Long Beach Native helps train the Navy’s best pilots at TOPGUN

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BLACKMAN_FRANK

FALLON, Nev. – In Nevada’s high desert is the Navy’s premiere tactical air warfare training center, home to the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center and it’s Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program, known to the world as TOPGUN. A 2000 Narbonne High School graduate and Long Beach, California, native is part of the Navy’s finest aviation fighter training facility in the world.

Petty Officer 1st Class Frank Blackman is an aviation machinist’s mate working with the Strike Fighter Wing Pacific Detachment stationed aboard Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada. As a Navy aviation machinist’s mate and first class petty officer, Blackman is responsible for supervising the maintenance of aircraft engines and their related systems while ensuring quality control and safety.

“I joined the Navy for a lifestyle change, to expand my horizons and explore new opportunities,” said Blackman.

TOPGUN began 48 years ago with the determination of nine pilots, the skepticism of the government and almost no budget as history would recall. In the early years it turned the tide of a losing air war in Vietnam, revolutionized military doctrine, inspired a Hollywood blockbuster and attracted and trained the best allied pilots and air crew from all over the world.

Blackman plays a crucial role in the overall mission that flies over 5,000 adversary sorties per year in support of the Navy and Marine Corp Active and Reserve fleet and replacement squadrons, carrier air wings and marine aircraft groups including the United States Air Force, Air Force Reserve and Air National guard and Canadian Forces.

“Nowhere in the world does the Navy have the ability to train as we do in NAS Fallon,” said NAS Fallon Commanding Officer, Capt. David Halloran. “The Navy specifically chose NAS Fallon as the location for Top Gun and the Naval Special Warfare Tactical Ground Mobility Training Center because of the desert climate, mountainous terrain, and sophisticated ranges available in northern Nevada.  Every Carrier Air Wing and Navy Seal Team is required to receive the essential training provided here prior to being deployed in theater.”

According to Navy officials, TOPGUN is highly competitive and exposes Navy and Marine Corp pilots to the most demanding training scenarios in fighter aviation lead by some of the most talented pilots in the world. Each pilot is hand-selected for air-to-air and air-to-ground training and subsequently, as a TOPGUN instructor. “I’m the first in my family to serve in the military,” said Blackman. “I’m proud of my five Navy Achievement Medals and the being a part of the humanitarian assistant response after the tsunami in Thailand.”

Blackman also said they are proud to serve at the center of excellence for naval aviation, training and tactics development.

The future of U.S. aviation depends on the Navy’s ability to achieve their vision for defeating tomorrow’s air threats with the support of the ground crews and pilots.

“Serving in the Navy gives me the opportunity to provide for my family,” added Blackman. “I love the camaraderie and close-knit community.”

Author-
Lt. Bridget Mitchell, Navy Office of Community Outreach
Photo by-
Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Gary Ward

After Winning Medals In Afghanistan, Veteran Brings Number One Home Inspection Company To Pasadena, CA

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Spencer Velez poses in uniform) in a military vehicle

Spencer Velez knows how to use his expertise and skills. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 14 years. The now 35-year-old deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom and was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for superior performance of duties while serving in a direct combat service support role.

As if those achievements weren’t enough, Velez then completed graduate school at the University of Southern California (USC) earning a Master of Business for Veterans (MBV) degree in a program designed to leverage the management and leadership experience gained during military service.

While attending graduate school, he applied these skills to his role in Corporate Compliance with The Walt Disney Company. In that role, he ensured wherever Disney products were manufactured, the workers were provided a safe and inclusive environment.

In May, he added a Pillar To Post Home Inspectors® franchise to round out his business skills. Velez will serve homebuyers and sellers throughout Pasadena, South Pasadena, San Marino, Alhambra, Altadena, La Cañada Flintridge, Glendale, Burbank, Sierra Madre, Arcadia, Rosemead, Monterey Park, Los Angeles and surrounding areas.

