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.

Corporate IT Security

SC&C Military Trained IT Security ProfessionalsFar too many executives are unaware of the security requirements and protocols for protecting their company’s data. They don’t need to become computer scientists, but they need to shed the notion that the IT Department will solve everything.

As a trained IT professional in the Armed Services, you are well aware of the priority of securing and maintaining sensitive information. When transitioning from your military career to the private sector, here’s some areas to focus on during your interviews.

Data Briefs to the Executives

It could be as simple as suggesting a briefing report from their IT Department about current risks and behaviors that are likely to create problems by the staff within the company. And once established, it’s important to get a monthly, or if they recommend it, a weekly report to stay up to date.

For example, clever companies monitor the installation of all software on company computers and laptops. Only designated software is installable. That means the executive or salesman on the road cannot install automatic password software, preventing access to the company’s data in the event of loss or theft.

Some travelers have taken to carrying two laptops: one for business, one for pleasure. Others submit software they want to add for certification by their IT department. Take it from someone who’s been there and make sure all software is approved before installation.

Cloud Storage as a Security Measure

Not everybody has heard of Marc Benioff, a former Oracle executive, who founded SalesForce.com, but he popularized the concept of rented software sitting on the cloud instead of people owning the software and placing it on their own computers. The concept of Software as a Service (SaaS) has fueled the organization since its inception in 1999. Their main focus is Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, which, by and large, runs on the cloud.

Naturally this $40 billion corporation is concerned with cybersecurity and enhanced methods of dealing with copious amounts of data. Benioff submitted a report to President George W. Bush in 2004 for the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC) urging the government to spend an additional $90 million per year at the National Science Foundation (NSF) as well as increasing funding to DARPA and the DHS.

Benioff said the government needed to recruit and retain cybersecurity researchers and students at research institutions to double the number of specialists before the end of the decade. Even more importantly, he urged that cutting-edge cybersecurity technologies developed by the Federal government needed to be made available to the private sector as quickly as possible.

“Everybody should have security as his or her number one priority because we are in a highly dynamic environment. That is not going to change. […] I have zero arrogance when it comes to cybersecurity. I am paranoid all the time because I see all the things that are happening and I am completely worried every single day about security, and everybody should be.” – Marc Benioff

Train Executives on Obvious Security Measures

Antivirus

The situation has certainly improved over the last decade. Antivirus software has only gotten better; instead of having to sit for hours scanning for viruses, all of the good AV programs have what is called Resident Protection. It runs all the time and detects as soon as a virus is loaded into the memory space and takes action to contain it.

Anti-spyware

Most companies are clever enough to have anti-spyware installed as well. As above, the good versions are provided with Resident Protection. The IT department can schedule these to run full scans automatically in periods of low use, which prevent the theft of login data such as names or passwords and other personal information such as credit cards, bank accounts, or even your operating system’s registration number.

SC&C Military IT ProfessionalsFirewalls

While firewalls are no replacement for antivirus software, they’re still essential. There are as many as 65,535 doors or ports into and out of a computer that are managed by your firewall. Most of them are closed most of the time. All the ports numbering lower than 1,024 are called “well-known ports” and generally have accepted uses.

Anti-spam

Some businesspeople can spend two hours a day reading emails. Make sure the company has anti-spam software installed to minimize the amount of junk employees have to wade through in order to get to the really important content.

Automatic OS updates

No well-run company would be without automatic updates of your operating system (probably Windows). Fixed computers in the office should be automatically updated as soon as a release comes into the IT department. Wireless laptops should be programmed to check-in every time they’re turned on, and every couple of hours thereafter that they remain on.

Backups

Incremental backups should run constantly. Just as your word processor should make a copy of whatever you’re working on every 5 or 10 minutes, so should your corporate system. The loss of a $1,000,000 order because of a blackout is unacceptable.

Corporate Speak for Military Transition

Enlighten yourselves. Knowing that these systems exist, and at least the rudiments of how they work, can help you make better decisions. It can also help you avoid self-sabotaging, treacherous policy implementation. IT can usually fix mistakes, but it’s so much better not to make them in the first place.

