Marine veteran paying it forward

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Marine Veteran

BY CHARITY EDGAR, DAV

DAV claims assistance inspires Marine veteran to give back as service officer

After receiving assistance from DAV benefits specialist Dan Knabe, Marine Corps veteran Mike Franko was inspired to give back. Just months after receiving a corrected rating from the VA, the Afghanistan War veteran began training as a Department of Missouri service officer, a role where he can pay it forward to fellow veterans.

Mike Franko filed a claim for disability benefits following his discharge from the military in 2016, but an error resulted in the Marine Corps veteran not receiving the benefits he earned through service.

After being rated at zero percent for his battered knees and denied a rating for post-traumatic stress, the former infantryman was convinced he did not warrant support through the VA. That all changed when he was referred to DAV.

“Initially, I was thinking there’s too many Marines, soldiers, sailors and airmen who deserve it more than me, but I was finally convinced I’m as deserving as they are,” said Franko, who served as a squad leader in Afghanistan. “[My family and friends] said, ‘Your back and legs are messed up from being blown up; you deserve support.’”

Someone suggested he speak with a veterans service organization. That is when he met DAV National Service Officer Dan Knabe.

The DAV benefits advocate reviewed Franko’s files and immediately DAV Assistancesaw red flags.

“Mike had pain in motion, and in accordance with VA rules, that is automatically a 10 percent evaluation,” said Knabe. “That got me curious, and then I looked further and saw the denied service connection for post-traumatic stress. The decision confirmed a diagnosis but not a stressor.”

Knabe sifted through the veteran’s files and noticed he had received a Combat Action Ribbon.

“That is when I knew there was a clear and unmistakable error, because that award is a presumptive stressor for post-traumatic stress,” explained Knabe, an Army veteran. He immediately went to meet with his VA counterparts. They agreed with his discovery and quickly came back with a correct rating that provides Franko access to the benefits and services he should have been awarded right away.

“We do not typically find that many mistakes, but cases like this show the spirit of a service officer,” said Knabe. “It puts that feeling in your heart that you’re making a difference.

“We have a great professional relationship with the VA here in St. Louis and communicate regularly on cases, give each other feedback and come to a mutual agreement in order to get the veteran what’s right based on their record.”

St. Louis VA Regional Office Director Mitzi Marsh agreed on the importance of working together.

“The regional office’s goal is to make the right decision and provide all the benefits veterans have earned. If there is a concern, we work closely with veterans service organizations to review it and, if necessary, correct the problem,” said Marsh, an Army veteran. “We see our relationship with veterans service organizations only continuing to grow in the future through initiatives like Decision Ready Claims and other programs.”

“I was retroactively awarded, and I don’t think that would have happened without Dan’s help,” said Franko. “Dan expedited the whole process, especially compared to my original claim.”

Franko had wanted to work in law enforcement but knew his injuries would inhibit him. So instead, he decided to pay forward Knabe’s assistance to other veterans.

“I thought if I can’t serve my local community, then why don’t I serve the veteran community,” said Franko. “After seeing Dan work and do what he did for me, now I can sit on his side of the desk and help fellow veterans.”

He relayed his interest to Knabe. The next day, Franko received a call about a service officer position with the DAV Department of Missouri and was told he should apply.

Knabe, who had gone through his own rough patch after a deployment to Iraq but received help through the VA, said he’d found his way to serve veterans in a similar way.

“I was [a noncommissioned officer] so I have always had a passion to help. I was making sure soldiers were successful not only in the military but in life,” Knabe said. “I was lost when I came back, trying to find meaning as a civilian, and that’s when I found DAV. It’s about service and the mission. DAV saved me from a dark time and restored my sense of purpose.

“DAV took care of me, and now I hope I take care of DAV. I am honored it inspires Mike to have that same passion to assist fellow service members.”

DAV Department of Missouri Adjutant Michael Elmore was happy to welcome Franko on board.

“We are excited to have Mike join 16 other dedicated veterans as a DAV Department of Missouri service officer,” said Elmore. “The Show-Me State is fortunate to have another talented advocate assist the nearly half a million veterans living in Missouri with DAV’s life-changing benefits and services.”

Franko began his training in November and looks forward to bringing his unique skill set as a recently discharged veteran to the office.

