIn profile. Rather than sending a “Can You Endorse Me?” email, choose a few people with whom you’ve worked and write a glowing recommendation for them. Many will return the favor without being asked.

Writing a recommendation has other benefits as well. “Katherine Charapko, executive director of New York executive search firm, Amrop Battalia Winston, says her recruiters use recommendations to hunt down new prospects,” reports Forbes. “It’s a wonderful way to link through to people you may not otherwise find.”

Putting yourself out there on the profiles of others makes you more visible to the network. A recruiter who isn’t looking at your profile might be looking at that of your colleague.

POWER TIP: Write recommendations that are specific and detailed in order to quantify the accomplishments of that contact. This will likely lead them to return the favor, creating a complete overview of your career through the eyes of those who worked with you directly.

Get involved!

Now that you have a complete profile, robust network and several recommendations rounding out your LinkedIn page – don’t stop there! Your next step is to join some groups.

“If you walked into a party and stood in the same spot all night only talking about what you’ve done and what you are looking for,” explains Rachael Curtis of Katie Wagner Social Media, “you would probably have people ignoring you or avoiding you all together.”

You need to move around, mix it up, offer praise to others, comment on and begin meaningful conversations with your peers. The more you put yourself out there, the more eyes will land on your profile.

You can join groups for your industry and all of its niches, your college alumni group, or even your hidden talents that you want to explore.

POWER TIP: Establish yourself as an expert by starting your own group! As a job seeker, you could begin a group centered on your industry or area. This will show recruiters and hiring managers that you’ve taken initiative to make things happen for yourself.

Want to unlock the secrets of LinkedIn? Looking to take your profile to All-Star status and start getting unsolicited job offers? LinkedInSecrets.us has all the material to take your LinkedIn profile to the next level with tips, webinars, and Fred Susan’s new book, Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success 2015.


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.


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.