Interpersonal Savvy

SC&C Interpersonal SavvyWhen it comes to success in a leadership role, such as a management or an executive position, it is very beneficial to possess a specific behavioral characteristic that is none other than that of Interpersonal Savvy.

Interpersonal Savvy reflects an influential leader with strong interpersonal communication skills both written and verbally. This includes the ability to understand, emphasize with and relate to all others, along with the willingness to hear and listen to all individuals.

He/she has achieved and maintained significant success in the workplace through the influence, development and management of strong relationships between staff, professional colleagues, clients and additional individuals throughout all levels of the career spectrum.

This is huge since communication skills are crucial in order to achieve personal and business success. As a result of developing and managing a strong group of team members within the workplace through positive interaction, encouragement, enthusiasm, sound discipline, understanding and overall highly effective communication skills, you will much more than likely achieve much greater success.

If done well, an encouraging and highly communicative leader who is Interpersonal Savvy will improve all areas of business encompassing customer relations and satisfaction, revenue growth, cost savings and the overall productivity of a company / organization. He/she will also more than likely improve staff performance through motivation, cooperation, understanding and so on.

Now, with that said and done, it is important for you to evaluate whether or not you possess this behavioral competency if you are considering in obtaining a, or moving up to a management or executive position. This is so you can prepare to sell this likability quality to a potential employer during the interview process.

In order for you to determine this, it is highly effective to draw on your past performance and achievements, and to decipher what personal behaviors you utilized in order to achieve major success.

For instance, did you achieve certain goals and objectives by listening to and communicating with others, building a solid rapport with employees and customers, by remaining positive, by taking an effective initiative or resolving certain issues / situations successfully?

As a successful executive, you have a strong awareness of your own personal behaviors – this includes your strong points, weaknesses and individual principles. And communication skills are essential for success in any industry and are key in creating a strong executive, talented at influencing and managing employees and additional professionals.

Thus, if you decide that you possess Interpersonal Savvy as a behavior competency following your evaluation; it will be very beneficial for you to sell this to an employer. Interpersonal Savvy is always great to promote! Good luck!

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

Declining a Job Offer

You performed hours of preparation.  You jumped through all the hoops.  You attended interview after interview.  But in the end, there was something that just didn’t sit right.

Did they take too long to make the offer?  Did some of the people you’d have to work with turn out to be duds?  Maybe the CEO just made a startling decision to buy a floppy disk manufacturing plant in Idaho, claiming it was “the wave of the future.”

Whatever happened, you just don’t want to work there.  Naturally you still don’t want to burn any bridges, so you have to bow out gracefully.  But how do you do that?  After all you just spent weeks, or months, telling them how much you’d like to work for them.  What went awry?

There are many reasons why a job candidate might have to turn down a job offer–but it can usually be boiled down to three key areas: the money, the work itself, or the people at the company— Andy Teach author of From Graduation to Corporation: The Practical Guide to Climbing the Corporate Ladder One Rung at a Time.

Why You Declined Job Offer

Have you been low-balled?

Some hiring managers still haven’t glommed on to the fact that the market has tightened; that there are fewer highly qualified workers available.  The 2008—2014 halcyon days of getting top talent at rock-bottom prices are over.  If they don’t realize that, you shouldn’t work there.

You had a better (or faster) offer.

It’s a seller’s market compared to the post-2008 era.  Those who offer adequate compensation, in an expeditious manner, are the winners in the hiring lottery.  Lots of applicants have multiple offers.  Employers with too many rounds of interviews and a lackadaisical approach to hiring either don’t get the cream of the crop, or do, but only because they’re on the wrong end of a bidding war.

Your new manager rubbed you the wrong way.

It’s vitally important to get introduced around the office.  If the person you will be reporting to grates on your nerves, it might be best not to get drawn into the potential conflict.  Your gut instincts are often correct; paying attention now can save you a lot of heartache later.

The commute is a killer.

Arriving at work in a foul mood can certainly hamper your productivity.  Is the traffic awful?  Does it take “forever” to drive at the time you’re expected to report for work?  If a test drive makes it clear that it is going to be too mentally taxing, you’re probably better off not getting involved.

Attitudes don’t jibe.