As you transition from your military career to the private sector in an IT position, are you ready to present your knowledge and skills in the language that these companies speak? Military backgrounds are commonly associated with loyalty, dedication, and hard work but hiring managers may not see the invaluable training and skills you bring. Make sure you know the little things of IT security as well as the overall organization and importance of it.

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.

Job Search Plan for Female Veterans

SC&C job search advice for female veteransIf males leaving the military are having troubles with transitions, imagine how the females are faring. As discussed in previous articles, there are facilities in place to help veterans transition to civilian life. But why isn’t this working for the women as well as the men? These programs founded nearly 20 years ago haven’t really evolved since women started entering into active service.

It’s time for female military veterans to take control of their job search campaigns and put a plan into action.

Female Veterans’ Stories

Holly Mosack (Army-discharged 2004) who worked in public affairs in the Army, providing personnel and administrative support to combat forces, laments “even if I told employers that I had an HR background, the civilian sector wouldn’t agree.” It all comes down to certifications.

Christa Fazio (Navy-discharged 2006) is eminently qualified as an electronics communication systems specialist. “In some areas I’m over skilled, but in some areas, like professional certifications, I’m way behind the curve.”

Translating Military Skills to Civilian Speak

In the military, your ranking and designation clearly indicate which certifications you possess. It’s not necessary to have a piece of paper describing what your skills and certifications are, but that doesn’t carry any weight to the public sector. If you don’t have that slip of paper, as far they’re concerned, you’re unqualified.

Women who never served in the military are facing an unemployment rate several points lower than female veterans. They’re actually finding employment more easily than men. The female veterans, however, are facing increasing unemployment and homelessness.

Not only do they lack certifications, but their skills are difficult to translate into “civilian-ese” so that employers know what they mean. Veteran Affairs isn’t really set up to assist women. Research by advocacy groups find the VA inadequate in the areas of childcare, health care, and psychological needs for women returning from active duty.

Certification Skills Tests

Perhaps the solution is as simple as the military adopting certification programs to test the female veterans’ skills. They know their training is good, often exceeding the training within the public sector, so issuing a document equivalent to an institutional certificate would be fine.

If that would raise the hackles of educational institutions, perhaps they would be willing to offer a fast-track course for the skills the military personnel already possess. That way they could focus on upgrading or acquiring new skills to aid in their employment, and they could acquire a certificate from a certificate-granting institution, keeping it official.

Job Search Plan before Military Discharge

SC&C Female Veterans need to join social mediaWomen are no different than men in most respects. They have to plan their job search strategy before exiting the military. Some actions to take include:

  • Set up an account on Facebook, LinkedIn, Rallypoint, and other social media so that you can network to help you find coaches and sponsors in the industry in which you’re interested.
  • Use this time to fill any gaps in your military record while it’s still free to get training.
  • Get any certifications you can as your tour winds down. Time invested now could save you months once you’re out.
  • Research to see what’s out there in terms of jobs. Getting those feelers out early and pursuing any leads might put you in the enviable position of having a job as soon as you walk out the gate.

If you find yourself lacking in skills, research educational institutes that favor veterans. Get some courses lined up and use your benefits to get qualified. If you can breeze through a course where you already have the skills just to acquire that piece of paper, it could save you a lot of heartache when you are out there trying to get a job.

Better yet, find a mentor. It might be a friend or someone who turned up through research. In any case, if you find someone who has successfully transitioned to the civilian world, ask them for advice. They probably have some great insights for you.

This is just like any other mission. You know how to do it; you have your orders. Move out!

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.

Four-Part Letter for Getting Interviews

SC&C Preparing Job Search after MilitaryMost people planning to leave the Armed Services have plenty of time to plan. They know when their EOC/EOS is going to occur right down to the minute. The smart ones take between 36 and 48 months to work things out; to build a persona on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and particularly on Rallypoint, which is the military equivalent of LinkedIn. If someone is looking to hire former military personnel, this is where theyre going to start. And so this is where you should focus your attention, too.

