Why the Construction Industry is a Great Fit for Veterans

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United Veterans Housing Coalition

Construction is a great industry/career for veterans to transition into and grow within whatever field they choose.

United Veterans Housing Coalition is a non-profit organization I established in 2015. I’ve had a lot of experience working with veterans, and I believe they are a special caliber of human, with character traits any manager would wish for in all employees. Veterans excel at getting the job done and doing it in the most efficient way possible.

Almost every one of my employees has some connection to veterans. Some have a family member or friend in the military, and some have served in some branch of service themselves. They love the particular fields that have to do with building and managing. Veterans see budgets and deadlines as the kind of challenges‎ they welcome with open arms.

I firmly believe that, with the proper training and opportunities, veterans can succeed in the construction field better than any other group. ‎The jobs in the construction industry that I have found to best match veterans’ capabilities and hunger for success are building inspectors, OSHA compliance trainers/inspectors, carpenter/framers, and general contractors. General contractors are tasked with forming teams of individuals to set and achieve goals. Framers (those that build the houses, additions, etc.) still get to use heavy-duty power tools and machinery.

United Veterans Housing Coalition has three main goals, all benefiting veterans:

  1. Building housing for homeless veterans in Los Angeles County, currently the area with the largest population of homeless veterans in the country. In the future, United Veterans Housing Coalition intends to branch out, ultimately becoming a nationwide effort.
  2. Employing and training veterans who are looking for‎ jobs, helping them to identify what they would enjoy doing in the construction field.
  3. Helping cure PTSD, one veteran at a time if necessary.

The housing built by United Veterans Housing Coalition is constructed in the form of a “complex”—it typically houses between 15 and 50 homeless veterans in a development complex capable of offering onsite PTSD care with professional caretakers, ‎activities to keep the mind working, schooling, training, ride transfers to and from doctors/VA appointments, and large shared kitchens.

This housing can be designated temporary or permanent housing for veterans, depending on the need. Some veterans require more help than others. The ideal scenario is to house homeless veterans, rehabilitate them, and have them go out on their own with the tools and support they need to start a successful career. Veterans don’t want people doing favors for them—they want to earn it.

Author
Sam Zavosh
United Veterans Housing Coalition

Keep Your Eye on These 15 Jobs

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man dressed in a suit with several other professionals in the background

You might be thinking, “How can I find a private sector career when my work history is so different?” The good news is, though, there are plenty of great jobs for veterans out there.

The truth is, many employers are eager to hire veterans. The discipline, leadership and work ethic that you learn in the military translhttps://www.usveteransmagazine.com/wp-admin/post-new.php#edit_timestampate well into the private sector, and the diversity of experience you bring with you can help lead to new and innovative ideas and solutions.

So what jobs most benefit from these skills?

While your options are endless, we’ve put together a list of great jobs for veterans.

All of these positions benefit from the skills you learn in the military and have relatively low barriers to entry—no need to have years of directly related work experience.

Check them out below, and apply today!

PROJECT COORDINATOR

Average base pay: $51,468/yr

Project coordinators oversee projects, making sure each necessary component is delivered on time and within budget. To excel in this position, you’ll need superb organizational and communication skills.

See open jobs here: glassdoor.com/Job/project-coordinator-jobs-SRCH_KO0,19.htm

TRUCK DRIVER

Average base pay: $43,464/yr

Don’t let fears of automation dissuade you—truck drivers are in high demand right now and will likely continue to be in the foreseeable future. Truck drivers carry cargo from point A to point B and require a commercial driving license. It may also be a good idea to attend truck driving school if you don’t have experience driving large vehicles.

See open jobs here: glassdoor.com/Job/truck-driver-jobs-SRCH_KO0,12.htm

SALES REPRESENTATIVE

Average base pay: $39,300/yr

Sales representatives reach out and field inquiries from prospective customers, whether through email, phone or in-person. Sales representatives should have excellent people and communication skills and understand their clients’ needs.

See open jobs here: glassdoor.com/Job/sales-representative-jobs-SRCH_KO0,20.htm

RECRUITER

Average base pay: $51,349/yr

In many ways, recruiters’ jobs are very similar to sales representatives—but rather than selling a product or service to a client, they’re selling a candidate on a job and company. Recruiters both proactively seek out candidates for open jobs and field inquiries from interested candidates. Great people and organizational skills are a must.

See open jobs here: glassdoor.com/Job/recruiter-jobs-SRCH_KO0,9.htm

TECHNICIAN

Average base pay: $36,826/yr

If you have previous experience repairing or maintaining equipment, you might be interested in a career as a technician. Technicians work on all sorts of equipment and machinery, from cars to computers to aircraft and more. Depending on which field you enter, you may need certification, but programs are often significantly less time-intensive and costly than college degrees.

