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

LinkedIn

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.

Your Guide to Launching a Civilian Career

LinkedIn
Soldier and civilian shaking hands on blurred background

Five steps to identifying your post-military career goals

By Jeff McMillan, Chief Analytics and Data Officer, Morgan Stanley

Over 25 years ago, I left the U.S. Army to pursue a civilian career. I loved serving my country, but it was time to do something different.
The military builds valuable skills, but often does not prepare veterans for the process of finding a job after leaving the service. Most transitioning veterans struggle with uncertainty over how to launch a new career, simply because no one has taught them the “do’s and don’ts” of identifying job opportunities, networking, interviewing, etc.

Based on my own experience and my time spent counseling hundreds of veterans in the years since, the following steps can help veterans determine what career direction to pursue and how to position themselves to employers as qualified candidates.

  1. Examine your skills and interests

Most individuals I speak to have little or no clue what they want to do post-military. There’s no reason to feel embarrassed about being unsure, because it takes time and exploration to figure out what kinds of jobs might be a good fit for your interests and expertise. Here are some tips for getting started:

  • List the skills that set you apart from other candidates (make sure to use language that non-military people can understand). For example: “I know how to manage and motivate people.”
  • Next, describe the kind of work that you enjoy (or don’t). For example: “I get bored by routine work and like to tackle new issues/problems.”

It may take some time to gather and articulate these skills and interests. Your objective is to outline who you are and what you like. You will use this information as a point of reference for evaluating potential career opportunities.

  1. Research relevant opportunities

Once you have a sense of your skills and interests, use that knowledge to determine which roles suit you best. The best way to do this is by talking to a lot of people. Ask what they do, what they like and don’t like about their jobs, and what skills are necessary for success. After every conversation, ask yourself if the role you discussed is aligned with your skills and interests. Keep in mind that you’re not looking for a “perfect” job, but rather deepening your understanding of various career possibilities. Other useful resources include:

  • Job descriptions
  • Companies’ websites and mission statements
  • Relevant trade publications
  • Career fairs
  1. Determine whether you need further education

One of the first questions people ask when transitioning to non-military jobs is “Should I go back to school?”

The answer depends on what kind of career you decide to pursue. Some jobs require an advanced degree; for others, you’ll need a specialized certification. As you research opportunities, ask people about their educational backgrounds. Keep in mind that some (but not all) employers favor candidates who attended competitive or prestigious institutions. If you do go back to school, make an effort to excel—employers will look at your GPA.

  1. Develop a crisp and clear message

Many individuals leaving the military hesitate to self-promote, because they’ve been trained to put aside their egos for the benefit of the broader mission. But in the civilian world, if you don’t promote yourself, no one else will. As a job seeker, you need a simple, direct set of talking points that tells people what you want to do and why you’re a fit for the role in three minutes or less:

  • One minute on your background and differentiated skills
  • One minute on the opportunity you’re seeking
  • One minute on why you would be a great fit for the role

As you draft and refine your “elevator pitch,” remember to use language that non-military personnel can understand, and to connect your skills and interests to the role you are seeking in a way that demonstrates you understand the responsibilities the job entails.

  1. Find a mentor

A mentor is a trusted advisor who can help you learn about your field of choice, provide honest feedback and advice, make networking introductions, and generally serve as a sounding board during your job search. You can find a mentor among your existing connections, or look into American Corporate Partners, which offers free one-year mentorship programs for transitioning veterans. Be upfront with your mentor about how much time you’d like them to commit (such as a 30-minute meeting or phone call once a month), and prepare ahead of time to make your sessions as productive as possible.

Embarking on a new career after serving in the military can seem daunting or intimidating to even the most decorated veterans. Breaking the process down into manageable steps, laying a solid foundation based on your interests and skills, and leaning on others for guidance and support can help set you up for success.