Dick Bolles outlines in What Color Is Your Parachute? that the rule of thumb is to expect about one to two months of active job searching for every $10,000 worth of salary you may want to earn. That equates to 4-8 months of active career planning or job searching for a $40,000 salary.

Clever soldiers and personnel strategize and use their time wisely to put out feelers to make connections with ex-military that have already left and joined the civilian work force. They research and study potential employers; they investigate various educational opportunities; they make sure they’re in the loop about evolving circumstances that coincide with their discharge.

Unexpected Release from Service

Sometimes life throws you a curveball. You find yourself being discharged or released from the Armed Forces for EPTS (Existed Prior To Service), HDSP (Hardship), or CIWD (Condition Interfered With Duty), or worse, with at least 30 continuous days on active duty and discharged due to service-connected disability (Includes Entry Level or Skills Training time).

You thought you had years to plan and get ready when all of a sudden you’ve got to scramble. It’s okay – you’ve trained for this – dealing with rapidly evolving circumstances is just another day at work for you.

Putting Your Service Skills to Work

You’re looking for a job where you can put your talents to work. You possess great skills and abilities, far above average. You just have to get them to the right place. Here’s how.

At first, hiring managers are an optimistic bunch. They have jobs to fill and there are plenty of people out there who are looking for jobs so they figure everything is in their favor. But its not.

They craft their advertisement and put it somewhere where it will be seen, and soon they have lots of resumes and applications to look at. They churn through their little pile of applicants and joyfully select 6 to 10 people to interview and invite them in.

But when those interviews are over they haven’t found anybody that they want to work with. They invite some more people in – still no go! By week three they’re depressed and worried that they’ll never find anybody to fill the role.

Understanding Applicant Tracking Software

SC&C Applicant Tracking SoftwareApplicant tracking system software is the new panacea for the HR department. It was supposed to solve all their problems but is turning into a bit of a self-defeating mechanism. Highly qualified people are being ignored because they don’t use exactly the right keywords to be picked up by the software.

Applicants familiar with how the software works are using all the keywords and phrases to get to the top of the searches and obtain interviews. But once they get in front of the HR person, they are revealed to be inappropriate for the position; all they have proven is that they know how to manipulate the software, not that they know how to do the job!

Bypassing Applicant Tracking Software

Let’s say you see a job out there that you like. You have the skills and abilities to handle that job, but there’s a lot a competition for the job so you don’t apply for it, yet.

Remember that hiring manager? You’re not taking a very big risk by waiting. In fact, you’re enhancing your chances of getting hired! Here’s why.

The HR guy is going to run through the situation as described above. By the end of three weeks hes going to dread never being able to fill that position. Thats when youre going to come to his rescue. He’s desperate; he’s backed into a corner; and he’s calling for extraction.

Research the Position

Ever since you saw that job posted you been doing recon. You know the name of the company; you’ve made sure you know how to use LinkedIn already so finding the hiring manager’s name is going to be child’s play. You can even use a Google search for additional data.

You’ve used one of the many available resources to craft a perfect resume, but to accompany it you’re not going to send a regular cover letter. You’ve got something better.

Action Plan to Get in Front of Hiring Manager

You joined the service to help people, to make the world a better place, to apply skills, abilities, and knowledge to solve problems. You’re going to take all of that and solve the hiring manager’s problem. You’re going to write him/her a four-part letter.

Four-Part Letter for Hiring Manager

First Part–The Hook

Dear John/Jane Smith (remember you got their name!),

ProTect Security has had tremendous success with acquiring Celebrity Security last month. Your team is to be congratulated on your 35% growth rate, since this shows very powerful support in the marketplace.

Second Part–Empathy

Of course all of this new business can exert tremendous pressure to perform at peak efficiency, and even the best, most well-organized systems can get backed into a corner sometimes.

Third Part–Overcoming Obstacles

It reminds me very much of the time when I led a six-man taskforce into a small enemy-held town in order to rescue the mayor and the town council that were being held hostage in a local church. By setting up a remotely triggered pyrotechnics display on the far side of town, we slipped in, and exfiltrated all nine members without a shot being fired, and no casualties.