Spencer Valez smiling in headshot
Spencer Valez, Pillar to Post Home Inspectors

The brand is a favorite among veterans such as Velez. Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is a member of VetFran, a program of the International Franchise Association that helps vets purchase franchises and it has achieved 5-star status in that program, the top ranking possible. In 2018, one-third of new Pillar To Post Home Inspectors franchisees were military vets. “Pillar to Post provides a service that brings people happiness and positively impacts the community by educating the client about the home – purchasing a home is a big and exciting step and we are a part of that journey,” said Velez. “I have great plans to grow the business to its maximum potential with multiple professional home inspectors and valuable services. I will be a leader built on a reputation of respect and hard work which I learned through my military service.”

Pillar To Post Home Inspectors, is the brand to which more than three million families have turned to for 25 years to be their trusted advisor when buying or selling a home. Consistently ranked as the top-rated home inspection company on Entrepreneur Magazine’s annual Franchise500®, Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is enjoying its 19th year in a row on that list.

A professional evaluation both inside and outside the home is at the core of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors’ service. Pillar To Post Home Inspectors input data and digital photos into a computerized report that is printed and presented on site. All information is provided to clients in a customized binder for easy reference, allowing homebuyers or sellers to make confident, informed decisions.

About Pillar To Post Home Inspectors®
Founded in 1994, Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is the largest home inspection company in North America with home offices in Toronto and Tampa. There are nearly 600 franchises located in 49 states and nine Canadian provinces. The company has been named as Best in Category in Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise500® ranking for 19 years in a row. Long-term plans include adding 500 to 600 new franchisees over the next five years. For further information, please visit pillartopostfranchise.com.

This is what it’s like to be a working military spouse

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Military Spouse with family

The hunt for a steady job can be daunting for military spouses, a quarter of whom are reportedly unemployed. All military spouses are faced with unpredictability, which often makes them less attractive to employers,but wives–who account for more than 90% of military spouses–are also subject to the issues that all women contend with in the workplace, from the gender pay gap to the motherhood penalty. Even among military spouses, men are more likely to be gainfully employed: According to a recent Blue Star Families survey, about half of male spouses work full-time, while just 27% of female spouses do. Women’s earnings potential is also compromised, with just 19% of female spouses making more than $50,000, as compared to 44% of male spouses.

But working, period, is a challenge when an active duty spouse can be deployed for months on end. “You’re not a single parent,” one military spouse told me. “But you’re a sole provider for your children, and your spouse has no predictability. They can’t control anything about when they’re there or not. Sometimes you’re in the middle of breakfast, and they leave, and you don’t know when they’re coming back.” For some spouses, entrepreneurship or remote work is the answer, but that brings its own challenges. We talked to three military spouses about what it’s like to find work while juggling unpredictable schedules and childcare responsibilities.

“I had to have three different back-up nannies”

“I think being a military spouse is the privilege of my life thus far,” says Maggie, who is now an entrepreneur. “But it’s really hard.”

Maggie, who has been a military spouse for eight years, has lived in more than seven states; her husband is usually gone about six months out of the year. She started her own company about three years ago, after working in a number of tech roles. “One of the things I’ve found really wonderful about being an entrepreneur is that it’s allowed me to have a high degree of flexibility,” she says. “But I wouldn’t say that my story is necessarily typical.”

For military spouses like Maggie who are parents, juggling work with childcare is even more of a challenge, since their spouse may have to leave at a moment’s notice. “It’s not just like a business trip,” she says. “They’re out for weeks or many months, and you’re not able to anticipate when they’re going to depart or come home.” To prepare for a recent weekend work trip, Maggie had to put three nannies on hold to take care of her four-month-old and two-and-a-half-year-old.

And yet many military spouses gravitate toward jobs in, say, education or healthcare–roles that don’t necessarily offer flexibility and require different licensing by state. In dual military families, Maggie says the woman may often choose to step back from an operational role. Despite the prevalence of remote work, Maggie hasn’t seen a big shift in military spouses working remotely. The remote opportunities are fewer for military spouses, she says, and especially if they work in fields like nursing. “You don’t see a lot of highly skilled remote-work opportunities,” she says. “A lot of the communities aren’t necessarily hubs of innovation. So how would you even establish the relationships to have those opportunities?”