“I’m young blood with a fresh mind, bringing a new perspective that can hopefully help veterans not just through claims but also different aspects of life,” said Franko.

“It is a victory anytime we can help a veteran with a claim, but to have a client be so inspired they choose to give back in their career full-time is incredibly meaningful,” said DAV National Service Director Jim Marszalek. “DAV is veterans helping veterans, and Dan and Mike are living examples of our mission of service.”

Pro Soccer Player Becomes Army Officer

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1st Lt. Anthony Uriarte playing ball

By Sgt. Ian Ives

What would you give to serve your country? Would you turn down an opportunity to play a professional sport? Though soccer has always been a large part 1st Lt. Anthony Uriarte’s life, he declined multiple professional soccer contracts to follow his calling of being an officer in the United States Army.

Now a medical service officer with the 25th Sustainment Brigade, the 26-year-old Uriarte has led an interesting life due to his talent on the soccer field.

At the age of 15, Uriarte was selected to play on a team that would represent the United States on a tour of England and played many prestigious teams during the trip. Several years later, he found himself in college. “I was taking a physical education course and I remember this girl walking in, in an Army Combat Uniform one day, and I was like ‘What,'” said Uriarte. “At the time I didn’t know anything about the military, but I found it so interesting that you could be a student and be in the Army. She always came in on time, and acted very professional. I admired her for that.”

Recalling the female in ACU’s during his physical education class, Uriarte decided to research what the Reserve Officer Training Corps was. After looking at his options, Uriarte applied and was accepted into The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina.

After graduating in 2015 with a bachelor’s in political science with an emphasis on pre-law, Uriarte had to choose which branch of the Army he was going to commission into.

“One of my big things is figuring out what I can do to help other people,” said Uriarte. “So when I found out that I could commission as a medical service officer, I thought ‘That’s perfect.'”

After being commissioned and doing a year of gold-bar recruiting, Uriarte was stationed at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division in 2016. While with the ‘Bronco’ brigade, he played on an Armed Forces Soccer team where a fellow player, who had played in All-Army Soccer before, suggested he try out for the team.

After being selected for the All-Army soccer team, Uriarte and his fellow players traveled to Fort 1st Lt. Anthony Uriarte playing ballBenning, Ga. to compete in the Armed Forces soccer tournament against the other branches of the military.

With 2017 came a new assignment in the form of an inter-post transfer to the 25th Sustainment Brigade and another year of All-Army Soccer. Tryouts were also different for Uriarte due to his selection the year prior, giving him an almost guaranteed position on the team.

“No matter what you tell yourself, no matter how much you prepare, when the referee blows that whistle… you’ll think to yourself, ‘Oh crap this is really happening!'” laughed Uriarte.

Since returning from the All-Army Team this year, Uriarte has begun coaching soccer for Hawaii Rush Youth Soccer for boys around the age of 15 years old. Coaching is something that Uriarte says he is becoming increasingly passionate about. He has even spoke with officials from Moanalua High School, Honolulu about becoming a coach for their soccer team.

“As unfortunate as it sounds we all have to get older,” said Uriarte. “Hopefully when my playing days over I will be able to step into a coaching position for All-Army. Even if I am not on the field playing, I can continue contributing in some way.”

Source: army.mil

10 Toughest Job Interview Questions — And How to Answer Successfully

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Interview questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The article was originally posted on Glassdoor.com

Daymond John’s Advice To The Founder Of Mutt’s Sauce And Other Veteran Entrepreneurs

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After Charlynda Scales’ grandfather, Charlie Ferrell, Jr., passed away in 2005, she honored the Vietnam and Korean War veteran’s memory by serving in the U.S. Air Force. Eight years later, she’d honor him again by launching Mutt’s Sauce, LLC.

She started the business in 2013 when her mother handed her the secret family recipe that had been locked in a safe for years. Ferrell, whose military nickname was “The Mutt” for “his ability to blend in with all types of cultures and make friends with anyone,” created the sauce in 1956 when he was deployed to Japan. While there, he and his family hosted many dinners for troops stationed in East Asia. According to family lore, his sweet and peppery tomato-based sauce was the highlight of parties, bringing military families of all backgrounds together during the 1950s. “It was never a business, he would just make it for friends and family,” said Scales. “He’d give them as gifts to break the ice with whoever he met at military parties or cookouts in his hometown of Cookeville, Tennessee.”