Fourth Part–Sealing the Deal

If you’re still looking for a new Security Team Manager, I would be very pleased to meet with you to learn more about ProTech Security, and share some more interesting stories. I think there’s a very good possibility that we could be very useful to each other.

Sincerely,

Ron Grant

Guess what? You completely avoided the Black Pit of ATS software. You just made a good solid connection with the decision maker. You’re as good as hired right now. So let’s get the show on the road. Move out!

Alphabet Soup – Military Language to Civilian Speak

MOS, AFSC, NEC, DMOS, and MOSQ…It’s quite a collection of letters isn’t it?  The question is: how do we turn that into a job in the civilian world?

SC&C Military Resume LanguageChris Mandia of themilitarywallet.com reminds us–Military veterans often have a wide range of skills and talents civilian employers are seeking. But sometimes the veterans and the employers don’t speak the same language.

Believe me, nothing is more intimidating to a civilian employer unfamiliar with military codes than to see a list of them on a resume. Many jobs simply don’t translate to civilian life in their native state. That’s why they invented tools to do the conversion for you. By simply selecting your branch of the service and entering your code, the program can pump out resume-compatible descriptions that will make sense to civilian employers.

Making Your Resume into Civilian Speak

Take O*Net for example. I picked Air Force and tossed in the designation for Bomber Pilot (11B4Z).

Suddenly I have all sorts of useful resume-friendly information. For example:

  • Work as part of a flight team with other crew members, especially during takeoffs and landings.
  • Use instrumentation to guide flights when visibility is poor.
  • Start engines, operate controls, and pilot airplanes to transport passengers, mail, or freight, adhering to flight plans, regulations, and procedures.
  • Contact control towers for takeoff clearances, arrival instructions, and other information, using radio equipment.
  • Monitor gauges, warning devices, and control panels to verify aircraft performance and to regulate engine speed.
  • Respond to and report in-flight emergencies and malfunctions.
  • Steer aircraft along planned routes, using autopilot and flight management computers.
  • Check passenger and cargo distributions and fuel amounts to ensure that weight and balance specifications are met.
  • Monitor engine operation, fuel consumption, and functioning of aircraft systems during flights.
  • Inspect aircraft for defects and malfunctions, according to pre-flight checklists.

It continues by listing Tools and Tech I’m familiar with such as Air Comms, Guidance, Flight Computers, etc. It carries on by listing Areas of Knowledge such as physics, transportation, geography, mathematics, computers and electronics. It lists my Skills such as active listening/learning, critical thinking, complex problem solving, judgment, decision-making, and so on. It then goes on to list Abilities, Work Activities, Work Context, Job Zone, Education, Credentials, Interests, Work Styles, Work Values, Related Occupations, Wages & Employment, Job Openings, and Additional Information.

You can do the same thing at Military.com where they’ll list civilian equivalents and show you openings that need your skills. There are more similar sites that aren’t difficult to find.

The Result

This takes away all the scary stuff for the prospective employer (in this particular instance, applying for a job as an airline pilot) so that they know you have the skills. They can confidently conclude that you’ve had the very best training in the world.

And it works for any branch of the service, turning a non-descript Petty Officer into Supervisor tasked with increasing employee long-term productivity which gives you the opportunity to fill in examples. You have to learn to brag significantly on your own behalf. Other service personnel understand what your achievements mean; civilians don’t.

At (Real) Ease—Body Language!

And loosen up please! I don’t mean parade rest, or at-ease. This person is not your C.O. When youre talking to somebody, dont be afraid to break eye contact periodically. While theyre speaking, feel free to touch or even pinch your chin a little. This is body language that tells them that you’re thinking deeply and seriously considering what they have to say. People like it when they know they’re making an impact and that you care about their remarks.

SC&C Civilian Body LanguageNod your head slightly when they make a good point and don’t be afraid to use a very slight quizzical tilt (like a dog that’s trying to understand a human speaking to it). All this reinforces the importance of the things that the speaker is saying.

