Most 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 they’re 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 it’s 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
Applicant 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 he’s going to dread never being able to fill that position. That’s when you’re 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.
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.
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!