Common Challenges During Readjustment to Civilian Life

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Civilians may not be aware of the unique challenges that separating from military service and returning to civilian life can present. Here, we highlight some of these challenges. Veterans may find difficulty with the following:

Relating to people who do not know or understand what military personnel have experienced (and many civilians don’t know that they don’t know!).

Reconnecting with family and re-establishing a role in the family.

–Families may have created new routines during absences and both the family and the Veteran will have to adjust to changes.

Joining or creating a community.

–When moving to a new base or post, the military helps military personnel and families adjust. This structure is often not automatically in place when someone separates from the military. The Veteran and his or her family may have to find new ways to join or create a social community.

Preparing to enter the workforce.

–A Veteran may have never looked for, applied for, or interviewed for a civilian job, especially if he or she had a career in the military. These are new skills he or she will have to learn and master.

–In applying for a job, a Veteran will have to determine how to translate his or her military skills and duties into civilian terms and create a resume.

–A Veteran may have never created a resume. Instead of a resume, the military uses a Field Service Record to detail qualifications, training, and experience.

Returning to a job.

–If deployed with the National Guard or Reserve, a Service Member will have to adjust to resuming their previous job or another similar job at the same company. For some recently returning Service Members, they may find themselves behind a desk in as little as three days after leaving a combat zone.

–Returning to the job may include a period of catching up, learning new skills, or adjusting to a new position. It will also include adjusting to social changes that may have occurred in the workplace.

–During the transition back to work, some Veterans also experience worry and fear about possible job loss.

Creating structure.

–The military provides structure and has a clear chain of command. This does not naturally exist outside the military. A Veteran will have to create his or her own structure or adjust to living in an environment with more ambiguity.

Adjusting to providing basic necessities (e.g., food, clothing, housing).

–In the military, these things are not only provided, but there is often little choice (e.g., you eat at determined times in a certain place, duty station determines your dress).

–Given the lack of choices while in the military, the vast array of choices in the civilian world can sometimes be overwhelming.

Adjusting to a different pace of life and work.

–In the military, personnel do not leave until the mission is complete. In a private sector business, an employee might be expected to stop and go home at 5 p.m., whether the “mission” is complete or not. They may not be apparent to all Veterans.

–Civilian workplaces may be competitive environments, as opposed to the collaborative camaraderie of the military.

–Given the direct nature of communication in military settings, there may be subtle nuances in conversations and workplace lingo that are unfamiliar to Veterans.

Establishing services.

–A Veteran may have to learn how to get a doctor, dentist, life insurance, etc. These services were previously provided by the military.

–A Veteran may also need to navigate the paperwork and process of obtaining benefits and services from the Department of Veteran Affairs.

Source: VA.gov

Every Day is a Dog Day for One Marine Veteran

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John and Daisy

By Brian Robin

The biggest rock star playing at Pechanga Resort Casino isn’t Pitbull. It isn’t Tony Bennett. Nor is it Michael Bolton, Paula Abdul, or Steven Tyler, all of whom have performed at the Temecula, California, resort this year.

No. The biggest rock star at the largest resort/casino on the West Coast slowly walks on four legs, wears a vest, and performs four days a week for 10 hours a day, helping to keep Pechanga team members and guests safe. And unlike the aforementioned, you can see her for free all over the property, not just in Pechanga’s entertainment venues.

Daisy—a 4-year-old lab/terrier mix rescue dog—is Pechanga’s reigning rock star. So much so that Pechanga’s management had to send out a memo to its team members not to pet her while she works. And when Daisy works, her job makes her the poster girl for an innovative, productive way of keeping Pechanga’s property and guests safe, while providing a renewed sense of life and purpose for one Marine veteran.

Daisy belongs to John Tipton, a 62-year-old Marine veteran who saw action in such places as Beirut, Grenada, and Iraq during the first Gulf War. Places and action that left the retired gunnery sergeant with post-traumatic stress disorder and turned the Vista resident into a self-described “grumpy grandpa” who was unemployed for three years.