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

Military Leaders Make Great Accountants

LinkedIn
military veteran sitting at desk in civilian clothes giving a thumbs up

 And why being an accountant is ‘cooler’ than you think

It’s true. And here’s why: the skills required to be an exceptional leader in the military—problem solving, strategy, planning, teamwork, attention to detail, and a strong work ethic—are the same skills required to be a successful accountant. In fact, major corporations and public accounting firms alike look for these “soft skills” first when they build out their teams.

Among these skills, leadership may be the most important. Companies place a high value on incoming employees who are boardroom-ready and who possess the maturity to work in client-facing situations. They often find these leadership attributes in those transitioning out of the military.

Of course, accounting knowledge and skills are required, too. But, with an undergraduate degree—any undergraduate degree—these skills can be gained in as little as one year. In fact, some graduate schools have designed their Master of Accounting degrees to cater specifically to those with little or no accounting experience. And, to make things more convenient for those already working, or serving, some programs are now fully online, allowing students to log in from anywhere in the world.

Accounting is challenging, but it’s also straightforward. Less math than you might think; it’s more about organization and documentation. Less rigid than you might think; there’s actually a good deal of judgement and flexibility. And, because they regularly work on teams and with clients, accountants are less “back-office number cruncher,” more “proactive communicator.”

But, why accounting? Hmmm…why not? Accounting is very popular career choice. Accountants make strong starting salaries and see rapid salary progressions—even those just entering the workforce top six figures after just five years. Accountants are also in serious demand, both in public accounting firms and on corporate finance teams.

And, accounting is cooler, and way more important, than you think. Accountants help businesses make critical fiscal decisions that can shape investor confidence. Auditors verify transactions, protecting companies from allegations of fraud and criminal misstatement. Tax strategists uncover opportunities for significant savings. At more senior levels, those with an accounting background often fill key seats in the C-suite: CEO, CFO, or VP of Finance.

For those in the military planning to transition into the private sector, or for those continuing to build a career within the military, a Master of Accounting degree is a key step toward lucrative accounting and finance positions. The degree also prepares students, and provides the necessary education credits, to sit for the CPA exam, the key professional credential within the accounting field.

As noted above, some schools offer online programs that allow students to earn the degree from anywhere in the world while continuing to work or travel. The best programs leverage webcam-connected classrooms to bring students together for live, interactive discussions and learning management systems that deliver course lectures via recorded video.

The online Master of Accounting (MAC) degree from the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School can give your career the boost it needs.

Source: UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Standard Operating Procedures for the Military Transition Process

LinkedIn
Veteran looking at iPad

By Brian Niswander

For the past decade, I’ve conducted interviews and collected data from thousands of veterans and spouses about their transition out of the military and into the civilian workforce.

After countless hours analyzing survey data and comments, I’m convinced that a successful transition embodies five key elements.

After making this discovery, I started thinking about my time in uniform and the importance of adhering to Standard Operating Procedures.

I couldn’t help but remember how we had procedures and checklists for important mission activities, and I think we owe the same level of rigor to veterans as they consider their future transition.

Based upon extensive research conducted by the team at Military-Transition.org, I developed a 5-step process to reduce confusion and increase the chances for success during the transition process:

#1 – Start Preparing Early

The data is clear and the majority of veterans surveyed (84%) indicate that starting early is critical to a successful transition. Unfortunately, this is seldom as easy as it sounds. Today’s ops-tempo requires military members to focus on the mission for the majority of their day. While finding time for things outside of the mission and family can be challenging, the advice from veterans is simple—you must find a way. There’s nothing unpatriotic about thinking and planning for what follows your military service. I tell serve members to start considering what’s next at least 24 months ahead of their transition. Starting this far ahead will pay dividends and will enable you to begin focusing on those transition elements which require time and effort to accomplish.

#2 – Have a Transition Plan

Your initial plan doesn’t have to be complex, but should include goals, enabling activities, and timelines. These can change as you progress, but you need to have a starting point. Your first goal might be to research and learn more about industries, organizations or positions that align with your existing skills. Maybe you’d like to do something completely different in the civilian workforce and need to begin exploring new and different opportunities which are outside your comfort zone. Activities may include reading books, journals, blogs and newsletters about these fields. Those considering an educational program might explore what programs are available and what career opportunities result from attaining that degree, certification, or license. In all cases, start connecting with those who transitioned before you, and others who can assist and might become mentors along the way.