You overhear a couple of employees talking.  “Yeah the client is a complete idiot, but we’re just gonna have to go through the motions.”  Uh-oh!  It is probably best to avoid that sort of dynamic.

The work is too easy (or too difficult).

If you need a challenge to be productive and you just don’t see it, getting out now may be better than accepting and finding out how frustrating it is.  In the same way, finding out the three people just left the department, and you’re expected to take up the slack, could be overwhelming.

How to Decline an Offer

Be quick

When they make an offer they will seldom expect you to sign on the dotted line.  It’s perfectly reasonable to ask for a day or two to consider the offer.  If you have concluded that this is not the job for you, let them know as soon as possible.  The company still needs to be able to hire somebody from the remaining pool of choices, and holding them up unnecessarily is simply rude.

Be personal

Who made the offer to you?  Talk to them directly.  Leaving a “No, thanks” message with an assistant makes you look bad, leaves a bad impression, and pretty well eliminates the possibility of them considering you if a more suitable position should happen to arise.

Many job seekers overlook the opportunities to generate goodwill when declining a position, especially when they have another offer in hand.  But with a little thought and diplomacy, you can actually enhance your professional reputation and career during what can seem like a daunting task— Lynn Taylor, author of “Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job 

If any of the circumstances are alterable, such as they have an opening with a different manager you would report to, or if you perhaps moved closer to their office, it could be prudent to mention that you would consider future offers.  They’ll likely appreciate your candor explaining why the job is unsuitable at this time.

In any case, be polite and be professional.  You may never work at that company but you might meet that same hiring manager in a different company in the future.  The positive impression you leave could serve you well.

Take your job search and LinkedIn profile to new levels and achieve your career goals with LinkedInSecrets.us. The site and book will transform how you use LinkedIn on a daily basis and create a profile that will WOW recruiters and hiring managers.

Considering Relocating

SC&C Relocation considerationsAs you stand in your backyard staring down at your lawn you can see past the green tips all the way down to the dry, crumbly soil, pierced by the stalks of the individual blades of grass that are yellow and sickly looking. How does everybody else manage to have such a nice green lawn?

It’s not until you ask yourself this question that you notice for the first time as you’re walking the dog that “Wait a minute…everybody else’s lawn looks terrible too, when you get up close to it!” This, in fact, is the source of the observation that “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence“.

When you’re observing something obliquely, and only looking at the very surface of it, there can be an ethereal quality that makes it beautiful. If you get closer to look at it in detail it is probably just as banal and commonplace as the work-a-day world around you, complete with foibles and imperfections.

Relocating

So why is relocating for employment always amongst the top five reasons why people choose to move? Of those that do so, half of them move out of their original state. Clearly, in some cases, it is necessary. If you want to work for the Disney Corporation, it’s very likely you’re going to end up either in California or Florida (or Paris!). If you want to work for one of the Silicon Valley corporations, guess which silicon-laced valley you’re going to be living in. Certainly not a big intellectual leap!

On the other hand, if Google is where you want to be, you may not have to travel so far. On this continent they have six offices on the West Coast, two Central offices in Colorado and Texas, nine more in the East, three in Canada, and one down Mexico way.

Consider Relocation Carefully

If you’re unattached and ready to pick up and go at a moment’s notice that gives you an incredible amount of versatility in selecting a job and for some employers that is a great asset. Others will look at you strangely, wondering if there’s anything that will hold you in place, or if you’re likely to up and disappear in three months.

Issues of Relocating

If, on the other hand, you’re married to a spouse who has a burgeoning local career, have kids in school, and live in the old neighborhood surrounded by relatives, then moving can become very problematic.

When you live far away from your familiar resources and need a babysitter, you can no longer “drop them off with grandma.” When you and your spouse are working late, the kids can no longer just “stop off at your sister’s place” to wait until one of you is available.

Along with your kids, you and your spouse will be giving up friends, neighbors, and relationships that you’ve had for years or decades. FaceTime is no substitute for the personal relationships you may have spent years cultivating.