More importantly, unlike the military culture, civilian culture uses a conversational communication style. While you are more accustomed to the top-down, decision-making process, civilian organizations benefit through contributions from more people. Your success is dependent on helping to arrive at solutions that benefit the organization, not merely executing directives.

Conclusion

In most ways civilians are the same as us. The significant differences are that they are less direct in their speech; decisions are less urgent and take more time; and the structure is far less rigid. As a consequence you must adopt their style, since they will not adopt yours.

  • Learn to speak their language—“Yeah, I see what you mean, Paul. I wonder if we could build on that by…”
  • Learn patience with the slower decision-making process.
  • Take advantage of the less rigid structure by balancing your work time with your life time.
  • But mostly just be good at your job! Don’t make people feel bad if they’re not as capable as you. Simply set a good example and others will follow.

So let’s get out there and get to work. Dismissed!

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.

Becoming a Civilian — The Transition from the Military

SC&C military transition to civilian lifeAs a member of a military family, routines can be strikingly similar to civilian life. The soldier goes to work Monday thru Friday, is usually home for dinner, has holidays off, and takes vacation time during the year. Of course there are duty days when the active military member must stay on the base for 24 hours, or a weekend day is suddenly gone. Every soldier is subject to that.

A military family also can’t move wherever they want to; they have to stay in the town where they are stationed. They could change apartments or houses as they see fit, as long as they were still near the base.

Deployments are a fact of life. One might be obliged to spend nine months in Iraq, a year in Okinawa, or maybe just a month and a half overseas. It can be quite disruptive to be separated for such an extended period.

The good part is the insurance is covered and there is a steady paycheck. The nonmilitary partner has the ability to dedicate themselves to child rearing, a civilian job, or chickens in their backyard if the notion strikes them. It can be a tradeoff, but some people really blossom with the reliability and organization.

Rich Morin of Pew Research tells us, Military service is difficult, demanding and dangerous. But returning to civilian life also poses challenges for the men and women who have served in the armed forces, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey of 1,853 veterans. While more than seven in ten veterans (72%) report they had an easy time readjusting to civilian life, 27% say re-entry was difficult for them.

When You Leave the Military

Things change once you’re “out.” You’ve gotten used to the structure and the way things work. Realigning your sensibilities to a civilian viewpoint can lead to some misunderstandings, for both parties.

The military has a top-down hierarchy in which the top person makes a decision and it’s passed down through the chain. In business that is looked upon as an old-fashioned model that is seldom used anymore.

Modern computer integration and information sharing across all departments has led to a matrix structure rather than a hierarchy. Better, well-considered decisions are arrived at by consensus.

In the military, roles are well-defined and clear; everyone knows what they’re supposed to do and when they’re supposed to do it. In business it’s a little more flexible; roles and status can be more ambiguous. This allows creativity and increased synergy, which in turn leads to more evolved solutions to complex problems.

In the military you advance rank by rank, designation by designation, and your career path is clear. In business career progression relies more on individual initiative and creativity as well as the ability to work outside your area of specialization. Accepting a parallel assignment outside of your area of specialization can lead to sudden, great strides in your career.

One’s ability to network can boost a career explosively. Quite often a meritocracy prevails, where if someone is good at something they get rewarded. It’s not unheard of for a new but brilliant employee to rapidly climb the corporate ladder and become a vice president of development.

Even the most astonishingly talented enlisted private will never make colonel in just a few months. The corporate world loves diamonds in the rough and will provide training and incentives to get clever people into positions that will do the company the most good.

Brooke Julia, of Demand Media: The military offers quite a few benefits that most civilian jobs don’t offer. On the other hand, civilian jobs provide more freedom than most military positions.

Conclusion

For someone that has recently left the military it can take a while to get the confidence to contribute. It’s not a case of questioning orders; it’s a case of cooperative effort to develop a satisfactory solution.

If your boss says, “See if you can get these contracts signed by the end of the day,” and you have an idea, it wouldn’t be wrong to say, “I can do that for you, but if I could make a suggestion…” you might find them very willing to listen to another idea, discuss it with you, and implement a new solution.