See open jobs here: glassdoor.com/Job/technician-jobs-SRCH_KO0,10.htm

OPERATIONS COORDINATOR

Average base pay: $48,397/yr

Operations coordinator is a role where you ensure that a business runs smoothly and efficiently. To do this, you’ll perform various support tasks for the team you’re assigned to. Candidates should be detail-oriented, organized and excellent at time management.

See open jobs here: glassdoor.com/Job/operations-coordinator-jobs-SRCH_KO0,22.htm

Store Manager

Average base pay: $50,688/yr

An excellent choice for anyone with leadership experience, store managers are tasked with leading the day-to-day functions of a store. This might include scheduling, inventory, employee training and coaching, marketing and reporting.

See open jobs here: glassdoor.com/Job/store-manager-jobs-SRCH_KO0,13.htm

Plumber

Average base pay: $50,000/yr

Another strong option for those with maintenance and repair experience, plumbers install and fix water-supplying pipes and drains. Plumbers usually need proper licensing, which can be obtained through a combination of training, experience and sometimes an exam.

See open jobs here: glassdoor.com/Job/plumber-jobs-SRCH_KO0,7.htm

Customer Support Representative

Average base pay: $33,512/yr

Customer support representatives’ primary responsibility is to keep customers satisfied. They do this by fielding questions and complaints, whether through phone, email, in person or on social media. Customer support representatives should have great people skills and an eagerness to become experts in their company’s products or services.

See open jobs here: glassdoor.com/Job/customer-support-representative-jobs-SRCH_KO0,31.htm

Electrician

Average base pay: $53,794/yr

As their title suggests, electricians install and repair electrical systems. They may work in residential homes, larger buildings, outdoor power lines or other specialties. Electricians typically need a license, which often requires formal training, an apprenticeship and an exam.

See open jobs here: glassdoor.com/Job/electrician-jobs-SRCH_KO0,11.htm

Logistics Coordinator

Average base pay: $46,898/yr

Those with military logistics training could excel in a private sector career in logistics. Logistics coordinators typically are responsible for managing activities in a company’s supply chain and may be responsible for coordinating and tracking shipments from departure to destination, communicating with suppliers and preparing accurate documents of record.

See open jobs here: glassdoor.com/Job/logistics-coordinator-jobs-SRCH_KO0,21.htm

Warehouse Associate

Average base pay: $24,000/yr

Prefer to stay on your feet and active? You might want to consider becoming a warehouse associate. Warehouse Associates spend their time moving packages between different destinations in a warehouse and may operate equipment like forklifts. While the pay is on the lower end, a hot labor market and the rising popularity of eCommerce is driving wages up.

See open jobs here: glassdoor.com/Job/warehouse-associate-jobs-SRCH_KO0,19.htm

DATA ANALYST

Average base pay: $67,377/yr

If you’ve got a knack for numbers, you might want to become a data analyst. Data analysts gather and analyze data to identify trends and derive business insights. You may need to teach yourself a few additional skills—SQL, R and Python are common computing languages used—but there’s no shortage of online tutorials and courses to help you out.

See open jobs here: glassdoor.com/Job/data-analyst-jobs-SRCH_KO0,12.htm

REAL ESTATE AGENT

Average base pay: $48,883/yr

Real estate agent is a common choice for career changers of all different backgrounds. Real estate agents connect prospective buyers or renters with available properties. They should have great interpersonal, sales and marketing skills, and must pass an exam to obtain a license.

See open jobs here: glassdoor.com/Job/real-estate-agent-jobs-SRCH_KO0,17.htm

IT SUPPORT SPECIALIST

Average base pay: $51,564/yr

Good with computers? Think about becoming an IT support specialist, whose primary duty is to ensure that an organization’s employees have a smooth technological experience. You may be required to assist with helpdesk tickets, set up equipment and train employees on new technologies. Formal training and certifications are sometimes required but can often be completed online or through a vocational school.

See open jobs here: glassdoor.com/Job/it-support-specialist-jobs-SRCH_KO0,21.htm

Source: Glassdoor

Navy Veteran Builds Successful Second Career as a Franchise Business Owner

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Ronald Finch veteran business owner

By Rhonda Sanderson

Ron Finch doesn’t need Veterans Day to remind him he’s in select company. A career Naval officer who served 22 years, Finch is a franchise owner with Enviro-Master Services, North America’s leading health and safety-focused commercial cleaning service that has doubled in size since 2012. A favorite among veterans, Enviro-Master offers a 25 percent discount to former military members. Conversely, veterans are a favorite among franchisors, and with good reason.