Ferrell created the multipurpose sauce because he wanted to declutter his refrigerator and rely on one bottle to flavor every meal. It would take his granddaughter multiple tries to recreate the original recipe. She used $15,000 in savings to hire a manufacturer operated by an Amish family in Chillicothe, Ohio. With their home-cooking techniques and equipment, they managed to replicate the sauce in large batches. “They literally hand-poured the sauce into 700 bottles,” says Scales, who took them door-to-door to mom-and-pop groceries and farmers’ markets. At $5 a bottle, Mutt’s Sauce sold out within its first week.

She was eager to increase output and lower prices to compete with other condiments. But she had to find a larger manufacturer that she could afford and that would be able to maintain the same tanginess while producing mass quantities. “We want the sauce to be used by everyday families. We don’t want to be too high-end,” says Scales.

In 2016 she attended a military conference in Dallas where she learned of the Heroes to CEOs grant contest run by Bob Evans Foods, which produces and distributes frozen foods and side dishes. Candidates had to submit a video and story about their business’s military or veteran roots in order to win a $25,000 grant.

Mike Townsley, CEO of Bob Evans Foods, says this program is one way to carry on the spirit of Bob Evans, the company’s late founder. “He had a soft spot for the military and veterans because he served in the Army,” said Townsley.

The company has kicked off its second annual Heroes to CEOs contest. In addition to the grant, three finalists win a trip to New York City where they will receive mentoring from BEF executives and a half-day coaching session with Shark Tank judge Daymond John. “He’s equipped to teach them ways to gain momentum that are unique to an entrepreneur,” says Townsley. “It’s so much more different starting a small business wearing many hats, versus a large corporation that I run.”

According to John, all military and veteran business owners should act like supportive partners: “Their biggest asset is a large network of other men and women who they’ve served with. Tap this core group and symbiotically learn from them and serve them.”

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

I’m Qualified, Why Can’t I Find a Job?

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Transitioning Veteran

By Ryan Guina

I’ve been using LinkedIn a lot more frequently lately. It’s a great place to connect with people, offer advice, and ask for assistance if you need it. If you are on LinkedIn, I recommend joining some of the many veterans groups on there, which offer a lot of great support and advice for finding a job.

You Have to Know Where to Look For Work

The job market is tough right now, but not impossible. One of the most important things to know is that most jobs aren’t listed publicly. They are part of the “hidden job market” which means they simply aren’t advertised when they become open—they are typically filled internally, through referrals from current employees, or through headhunters. Why? Because most jobs posted publicly receive anywhere from 50 to 100 (or more) applications. Hiring managers use these three methods to screen potential employees. This saves employers time and money.

Networking is Essential for Finding a Job in Today’s Economy

The best way to find a job in the current economy is through your professional network or through a recruiter. Start by contacting someone in your professional network and ask them to peer review your resume. This will give you a good idea of where your resume can be improved. They may also let you know about potential job openings at their employer if there are any. If most of your peers are still in the military, then consider joining some professional organizations or clubs, doing volunteer work at your church or with a charity, or finding other ways you can expand your network and show other people your skills.

You may also benefit by reaching out to a staffing agency or head hunter. Some of the jobs they offer are only temporary positions, but they are still worth taking as it helps put money in your pocket and keeps your skills fresh. These positions may sometimes lead to a full time job, or they may give you the opportunity to learn new skills or gain additional experience.

Seek Out Positions That Use Your Military Skills

Your military experience is incredibly valuable, especially for government agencies and contractors who work with the government. Many people have the skills you have, but don’t speak the “same language” the military speaks. That was the selling point I used when I landed my first post-military job. It’s often easier to teach vets specific skills than it is to teach non-veterans how the military operates.

A security clearance can also be a very valuable tool in helping you get a job. There are even career sites that specialize in posting openings for people with a various levels of security clearances. If you have a security clearance, try to keep it active long enough to use it at your next job. You may also be able to reactivate an expired security clearance in less time than it takes for someone to get one from scratch—which is an expensive and time-consuming process for employers. This gives you a leg up over someone who doesn’t have a security clearance.