“It was a pretty rough couple of years. I’d walk into job interviews, and they’d take one look at me and then look at the dog. You could see it in their eyes and hear it in the tone of their voice. They wondered what was wrong with me,” he said.

Now, the grumpy grandpa is a grateful grandpa. Under a program Pechanga instituted over the summer, John and Daisy are the first six-legged safety patrol team at the resort. Armed with a radio, water bowl, and beef jerky treats, they spend four days a week patrolling the hotel lobby, hallways, pool, casino, parking garages, and golf course, looking for things that are out of the normal routine for the bustling resort.

John Tipton and Daisy_4
John Tipton and Daisy taking a break from walking the 4 to 6 miles a day at Pechanga

“It brought me back to being a human again. It brought me back to doing the things I would normally do again,” Tipton said about his new position as DPS Specialist. “It takes the right person in the right spots for something like this to happen, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be here. A lot of people have said ‘It’s about time someone gives those with disabilities a chance,’ so I think our society is trending in the right direction.”

Those were Robert Krauss’ exact sentiments. Pechanga’s vice president of public safety and also a former Marine, Krauss lives ahead of the curve when it comes to next-level ways to keep guests safe. For example, Pechanga’s two security robots—one stationary and one mobile—Krauss introduced to the resort this summer. But not even security robots “Rudy” and “Buddy” have stopped traffic with appreciative guests like John and Daisy.

“These individuals have so much to offer our society that it’s a waste not to consider those with disabilities and their service dogs,” Krauss said. “The first time I heard John’s story, I knew he wasn’t the only one with issues finding a job where he could bring his service dog to work with him. I just knew we had to do something to help.”

“We have a need in the public safety department. They have a special skill set that I’m specifically looking for. Who better, with everything they’ve gone through and all the training and service they’ve provided for us. That’s exactly what we’re looking for here.”

Krauss said they’re looking for eight more veterans and their service dogs to join Tipton and Daisy, who has become the poster girl for more than just Pechanga. She’s the poster girl for the proverbial who-rescued-who happy dilemma many pet owners embrace.

“I’ll tell you this (about) the best part of having a service dog,” Tipton said. “Because everyone will tell you they got the best. But I do. That’s it. She’s the best-looking girl here.”

About the Author

Brian Robin is a copywriter at the Pechanga Resort Casino.

Marine Serves Up Success One Slice at a Time

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Mountain Mikes Pizza

Mountain Mike’s Pizza is committed to serving “pizza the way it oughta be!®.” Headquartered in Newport Beach, California, Mountain Mike’s is a family-style pizza chain with more than 200 franchised restaurants in California and the West.

Marine veteran John Maddox owns nine of these franchises throughout the Central Valley region of California, the most locations of any franchisee in the system.

He spoke to U.S. Veterans Magazine about his transition from the Marines to business ownership and how his military experience serves him in his current role.

Why did you decide to open your own business?

My father also served in the armed forces and I was an Army brat, so my family moved around a lot. I was born in Oklahoma and lived in multiple cities across the U.S., and even internationally in Germany. We finally settled in Northern California when I was a teenager. Following my high school graduation, I attended college near home at San Jose State and majored in aeronautics. While pursuing my university education, I worked at McDonald’s in a management position, and really fell in love with the industry. I enjoyed interacting with customers and forged lasting relationships with several colleagues who eventually helped guide me in my early days as a franchisee.

I flew helicopters for the Marine Corps and gained a lot of invaluable experience, but as with any military lifestyle, I continued to move quite a bit and didn’t see as much of my family as I would have liked. When my service with the Marine Corps concluded in 1992, I wanted my next step to be something that would keep my family in one place for a while. I decided to pursue a career in an industry in which I had experience, felt comfortable and was passionate about: food service. It was all about establishing roots in a community on both a personal and professional level.