“I would tell any veteran to keep their nose to the grindstone, because it’s going to be a lot of work. However, the reward is great; the ability to make a difference in others’ lives, to make a difference in the community where you live and financial independence and autonomy for yourself.” Finch, a Mobile resident who purchased an existing Enviro-Master franchise in July 2018, serves commercial businesses throughout the Florida Panhandle and the Gulf Coast regions of Alabama and Mississippi.

Enviro-Master is focused on making a difference in the health of communities around the world with 78 franchise locations currently servicing thousands of retail and restaurant locations weekly. Enviro-Master provides a comprehensive disease prevention, odor control and sterilization program for commercial businesses. In 2018 Enviro-Master International Franchise was ranked for the fifth year in a row by Inc. 5000 as one of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies, and in 2019 for the seventh year in a row by Entrepreneur Franchise 500.

Having spent more than two decades as a Naval Aviator, Finch said he was fortunate to hold many leadership positions in his former career. Among them, returning from his last deployment, Finch became the Maintenance Officer of a failing maintenance department at his squadron, responsible for 11 helicopters and approximately 200 personnel.

“I had to work to instill a culture of excellence and integrity, and that’s a philosophy I carried with me when I bought my existing franchise,” Finch said of Enviro-Master, which provides unique processes and products that disinfect and sterilize surfaces that serve as breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses, such as the flu, Hepatitis, Norovirus and MRSA. Enviro-Master’s commercial restroom hygiene service, which is applied with EPA-registered, non-toxic products, ensures 99.99 percent of germs are killed. “Our brand had low recognition in my territory,” said Finch, whose majority of customers are restaurants and convenience stores. “It is very exciting to be out on the sales road telling businesses what we do. I’m adding customers because most thought they only had one or two big-name, high-priced choices until we met.”

After retiring from the Navy, Finch considered several options, but they involved relocating, something Finch wanted to avoid for his family. A franchise coach introduced him to Enviro-Master, a company that is a recognized leader in the $61 billion commercial cleaning industry, which is expected to grow by an additional two percent in 2019 alone, according to experts.

Finch offers these three lessons he learned in the military that he translated to his new business:

  • Integrity is paramount. In the military, shortcutting a procedure can result in loss of life. In this business, doing things the right way every time keeps the customers happy and aids in retention.
  • These next two fall under leadership. Every military leader knows leading by example is vital to creating a high-performing culture. With my business, I have to hold myself to the highest standard if I am to demand excellence from my team and expect them to execute.
  • Also, under the broader leadership category is taking care of your people. Those who are working hard have to know their boss (leader) cares for them. If the boss is setting the example and caring for the employees, they feel valued and respected from the top and are much more willing to perform at a high level. Overall, these lessons result in accomplishing the mission of customer retention, business growth, and gaining more business from customer base (Retain, Grow, Gain).

Currently targeting growth in major markets throughout North America, Enviro-Master’s continued growth is fueled by five basic fundamentals: 1) Large, identifiable markets; 2) Lack of competition; 3) Recession resistance; 4) Recurring revenue model; and 5) Service that can’t be displaced by technology. “I considered a few different franchises at first, but Enviro-Master was my favorite choice based on their business model,” Finch said. “After my discovery weekend with Enviro-Master leadership and staff, I knew it was the right choice.”

Rhonda Sanderson is founder and president of Sanderson PR, a Chicago-based marketing and public relations firm specializing in franchising since 1986.

Photo Credit: John Amato

How to Navigate the Post-Military Job Search

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Soldier mid section with tablet against blurry map

Jeff McMillan, Chief Data & Analytics Officer at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management

Over my years of advising veterans transitioning from military service to civilian workplaces, I’ve found that for many, the biggest obstacle
has nothing to do with their qualifications or abilities–it’s not knowing how to navigate the process of finding a job.

Knowing the basic steps and preparing for each one can help you put your best foot forward each time you submit an application or walk into an interview.

1. Write an impeccable resume

Your resume should communicate two kinds of information: 1) The type of role you are looking for and 2) How your unique experience and skills make you a strong candidate. When writing a resume, keep the following tips in mind:

● State the type of role you are looking for and a summary of your skills upfront. These first lines may be all a hiring manager reads, so make them concise and impactful.
● Highlight your experience and education, including specific skills and accomplishments that are relevant to the job for which you are applying.
● Avoid military jargon – Most civilians will not understand military acronyms and abbreviations, or even the names of specific units.
● Proofread thoroughly for spelling or grammatical errors.