#3 – Build Your Network

Of all the advice I’ve gathered over the past decade, this is the most recommended element of a successful transition. You can utilize social media (LinkedIn) and identify individuals to connect with, organizations of interest, and potential opportunities to learn about. You should also become active in community groups and build contacts through face-to-face networking. Engage with other military members, veterans, and civilians to understand their career experiences, education, and training programs. Successful networking not only helps you learn about post-military life, but it will also help you learn a new language which I call “the language of civilians.” Trust me, you need to speak their language—this is critical for the next element of a successful transition.

#4 – Learn to Translate your Skills

Of all the elements within the transition process, this activity will require the most effort. Translating your skills results in a strong resume, good interviewing skills, and the ability to demonstrate your value to a potential employer. Practice is essential to success and you must consistently demonstrate how your skills add value when networking. Ask for feedback and make continual improvements. This will require time to accomplish, but it’s worth the investment.

#5 – Be Patient

Almost half of the veterans surveyed (48%) claim their transition was ‘more difficult than expected’ and more than half (59%) say it ‘required more time than expected’. Take the time, do the research, build your network, learn how to translate your skills, and be patient along the way. You didn’t become a soldier, sailor, airperson, marine or coast guard person overnight, so don’t expect the transition to be quick. Remember that patience and persistence are key throughout the transition process.

Brian Niswander is the Founder of Military-Transition.org, an organization that uses data analytics and visualizations to assist military members with their transition into the civilian workforce. He started Military-Transition.org after identifying a need for data-driven-solutions which inform and guide veteran decision making during the reintegration process. Brian was an Air Force intelligence officer and now provides ‘transition intelligence’ to educate military families. His work has been featured in numerous publications along with radio and podcast interviews. His background includes analytic and leadership positions within the consumer goods industry along with management, strategic planning and marketing in public and private organizations. Brian has an MBA from the University of Notre Dame and a BS in Behavioral Science/Human Factors Engineering from the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Your Guide to Launching a Civilian Career

LinkedIn
man wearing a military uniform on left and a suit on the right

By Jeff McMillan, Chief Analytics and Data Officer, Morgan Stanley

Over 25 years ago, I left the U.S. Army to pursue a civilian career. I loved serving my country, but it was time to do something different. The military builds valuable skills, but often does not prepare veterans for the process of finding a job after leaving the service. Most transitioning veterans struggle with uncertainty over how to launch a new career, simply because no one has taught them the “do’s and don’ts” of identifying job opportunities, networking, interviewing, etc.

Based on my own experience and my time spent counseling hundreds of veterans in the years since, the following steps can help veterans determine what career direction to pursue and how to position themselves to employers as qualified candidates.

 

  1. Examine your skills and interests

Most individuals I speak to have little or no clue what they want to do post-military. There’s no reason to feel embarrassed about being unsure, because it takes time and exploration to figure out what kinds of jobs might be a good fit for your interests and expertise. Here are some tips for getting started:

  • List the skills that set you apart from other candidates (make sure to use language that non-military people can understand). For example: “I know how to manage and motivate people.”
  • Next, describe the kind of work that you enjoy (or don’t). For example: “I get bored by routine work and like to tackle new issues/problems.”

It may take some time to gather and articulate these skills and interests. Your objective is to outline who you are and what you like. You will use this information as a point of reference for evaluating potential career opportunities.

  1. Research relevant opportunities

Once you have a sense of your skills and interests, use that knowledge to determine which roles suit you best. The best way to do this is by talking to a lot of people. Ask what they do, what they like and don’t like about their jobs, and what skills are necessary for success. After every conversation, ask yourself if the role you discussed is aligned with your skills and interests. Keep in mind that you’re not looking for a “perfect” job, but rather deepening your understanding of various career possibilities. Other useful resources include:

  • Job descriptions
  • Companies’ websites and mission statements
  • Relevant trade publications
  • Career fairs
  1. Determine whether you need further education

One of the first questions people ask when transitioning to non-military jobs is “Should I go back to school?”