John Maddox
John Maddox, Mountain Mike’s Pizza

As I began looking at my options, I got in contact with a former colleague who had found success as a franchisee in the pizza industry. I did my research and considered many different types of business opportunities and franchise concepts, ultimately landing on Mountain Mike’s. I was attracted to the brand for many reasons—the first being that my family and I really enjoyed the pizza. In terms of quality and flavor, I don’t think there’s anyone out there that does it better, and I felt very good about that. Also, Mountain Mike’s Pizza had a great reputation in Northern California, with plenty of room for growth, compelling average unit volume, and a history of being an active part of the communities it served. I know I made the right choice, because this continues to be true today. Their established business model and supportive corporate team provided the necessary tools for me and other franchisees to succeed, and I have been lucky to continue growing with the brand as both a franchisee and an area developer.

What lessons did you take from the military that helped you in running your own business?

One of the major things I took from the military is to value the process of training. As a Marine Corps officer, it’s important to train others, and train others how to train others. I also learned the importance of leadership by example. When we first opened, I was in the store from open to close every day for three months straight. It’s important for your employees to know that you’re willing to put the work in and go the extra mile, because they will work hard if you do. Another thing officers in every branch of the military are good at is delegating; hire good people who know how to get the job done, and get out of their way. Lastly, in the military, you learn how to make decisions—hard decisions. You have to be strong enough to tell people “no,” which is an essential skill for any business owner.

What advice would you give other veterans who want to open their own businesses?

I would tell other veterans looking to get into franchising to do their homework. This is something you’ll be doing every single day, so take the time to research your options and choose something you’ll enjoy. It was important to me to work with a concept that offered a high-quality, delicious product, and Mountain Mike’s Pizza has continued to show a commitment to delivering nothing but the best over the past 40 years.

Also, build a business plan and make sure the numbers work before diving in and signing on the dotted line. It could be one of the most successful franchises out there, but as a business owner you have to understand and be comfortable with the financial risk and time commitment involved with building a successful business. Not only did Mountain Mike’s Pizza offer a superior product to similar brands in the industry, they are all about serving and supporting their communities, which was important to my family and me. We continue to uphold this core value by making it a priority to be very active with local schools, community groups, youth clubs and sports leagues, charities and more. We’re committed to putting in the work and investing in our communities because we care about our customers. The benefit is that we’ve built a large and loyal customer base organically.

I went from being an officer in the Marine Corps to making pizzas, and although it was really hard work, it has paid off. Not only do I truly enjoy the restaurant industry and love building relationships with customers, some of whom have become close personal friends, but I’ve also seen a positive return on investment since starting my journey with Mountain Mike’s Pizza. The company is in a growth phase, and I plan to take advantage of the opportunities available to continue growing with the brand.

For more information, visit mountainmikespizza.com.

How to Land a Great Job after You Transition from the Military

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Bob-Wiedower-headshot

By Bob Wiedower, VP of Sales and Military Programs at Combined Insurance

Research. All successful military operations begin with collecting as much information on the situation as possible before building your execution plans. The same holds true for obtaining employment. The more you know about the environment the better prepared you will be to secure your perfect position. You should conduct a broad and deep assessment of your skills, abilities, and passions. There are many skills assessments online that you can use to help you determine what you’d be good at performing but more importantly what you would really enjoy doing. I’ve coached many transitioning service members and when I ask them ‘what do you want to do’ many times they don’t know or they respond with ‘I can do a lot of things.’  That’s certainly not specific enough, and it’s much easier to look for positions when you can target specific roles or job types.

Look for companies that are military-friendly. Veterans are unique and bring a strong set of skills to the workplace (leadership, integrity, energy, planning, ability to overcome obstacles, etc.).  Search for companies that understand and value veterans and what they have to offer.