New Environment Differences

SCC Are you ready for a big cityDepending on where you currently live, and where you wind up, major aspects of your life can change, too. Moving to or from a suburban Wyoming town, where the other end of the trip was Manhattan Island, can be a shock. A new environment can be quite different than where you have been living and working. A few questions to consider:

  • Will the new environs be intolerably busy or quiet?
  • Will your new neighborhood be safer or more dangerous than you’re used to?
  • How will that affect your finances?

Relocation Costs

SC&C cost-benefits analysisIf you’re leaving behind a rent-controlled apartment in New York City (even a horrible one, with the bathtub in the kitchen), you could still sublet it, generating enough income to pay your mortgage twice in Wilmington, Delaware.

Going the other direction, the new employer might have to offer you twice your previous income in order to be able to afford to live in New York City. Be prepared for significant changes.

As an example, in NYC, housing costs are 3½ times the national average; healthcare 125% of average; utilities are 28% higher, and transportation is about 31% higher.

[Something] to think about is whether the organization has shown its commitment to you by assisting with relocation costs. That won’t always happen, but when it does it’s a great sign. If an employer isn’t committed to you from the very beginning, you might not want to pick up everything and move for them—Alexandra Levit

Most companies offer compensation for significant moves to new employees. Failing that, you should expect to pay a professional mover about $2,500 to load, transport, and unpack a single mobile storage container. That’s sufficient to hold the contents of a one-bedroom apartment. And the distance covered would be about halfway across the country from any starting point.

Conditions

Do you think your beach-laden upbringing in Southern California has hardened you sufficiently to withstand a Buffalo, New York winter? Are you an ardent skier faced with an excellent job prospect on the Gulf Coast of Texas? You can only work so many hours a day and sometimes you have to go outside. Will you be able to stand the environment?

This new job you’re looking at may require longer hours; there may be a significant travel-component that could be unbearable after a year or two. Can you adapt to the changes, or can you foresee a way to advance your career so that these conditions might no longer impact you?

Learn About the Destination

A little searching on the World Wide Web can go a long way toward settling your concerns about a new city. You’ll often find forums about people who have changed cities for employment purposes, and contributors share their stories about good and bad experiences in various cities.

Even if all the other factors about the move are favorable, make a point of checking out the availability of alternate employment in the destination city. If things go sideways with the new employer you should still be confident that there is other adequate work for you without entailing yet another move.

Where to Go

That is actually hard to say because the employment picture is so volatile. Last June (2015) Des Moines, Iowa, was the metro area that had the most optimistic forecast for hiring, with 28% of employers expecting to increase the size of their workforce. Nashville, Tennessee, had an almost identical number. Hot on their heels were San Antonio, Texas; Scottsdale, Arizona; and Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Any recommendations placed here will be outdated very quickly, so it’s best to investigate your target town as opportunities arise and make your assessments based on current information.

If you’re single and can pick up and go, make sure there are multiple opportunities at the destination in case things don’t work out. A little research can save you multiple moves.

If you have a family don’t come home one day and tell your spouse that they have to give up their legal or medical practice; tell your children that they will “find new friends;” tell your relatives that they can still come down and visit you in Louisiana in the wintertime. It won’t matter a tinker’s dam how great this job is if it rips your family apart.

You may have been faced with double-digit unemployment figures for a very long time, or even persistently high single-digit figures. Your sudden euphoria at finding the “perfect job” is no justification for uprooting everybody and throwing them into turmoil.

Perform your research and do this in a consultative way with a cost-benefit analysis, making sure you research the potentially bad outcomes as well as the good ones. With the improving employment market you may find that searching for something local for another three months is more sensible than a dramatic change.

Personal Website—Yes!

Do I need a personal website?

SCC Personal Landing PageSo much of what is on the World Wide Web is under the control of others. Do you not deserve a space that is all yours? Absolutely!

And it’s certainly not difficult. There are ready-made templates where you simply cut and paste your predesigned text, select a color scheme, choose some background images, and you’re done.

A website is the complete opposite of a resume. Everything bad about resumes can be fixed simply by having a website. I’d go as far as to say that not having a website is like shooting yourself in the foot – it’s that useful. — Thomas Frank

It doesn’t have to be much–just a landing page, a short biography, and a list of accomplishments. It can be a great deal more if you want to talk about a pet project, a deserving charity, or share your knowledge with the world at large.