Civilian life is not Military life. There’s more freedom to explore and contribute. Take advantage of it.

Stewart, Cooper & Coon has helped many high-level military personnel transition from their military careers into a nonmilitary. Learn more about how SC&C can manage your transition and connect with them on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/stewart-cooper-&-coon.

Right Body Language: The Key to Impressing an Interviewer

You think hard about choosing the right words to express yourself, well-acquainted with the fact that even a minute error on your part might lead to misinterpretation in an interview.

Yes, having prepared everything right from your documents to your two-minute intro, the chances of a goof-up are quite meager. But, do your words suffice alone?

Isn’t there an essential parameter that you might have forgotten yet needs some serious consideration?

Ah! You guessed it right – the nonverbal communication. From the way you walk to the posture you sit in, from the way you use your hands to the direction you nod your head in, all are minute yet specific factors your interviewer would gauge you on.

So, how should you go about it?

Given below are 7 basic tips that you need to keep in mind, in order to let your body do the talking and portray yourself as a confidant applicant, who has all the desirable qualities to secure the job.

1) Entering the RoomSC&C Interview Entering Room

It’s a fact that an interview begins even before you get seated in the interview room or even enter it. You don’t know who might be in the elevator with you or observing while you were waiting near the reception for your chance. Try remaining as calm as possible and show that you’re confident enough for the process to follow. It’s not the time to get frantic and search for your degree in the portfolio.

2) The Handshake: Shake it, don’t break it! SC&C Interview Handshake

Rightly asserted, a handshake is the first clue you get about a person’s overall personality, without even talking to him. Hence, you might wish it to be the best and one of the most comfortable ones you’ve made till now.

All you need is to keep in mind some subtleties that will surely do the job:

  • Aim for a firm handshake but avoid crushing any bones.
  • Shake it up and down rather than sideways.
  • Make and hold eye-contact with the person to leave a positive impression.
  • Pump the interviewer’s hand two to three times. However, overdoing it might feel odd to him.

 3) Sit with Your Back Straight and Well-rested on the Seat SC&C Interview Sitting Posture

This is what your teachers, parents or any well-wisher you had, advised you since your childhood. Well, now is the chance to implement it. Sitting firmly with your back leaning against the chair, shows that you are attentive and confident for the questions to follow. In case you’re a natural sloucher, a bit of practice by pretending that a string is pulling you up from the crown of your head might help.

4) Hand Gestures: Try and be Submissive with ThemSC&C Interview Hand Gestures

 Hand gestures play quite a significant role in aiding communication with the hiring manager/employer. They enable you to emphasize key points and words while having a discussion. Right-hand movements signify that you are expressing your views and giving out information, while left-hand movements indicate the reception part. Keeping your palms open shows openness to accept new ideas and honesty. However, using your hands to fiddle with your face, hair or neck shows anxiety and uncertainty coupled with nervousness.

Being submissive with hand gestures shows how compatible, respectful and energetic as an employee you can be.

 5) A Pleasant Smile SC&C Interview Pleasant Smile

Perks of smiling are numerous, but wearing a pleasant smile during an interview signifies compatibility and calmness. Hence, smile and nod wherever appropriate and laugh when the recruiter does. Of course, you would want to show that you have a pleasing and dynamic personality.

6) Mirroring the Interviewer SC&C Interview Mirroring Others

Being experienced in the field, an interviewer for sure would have a positive body language. All you need is to mirror it and observe it in every aspect as you can. Nevertheless, you need to be careful while doing so. Obviously, you wouldn’t prefer frightening the poor guy, in case you’re too bold.

Mirroring a subtle nod or a slight shift in posture might help attain a common ground between two people, while matching the firmness of a handshake proves to be an impeccable equalizer.

However, reading an interviewer’s body language is a prerequisite you must seriously follow. Look forward to positive movements like nodding, tilting the head sideways and leaning forward to ensure whether he is interested and attentive or not.