2. Network early and often

Networking is the act of establishing mutually beneficial professional relationships. Like many veterans, I found the idea of networking to be strange and foreign at first. Military relationships are largely pre-determined according to the chain of command. But outside the military, building your professional network is up to you. Beyond finding a job, networking is about forging new relationships with people who can help you learn and grow. Meeting people from a wide variety of professional backgrounds helps you chart your own course, and each conversation will improve your ability to deliver a strong, compelling message about your skills and experience.

To get started, reach out to everyone you know who works in a field that interests you, especially other veterans–most enjoy speaking with transitioning vets. In recent years, a whole new generation of veterans’ groups has emerged and is modernizing engagement and support through community activism, training programs, and social engagement. I also recommend attending as many veteran-focused career fairs as you can. Numerous organizations as well as some universities and companies host events focused on educating veterans all around the U.S.

Social media is also a great way to connect with people you know (or want to know). Put together a clear and concise profile (refer to your resume) and don’t be afraid to “advertise” what you are looking for.

3. Interview with confidence and humility

Interviews are probably the most important part of the job search, and also an area where most military personnel have significant room for improvement (at first). Here are a few things to keep in mind as you navigate your first few interviews:

● Do your homework in advance – Familiarize yourself with the job description and read up on the company’s products and services, leadership, and any recent news or announcements.
● Communicate clearly and concisely why you are right for the role – Refer back to the original work you did around identifying your skills and interests.
● Practice – Ask members of your network to critique your answers to common interview questions, and go on as many interviews as possible for practice.
● Dress for the job – If you are unsure what to wear to an interview, ask what the normal dress code for the office is. When in doubt, err on the side of more professional than casual.
● Don’t use “sir” or “ma’am” – This can come off as overly formal or even intimidating in a corporate setting.
● Be confident and humble – Most people will admire you for your service, but there is also a perception that ex-military men and women can be overly intense and aggressive. Make sure to display humility and willingness to work with others.
● Send a thank-you note – Within 24 hours of the interview, send every person you spoke with a note thanking them for their time and reiterating your interest in the position.
● Don’t get discouraged – Keep in mind that interviewers are also talking with other candidates, and someone else may be more qualified for the role. Focus on treating each interview as a learning experience, whether or not you receive an offer.

Once you understand the process, job hunting essentially becomes a probability exercise: the more jobs you apply for, the more interviews you will get. And the more interviews you do, the more likely you are to be offered a job. Be persistent in expanding your network, identifying new opportunities, and practicing your job-seeking skills, and job offers will follow.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management or its affiliates. All opinions are subject to change without notice.

Morgan Stanley Wealth Management is a business of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC.

© 2019 Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC. Member SIPC.

The Refrigerating Engineers & Technicians Association and Smithfield Foods Launch Training Program for Veterans Transitioning to Civilian Work

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Veteran Transitioned to Civilian Workforce as a refrigeration engineer

The Refrigerating Engineers and Technicians Association (RETA) and Smithfield Foods, Inc. are pleased to announce RedWhiteandCool, an initiative focused on recruiting, training and hiring transitioning military veterans into the growing and highly sustainable natural refrigeration industry as refrigeration technicians.

Smithfield Foods, the founding sponsor of the program, is dedicated to supporting veterans through employment and philanthropic initiatives like RedWhiteandCool.

“There is a shortage of skilled labor in our country and the commercial and natural refrigeration industry is not exempt from this employment deficit,” said Lois Stirewalt of RETA. “There are currently more than 40,000 jobs open nationally for refrigeration technicians. At the same time, many veterans remain unemployed once they transition to civilian live. RedWhiteandCool is taking action to address this very issue.”

The RedWhiteandCool program will work hand in hand with the Department of Defense and transitioning military personnel, family members and veterans to recruit them into the commercial refrigeration industry. The partnership, administered by RETA’s non-profit arm RETA-Training Institute (RETA-TI) in conjunction with the Department of Defense SkillBridge program, is the organization’s newest and highly innovative Career Skills Program (CSP).

“At Smithfield Foods, supporting the men and women who have served our country is core to who we are as an American company,” said Keira Lombardo, executive vice president of corporate affairs and compliance for Smithfield Foods and president of the Smithfield Foundation. “We owe a debt of gratitude to our veterans; this training and transition program is just one way we demonstrate our appreciation. Partnering with RETA was a natural fit to help connect these veterans with skilled trade jobs at our company and in our industry.”