Of course you could rely on other people to get it right, but frankly, they won’t. It will be colored with opinion, conjecture (and likely some facts), but it’s quite probable that much of that would be highly apocryphal, too.

Setting the Point of View

You need one—so now you have to make a choice. Are you going to write it in the First Person and say I did this and I did that, or are you going choose Third Person, and say Your Name, Chief Executive for X Company, and noted philanthropist…

If you elect to go with First Person, it’s probably best to go with friendly, open, self-effacing, modest commentary and stories about hard work and dedication, dreams, and goals. This prevents you from sounding like a raging egomaniac.

Make It a Biography

The easier road is to write in the Third Person, treating it much more like an impartial biography. You get to delve into greater detail, from an omnipotent viewpoint, explaining values and reasoning, and all the time avoiding the pronoun “I.” (Take a peek at http://www.trump.com/biography/, for example. Politics aside, it’s a decent personal web page).

It allows you to be much more matter of fact with statements such as “Your Name was influenced by X early on which led to Y. With a little gifted-insight, Z seemed almost inevitable, leading to the eventual climb to Chief Executive for Company XYZZY.”

Personal Website Benefits

  • You are in charge of your own branding. Humans are visual creatures so the images you select will say a great deal about you. If you’re into high-tech, an icy-blue basement full of expensive powerful network servers; if you’re a real estate magnate, office towers.

    Even the font you select speaks volumes. It can show character, or personal style. YouSCC Personal Website can be conventional, an oddball, or a throwback to a previous century. Unlike sites such as LinkedIn, you get to make choices that present you in a specific light.

  • You’re the Curator. Lead off with a Mission Statement. Tell people what you’re all about, and where you are headed. Tell them what you expect to accomplish. Include a nice large photograph of yourself if that suits your style, surrounded by children from the charity you want to promote; shaking hands with the President; presenting an award to a worthy peer. And put any of these directly beside your blog telling why these particular images are important.

    Offer your profound insights to your peers and followers. Build your reputation as a thought leader in your field; as an innovator in your industry; as an instigator of social change, or technological advance.

  • Make sure your contact information is prominent, with conventional methods of contacting you, as well as links to your social media. Escaping the confines of a LinkedIn profile doesn’t mean you shouldn’t maintain one there. That is where recruiters and associates look first. But don’t forget to show your connections to Twitter, Facebook, and other social media (if it is relevant).

    For years, prominent authors, musicians, politicians, and other personalities have used websites to raise their profiles and provide a place to showcase their careers. Having your own website sends a message that you care about your professional image, and good, relevant content shows you put time and thought into your job— Charles Pooley

What Should I Include?

  • Mission statement/elevator pitch: Yes
  • Life story: No, unless it’s damned fascinating; you can always add it as a separate page if you think it belongs. It’s your page.
  • Major Accomplishments: Yes. This is where you get to tell people how great you are, and all the wonderful things you’ve done. This is where you convince them that you’re worth listening to.
  • Minor Accomplishments: Less so, unless they’re particularly relevant. Attention Spans are notoriously short so place the good stuff up front and put the tidbits for treasure hunters on secondary pages.
  • Contact information: Enough said.
  • Your Blog: Yes. If you don’t have one, start one. Even if you have no readers yet, that information will become significant in time. People will look at earlier Blogs to see the origins of your amazing insights. Just make sure it’s up to date—a blog that hasn’t been updated for six months makes the entire site look old. If you’re not a great writer, sketch out your ideas and hire somebody to turn it into beautiful prose for you. If you’re a success you already know how to delegate.

Now that you have made it, promote it. Add it to your LinkedIn account, your Facebook page, if it is relevant, your e-mail signature line, and your business cards. You’re only making it easier for people to find you to consult with you, to offer you jobs, to share information.

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.

Careers for Your Skill Sets

I’m coming home, I’ve done my time…

SCC Leaving MilitaryNow you’re faced with integrating back into the civilian work force. That can be an intimidating task for some strange reason. But you have to ask yourself: “Why is that a problem?”

You’re an expert in so many ways; you have training that exceeds most available in the civilian world. In important measurable ways you are a superior candidate for just about any job available. The last thing you should lack is confidence!