Though there are now many initiatives to help veterans join the civilian workforce, companies don’t necessarily try to recruit military spouses–and in fact, they’re often biased against them. “One of the challenges is that it’s kind of out of sight, out of mind,” Maggie says. “People don’t remember that we’re still in Afghanistan. It’s kind of forgotten that deployment cycles are still very much a reality in these communities.” She adds that it would serve companies well to recruit military spouses for remote work. “If companies are looking for people to do certain types of remote positions, it would be a fabulous community to tap into,” she says. “You’d find a hungry workforce.”

For Maggie, a key motivator to start her own business was having women in her life who showed her what her career could look like. It also helped that she had cofounded software companies prior to becoming a military spouse. “I think I had role models in other women who were like, There is a way to navigate this,” she says. “Largely it’s been about seeking mentors. If a military spouse wants to start something, there are ways to do it.”

“It’s just different being a male spouse. You get excluded a bit”

David was a college basketball coach for 20 years. That changed when he married someone in the military four years ago. Since then, David and his family have lived in three different places, and in a few months, they’ll be making their way from North Carolina to Washington, D.C. “Those [coaching] jobs are pretty limited,” he says. “It’s not like I was a lawyer or a mechanic–jobs that are anywhere in the world.”

David struggled to find a professional coaching job that would be close enough to his family and where his wife needed to be. When he applied for an athletic director’s position at a junior college, he made it to the final round of interviews and then didn’t get the job, partly because he was a military spouse, he believes. So he now works remotely part-time for a company his friend started, which runs a college basketball tournament in Jamaica. (In general, he says, the male military spouses he knows work remotely.)

“I could live anywhere in the world as long as I have my phone and computer,” he says. He concedes he could have taken a different type of job altogether, if something in the realm of coaching wasn’t a viable option. “If I wanted to get a job at Kinko’s or something like that, I’m sure I could probably do those kinds of jobs,” he says. “But something in a professional field is a little more difficult.”

It was also important to David and his wife for one of them to stay home with their children, since they welcomed a new daughter two months ago. “You can’t pass up the time that you could spend with your kids,” he says. “I’ve been there every day with my daughter, and luckily, I found something where I can still work at home and be around the kids and make it work.” When you’re a military family, he points out, you also can’t rely as much on family support. “The odds of you living by your family are pretty slim,” he says. (Last year, when David had to fly to Jamaica for work, his wife was also deployed; they had to ask her aunt and uncle to stay with the kids for a week.)

As a male spouse, David sometimes feels like he isn’t always included in the military spouse community. Many spouses tend to be in pink-collar fields like nursing and teaching, he says, or run small businesses out of their home. When work opportunities arise, they’re often directed at women; some of the workshops offered to military spouses school them in how to start a successful Avon business, for example. “It’s just different being a male spouse,” he says. “There are groups on Facebook, but it feels like you’re the only male. They’ll write, ‘Hey ladies, this opportunity opened up that is perfect for us,’ but you don’t really fit that bill. So you get excluded a bit.”

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

When to Start Your Military Transition

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transitioning veterans

Should you stay or should you go? It’s a question everyone asks at various points in their career, and one with specific importance for service members.

The military transition process involves numerous factors—from finding a job to navigation of the VA system.

Steve Leonard—aka, Doctrine Man—is a retired Army colonel and the program director for the Master of Science program in Business and Organizational Leadership at the University of Kansas. He’s also the creator of the popular Doctrine Man, a humorous military cartoon that blossomed into an online brand with nearly 200,000 followers. Leonard discusses his own military transition and the important considerations for every service member.

“The lesson that I took from my own transition … was that you never know everything that you need to know to make a successful transition until after you transition,” Leonard said. Another fatal flaw is attempting to go through the process alone. Because the process is personal, the one-size-fits-most approach of standardized training is not going to tell you what you need to know.

Transition Tip #1: Find a Mentor

“You kind of have to find those areas that are important for you, and then find a coach or mentor to help you in the process,” Leonard said. “You don’t take on the VA without a coach or mentor.”

Whether it’s navigating the process of applying for VA benefits or health care, finding a contract or civilian job, or relocating to a military-friendly state—when it comes to almost any aspect of the transition process, you can find individuals within your military network who have faced the same questions before. If you don’t have them, be proactive in reaching out to find those who can help.