Transitioning military veterans met yesterday with program staff during an information session to learn more about the training program and refrigeration industry. The free four-week course will begin on Mon., Mar. 23, 2020 at Joint Base Langely-Eustis in Virginia. Participants will receive certification testing at the end of the program and have the opportunity to interview for a career with Smithfield Foods as part of the company’s veteran hiring initiative.

About the Refrigerating Engineers and Technicians Association
The Refrigerating Engineers and Technicians Association (RETA) is the most recognized organization in the country dedicated to the professional development of industrial refrigeration operators and technicians. Founded in 1910, RETA is a non-profit membership and certification organization currently based in Albany, Oregon. The RETA-Training Institute is the 501 c 3 arm dedicated to addressing workforce development issues across the industry.

Ammonia and CO2 features many sustainable benefits. They are naturally occurring green substances with no potential for ozone depletion, and no potential for direct global warming impact. It requires less primary energy to produce a given refrigeration effect than other common refrigerants, has a low replacement cost, and its self-alarming odor helps to detect leaks and minimize emissions.

For more information please visit: www.RETA.com

About Smithfield Foods, Inc.
Headquartered in Smithfield, Va. since 1936, Smithfield Foods, Inc. is an American food company with agricultural roots and a global reach. Our 40,000 U.S. employees are dedicated to producing “Good food. Responsibly.®” and have made us one of the world’s leading vertically integrated protein companies. We have pioneered sustainability standards for more than two decades, including many industry firsts, such as our ambitious commitment to cut our carbon impact by 25 percent by 2025. We believe in the power of protein to end food insecurity and have donated hundreds of millions of food servings to our neighbors in need. Smithfield boasts a portfolio of high-quality iconic brands, such as Smithfield®, Eckrich®, and Nathan’s Famous®, among many others. For more information, visit www.smithfieldfoods.com, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Retired US Navy Commander and Harvard MBA Begins New Career with Floor Coverings International

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Kris Piotrowski stands outside her work vehicle

Kris Piotrowski’s background couldn’t have positioned her any better for her “second career.” The fact that she’s following in the legacy of her father is only icing on the cake.

The 48-year-old Piotrowski, a retired U.S. Navy Commander who holds a Harvard MBA and also had a successful stint working in Corporate America, launched operations as a franchise owner with Floor Coverings International, visiting customers’ homes in a Mobile Flooring Showroom stocked with thousands of flooring samples from top manufacturers. Floor Coverings International Mesa, AZ serves clients throughout Mesa, Apache Junction, Gold Canyon, Queen Creek, Phoenix, Tempe, Glendale, Laveen, Litchfield Park, Tolleson, Avondale and Goodyear.

“I do think that my military experience, coupled with my leadership and business training from Corporate America, is a definite asset to my business,” said Piotrowski, a Scottsdale resident who spent four years after her military career as a Facilities and Logistics expert. “Additionally, I have more than 10 years of facilities/flooring experience and am organized and driven.”

Piotrowski was further inspired to pursue small-business ownership when she recalled her father’s trade when she was a youngster. “I have always wanted to own my own business,” she said. “I grew up with a father who was a cobbler and supported his family by making and repairing shoes. When I received my MBA, I realized I wanted to be an entrepreneur and it was an inspiring moment in my career.”

In Floor Coverings International, Piotrowski found a company that has tripled in size since 2005 by putting a laser focus on consumer buying habits and expressed desires, its impressive operating model, growth ability, marketing, advertising and merchandising. Floor Coverings International further separates itself from the competition through its customer experience, made up of several simple and integrated steps that exceed customers’ expectations.

“I was inspired to select Floor Coverings International over other franchisors based on its culture, franchisee support, initial investment, and of course, being able to set my own schedule,” Piotrowski said. “Floor Coverings International was head and shoulders above the rest.”

ABOUT FLOOR COVERINGS INTERNATIONAL

Floor Coverings International is the #1 Mobile Flooring Franchise in North America. Utilizing a unique in-home experience, the mobile showroom comes directly to the customer’s door with more than 3,000 flooring choices. Floor Coverings International has 150-plus locations throughout the U.S. and Canada with plenty of opportunity for continued expansion in 2020.

For franchise information, please visit flooring-franchise.com

And to find your closest location, please visit floorcoveringsinternational.com.

Kurt Busch Continues Commitment to Veterans and Active Duty Servicemembers Through Race Ticket Giveaway Program

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Kurt Busch pictured in NASCAR uniform smiling

NASCAR veteran driver and NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) Champion Kurt Busch announced plans recently for the KB100 Plus (KB100+) ticket giveaway. Hoping to build on the success of his offer in 2019, where he provided 100 tickets to every NCS race in partnership with Veteran Tickets Foundation (Vet Tix).