Network, network, network. You should meet as many people as you can, specifically in industries or companies in which you’re interested, but do not limit yourselves to any one area. You never know where a relationship will lead, so never pass up an opportunity to meet someone new.  As a result of your relationship, you may find out about a position that suits you or they may offer to make an introduction to someone in a field in which you’re interested.

Resume.  This is critical because it may be the only thing a hiring official sees from you and you need to make them want to learn more about you. Similar to your skills assessment, there are numerous resources to assist you in writing a resume. Focus on results and not on job duties.  If you’re entire resume is a listing what you’re ‘responsible for,’ it is not at all powerful.  Stating your saved “X dollars” or “achieved X % readiness, the highest in the organization in 6 years,” etc. is much more meaningful.  Recruiters don’t want to know your job description, they want to know your impact.

Ensure you use civilian and not military terms.  “First Sergeant” doesn’t mean anything to a company, but “Senior HR Generalist” does. There are online ‘translators’ that can help in this area. Keep it short and meaningful.

Interview.  Once you’ve been given the opportunity to visit with the company, you’ll need to prepare. Most interviews these days involve situational questioning.  For example, one question might be “Tell me about a time when you had to deal with difficult customer” or “Tell me about a time when you were faced with multiple priorities?  How did you deal with them?”  These questions are meant to elicit specific actions you took, not that you would take.  In other words, they are asking about a time those things actually happened to you. They are looking for a quick summary of the situation, what you actually did in that case, and what was the result. To prepare for this, think about your past and to situations that had positive outcomes as a result of your actions. Build scenarios around those experiences in the form of situation, actions, and outcome.  Build 5-6 or those scenarios (more if you can) so that when you’re asked a question you can pull out the best vignette in your portfolio that meets their question.

Looking for a job is a job in itself.  The more prepared you are, the more likely you are to find the right position. Do your homework – look for the right job, at the right company, and show them how you will be an asset to their operations.

What Are the Best Cities to Live In After Service?

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Financial Tips

If you’re a veteran or about to become one, you might want to consider moving to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It’s first on Navy Federal Credit Union’s recently released list of The Best Cities After Service, a “unique look at the places best suited for servicemembers to consider living in after leaving the military.”

According to data from the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, approximately 250,000 military members transition out of the service each year.

To create the list, Navy Federal Credit Union, in partnership with Sperling’s Best Places, considered 11 metrics of veteran success and wellness—including income, unemployment rates, and proximity to VA hospitals and military bases—then coupled it with a suite of such quality-of-life measures as affordability, local economy, and access to health resources, colleges and the arts, and more.

The top 10 cities are:

  1. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  2. Omaha, Nebraska
  3. Colorado Springs, Colorado
  4. Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Area
  5. Grand Forks, North Dakota
  6. Austin, Texas
  7. San Antonio, Texas
  8. Charlottesville, Virginia
  9. Rapid City, South Dakota
  10. Manhattan, Kansas

“Right now, a number of factors make certain areas of the country ideal for veterans who are moving into civilian life,” said Robert Frick, corporate economist for Navy Federal. “The key factors are where the economic expansion is still going full throttle, which is creating new job and business opportunities for millions of Americans. Personal success is much easier when the economy around you is healthy, and a healthy economy is also a major factor in a better quality of life. The Best Cities After Service list helps veterans find these pockets of prosperity.”

Oklahoma City earns its top ranking with some of the strongest scores for both veteran-specific metrics and for overall quality-of-life measures,” said Bert Sperling, founder of Sperling’s BestPlaces. “Oklahoma City scored particularly well in the categories of high incomes and income growth for veterans, low unemployment among veterans, and the number of veteran-owned businesses.”

In continuing with the effort to make its members’ goals its mission, Navy Federal launched Best Cities After Service to make one of life’s biggest decisions a little simpler.

Source: Navy Federal Credit Union

Easterseals serves 20,000 vets and their families in 2018

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Angela Williams-Easterseals

In 2018, nearly 20,000 veterans and military family members received support through Easterseals through an extensive list of programs, including; advocacy and education and employment programs and job training.