Review your Resume and LinkedIn Profile

It is essential to take care when crafting your first post-military resume. Pay special attention to translating your military skills into civilian terms, so that a layman can understand what you bring to the table. When writing a resume, it’s also essential to create a unique resume for each job application and include specific skills and keywords from the job description to ensure it is selected by the automatic filters many companies use to screen resumes.

Take some time to go through your LinkedIn profile and any other digital profiles or resumes—you may find ways to improve your digital profiles to make them more attractive to employers.

Look Into Government Employment and Programs

There are many government programs for veterans, including the Veterans Job Corps, which will create public service jobs for veterans. Other veteran career programs include My Next Move for Veterans, the Veterans Job Bank, and the Veterans Gold Card. You may also consider a job with the civil service or a state agency, many of which give a veterans preference.

Consider Further Education

If you still have education benefits available to you, then consider going back to school on a full- or part-time basis. The GI Bill can help you obtain a degree or other certification, which can help you enhance your employability. If you are unemployed and meet the requirements, you may also be eligible for the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, which gives GI Bill benefits to unemployed vets.

About the Author
Ryan Guina is the founder of TheMilitaryWallet.com, a military and veterans benefits site. He has served more than 6 years on active duty and currently serves in the Air National Guard.

Find the original article and more from TheMilitaryWallet here

Electrical Apprenticeship Offers Vet a Bright Future

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By Rhonda Burke

As a 17-year-old student at St. Charles High School in Illinois, Kyle Horn knew he was interested in a career as an electrician. He had his eye on a local apprenticeship program but first joined the Army Reserve as an interior electrician upon graduation in 2007.

With a few years of real-world experience under his belt, he applied in 2011 – and was accepted – as an apprentice while remaining in the Reserve. The program is run through the Northern Illinois Electrical Joint Apprentice Training Center in Crystal Lake, known as the JATC, and partners with the U.S. Department of Labor.

“The JATC has been extremely accommodating of my Army duties,” the 28-year-old veteran said. “Prior to my last deployment, they worked with me off-hours and extra days to help me finish my fourth year in the program so I’d be ready to finish up when I returned.”

Sgt. Horn returned in March 2017 from his second deployment to Iraq, where he was assigned to the 863rd Engineer Battalion, 945th Engineer Detachment, Utilities Detachment in support of Combined Joint Task Force−Operation Inherent Resolve, the multi-national coalition working to defeat ISIS and stabilize the region. He was also deployed to the country in 2010.

Today, Horn is nearly finished with the five-year apprenticeship − which also involves taking college courses − and is working at Associated Electrical, a Northern Illinois company that provides commercial and industrial services.

“I really like my job because the work environment changes every day. You never stop learning and it is never monotonous,” he said. Another benefit: “I have no student loans and have been paid to learn on the job. It is a tremendous opportunity,” he said, noting he has several friends who incurred significant student debt while learning their vocation. The same is true for his wife, Nicole, who is an architect.

Upon completing 8,000 hours of on-the-job training and 1,000 hours of instructional learning, Horn will receive an industry-issued, nationally recognized journeyman certificate from the training center. Electricians in Illinois can expect to earn close to $80,000 per year on average.

His long-term goals include completing his bachelor’s degree; he has nearly enough credits now through his apprenticeship training. He is also committed to a 20-year career in the Army Reserve.

“I feel truly blessed,” he said. “I have a baby son due in January and two great careers that will enable me to take great care of my family.”

There are more than 500,000 apprentices across the country, with more apprenticeship opportunities added every day. Learn more at dol.gov/apprenticeship. Information about career services available for veterans, transitioning service members and their spouses is available at veterans.gov.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor

Budweiser Celebrates Summer with New Freedom Reserve Red Lager

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Budweiser unveiled the newest addition to its Reserve Collection – Budweiser Freedom Reserve Red Lager. The new beer was specially brewed by Budweiser’s own veterans and builds on Budweiser’s long-standing support of American veterans with a portion of proceeds sold this summer benefiting Folds of Honor — a nonprofit organization providing educational scholarships to military families. As of this year, the company has raised $14 Million in support of Folds of Honor.