“I will call on the consideration of other drivers, tracks and industry partners to support the ticket offering from what we did in 2019”, said Busch. In 2019 there were more than 50,000 requests for the 3,800 tickets that were made available through Vet Tix.  Busch commented, “I have always had a strong desire to pay respect to those who have served and continue to serve our country. My hope is that with help from others we can enhance the offering for more deserving Vet Tix members to attend races this season, hence KB100+”.

“Our mission is to give something to those who gave, and the commitment Kurt has made to partner with Vet Tix has been extraordinary,” said Mike Focareto, U.S. Navy veteran, CEO and Founder of Veteran Tickets Foundation. “His impact on supporting the Vet Tix mission to honor our current serving military members and veterans of all eras and their families has been significant. Whether he’s visiting troops convalescing at hospitals, giving our VetTixers an opportunity to enjoy a race, or meeting him in pit row, he has been the example of how a top-athlete and influencer can make a difference in so many lives. We are proud to partner with Kurt to share an initiative to help those who serve and their families make lifelong memories through racing.”

Whether it is one additional ticket, or a match of Busch’s commitment to 100 tickets to every race, KB100+ will offer Vet Tix members the chance to attend an NCS race at every event on the schedule.

About Veteran Tickets Foundation:

Veteran Tickets Foundation (Vet Tix), a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, provides free tickets to sporting events, concerts, performing arts and family activities to currently serving military, National Guard and Reserves, veterans of all eras, immediate family of those killed in action, and VetTixers’ caregivers. Since 2008, Vet Tix has provided over 9 million free event tickets to more than 1.5 million members. In 2018 Vet Tix launched 1st Tix, which provides the same service to our nation’s current and retired law enforcement officers, firefighters, and EMTs. These events help service members, veterans and first responders reduce stress, strengthen family bonds, build lifelong memories, and encourage them to stay engaged with American life and their local communities. Vet Tix spends over 95 percent of its revenue on programs, ensuring that we give back to those who have given so much. Visit VetTix.org and 1stTix.org to learn more, and follow us on InstagramTwitter and Facebook.

For more information: vettix.org

What kind of questions should you ask at the end of a job interview?

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man sitting at a desk being interviewed by a man and womanfor a job

It’s a scenario many of us have found ourselves in. You’re nearing the end of a job interview and finally, you can begin to relax a little. Despite the nerves, you’ve come across well and answered all the questions confidently – and with a little bit of luck, you may just be offered the position.

Before you can run out of the room, however, the interviewer wants to know if you have any questions for them.

It might be tempting to say no, so you can leave as quickly as possible – but asking questions can be of huge benefit when it comes to interviewing for a job.

Firstly, it’s important to remember that interviews should always be considered a two-way street. Yes, the recruiter is interested in finding out if your skills and abilities are suited to the role in question. But a job interview is also a chance for you to work out if this is the right job for you – and if you are going to fit in well at the company.

“As candidates, we can often get caught up in the whole process, particularly as we try to remember the answers we’ve prepared but it’s equally as important to take time towards the end of the interview to ask your own questions,” says Row Davies, HR business manager at the recruitment firm Macildowie.

While you’re preparing for your interview and imagining the kind of questions you might be asked, it’s also useful to think about any queries you might have too. However, don’t ask an interviewer anything you can find out easily yourself, either online or on the company’s social media channels.

“It’s crucial for you to assess whether the company is the right fit for you, as just like any relationship, both need to benefit and feel comfortable with the partnership,” Davies says.

“Not only does the process allow you to show your enthusiasm for the company, asking questions also gives you the opportunity to check your goals and values are aligned with the business. You don’t want to be a year or more down the line and find that the company is heading in a direction that you don’t want to or perhaps can’t follow.”

So what kind of questions should you be asking as an interview candidate?

Davies believes there are three key questions that should be on every job applicant’s list.

“The first, is asking the interviewer ‘is there anything regarding my experience you would like me to expand upon?’. Not only does this show that you are engaged, it also provides you with the opportunity to further emphasise your strengths and how you believe these will be an asset to the company’s objectives,” she says.

The second is about learning and development – and specifically, whether the company is actively investing in their employees. After all, you want to know that you’re going to move forward in a job.

“Ask, ‘how do you support the professional development of your employees?’. Answers to this question will give you an insight into how the business will support you as you progress up the career ladder,” Davies says.

“It also shows the interviewer you have aspirations and a drive to succeed in the organization.”

Finally, it’s a good idea to find out more about the company’s environment and whether they look after their employees.