The biggest stigma holding veterans back is the belief that military experience does not transfer to the business world. This is simply untrue. […] They have exercised dedication and commitment; worked as a team toward a common goal; supervised and motivated people; and developed the confidence to lead and make calculated decisions. Their experience is highly applicable in the business world.–John A. Meyer, Chief Executive Officer, Arise Virtual Solutions Inc.

Careers for Military Experiences

You probably have experience supervising and directing troops. You could be a training and development manager that pulls down a salary of almost $100,000 a year in air-conditioned comfort. Certainly a Production Manager in industry is well within your skill set for $90,000 a year, and you get your own office!

Were you in the Corps of Engineers digging tunnels, building bridges, and putting up housing? You could be a Construction Project Manager that pulls down over $80,000 a year. Your organization skills are superb; managing work schedules, completion dates, and organizing deliveries of materials would be right up your alley.

A […] key aptitude for a great project manager is strong coordination skills. Not only must they be able to budget and schedule their own tasks, they must be able to keep everyone involved in the project focused, on budget and on time. Precise attention to detail allows a great project manager to complete phases of a project on time and on budget.– yadconsultingllc.com

Another kind of engineer makes software, and in the civilian world that’s worth about $85,000 a year. Even as an Administrative Services Manager you can pull down over $81,000 a year—pretty good for the company clerk, right?

If you spent a lot of time installing communications equipment in the field, wouldn’t it be nice to do a similar job in an air-conditioned building, wearing a clean business suit that will never see a speck of mud? Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers collect about $55,000 a year for that.

It goes on. If you’re the hands-on engineering type, you can still get your hands dirty for almost $51,000 per year as an Industrial Engineering Technician.

And there’s no doubt that you’re a paperwork expert! Anyone who’s been in any branch of the service is a paperwork expert. If you know how to file and you’re terrific with following procedure, you could be a Paralegal pulling down $47,000 a year.

SCC Truck DriverIf you need some alone-time to gather your thoughts and make some plans, the trucking industry needs 100,000 new drivers each year with an annual salary of $40,000. That’s a nice low pressure job where you get to see the country.

But if you need action, if you need to be on the go and ready to help, you might consider being an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) working with the county rescue service, an ambulance service, the fire department, or even in a hospital emergency room, trauma center, or triage. You should easily make over $30,000 a year, and in some cases much more.

Your Experience and Skills Do Translate

Whether you’re a helicopter pilot or a jet fighter pilot with a crystal clear career path ahead of you in civil aviation, or from some of the more conventional services mentioned above, there is very little standing in your way between a long and successful (and profitable) career in the civilian world.

If anything, you’re overqualified, which should make many of these jobs uncomplicated and simple for you. Your real challenges come from another area.

Fitting In

I’ve worked with military personnel before and you know the greatest difficulty I’ve faced? Getting them to relax and not reverting to staring straight ahead whenever they feel a bit out of their depth.

Seriously people, the one habit you have to break from being in the military is that the business world works on input from everybody. It’s far less of a top-down structure, and more like a group of reasonably intelligent people reaching a consensus. It’s a much slower process than you’re used to, so give it some time to work, and be prepared to participate. It may feel strange at first, but your particular perspective is valuable; you have a lot to contribute and a great deal of knowledge to share.

I hope I’ve broadened your perspective on the possibilities that exist. There are many, many prospects out there for you, and they’d all be lucky to have you.

For powerful lessons and key insights into LinkedIn, read the informative new book, Leveraging LinkedIn For Job Search Success 2015. This book contains all the secrets you need to be found by companies and recruiters on LinkedIn and have them quickly “get” your value to their company or client. Available on Amazon, Kindle, and many other outlets.

A Picture Is Worth A Lot on LinkedIn

By Fred Coon, CEO
Stewart, Cooper & Coon

SC&C Blank LinkedIn Profile PictureWhat does your LinkedIn profile picture say about you? I was skimming through my newly released book, Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success 2015, and came across this topic about profile pictures. I’m surprised at the number of LinkedIn users who have a blank image for the profile picture or use an inappropriate shot. Your profile picture conveys that first impression to potential employers and recruiters. Once that image is stuck in their heads, that’s how they will visualize you while they read your credentials and determine who you are. Don’t give them a bad impression.