7) And At The EndSC&C Interview Ending

 At the end, gather your belongings calmly, rise smoothly with a smile, shake the hands of your recruiting manager and leave the room in a calm way. Avoid any thoughts to clutter your mind that cause you to leave the interview in a negative way.

Keeping these simple tips in mind, you surely will ace the next interview. All you need to do is remain calm and search for the right opportunity. Results will certainly be in your favor.

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.

Author Bio: Anshuman Kukreti is a professional writer and a keen follower of the global job market. An engineer by qualification and an artist at heart, he writes on various topics relating to employment across the globe. Currently he is working for Naukrigulf. Reach him @ LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+.

At Ease: Structure Your Military Resume for Civilian Roles

Your military experience doesn’t translate directly into civilian résumés. There is seldom any need for mentioning marksmanship citations (unless you’re into executive security), or munitions’ expertise. Admittedly there will be times when that will not be true, but on the whole you can find better ways to inform prospective employers about your skills, how they are applicable to the job, and how they will benefit the company that you’re applying to.

Civilian Terms

Remember, your résumé should be a DMZ – no jargon or tech-speak. Your job is to translate your experience into understandable writing for any civilian hiring manager.

SC&C Military Transition Resume AdviceThe key difficulty for transitioning service members is translating their experience and skills into a language understood by corporate America,” says Intel’s Ardine Williams. “This is a consistent issue with almost every resume I read and with conversations with hiring managers at other companies. If the person screening the resume is not a veteran then there is a high likelihood of zero understanding of what this person can offer a company.”

No one that performed military service could avoid having experience with these areas: leadership, ability to carry out work with minimal supervision, attention to detail, and ability to work under pressure with strict deadlines, strong discipline, and great ethics. It doesn’t matter whether you were an infiltrator or spent your tour on kitchen duty – you’ve got all those skills. All you have to do is look and you’ll discover useful skills that can work for you in the civilian world.

“Job seekers must think like recruiters,” says Chris Galy, director of talent acquisition at Intuit and board advisor to Vets in Tech. “Read the job description carefully, understand what pain the hiring manager is trying to solve with the role, and describe specifically how your experience and leadership skills will make that company successful.”

Which details?

Ah, that’s a good question! Filling your résumé with duties and responsibilities is going to put people to sleep, fast! Instead, focus on accomplishments. Did you erect a bridge in half the expected time, or transport civilians out of a combat area? Did you ex-filtrate some ex-hostages? Did you save the Company or Base some money by creating efficiencies? Did you plan and execute a new day-pass system that rotated off-duty personnel faster? Anything that was beneficial is an accomplishment.

All these things amount to management, logistics, planning, strategy, focus, perception, foresight, and empathy. Streamlining that day-pass system might point you at a career in human resources; saving money might suggest accounting; transporting civilians out of a danger zone – that sounds like logistics to me; managing to build a bridge faster – self-explanatory.

Skills

Aside from all that, as part of your cross-training you probably received training on computer systems and could be as accomplished as many college graduates. You’ve obviously got great work habits, complete jobs, and make sure the paperwork is done. You undoubtedly have a global perspective that can be extremely useful in today’s global marketing and business.

On top of all that, you’re trained to be flexible and adaptable; you’re smart enough to accomplish tasks without step-by-step directions. You know rules are there for a reason and that a hierarchy exists for a purpose. All these items make you valuable to a corporate organization.

SC&C Military Transition TrainingTraining

You don’t have to get a job the first day either. Maybe the career you want requires some training to obtain. Remember, a GI Bill provides educational benefits. The post 9/11 GI Bill pays up to 100% of your educational expenses. Uncle Sam doesn’t mind if you make yourself smarter, more employable and (ultimately) happier. And you’ll make a good taxpayer once you’re fully employed.

Clearly you are capable. You can get the job done. It will only take a little finding your direction to know how to emphasize your skills and make it understandable to civilians.

Just remember, your boss isn’t your commanding officer; you are allowed to smile and ask questions. Don’t stand at attention all the time. Relax…at ease, soldier.

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.