Other programs include; military and veterans’ caregiver services, veteran community services and support and health and wellness programs. The organization is led by President and CEO Angela Williams, a retired United States Air Force officer, serving in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. The iconic nonprofit kicks off its 100th anniversary celebration, furthering its mission of supporting the disabled and their families. Over the past century, Easterseals has provided a multitude of disability services to more than 1.5 million people, helping to meet individual and family needs.

Easterseals Military & Veterans Services
Our mission is to ensure that it’s possible for veterans and military families to live their lives to the fullest in every community. We work to break down barriers, engage organizations and communities, and connect veterans and military families with what they need for meaningful employment, education and overall wellness. Our grassroots outreach – through 71 local affiliates in communities nationwide– provide unmatched, accessible, and indispensable resources and support for veterans and military families.

Grassroots Solutions through Easterseals
The needs of veterans and military families are evolving, not disappearing. That’s why Easterseals specializes in identifying the needs of veterans and military families, particularly with employment, job training and support like family respite opportunities. We work to make solutions easily accessible in communities.

Learn More about Easterseals Military and Veterans Services

Discover how we’ve been successful so far in our mission.

Our work in action

  • Advocacy & Education
    Veterans and military families deserve services delivered in an appropriate, timely, and accessible manner. Our Washington, DC-based government relations team works to influence federal and state legislation affecting veterans and military families and actively engages with Congressional staff in pursuit of these goals.
  • Employment Programs and Job Training
    Our employment programs provide the necessary tools to achieve and maintain meaningful employment and a steady income. We offer skills training, job search assistance, employment preparation and guidance. For example, we partner with the Direct Employers Association, which has a membership of about 800 employers who want to hire veterans and people with disabilities. Through this partnership, Easterseals is offering a job search portal at easterseals.jobs, which features job postings from these employers.
  • Military and Veterans Caregiver Services 
    We strive to ensure military caregivers can access what they need to take on the enormous responsibility of caregiving—often, while still needing to work, navigate family life and take care of themselves. We embrace and support military caregivers, particularly as they transition into this new experience, life-long trajectory and unfamiliar — yet vital role — within their families and communities.
  • Veteran Community Services & Support 
    Veterans come home to their families and communities, so serving them must be a community undertaking. That’s why, across the country, we are delivering services that veterans and military families need to live productive, successful lives.
  • Health and Wellness Programs
    We aim to reach as many veterans and military families as possible to provide health resources and programs, including adult dayand medical rehabilitation services.

Additional resources

What are many veterans asking themselves these days? “What to wear?!”  As military members return to civilian life and face the job search, figuring out the right suit to wear to an interview can be the biggest challenge, while the job responsibilities are a breeze. Watch the video below to see why, and help spread the message that veterans are highly skilled and valuable employees. See all three of our military themed public service videos. 

In November 2015, Easterseals hosted Heroes Work Here, an event to educate corporate leaders on hiring and retaining veterans. With friends and partners, we gathered important advice about how to hire America’s best and brightest. Find tips on why and how to hire veterans here!
Watch Travis Mills explain how you can hire veterans with Easterseals’ help right now.

Veteran and Dancing with the Stars winner JR Martinez and veteran and author Travis Mills play word association with Easterseals, our veteran edition!

Which Coding Language Should You Learn?

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Soldier using a laptop to code at desk

It’s a great time to learn how to code. Whether you’re looking to reinvent your career and become a developer, leverage a new skill in your current job, or just better understand what the developers on your team are up to, there has never been a better time to get into programming.

There’s been an explosion of coding boot camps and online resources to help you get started. But it’s a double-edged sword: with near-unlimited resources, countless different languages—and a rabbit hole of passionate voices debating which are the easiest to learn, best to help you get a job, and so on—where do you start?