Here are a few tips on “visual connectivity” from Jay Block for having the right profile picture:

  1. Hire a professional. Use a professional photographer to snap a picture for your profile. It is worth the investment.
  2. Only include you. You don’t want to use a picture with you and your family, or your business partners, in it. It is your LinkedIn profile, not the family’s or company’s.
  3. Have a good expression. Smile in your photo. Be energetic and engaging.
  4. Be professional. Dress professional in your photo and have an appropriate background. Here’s where a professional photographer can help. Have a black & white photo? Is your head tilted?
  5. Use your face. Your face should make up about 60% of the picture. Don’t be standing on a mountain in a long distance shot. No one can see who you are then.

Make sure you upload a photo to your LinkedIn profile. Your profile looks incomplete if you don’t have a picture, and what does that tell a recruiter? That you don’t see projects through completion.

 Read more about this topic and additional tips in the POWERFUL new book, Leveraging LinkedIn For Job Search Success 2015. This book contains all the secrets you need to be found by companies and recruiters on LinkedIn and have them quickly “get” your value to their company or client. Available on Amazon, Kindle, and many other outlets.

Salary Negotiation Strategies

SC&C Salary Negotiation TacticsWant to become an expert negotiator when it comes to salary talks? Then check out this recent U.S. News & World Report article, The 4 Most Powerful Salary Negotiation Tactics, written by Robin Madell. Fred Coon, CEO of Stewart, Cooper & Coon, was quoted in the article for one of the top strategies to negotiating a better salary package.

The top 4 tactics include:

  1. Ground your request in facts.
  2. Present your value.
  3. Put someone else in your shoes.
  4. Ask – and then stop talking.

Don’t be timid when it comes to negotiating your salary and benefits package. But be sure you have a strategy for the talks and sound reasoning on why you deserve what you want. One major point to take away from the article is that people, male or female, who negotiate their salaries, oftentimes get more in salary or benefits.

Watch for the POWERFUL new book, Leveraging LinkedIn For Job Search Success 2015. This book contains all the secrets you need to be found by companies and recruiters on LinkedIn and have them quickly “get” your value to their company or client. Release date:  July 15, 2015. Available on Amazon, Kindle, and many other outlets.

Self-Assessing Your Veteran Experiences

SC&C Self-Asses Veteran experienceHundreds of job applications from veterans have crossed hiring mangers’ desks. Scores and scores of resumes have marched right alongside in lockstep. Many of them are incomplete or inappropriate. There are plenty of services that provide methods for translating your experience in the military into something that civilians can understand. Some people don’t take advantage of it. And civilians really, truly do not understand that a letter-number combination tells them everything they need to know about you.

“Soldiers can sometimes make decisions that are smarter than the orders they’ve been given.”
― Orson Scott Card

Veteran vs. Civilian Expectations

Your time in the service has changed you; your expectations are different from ordinary civilians. As an extreme (and fictitious) example, if you were to go into the mess hall and ask for a hamburger that’s what you would get. So you might be happy going into a McDonald’s and getting a hamburger much the same way–ready made with no options (fictitious, remember?). But faced with even a modestly nice restaurant and asked whether you would like raw onions or sautéed onions on that, could throw you for a loop if your mind was too rigidly set.

Choices Not Orders

That’s the big difference. The civilian world is full of choices, not orders. You don’t take what you’re given; you decide what you want and then work toward it. You don’t automatically get what you deserve because sometimes what you deserve isn’t needed in that particular situation. It’s like any Op – you have an objective; now you have to wait until there is an opportunity to achieve it.

Tune Yourself to Civilian Life

Making the transition back to a less-regimented lifestyle takes some work. You don’t stare straight ahead; you meet people’s eyes. You rid yourself of the expressionless face and learn how to smile again. You have to consciously avoid standing at attention, or parade rest. It’s tough.

In the same way you have to tune yourself and your paperwork to civilian expectations. As ex-military you are automatically entitled to state that you are a fine leader. You are fantastic at organization. Paperwork is second nature to you. You know all about on-time delivery of projects and working on tight deadlines. You are terrific at improvising and finding solutions to problems when none apparently exists.