“If you want to get a job in the GS [civilian service] system, don’t wait until you’re retired, or you’re sitting in the ACAP [Army Career and Alumni Program] system,” Leonard said. “Find someone who’s done it. Find someone who understands the process.”

Transition Tip #2: Have a Plan

“I went through executive ACAP, and you could have drawn a line and split the class in two halves of the people who wanted to start T-shirt businesses and the other half, who wanted to start CrossFit gyms,” said Leonard. “No one knew what they were going to do, and they were all within months of transition.”

If you’re planning to start your own business, you should have a business plan, know the tax laws, and be prepared for the financial and administrative aspects of running a business, notes Leonard. And the earlier you do that, the better. Don’t count on the transition program to give you all of the information you need to know.

“We tend to look at things as, you’ve served X number of years, the military’s going to take care of you on the way out,” said Leonard. “That may be true to some extent. But don’t expect them to hold your hand all the way through transition.”

Transition Tip #3: Take Jobs That Push You Out of Your Comfort Zone

The skills that help you with your post-military career may be skills you acquire from unexpected assignments. That’s why lifelong learning and a successful transition go hand-in-hand. If you’ve focused on making the best of every job along the way, you’re more likely to have both skills and a network of mentors to assist you navigating that post-military career.

For Leonard, one of those assignments was running a strategic communications office—despite not being a public affairs officer or having a communications background. It was a job he didn’t want, but one that turned out to be invaluable for helping him navigate his worth and role after the military.

“That was a job that helped me learn about branding, marketing, and my own professional value outside of the bounds of what I was doing,” said Leonard. For many service members, toward the end of their career, the temptation may be to take the easy job that allows more down time versus the challenging job that requires more effort. But if you’re looking to keep gaining value from your career all the way to the finish, that’s the wrong approach.

“Maybe handing out towels at the gym for the last year you’re in the military isn’t what you need to do,” notes Leonard.

When it comes to seeking out new positions and tackling unwelcome assignments, the approach you take directly relates to what you’ll get out of every position—and how it will help you in your overall career.

“I believed all along that if I focused on making a difference, things would work out,” said Leonard. “And generally, that proves to be true. There’s a silver lining in every cloud, you just have to find it. Even the worst assignment will play out, but you have to find a way to make it work for you.”

Source: news.clearancejobs.com

International Delight Kicks Off Military Appreciation Month By Announcing Partnership With Pets for Vets

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Pets for Vets logo

Broomfield, Colo. – [May 1, 2019] – In honor of Military Appreciation Month, International Delight has committed $150,000 to support the national organization Pets for Vets. The creamer brand also launched S’mores, a new limited-edition flavor, which features the Pets for Vets pawprint logo on every bottle.

This debuts as part of the brand’s limited-edition, Americana-themed summer collection. International Delight developed this summer collection to encourage its fans to support this cause dedicated to hugs and companionship.

International Delight values Pets for Vets’ mission to help shelter animals find loving forever homes with veterans. This contribution is anticipated to cover the cost of a number of initiatives, including:

  • 30 veteran and pet matches
  • Continued education for Pets for Vets trainers
  • Medicine and preventative supplies for matches

“The opportunity to match veterans with a new companion and give pets in need loving homes struck a chord with us and we knew from our first conversation that we had to get involved,” said Jessica Strouse, senior associate brand manager for International Delight. “We are proud to support the Pets for Vets team with a contribution, and also to have the opportunity to use our beloved brand to raise awareness for their efforts with the addition of their symbol to our latest launch — International Delight S’mores Creamer.”

More than 6 million pets enter shelters in the United States each year, and 20% of returning military veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Pets for Vets uses the powerful bond between humans and animals to help both by pairing them together.

“We’re incredibly thankful for this support that will help us reach more veterans and shelter animals than ever before, and we’re thrilled this partnership goes beyond just a contribution thanks to International Delight’s dedication to raising awareness of our efforts,” said Clarissa Black, founder of Pets for Vets. “Since we began in 2009, we’ve been fortunate to do a lot of great work and working with International Delight will help us do even more.”