“To call Budweiser a partner would be an understatement – they are considered family to us and the 3,000 families their donations help to support,” said Major Dan Rooney, founder and CEO of Folds of Honor. “Freedom Reserve is a great testament to their unwavering dedication and compassion for our armed forces and we salute them.”

Freedom Reserve Red Lager is the second specialty lager to appear in Budweiser’s Reserve Collection and is inspired by George Washington’s hand-penned recipe from his personal military journal dating back to 1757. Packaged both in a vintage stubby bottle and also available in a one-pint can, the Red Lager is brewed with toasted barley grains for a slightly sweet aroma with a touch of hops, a rich caramel malt taste and a smooth finish with a hint of molasses. Marking the seventh consecutive year Budweiser is teaming up with Folds of Honor, the brand brought together a select group of Budweiser brewers who are also proud veterans to brew Freedom Reserve and their signatures are prominently featured on each bottle and can.

We are incredibly proud of our Freedom Reserve Red Lager because it was passionately brewed by our veteran brewers who have bravely served our country,” said Ricardo Marques, vice president, Budweiser. “With Freedom Reserve we remain dedicated to our mission to support our veterans and their families through our longstanding partnership with Folds of Honor.”

As the great American lager, Budweiser is committed to supporting U.S. veterans and their families, with the brand’s total contributions helping to benefit more than 3,000 families across the country. To help spread the message of support this summer, Budweiser will deploy a fully integrated marketing campaign for Freedom Reserve, complete with in-store displays, online advertising and digital marketing programming along with new national TV creative airing during marquee sports moments, including the NBA Finals and NHL Stanley Cup Finals. Freedom Reserve will be available beginning in May through September 30, or while limited supplies last.

Continue onto PRNewswire to read the complete article.

The iGen iEverything Train is Coming, but Are You Ready?

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Technology is being consumed at an ever increasing rate causing executives, managers, and process improvement experts on the factory floor to re-define the methods of training and dissemination that have become obsolete.

Critical skills and tribal knowledge are being lost as boomers retire and training plans for new employees fall short of preparing workers for the sophistication of the new manufacturing environment.

Move over millennials, here comes the IGen! Born between 1995 and 2005 this group of tech savvy natives is the next cohort and are just now entering the workforce. IGen, or Gen Z as they are often referred, have grown up in a world of social media where Youtube, Instagram, and Twitter reign supreme. These kids are a force to be reckoned with and require access to information in ways that are familiar, immediate, and actionable. Our success depends on them because as the IGen goes, so goes the manufacturing industry, the nation, and the world.

Alliance Resource Group, in partnership with Sify Technologies has pulled together experts from manufacturing, academia and automated methodologies to develop a solution that addresses the manufacturing challenge of this next generation and identifies the key components of a successful framework including content management, dissemination methodology, scalability, and integration with current learning management systems. These components constitute a micro-learning strategy that facilitates current and future state requirements. Developed in participation with a major government funded military program, this framework is at the ready to support the success of our veterans as they transition into civilian careers.

Alliance Resource Group (ARG), is a service disabled veteran owned business located in Newport Beach California. With a foundation in resource management, recruiting, and consulting, ARG provides services to small and medium size companies throughout the United States.

View the ARG White Paper here! Better be prepared for total process transformation if you want to remain competitive.

If You’re a Military Planner, You’re a Project Manager

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Project Manager

In the military, there is always action of some kind, from training to maintenance, and behind it all, there is a plan. The framework for military planning is often described as the troopleading procedures, the military decision-making process, or as an acronym such as SMEAC (“S” Situation, “M” Mission, “E” Execution, “A” Administration/Logistics, “C” Command/Signal), or MCPP (The Marine Corps Planning Process), etc.

Successful leaders, both in and out of the military, need to know how to plan and manage projects, which includes adjusting plans as needed to ensure success. It’s project management that executes a marketing campaign, a business plan, or the building of a house or a freeway. In both business and military organizations, there are myriad approaches to management and planning, but all projects have a lifecycle and the same essential components.

The most recognized standard for project management is the PMI (Project Management Institute) process, an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standard. It’s based on the doctrine presented in the Project Management Body of Knowledge, which is a guideline for managing projects. If you can look beyond the differences in terminology, you’ll see that it’s very much like military planning.