“I would encourage any of my candidates to ask the interviewer, ‘what do you like most about working for the company?’ This is great for building a personal connection with the interviewer, giving them the opportunity to share their personal views and the passion they have for the company,” Davies says.

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Retired US Navy Commander and Harvard MBA Begins New Career with Floor Coverings International

LinkedIn
Kris Piotrowski poses outside in front of her work vehicle

Kris Piotrowski’s background couldn’t have positioned her any better for her “second career.” The fact that she’s following in the legacy of her father is only icing on the cake.

The 48-year-old Piotrowski, a retired U.S. Navy Commander who holds a Harvard MBA and also had a successful stint working in Corporate America, launched operations as a franchise owner with Floor Coverings International, visiting customers’ homes in a Mobile Flooring Showroom stocked with thousands of flooring samples from top manufacturers. Floor Coverings International Mesa, AZ serves clients throughout Mesa, Apache Junction, Gold Canyon, Queen Creek, Phoenix, Tempe, Glendale, Laveen, Litchfield Park, Tolleson, Avondale and Goodyear.

“I do think that my military experience, coupled with my leadership and business training from Corporate America, is a definite asset to my business,” said Piotrowski, a Scottsdale resident who spent four years after her military career as a Facilities and Logistics expert. “Additionally, I have more than 10 years of facilities/flooring experience and am organized and driven.” Piotrowski was further inspired to pursue small-business ownership when she recalled her father’s trade when she was a youngster. “I have always wanted to own my own business,” she said. “I grew up with a father who was a cobbler and supported his family by making and repairing shoes. When I received my MBA, I realized I wanted to be an entrepreneur and it was an inspiring moment in my career.”

In Floor Coverings International, Piotrowski found a company that has tripled in size since 2005 by putting a laser focus on consumer buying habits and expressed desires, its impressive operating model, growth ability, marketing, advertising and merchandising. Floor Coverings International further separates itself from the competition through its customer experience, made up of several simple and integrated steps that exceed customers’ expectations. “I was inspired to select Floor Coverings International over other franchisors based on its culture, franchisee support, initial investment, and of course, being able to set my own schedule,” Piotrowski said. “Floor Coverings International was head and shoulders above the rest.”

ABOUT FLOOR COVERINGS INTERNATIONAL

Floor Coverings International is the #1 Mobile Flooring Franchise in North America. Utilizing a unique in-home experience, the mobile showroom comes directly to the customer’s door with more than 3,000 flooring choices. Floor Coverings International has 150-plus locations throughout the U.S. and Canada with plenty of opportunity for continued expansion in 2020. For franchise information, please visit www.flooring-franchise.com and to find your closest location, floorcoveringsinternational.com

Fire Destroys Working Wardrobes Headquarters in Irvine, CA

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Working Wardrobes floor displays professional career attire for men and women job seekers

Non-Profit Facility Providing Work Attire and Training to over 105,000 Job Seekers since 1990 Loses Building and Donation Inventory to Fire

ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. (February 3, 2020): On Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020 at 5:50 a.m., a fire broke out at the Working Wardrobes headquarters located at 1851 Kettering Street, Irvine, California. It was several hours before firefighters could access the building. Everything has been destroyed by this fire and we are working closely with the Orange County Fire Authority and Irvine Police Department for more details.

“We are absolutely devastated by this catastrophic loss, the heart of our operations is gone and so is 30 years of history,” said Jerri Rosen, Founder and CEO, after the fire. “We are grateful and relieved to report that no one was hurt or in the building at the time of the fire. Now our job is to get back on our feet so we can serve our clients very quickly and we aim to do just that with the help of our remarkable community.”

STATEMENT OF FACTS
● Approximately 100 firefighters were at the scene
● OCFA Public Information Officer Capt. Tony Bommarito was onsite
● No injuries were reported
● Working Wardrobes has been in this 22,000-square-foot building since 2016
● Everything has been destroyed, including:
●Donation Center: Large warehouse filled with racks, bins, and boxes filled with thousands of donations. Including jackets, pants, shirts, blouses, ties, shoes, jewelry and additional accessories. Home goods, office supplies, etc.
●Wardrobing Center filled with quality clothing and accessories for men and women in a department like setting.
●Career Center: Computer labs where clients worked to research and apply for jobs online, training rooms and IT computer lab. Plus, the VetNet team and program for veterans, SCSEP program for seniors, all client services for women, men, young adults, and all wardrobing services.
●Corporate Office: Entire operations of Working Wardrobes

We are determined to work with our employees, volunteers and the Orange County community to rebuild and continue to fulfill our purpose of helping men, women, young adults and veterans overcome difficult challenges so they can achieve the dignity of work.