Celebrating summertime, the contributions of veterans and love for pets, the full Americana-themed collection features red, white and blue packaging across the brand’s French Vanilla and Cold Stone® Sweet Cream varieties, as well as the new S’mores variety. Bringing a campfire to your coffee cup, International Delight S’mores Creamer combines the chocolate, graham cracker and marshmallow flavors of the nostalgic summertime treat.

The full Americana-themed collection is available in grocery and mass-market retailers nationwide for a suggested retail price of $3.79. For more information on Pets for Vets, including how to get involved in a nearby chapter, head to petsforvets.com.

About International Delight®

International Delight® was launched in 1987 and was the first flavored, liquid, non-dairy creamer on the market. There’s an art to the perfect cup, and we celebrate a masterpiece of flavor fantasy every single time. We’re flavor crazy and black coffee just does not exist in our universe. Never has, never will. International Delight® Iced Coffee and creamers are available at grocery, convenience stores, mass merchandisers and food service outlets across the country. For more information, visit InternationalDelight.com.

About Danone North America

International Delight® is made by Danone North America, a Certified B Corporation® business unit of Danone that operates in the U.S. from headquarter offices in White Plains, NY and Broomfield, CO. Danone North America was formed as a Public Benefit Corporation in 2017 to nourish people, communities and the world through its diverse portfolio of healthful dairy- and plant-based products, coffee creamers and beverages. Its portfolio of brands includes: Activia®, DanActive®, Danimals®, Dannon®, Danonino®, Horizon Organic®, International Delight®, Light & Fit®, Oikos®, Silk®, So Delicious Dairy Free®, STōK®, Two Good™, Vega®, Wallaby Organic® and YoCrunch®. The mission of Danone North America and that of Danone worldwide is to bring health through food to as many people as possible. For more information, please visit DanoneNorthAmerica.com. To find more information on Danone North America’s B Corp™ status, visit: bcorporation.net/directory/danone-north-america.

About Pets for Vets

Headquartered in Wilmington, North Carolina, Pets for Vets, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation with chapters in more than 20 states and the District of Columbia. Pets for Vets® helps heal the emotional wounds of military Veterans by using the power of the human-animal bond to provide a second chance for shelter animals that are rescued, trained and paired with American Veterans who could benefit from a companion animal. To learn more go to petsforvets.com.

US Soldier Fights to Bring Puppy Dragged by Rope Out of War-Torn Afghanistan

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U.S. Soldier standing in uniform holding his shelter dog in his arms

Timothy Boyd is a U.S. soldier stationed in war-torn Afghanistan. He will soon be heading back to his hometown of Dallas, Georgia. He desperately wants to bring back Misha, a puppy he saved and has cared for during his stay there.

If he has to leave her behind, her fate like so many others, will be certain death. He has reached out to Paws of War pleading for assistance in transporting the Misha to America, so he can keep her and let her live out her days in a safe country with those who love her.

“We can’t stand by and let this dog fall back into the hands of cruel people. There has been a fantastic and lasting bond created between Misha and Timothy,” explains Robert Misseri, co-founder of Paws of War. “We understand his concerns in having to leave her in a place that is very hostile toward dogs, so we are doing everything we can to help make his wish come true and bring the dog to the United States.”

It’s difficult enough for a soldier to spend time in a war zone, with blasts and danger in every direction. But when you add in a puppy that has no idea what is going on, and it falls into the hands of the opposition, it’s a life of cruelty and abuse, often leading to death. That’s what could have happened with Misha, but a US soldier came along and everything changed.

Timothy is the Task Force Viking 1SG stationed at the COP De Alencar, formerly known as Camp Blackfish, Afghanistan. He is part of an infantry unit that is assisting Special Forces in fighting against ISIS-K. Needless to say, they are in a combative area, where fighting and explosions are a daily part of their lives. Misha is a dog that was rescued by the former SF Team when soldiers saw her being dragged by her neck. They rescued her, brought her back to their camp, and gave her proper medical treatment. She then became a part of their family, and over time, strong bonds have been created.