The best way to learn to code is to stop endlessly analyzing what to learn and just start. So, with a giant disclaimer that these aren’t all of the languages you could consider learning to start your coding journey, here are a few languages you can learn.

JavaScript

Great for: beginners, aspiring software engineers

Think of the difference between dynamic, automatically updating Gmail account and your old static Hotmail, which needed to be reloaded to see new messages. That fundamental change was thanks to JavaScript. And, as one of the most popular languages out there, it’s still bringing websites to life in new, exciting ways. It has a ton of resources and tools available to help you use it effectively, and it opens you up to a ton of software engineering jobs. It can basically do everything, and if you’re going to be a full stack developer, you simply can’t avoid it.

Ruby

Great for: beginners, aspiring software engineers

Ruby was specifically designed by its inventor Yukihiro Matsumoto to make programmers happy, and it’s delivered upon that objective: Ruby is accessible and reads like English, allowing new programmers to focus right away on the fundamental concepts and logic, rather than basic syntax. Even beginners can start building right away. The teachers at the Flatiron School find Ruby to be extremely effective at helping students learn how to think like programmers, break problems down, express themselves technically, abstract ideas, and work together with other programmers. (The Flatiron Co-founder Avi is a little obsessed with it, too.)

Python

Great for: budding data scientists

There’s a massive amount of data out there. Companies that harness it can create better products and understand their businesses better; companies that don’t lose their competitive edge and get left behind. But while at its core, data science may be similar to your high school stats class, with so much data (hundreds of millions of records), your old spreadsheet is the wrong tool for the job. That’s where code comes in. The R language is super specific to statistics, whereas Python is a general-purpose language that happens to have great tooling available to make it a perfect language for data science. It’s actually similar to Ruby in a lot of ways: easy to read, forgiving for beginners, and there’s a passionate community around it, devoted to creating and improving the tooling to make Python even more powerful.

Swift

Great for: mobile developers, developers breaking out of their comfort zone

For beginners hoping to get into mobile app development, now is the perfect time to dive into Swift. It’s new enough that there is a lot of energy and excitement around it. Each year, Apple holds their Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) where Apple engineers discuss the intricacies of Swift along with all the new and exciting features (don’t be surprised if it inspires you to try implementing all the new concepts into your own apps). But it’s also been around long enough that the early kinks have been worked out, and the open source community has grown significantly. If you’re already a programmer, learning Swift is a way to get out of your comfort zone—the constraints iOS puts on your code forces you to, as Apple would say, “think different.”

Still not sure where to start? That’s OK! There’s really no correct first language to learn. The important thing is to consider what you’re excited to build, what language will help you do that, and then to just start learning!

In the end, this is why schools like Flatiron School doesn’t focus on teaching one specific technology. It wants you to learn how to learn—the only coding skill that will be never become obsolete. You don’t see Fortran or ColdFusion developers anymore. Similarly, you probably won’t be a Ruby or JavaScript developer in 10 years. Eventually, you will need to know more than one language if you want to have an awesome career and build amazing things. If you become skilled at learning languages, you’ll be ready to keep pace with technology as it changes.

Source: This piece was originally published by WeWork, which provides companies with the space, technology, and services they need to success.

Sailor Spotlight! Aviation Electronics Technician 3rd Class Alton Laussade

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Two Sailors aboard USS Chung-Hoon

Aviation Electronics Technician 3rd Class Alton Laussade, (left), from Raceland, Louisiana, and Aviation Machinist’s Mate Airman Remely Culas, (right), from Garden Grove, California, clean the main rotor pylon of an MH-60R Sea Hawk, with Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 37, aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93).

Chung-Hoon is underway conducting routine operations as part of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 3 in the U.S. Pacific Fleet area of operations. The men and women in the U.S. Navy are deployed around the clock and ready to protect and defend America on the world’s oceans.