NEXT STEPS FOR US
Financial donations are what we need the most to rebuild and continue to provide services to veterans, seniors, and unemployed get back into the workforce. To make a financial donation, please visit: workingwardrobes.org/donate-money/

Our friends at Goodwill have stepped up to provide temporary space for our offices, wardrobe departments and donation center in their Fitness Center at 1601 E St Andrew Pl. Santa Ana, CA 92705.

Donations can be dropped off beginning Tuesday, February 4, from 10 am to 2 pm. We are so grateful for their support and partnership. Much will change for us over the next few months as we start our journey over, but we know the strength of our friends and supporters will buoy us. We need volunteers to help get our new temporary home set up.

PLEASE NOTE: Donated clothing must be in great condition, clean and ON HANGERS.  

Please contact KathiS@workingwardrobes.org or call (714) 210-2460. We will release a list of our needs for donations soon, please contact (714) 210-2460 for more details.

MORE ABOUT WORKING WARDROBES:
Working Wardrobes is Orange County’s foremost career development nonprofit, championing on behalf of at-risk men, women, young adults, and veterans to help them achieve the Power of a Paycheck ® . The organization was founded in 1990 by CEO/Founder Jerri Rosen. This is Working Wardrobes’ 30 th anniversary year. Over that time, with the help of our Orange County community, we’ve been able to help more than 105,000 people overcome barriers to employment and achieve the Power of a Paycheck ® .

Workplace Etiquette You Should Know

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Business men in smart casual wear shaking hands in office

How you present yourself to others in the business world speaks volumes. People often form first impressions about others within seconds of first meeting them therefore it is crucial to ensure you are properly prepared to present yourself as a professional. Here are some important tips on dealing with people, communicating, and interacting at meetings that will help you make a good impression.

Dealing with People

How you treat people says a lot about you.

  • Learn names and learn them quickly. A good tip for remembering names is to use a person’s name three times within your first conversation with them. Also, write names down and keep business cards. People know when you don’t know their names and may interpret this as a sign that you don’t value them.
  • Don’t make value judgments on people’s importance in the workplace. Talk to the maintenance staff members and to the people who perform many of the administrative support functions. These people deserve your respect!
  • Self-assess: Think about how you treat your supervisor(s), peers, and subordinates. Would the differences in the relationships, if seen by others, cast you in an unfavorable light? If so, find where the imbalance exists, and start the process of reworking the relationship dynamic.
  • What you share with others about your personal life is your choice, but be careful. Things can come back to haunt you. Don’t ask others to share their personal lives with you. This makes many people uncomfortable in the work space.
  • Respect people’s personal space. This may be very different than your own.

Communicating Effectively

It’s sometimes not what you say, but how you say it that counts!

  • Return phone calls and emails within 24 hours – even if only to say that you will provide requested information at a later date.
  • Ask before putting someone on speakerphone.
  • Personalize your voice mail – there’s nothing worse than just hearing a phone number on someone’s voice mail and not knowing if you are leaving a message with the correct person. People may not even leave messages.
  • Emails at work should be grammatically correct and free of spelling errors. They should not be treated like personal email.
  • When emailing, use the subject box, and make sure it directly relates to what you are writing. This ensures ease in finding it later and a potentially faster response.
  • Never say in an email anything you wouldn’t say to someone’s face.
  • Underlining, italicizing, bolding, coloring, and changing font size can make a mild email message seem overly strong or aggressive.

Navigating Office Meetings

This can easily be the most intimidating part of starting a new job. The environment of a meeting requires some careful navigation to maintain your professional image, whether the meetings are one-on-one, with several colleagues or with external clients.

  • For a meeting in someone’s office, don’t arrive more than five minutes early, as they may be prepping for your meeting, another meeting later that day, or trying to get other work done. You may make them uncomfortable, and that is not a good way to begin your meeting.
  • Don’t arrive late…ever. If you are going to be late, try to let someone know so that people are not sitting around waiting for you. Don’t forget that being on time for a meeting means arriving 5 minutes early – for an interview, arrive 10 minutes early.
  • When a meeting runs late and you need to be somewhere else, always be prepared to explain where you need to be (understanding that the value of where you need to be will likely be judged).
  • Do not interrupt people. This is a bad habit to start and a tough one to end.
  • There is a time and place for confrontation, and a meeting is almost never that place. You will embarrass and anger other people, and you will look bad for doing it. Give people time and space outside of meetings to reflect on issues that need to be dealt with.

Source: Columbia University, Center for Career Education