To help make it possible for Timothy bring Misha back to the U.S. with him, Paws of War has enlisted the help of Nowzad Dogs, a charity that helps rescue the animals in Afghanistan. There is a lot of red tape that they will need to go through in order to bring Misha back, and there are expenses involved. Through the Mission Misha campaign, they are seeking donations from the community in order to help make the transport possible. Transporting just one dog costs upward of over $6,000.

“I am desperately trying to bring this loving fur baby back to my home in Georgia, where she will live a quiet life away from this war-torn country,” says Timothy Boyd. “I appreciate any and all assistance that people can provide in helping to make Mission Misha a successful operation. She needs to come home with me. I can’t imagine it any other way.”

Those who would like to donate to Mission Misha can go to:

https://pawsofwar.networkforgood.com/projects/73291-bring-misha-home-from-war-torn-afghanistan.

Paws of War is an organization that provides assistance to military members and their pets, and provides service and therapy dogs to veterans suffering from PTSD.  The War Torn Pets Program brings companion animals from war zones to the U.S for military members. To learn more about Paws of War or make a donation to support its efforts, visit its site at: pawsofwar.org.

About Paws of War

Based in New York, Paws of War is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization devoted to helping both ends of the leash. The mission of Paws of War is to train and place shelter dogs to serve and provide independence to our United States military veterans who suffer from TBI and/or PTSD. To learn more about Paws of War, visit the site at pawsofwar.org.

Would you Buy a House without a Realtor? The Top Five Ways Military Recruiters are like Realtors

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Man in a blue suit sitting at desk with computer paperwork and glass of water

Would you purchase a house without consulting a realtor? What about transitioning out of the military and starting a civilian career without the help of a military recruiter?

Brian Henry, Senior Vice President at Orion Talent, breaks down the top five ways military recruiters are like realtors, and how you can utilize this resource to achieve the best possible outcome – a rewarding career after the military.

A trusted advisor to help steer you in the right direction.

“A realtor knows his/her market, and a good one is going to get to know his/her client and understand their wants and needs, and then offer solutions that align with their stated goals,” Brian explained. “They have years of experience in the market and can advise their client to zero in on the right locations and types of housing that will meet their need.”

Similarly, a military recruiter has experience in their niche of the job market and has worked with hundreds of different companies and types of jobs. “After getting to know a candidate’s background and preferences, they are able to provide insight on the types of roles that the candidate is qualified for and confirm the expected salary ranges and availability of those opportunities in the locations the candidate desires,” Brian stated.

While anyone can browse the internet and search for homes for sale, a realtor will use his/her established network to streamline the process and find “off-market” deals or hot leads on houses that are just coming on the market.

“In a similar manner, job seekers can engage with an experienced military recruiter who will have access to ‘off market opportunities,’ and many other positions that have an urgency to hire,” Brian explained.

Their fees are not paid by you, but by the client companies.

As a home buyer, you get the services of a professional realtor, but their commission is paid by the seller. As a job seeker, you get to tap into the services of a military recruiter and all those their team without having to pay anything for that service.

In the case of military recruiters, the company that ultimately hires you will pay the fee for the services of the military recruiter. “Contrary to some myths, that fee is NOT taken out of your salary. It is a fee negotiated between the recruiting firm and the company that is typically a percentage that is based on your first year’s base salary,” Brian explained. “The higher your salary, the higher the fee to the military recruiter. Truly a win-win scenario!”

They do the heavy lifting.

A realtor will scour the MLS, coordinate with sellers and other agents, and schedule a day of house hunting, getting you access to pre-selected homes to see first hand outside of an open house setting.

With a military recruiter, you can get similar filtered access directly to the decision makers inside a company. “At an Orion Hiring Conference, you are not just attending an ‘open house’ or job fair. You are invited to a professional event with detailed information sessions, interview preparation seminars and scheduled one-on-one interview sessions with the company representatives you have been matched with, based on your background and preferences,” Brian said.

Additionally, military recruiting firms have a staff of Account Executives that are working every day to find new companies with vetted openings. “In the case with Orion, those companies are specifically interested in and want to hire candidates with a military background,” he explained.

They help with every step of the process.

A realtor will work with their client all the way through the process from finding the right home, negotiating and writing up the offer, and finally closing the deal.