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Logan C. Kellums)

10 Toughest Job Interview Questions — And How to Answer Successfully

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Interview questions

We’ve all been there—pleased that an interview was going really well until the interviewer threw out a real doozy of a question that you just don’t know how to answer. But you don’t have to panic.

We asked career coach Hallie Crawford to give us advice on how to answer the most difficult questions you’ve ever been asked. (Yes, we pulled them from real interviews.) Here’s how to answer each really well.

1. If your current employer had an anniversary party for you, what five words would be written on the cake to describe you?

While it may seem silly, “this question is designed to reveal how you think your manager perceives you,” Crawford says. “Before answering, ask yourself: how do your coworkers describe you? What did your manager commend you on recently?” With the answers to these questions in mind, “don’t be afraid to get a little creative with your reply,” Crawford says. But don’t be too verbose either. “You don’t want to give the impression that your anniversary cake would be too big,” she says, “so try and keep the words short and sweet.”

2. Who in history would you want to go to dinner with and why?

Before you answer this one, ask yourself whom you admire, past and present. “Perhaps a writer, an actor, a scientist, or even someone from your industry,” suggests Crawford. Then, consider, “what do you appreciate about their accomplishments? Why do they inspire you? Why do you feel that you would be friends? What would you want to discuss with them at dinner?” Crawford prompts you to ask yourself. “Use these elements when answering.”

3. Name a brand that represents you as a person.

Yep, not a brand you love—but one that embodies who you are. Now that’s a doozy. But it doesn’t have to be tough, Crawford says. “Think about your top personal values,” Crawford advises. “Now think about brands that also have those values. For example, if you value family and ethical practice, think about companies who are family-based, or create products for families who you know don’t do testing on animals, for example. Explain the values that you feel you share with the brand and why those values are important to you.”

4. Please describe an instance where you had to make a decision without all of the necessary information.

You came to the interview prepared, which means you have a list of accomplishments you can work from. Using an accomplishment for this question, “describe the situation and what information was missing and any measurable results achieved,” Crawford instructs. By using an accomplishment, you will show a hiring manager how you can persevere.

5. Sell me on one idea, and then sell me on the opposite of that idea.

“First of all, you want to think of an idea before you can start answering the question,” says Crawford. You may not have to come up with your own idea. “Ask the hiring manager if they have a specific idea in mind,” says Crawford. “If not, consider a recent idea that you discussed with your team or with coworkers. What was your position and why? What was the opposite position and why? Use those arguments. In this question, it is important that you sound convincing when presenting both ideas. This will provide insight into whether you are able to present ideas to your team—even if you don’t agree with the idea.”

6. If a coworker had an annoying habit, and it hindered your quality of work, how would you resolve it?

This may seem like a perplexing question, but it’s “designed to get to you how you deal with others,” explains Crawford. “Draw from a real-life experience if possible. What annoyed you? How did you resolve it? Is there a more effective way to handle the situation if it would happen again? Identify the annoying habit and then outline the steps you would take to try and resolve the situation while maintaining a good relationship with your coworker.”

7. What part of the newspaper do you read first? What does this say about you?

“This kind of question is asked to get to know you better as a person,” says Crawford. And while “at first glance, this seems a fairly easy question,” she says, it’s not. So, “before you answer, think about what genre of articles appeals to you: technology, fashion, current events,” Crawford advises. “Now determine if there is a way to link the genre that appeals to you as a professional. For example, if you are drawn to articles about technology, you could explain that your love of technology means that you enjoy learning new ways of doing things, you are open to change, and look to stay on top of current trends.”

8. Throw your resume aside and tell me what makes you you.

This is another question designed not to trip you up, Crawford says, but to get to know you better. “Keep in mind that they may have looked you up online and have your cover letter, so do your best not to just repeat something they have already read about you,” she says. “Instead, is there a background story about how you got into your industry? Can you explain your unique selling proposition—why you are unique in your industry? Or, you could explain your top three values and why they are important to you.”