Changing the Chain of Command Mindset

The other half of the equation is that you understand the chain of command. It has been so thoroughly ingrained in you that it’s very hard to resist. But you have to start breaking that down.

The civilian world is only partially a top-down command structure. It doesn’t rely on one all-wise person or committee at the top making decisions for everybody. In truth, it functions best when information flows in both directions.

SC&C Teamwork in the business worldAs you well know, there are some situations in life where one person has to make a decision. Only that person can make that decision at that point in time. But that’s rare in the business world. You know equally well that some things are best handled by a team—and that is what the civilian business world is all about.

The interplay and exchange of information is what drives the business world. Once you are in it, you have to play by their rules.

Assert Expertise and Experience

To get in it, you can’t be gun-shy about how great you are. You have to assert your worth to the company and the immense amount of experience and skill that you would bring to their organization.

Translating Your Military Skills

Unlike a lot of applicants, you are seriously cross-trained. You can take orders and give orders. You can manage people and have lots of hard skills. Virtually everybody knows about data entry and other forms of interacting with computers when they come out of the military.

Just imagine, for example, that you’re 79S. Your civilian skill list includes:

  • Contract Administration
  • Customer Support/Service
  • Human Resources Processes
  • Job Placement Services
  • Office Equipment Operation/Maintenance
  • Process Analysis and Improvement
  • Proofreading/Editing
  • Purchasing/Procurement Methods
  • Schedule/Itinerary Planning.

You are a one soldier office army! You would fit in just about anywhere they put you. And this is just one ranking.

If you’re in the Navy with a PS ranking, your skills look like this:

  • Classified Information and Materials Security
  • Customer Support/Service
  • Data Entry
  • Documenting/Record Keeping
  • File System Development/Maintenance
  • Human Resources Processes
  • Message Processing Procedures
  • Message Traffic Analysis
  • Office Equipment Operation/Maintenance
  • Payroll Services – Personnel Scheduling Software
  • Proofreading/Editing
  • Word Processing Formatting

Check out the skills translator on military.com or on altria.com. Both can quickly provide lists just like this, based on your ranking.

Peter Newfield, President, Career Resumes, www.headhunter.com, notes that “military personnel make excellent leaders, once given a specific task: they are decisive, resourceful, and tremendous team players; and they perform well under pressure.”

Get on LinkedIn and Facebook

SC&C LinkedIn profileJust remember your resume is a DMZ. No jargon or nomenclature that isn’t used outside of the military. But more importantly, get a social profile. It’s expected. If you don’t have a LinkedIn or Facebook account, it might be considered suspicious. Make a profile on both services, and others if you feel like it, and then keep them businesslike and professional. No photos from harsh experiences overseas, and none with you surrounded by firearms, munitions, and liberated dummy hand grenades.

With LinkedIn you need a proper head shot and you should be wearing business attire. Everything should be professional and aboveboard. Facebook can be a little more casual, but nothing even remotely shocking. And if you have friends that write on your page, their comments reflect on you. If they are inappropriate, make them non-public.

Translate your skills and experiences for the civilian workforce. Check with base services and take some interview training, so you can learn to behave in ways that employers expect you to. It just takes a little practice and you can be a DMZ, too.

Watch for the POWERFUL new book, Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success 2015. This book contains all the secrets you need to be found by companies and recruiters on LinkedIn and have them quickly “get” your value to their company or client. Release date:  July 15, 2015. Available on Amazon, Kindle, and many other outlets.

 

Being Successful at Job Fairs

SC&C prepare for job fair“I’m going to the job fair.  Are you coming or not?

“Job fair?  Are you kidding?  No one ever gets a job from a job fair anymore.

Ahem!  Mikey?  Gem?  Sue?

“Aberrations, that’s all.  They didn’t get the jobs they wanted.  They could be spending time online like me trying to find the right job—something permanent.

“Just in case you never noticed  All jobs are temporary!  Besides, what has all your research gotten you?  You’re still unemployed.  At least those guys have something to put on their resumes as well as a lot of knowledge about the recruiters at the job fair.

Will the go-getter convince the researcher?  Let’s look at the arguments.