A military recruiter is there to do the same thing, from resume and interview preparation, specific company briefings, giving feedback throughout the process, and providing assistance in negotiating and accepting a position. “Another benefit of using a military recruiter is that the military recruiter is likely to have inside knowledge. They may know if you are competing with three other candidates for the same position, give you key advice that helps you win the job, or help you in a situation where you have multiple offers come in at the same time,” Brian added.

They help land your new career – and are there if you need help in the future.

A realtor builds their business based on referrals. They want to put you into a home and deliver a great experience, and their hope is that you will refer your friends. Also, when the time comes for you to sell your home, they hope you will come back to them for your next move.

Similarly, military recruiters thrive on recommendations of past candidates. “The best thing a candidate can do to ‘pay’ the military recruiter for their services is to refer others,” Brian explained.  “The relationship with the military recruiter does not end with taking that first job. We have seen many candidates promoted to Hiring Managers and come back to us looking for people to add to their team. In cases where someone needs to make another career move, they can quickly re-engage with the military recruiter to kick start the next search.”

Source: Orion Talent

3 times you can skip the cover letter—and the 1 time you absolutely shouldn’t

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young man typing a cover letter

Some job listings will say “cover letter required,” while others don’t include any mention about it at all. When it comes to the ladder, many applicants often wonder, Should I submit one in anyway?

It’s a competitive job market out there, and hiring managers and job recruiters today spend about six seconds reviewing each resume. According to Glassdoor, a job search and salary comparison website, approximately 250 resumes are submitted for each corporate job listing, and only five or so candidates will be called for an interview.

So when is it necessary to send a cover letter? Here’s the thing: Hiring managers love them — they get you noticed quickly, show you’ve gone the extra mile and demonstrate how much you really want the job.

A bad cover letter, however, can hinder your objectives.

Don’t submit a cover letter if…

1. You have no interest in personalizing the cover letter
Many applicants will Google “cover letter examples,” pick one in a rush and model their cover letter after it. By doing so, not only will it be evident that you submitted a cover letter designed for mass distribution, but you might have overlooked some mistakes, like addressing the letter to the wrong person, company or even listing the wrong position you’re applying for. (Trust me, this is something hiring managers see all the time, and it’s absolutely cringing. It also takes away from their valuable time that could be spent reviewing your resume.)

2. You don’t have anything new to say
Hiring managers expect to read a compelling and impressive cover letter, not an exact replicate of your resume. (Think about how you felt when writing your personal statement for all those college applications; it was a big deal and you knew the admissions office were looking for someone who they’d feel proud to have representing their school). It’s no different with cover letters. Do you have any unusual hobbies that led you to be interested in the field of work you’re applying for? Is there a backstory that explains why you admire the company? Whatever you write, just don’t elaborate on your job history and skills (that’s what the resume is for).

3. You only have ideas on how to improve the company
Save the problem-solving suggestions for the job interview (that is, if you’re luck enough to get one), when you’ll 100 percent be asked those similar questions (i.e., “what would you improve about [XYZ]?”). A cover letter can be used as an opportunity to demonstrate your job knowledge, but don’t use it as an outlet to tell your prospective employer what they are doing wrong and how to fix it. No one likes hearing negative things about their business from a stranger, even if your feedback has merit. Curiosity, humility and tact will trump a “know-it-all” every time. Focus on the positive aspects and potential solutions for the business.

When to include a cover letter

Notwithstanding the above, the only time you should submit a cover letter is when you have valuable information to share that’s not conveyed in your resume. I’ve hired many candidates based on something that stood out in their cover letter.

Here are some examples:

1. A personal connection or referral
If you were personally introduced to a hiring manager (or someone high up in the company), always acknowledge that relationship in a cover letter. Who made the introduction? How you know them? Why did they think you are a good fit for the role? A personal referral goes a long way, so don’t miss out on capturing the advantage.

2. You have a history with the company or hiring team
If you have any link to the organization, it’s essential to connect the dots. Did you intern at the company? Did you cross paths when you worked for a supplier, a competitor or even a team member in a previous company? You never want to surprise the recruiter and have them hear about the connection from someone else; getting ahead of it will make you an exciting candidate and demonstrate that you’re a transparent and a proactive communicator.