All forms of project management are a means to solve a problem which, in the military model, can be what to train, how to resupply, or how to plan a battle. In the business model, project management goals may be building a product, providing a service, or achieving a particular result. The process outlined by PMI consist of five phases, beginning with initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and finally closing the project. The PMI process places these phases into the project’s lifecycle, which determines the focus of effort.

Initiating. In the PMI model, this is receiving a task, assigning responsibility or a project manager, and estimating the requirements. In the military model, this is receiving a mission from the command, assessing the mission tasks, conducting necessary reconnaissance, etc. The initiation phase is when initial planning begins, either assembling a planning team or sending out an NCO to gather and coordinate resources.

Planning. In both models, planning is a democratic process of analyzing the mission or requirements, determining a commander’s intent, identifying essential tasks, and deconstructing those tasks. It is looking for any conflict between tasks and resources, timing of events, and end state. There is also a quality component, which will measure the mission’s success. It’s a collaborative process, dependent on the collective and active participation of all participants.

Executing. The phase in which the real work begins, executing is the longest of all the lifecycle phases and where the bulk of the effort is placed. Executing is consuming resources—labor and material—to achieve the project objectives. As requirements, goals or objectives change or risks are uncovered, the plan is adjusted to adapt.

Monitoring and controlling. This phase includes the feedback loop, used to monitor and control where plans are adjusted through the change order process known as the FRAGO (fragmentary order). Through feedback, progress and quality of execution is monitored, controlled and evaluated. Reports are made and plans adjusted accordingly. It’s in this phase of the lifecycle that the commander or the project manager coordinates the main effort and its supporting elements to ensure mission or project success.

Closing. In the last phase of the project lifecycle, the project is closed when the mission is complete. Success is judged in terms of meeting time and quality goals and, often—even in the military—cost. The PMI process describes the project management challenge as the “triple constraint”: balancing resources, time, and quality requirements to achieve your goal.

Project management is essentially the same across industries, as military planning is the same across services and commands. Having a general knowledge of the process is helpful—what will get you a shot at a job is knowing the industry-specific language. As a service member, you may not have a great depth of technical experience in a particular industry, but you have leadership experience. Often the crux of the project management challenge is getting the team to work together, understanding the requirements, and, most importantly, effectively communicating to the stakeholders. Your ability to listen, collaborate, problem solve, and lead are traits that industry is looking for. Your challenge is to translate these qualities into the industry-specific language for your next career.

Author
Mike Olivier

What are soft skills?

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Two young men reviewing business documents

Every career has a job description. Employers like to make clear the experience, education, and skills they look for in an employee, so they can ensure a good fit. But in addition to “hard skills” that come from your education and work experience, employers want to know if you have the personality and character it takes to do well in the workplace and in your specific role. These less-technical skills are called “soft skills.”

So what are soft skills?
Unlike other parts of your job duties, soft skills are traits that aren’t trained, according to hiring and onboarding coach, Jen Teague.

Human resources consultant, Laura MacLeod, says soft skills are interpersonal skills like communication, empathy, collaboration, problem-solving, and conflict resolution.

“These skills are all essential for employees in any organization,” MacLeod says. “We all work with people in a variety of ways, and teams are the norm in almost every company. Hiring professionals and supervisors need to know you will get along with, support, and effectively connect and collaborate with co-workers to complete tasks.”

Why are soft skills important?
Simply put, hard skills may get you an interview, but soft skills can help you get the job and keep it. The soft skills that set you apart from others may also lead to future incentives or promotions.

Soft skills are an excellent way for you to differentiate yourself in a job search. If your technical skill is on par with other candidates, your ability to communicate and build a connection with hiring managers can be a tiebreaker of sorts.

You’re probably wondering which soft skills will set you apart from other applicants. Most hiring managers agree that communication skills are at the top of their list. While you don’t have to be an amazing speech-deliverer, employers want to know that you can handle conflict, portray ideas in presentations or conversations, and write coherently.

Like MacLeod mentioned, conflict resolution and collaboration are other key areas hiring managers value. But don’t be fooled—working well with others isn’t just about keeping a calm office. The ability to develop relationships that benefit both parties is a big part of becoming an influential and effective employee.