The answer depends on what kind of career you decide to pursue. Some jobs require an advanced degree; for others, you’ll need a specialized certification. As you research opportunities, ask people about their educational backgrounds. Keep in mind that some (but not all) employers favor candidates who attended competitive or prestigious institutions. If you do go back to school, make an effort to excel—employers will look at your GPA.

  1. Develop a crisp and clear message

Many individuals leaving the military hesitate to self-promote, because they’ve been trained to put aside their egos for the benefit of the broader mission. But in the civilian world, if you don’t promote yourself, no one else will. As a job seeker, you need a simple, direct set of talking points that tells people what you want to do and why you’re a fit for the role in three minutes or less:

  • One minute on your background and differentiated skills
  • One minute on the opportunity you’re seeking
  • One minute on why you would be a great fit for the role

As you draft and refine your “elevator pitch,” remember to use language that non-military personnel can understand, and to connect your skills and interests to the role you are seeking in a way that demonstrates you understand the responsibilities the job entails.

  1. Find a mentor

A mentor is a trusted advisor who can help you learn about your field of choice, provide honest feedback and advice, make networking introductions, and generally serve as a sounding board during your job search. You can find a mentor among your existing connections, or look into American Corporate Partners, which offers free one-year mentorship programs for transitioning veterans. Be upfront with your mentor about how much time you’d like them to commit (such as a 30-minute meeting or phone call once a month), and prepare ahead of time to make your sessions as productive as possible.

Embarking on a new career after serving in the military can seem daunting or intimidating to even the most decorated veterans. Breaking the process down into manageable steps, laying a solid foundation based on your interests and skills, and leaning on others for guidance and support can help set you up for success.

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

Interview Like a Pro

LinkedIn
hiring manager shaking hands with a newly hired veteran

Behavioral and situational interview styles are the most effective when interviewing both veterans and spouses. That’s because veterans are accustomed to concise and polite conversation.

They are not accustomed to boasting about their accomplishments, scope of authority or level of responsibility, as they have been operating in a team environment. Gaps in a spouse’s resume or volunteer experience may overshadow the great skills and experience they have gained over their professional career. In both cases, you as the interviewer have to probe for their accomplishments and for detail revealing their adaptability and how their experience can contribute to your company.

Ask prospective employees if they’re willing to be coached by an existing veteran employee. For example, a candidate may say he drove a truck. What he may not be saying is that he supervised several dozen soldiers transporting millions of dollars of inventory. Or a military spouse may say she volunteered as a Bible study leader. What she may not be saying is that she coordinated spiritual retreats for a few hundred military spouses, organized food deliveries for families in need, and went through training to spot domestic violence on post, all while her husband was deployed three times to a war zone. If you have an employee resource group devoted to veterans, ask members to attend hiring fairs and to be available to coach potential interviewees on their resumes and job interviewing skills before the interview process begins. And ask prospective employees if they’re willing to be coached by an existing veteran employee.

These veteran employee resource groups can even be tapped to participate in mock interviews with HR recruiters, join the in-person interview with the veteran or spouse job candidate to help break the ice, or provide the candidate a tour of the workplace.

Also, train your hiring managers on these interviewing techniques, suggested by Sherrill A. Curtis, principal and creative director for HR consulting firm Curtis Consulting Group LLC, in a report for the Society for Human Resource Management:

Know what they bring. Be familiar with the military occupational skills (MOS) that correlate with the job.

Show gratitude. At the start of the interview, thank military talent applicants for their service or the spouse for their service and sacrifice as well.

Explain the job. Clearly describe the job role and its responsibilities, defining expectations up front and avoiding generalizations.

Make them comfortable. Draw out applicants to discover their “thread of excellence.”

Get them talking. Avoid closed-ended questions (those that elicit a “yes” or “no” response) by posing probing questions about an individual’s service experience.