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Government Contracting for Your Veteran-Owned Business

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Transitioning Veteran to small business owner

By Larry Stubblefield

GWACs, IDIQs, T&M—oh my! To a new business owner, these acronyms look like alphabet soup. To government entities, they look like work. But to a veteran business owner competing for a government contract, “GWAC, IDIQ, and T&M” look like opportunity.

To start off, the terms GWAC, IDIQs, and T&M are different types of government contracts—federal, state, and/or local. Known as government contracting to some, and procurement to others, selling to the government may provide you with a channel of revenue you may not have previously considered. And, with federally mandated service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) contract spends and the increased desire for supply chain diversity, you’re well positioned to take your business’ products and services to the government marketplace.

Full of jargon and complex processes, learning how to navigate the complex landscape of government contracting can be a difficult process if you try to tackle it alone. This doesn’t mean it can’t be done, but why re-invent the wheel when you don’t have to? Here are a few ways to start and grow your business in the federal marketplace.

  • Sign up for a training course. The Veteran Federal Procurement Entrepreneurship Training Program (VFPETP) prepares veteran business owners with the knowledge and skills they need to tackle government contracting. The program is delivered by the National Center for Veteran Institute for Procurement (VIP) and provides three different courses depending on where you are in your contracting journey:
  • VIP START: designed for veteran-owned businesses that want to enter or expand their business growth into the federal marketplace
  • VIP GROW: designed for veteran-owned businesses to increase their ability to win government contracts by establishing best business practices
  • VIP INTERNATIONAL: designed for veteran-owned small businesses that want to enter and/or expand their federal and commercial contracting opportunities overseas

Fun fact: VIP GROW graduates report an increase in their revenue by an average of 54 percent within their first year of completing the program.

  • Explore SBA’s free online tools. The federal contracting section of the SBA website contains easy-to-digest information on contracting assistance and specialized areas of government contracting (women-owned businesses, service-disabled veteran-owned, minority-owned, etc.). There’s also a Government Contracting 101 learning course available through the SBA Learning Center.
  • Connect with a trusted adviser. Local SBA resources. such as the Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs), District Offices, and Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs), can either provide you with the procurement expertise you may need—or direct you to a professional who can.
  • Network with other veteran-owned businesses who are already involved in government contracting. Many organizations will host events focused on government contracting, and just government in general. Attend and meet other veteran business owners who have contracting experience—the best advice comes from those who have lived it!

To learn more about the tools available for veteran, service member, National Guard or Reserve, and military spouse entrepreneurs, visit sba.gov/veterans.

Transitioning from Service to Startup

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business people shaking hands with one another in a company setting

You’ve reached a turning point in your military career. You’re transitioning from active duty to civilian and are considering business ownership as your next move.

Regardless of where you are in the entrepreneurial process—toying with a few business concepts or ready to execute your business plan—the SBA and its partner network are ready to support you.

Let your process begin with Boots to Business, a free entrepreneurship training course offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) through the U.S. Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP), and continue with free business counseling, mentorship, and even guidance on accessing capital for your business.

Ready for a smooth transition into business ownership? Here are a few ways you can get started.

  • Sign up for the Boots to Business course. Boots to Business is open to transitioning service members (including National Guard and Reserve) and their spouses on military installations worldwide. The course provides you with an overview of business ownership, including topics like market research, business financing, legal considerations, and additional resources to tap into throughout your entrepreneurial journey. Visit sbavets.force.com for a list of upcoming classes, then contact the transition office on your military installation to register for your desired course date.
  • Already completed your transition but still want to take the course? Boots to Business Reboot brings the course off military installations and into your community. Get in touch with your local Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) for details on upcoming course dates.
  • Connect with your local VBOC. With locations across the nation, VBOCs can provide you with business advice/recommendations and connect you with other business counselors, training programs, and referrals in the SBA network.
  • Get involved in the entrepreneurial community by attending networking events to meet other veteran entrepreneurs. Also consider online communities, which can be found on Facebook, LinkedIn, and even Reddit. These private groups allow you to connect with other veteran entrepreneurs across the globe.

To learn more about the SBA’s veterans programs, visit sba.gov/veterans.

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.