Make a Good First Impression

Job or career fairs are a great opportunity to make a good first impression with recruiters.  You get to introduce yourself, find out about their company, learn about their corporate culture, and what to expect if you decide to work there.  What an incredible advantage that will be.  Imagine if you could make a great pre-impression.

Most fairs allow you to pre-register.  This, in turn, gives recruiters a chance to scan resumes ahead of time and make a list of people they would like to see.  How great would it be if you walked up to a recruiter and they said, “Oh are you [name] that developed [something]?  I was hoping you would drop by!”

It’s hard to over-emphasize the importance of these face-to-face meetings; you can make personal connections that could grease the wheels when it comes time to apply at your favorite company.

Personal Connection with Hiring Manager

SC&C making personal connectionsWouldn’t you love to walk into an interview and be able to say, “Hey, Shirley great to see you again!  It’s me, Randal.  We met at the Career Fair and talked about <etc.>…”

You’re now about three steps up on any of the competition still waiting to be interviewed because she knows you, and people will pick the familiar over the unknown 9 times out of 10.

Have a Plan or Strategy before Attending Job Fair

To garner the greatest benefit from these fairs you need to have a plan or strategy right from the beginning.

  • Know which companies are going to be there. Don’t go in blind.  You can easily find out who is going to be there, so pick your top eight companies and check out their websites.  It only makes it easier and narrows your search and focus.
  • Decide which attendees you will connect with.
  • Save aimless wandering for after you have accomplished your set goals. Stumbling upon something fascinating is a bonus, to be sure, but finish what you set out to do before you get distracted.
  • Dress appropriately, as if you were headed out for an interview. Shorts and a tank top might be comfortable, but you’ll lose points for having no charisma and standing out like a sore thumb.
  • Look professional to be perceived as professional. Business clothes will place you head and shoulders above the others that thought clothes don’t matter.

William Jones, a director in the Rutgers University Career Services office says, “When you research the organizations that are expected to attend the fair beforehand, you may surprise them with your knowledge, and impress them with the initiative you took to research the company’s mission, purpose, and clients served.”

Remember, these recruiters are meeting hundreds or thousands of people daily, so you have to be prepared to stand out.  Dropping off a resume at each table is going to do next to nothing for you.  You need to smile, shake hands firmly, make solid eye-contact and be enthusiastic.  You’re going to be armed with thought provoking questions that show them that you did your homework.

Prepare to Answer Questions

Most importantly, you’re going to be prepared to answer questions about yourself.  Hemming and hawing will knock you right out of contention.  They’ll say “Tell me about yourself,” and you need to be able to tell them your interests and how they relate to that company – remember to use corporate speak, not military jargon, as some may not relate to that language.

Answer with what you think you could contribute and how you think you could grow there.  Talking about some new aspect of their company that is in the news can impress them, especially if you suggest an interesting angle or offshoot related to it.  That shows them that you can think.

Ryan Kahn, a career coach, founder of The Hired Group, and star of MTV’s “Hired” says job fairs are all about the personal touch. “They get the candidate right in front of the company and, if executed correctly, that can get them far closer than just applying online. Job fairs are also a great way to discover new companies, ask questions, get career advice, and meet other candidates that are also on the job hunt.”

Network with Other Job Seekers

SC&C network with other job seekersRemember to network with fellow job seekers to see if they know of opportunities that might be outside their wheelhouse but well-suited for you.  And don’t forget to eavesdrop while you’re in line to speak with recruiters.  What they say to others can be incorporated into your questions to make you stand out from the crowd.

Apply after the Day Is Over

When you’re done for the day, having collected all the business cards you can, remember to apply online to the companies that interested you, and follow up with an e-mail to the recruiter to let them know that you have done so.  Talking and giving out resumes sets the stage.  Now it’s time to become an actor and walk out upon it and grab a spotlight.

Knowing you followed through is a big plus to recruiters.  You’ll move from the collection of resumes to the “Applied” pile, and you’ll be in their mind when it comes time to see them again.

So hit those fairs, impress the recruiters, and garner the benefits of being a go-getter!

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of senior military and other personnel transition their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200 or visit their LinkedIn page at www.linkedin.com/company/stewart-cooper-&-coon.