9. What’s wrong with your past or current employer?

At all costs, “remember that you want to avoid bashing your current or past employer and the company,” warns Crawford. “This question is designed to find out why you are looking for a new job. Instead of focusing on them, focus on you. Are you looking for more career growth that what is offered where you currently work? Or a more challenging position?”

10. Tell me about the worst manager you ever had.

Before you bash your last boss, “remember that your hiring manager has your resume and knows where you have worked, so your managers won’t be completely anonymous,” warns Crawford. “However, you might explain a type of management style that wasn’t ideal for you. And if you haven’t had a bad manager, don’t make one up. Let the hiring manager know that you honestly have gotten along with your previous managers, and focus on how you are able to work with different personality and management styles.”

The article was originally posted on Glassdoor.com

U.S. Department of Labor Announces Award of $47,600,000 In Training Grants to Help Homeless Veterans Re-enter the Workforce

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transitioning veteran shaking hands with employer

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta announced the award of 163 Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program (HVRP) grants totaling $47,600,000. This funding will provide workforce reintegration services to more than 18,000 homeless veterans.

“While serving in the military, veterans learn many skills desired in today’s workforce,” said Secretary Acosta. “These grants will help thousands of homeless veterans reintegrate themselves into society and secure good jobs.”

Funds are being awarded on a competitive basis to state and local workforce investment boards; local public agencies and nonprofit organizations; tribal governments; and faith-based and community organizations. Homeless veterans may receive occupational skills training, apprenticeship opportunities, and on-the-job training, as well as job search and placement assistance.

This year’s HVRP awards provide 40 first-year grants totaling nearly $13,000,000. Previous awardees will receive first and second option year grants totaling $34,600,000.

Grantees under the HVRP program will coordinate their efforts with other federal programs, such as the Veterans Affairs Supportive Services for Veteran Families program and the Department of Housing and Urban Development Continuum of Care program.

More information on the Department’s unemployment and re-employment programs for veterans is available at www.dol.gov/vets/. For more information about the Department’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS), please visit veterans.gov or follow on @VETS_DOL twitter.

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Patriot Boot Camp wants to turn soldiers into entrepreneurs

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From the earliest moments of boot camp, budding soldiers learn about entrepreneurship. They learn how to operate in unknown terrain, how to listen to signals and, perhaps most importantly, how to make things happen with extremely limited time and resources.

Yet, when soldiers return home following a deployment, the transition to civilian life can be jarring. Even with those valuable soft skills, there aren’t many obvious jobs in the private sector for a combat engineer or a fire support specialist. Perhaps even more challenging, according to Josh Carter, is their lack of connections. “The biggest thing that veterans are facing is network — they don’t have a big network,” he said.

Carter is working to change that situation through Patriot Boot Camp, a series of programs under the Techstars banner that gives veterans the tools and connections they need in order to launch a startup. The nonprofit, which was founded by Taylor McLemore, Congressman Jared Polis and Techstars  founder David Cohen, hosts multi-day “boot camps” in cities across the country that are designed to quickly immerse participants into the life and thinking of startups. Since its founding in 2012, the program has held nine boot camps in cities like San Antonio, DC and Austin, with its next program in Denver later this year.

Carter’s own experience making the transition from the navy to the private sector is telling. He joined the service when he was 17 in the mid-90s, and over the following three years, traveled to 30 countries. The experience matured him, he explained, and on his return, he joined the telecom industry, starting his career climbing poles and eventually joining Twilio as an escalation manager and early employee. Twilio changed Carter’s life, encouraging him to pursue startups as his own career. “During that time I really got the bug to create something,” he said.

He tried to build his own startup called Brightwork, which was a developer microservices API founded in 2015. The company went through Techstars Chicago, and Carter was hoping to build the kind of company he had seen at Twilio. But growth challenges early on proved insurmountable. “We were really struggling to figure out our target market and struggling to find investors, so it just sort of died,” he told me.

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