While it’s true that many of these traits are “built in,” don’t worry too much if these don’t come naturally to you. There are plenty of ways to learn and grow as you prepare for a job. If you’re interested in developing your soft skills, courses in leadership or public speaking may help. Additionally, a mentor can help you identify blind spots in your abilities and push you to improve.

How can I make my soft skills stand out?
Though any hiring manager would agree on the importance of soft skills, they can be hard to quantify. “These skills are tough to share on a resume,” said Laura MacLeod. “How do you list empathy? And who can vouch for it? Even in the interview, soft skills are not so easy to prove or demonstrate.”

But showing your soft skills isn’t impossible. It just takes a little work. MacLeod recommends not only emphasizing your soft skills in interviews, but sharing specific examples to illustrate how you apply them in your life and on the job. Giving employers an idea of how your personality comes to life when you’re working with a team can also help you avoid clichés, like “I’m a team player” or “I’m good with people.”

For example, MacLeod says to recall times when you’ve worked on a team project where members had conflicting views, and share how you handled it.

“Were you the leader who made sure all voices were heard and then helped mediate and resolve the conflict? Maybe you were one of the team and you took the role of helping evaluate each view and coming to consensus. Maybe you were the one to support the person whose idea was not used,” MacLeod said.

MacLeod says these are all examples that can be highly relevant to employers making hiring decisions.

When it comes to your resume, leveraging your soft skills may sound tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, how you communicate on your resume and cover letter are great examples of your soft skills. Start by making sure your resume and cover letter are typo free and grammatically sound.

Remember to show and not just tell. Saying you’re an excellent communicator has much less impact than giving concrete examples of times where your communication ability was excellent. Anyone can say they’re amazing—it’s up to you to prove it.

Author
Ashley Abramson

About Rasmussen College
Rasmussen College is a regionally accredited private college that is dedicated to changing lives and the communities it serves through high-demand and flexible educational programs. Since 1900, the College has been committed to academic innovation and empowering students to pursue a college degree. Rasmussen College offers certificate and diploma programs through associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in seven schools of study including business, health sciences, nursing, technology, design, education and justice studies.

Source: rasmussen.edu/student-life/blogs/college-life/what-are-soft-skills/

12 Surprising Interview Tips

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Interview Tips

You’re almost there. Your resume landed you an interview and now it’s time to seal the deal. So what’s the best way to prepare?

To find the answer, I looked back on my interviews, sifted through research, and most importantly, asked employees from today’s most coveted companies. I tried to find deep insights beyond the typical “sit up straight!” and “dress to impress!” tips we hear too much.

Below you’ll find the 12 best tips to help before, during and after your interview.

BEFORE

 1.    Research Earnings Calls, Quarterly Reports & Blog Posts

In today’s world, content is king. Goldman Sachs publishes quarterly reports, Microsoft records its earning calls, and every startup has a blog.

With so much out there, I’m baffled that few of us look past the company’s homepage. It’s like we’re writing an essay on The Odyssey without quoting a single passage from the book.

Example: If you’re interviewing with Google, here’s two ways to answer: “What’s Google’s biggest opportunity in the next 5 years?”

  • Weak: “I think wearable technology will be big because Google Glass and Apple Watch represent a new trend that shows…”
  • Strong: “Call me geeky, but I was listening to Google’s quarterly earnings call and was blown away by the fact that display advertising hit over $5 billion in the past few years. Therefore, I think that…”

Neither answer is wrong, but the latter says much more. It shows you’ve done your homework and give answers rooted in data.

2.   Use Google Alerts

Keeping up with company news is hard, especially if you’re interviewing with multiple places at once. That’s why Google Alerts is a savior; it’s a tool that emails you anytime a new story appears for a specific term. That way, you learn about current events without searching for them.

 Example: If you’re applying to Creative Artists Agency, follow these steps:

  1. Go to www.google.com/alerts
  2. Type in “Creative Artists Agency”
  3. Put in your email address if you’re not already logged in to Gmail

Soon enough, you’ll get updates on CAA and have more ammo for your interview.

3. Use Social Sweepster To Clean Your Facebook & Twitter

Nowadays, 91% of employers search your social media for any red flags. While most people tell you to watch every single thing you upload, there’s a much easier solution. Use Social Sweepster, an app that detects pictures of red solo cups, beer bottles, and other “suspicious” objects. It even detects profanity from your past posts! Now, that’s f%$king awesome!

“Too many recruiters reject candidate because of something they found on their social platforms” Social Sweepster CEO Tom McGrath says. “We help you create the first impression on your own terms.”

4. Schedule For Tuesday at 10:30 AM

According to Glassdoor, the best time to interview is 10:30 AM on Tuesday. Remember, your interviewer has a world of responsibilities beyond hiring. They’re responding to emails, balancing projects, and meeting tons of other candidates so it’s crucial to consider when they’ll be in the best mental state to meet you.

10:30 AM Tuesday is the sweet spot because you:

  • Avoid the bookends. On Mondays and Fridays, employees gear up for the week or wind down. By the same token, avoid the first or last slots of any workday.
  • Avoid lunchtime. Immediately before noon, your interviewer may be too hungry to concentrate; immediately after, they may be in a food coma.

But there’s a caveat. Research shows it’s best to take the earliest interview slot “in circumstances under which decisions must be made quickly or without much deliberation because preferences are unconsciously and immediately guided to those options presented first.”

Bottom line: if the firm is hiring for a job starting in a few months, try to interview late morning between Tuesday through Thursday. If the firm is hiring immediately, grab the earliest slot.

5. Craft Your “Story Statement”

 Though most interviews start with the same prompt (“tell me about yourself” or “walk me through your resume”), we blow it off with boring answers like:

I studied [major X] because I really care about making a difference in [industry Y] as you can see through my last job at [company Z]…

This answer is like tearing out the first 200 pages of your autobiography. You leave out everything that gives meaning to why you want this job in the first place. What was your moment of epiphany? How did your childhood influence you? Why does this job move you? Most people don’t answer these questions. They start and end with their professional experience, leaving little to inspire the interviewer.

Next time, use what I call a “Story Statement,” which is a Cliff Notes of your autobiography.

Example: Here’s an amazing Story Statement that Teach For America fellow Kareli Lizarraga used for her interviews.

“I grew up in California and Arizona after immigrating to the United States when I was four years old. Since neither of my parents went to college, I relied on my high school teachers to help me apply to top universities. With their support, I was able to attend the University of Pennsylvania. Then I spent a summer at a Washington DC law firm, which represented low-income students and helped me realize that my passion lay within creating educational opportunities for all.

I decided to become a teacher because I see myself so deeply reflected in the stories of so many students in your schools – and that’s why I’m so excited about the opportunity to interview with you today. Like my teachers did for me, I want to impact the next generation of students by supporting them and understanding the experiences they’re facing.”

A Story Statement shows that you’re a person, not just a professional.  It also makes it easy for your interviewer to predict the next chapter of your story. For Kareli, Teach For America is a logical next step. Of course, if she interviewed for Apple, she may change her Story Statement to include an early experience with her first computer and talk about how her passion for tech grew from there. For a Bain interview, she could mention how she started problem solving at a young age and now wants to do it on a big scale.

Chances are, we’ve all had experiences we can connect to where we’re trying to go. It’s just a matter of selecting the right ones to tell our story. That said, if you struggle to craft your Story Statement for a particular interview, you might be applying for the wrong job.

6. Wear a Subtle Fashion Statement

We already know dressing well makes a difference. But what if we took our attention to detail a step further? That’s exactly what Morgan Stanley analyst Julio German Arias Castillo did for his interviews.

“Wear something that represents your culture or background,” he says. “In my case, I always wear a pin of the Panamanian flag on my suit lapel. Most of my interviewers ask about it so it becomes a chance to discuss my upbringing and love of my homeland.”

Julio created a conversation starter with his clothing. Depending on the company, you can be more playful: wear a bracelet from your recent travels to India, a tie with a quirky pattern, or — if you can pull it off — a small mockingjay pin if you’re a Hunger Games fan. As long as it’s subtle and tasteful, your fashion statement can build rapport through fun conversations about your hometown or mutual love for Katniss Everdeen.

Continue on to Forbes.com to read tips 7-12 and more great career/business articles