Translating Military Experience

Lend them your ears. Focus on active listening for skill sets, and correlate them with job functions within your organization.

Stay connected. Keep the candidate engaged in the process by following up and delivering on what you promise (for example, with post-interview phone calls about the status of their application, next steps, etc.). This is very important to them and should not be overlooked.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers these tips:

Set an easygoing tone. The concept of “professional presentation” is often different for veterans than for civilians. Employers should understand that some might present themselves with a high level of discipline and formality (for example, using “sir” or “ma’am”). It’s OK to let candidates know that they can be more relaxed and respond in a casual manner. Doing so may help foster a more comfortable and insightful conversation.

Ask if they can do the job. Whether or not you’re interviewing someone who might have a disability, it’s a good practice to ask all candidates about whether they think they could perform the job—one idea of raising the issue is by asking: “Have you read the job description? Can you, with or without a reasonable accommodation, perform the essential functions of the job?” This is not the same as asking candidates to disclose any disability; it merely ensures they can perform the necessary functions of the position.

Questions relevant to experience or training in the military, or to determine eligibility for any veteran’s preference required by law, are acceptable.

Dig for detail. When trying to delve deeper into their experience and how it might translate to your business, consider phrasing questions that will ensure that the candidate provide more detail about their responsibilities. For example: “Tell me about the type of training and education you received in the military.” Or: “Were you involved in day-to-day management of personnel and/or supplies?” “How many people did you supervise?”

Sample Interview Questions

There are rules on what you can and can’t ask veterans about during an interview.

Off limits:

  • What kind of discharge did you get from the military?
  • When will you get deployed again?
  • Have you ever killed anyone?
  • Were you ever injured in combat?
  • Will you have to miss much work for your military service?

Instead, ask:

  • Will you be able to perform the duties in the job description with reasonable accommodation?
  • What did you do in the military?
  • Which of your military experiences will translate to this job?

Source: vetemployerroadmap.org

10 Skills to Master for a Successful Job Search

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

As a service member, you’ve already got a strong skill set to make you an asset in the workplace. Many of those same skills can be applied in finding the right job in the first place.

Here are ten skills to master when searching and interviewing for a position:

  1. Flexibility—In today’s market, it’s important to show that you are willing to adjust your schedule or expectations to the demands of a job and compromise to get a task done.
  1. Technical literacy—These days, most jobs require some basic computer and tech knowledge. Knowing how to put together a spreadsheet or quick presentation will do wonders for your resume. If you feel like you need to bring your skills up to speed, explore learning opportunities around you—for example, courses at your community college, online training from MySECO and resources at the MWR Digital Library.
  1. Communication skills—It’s essential that you speak and write effectively in the workplace. Therefore, your communication during an interview is extremely important. Be prepared for questions, and most importantly, listen attentively to your interviewer.
  1. Multitasking abilities—Employers use keywords like “fast-paced” and “deadline-driven” because they are looking for employees who can multitask with ease. You’ll want to demonstrate to an employer that you can manage a variety of tasks at the same time, with limited supervision.
  1. Creativity—Even if the job you’re after is not in a creative field, remember that an employer wants to hire someone who offers a fresh perspective. The creative solution that you bring to a job could potentially expedite an employer’s process or improve a service offered, making you a more appealing potential hire.
  1. Problem-solving skills—Every company has problems that need to be solved, and that’s where an employee like you comes in. You’ll need to be able to analyze a problem and then use critical thinking to solve it. A fantastic way to highlight your skills during a job interview is to provide examples of problems you’ve effectively solved.

 

  1. Interpersonal abilities—Almost every job out there requires you to work with people so employers want to be sure that you can play nicely with others. During an interview, highlight your excellent teamwork skills, perhaps by relaying a time when you helped to alleviate a team conflict.

 

  1. Strong work ethic—Employers love employees who show up on time or even early. They appreciate those who are willing to go the extra mile. If you do excellent work and consider yourself productive, highlight that fact, especially if you have examples of times when you went above and beyond what was expected of you.
  1. Organizational skills—There’s simply no better time to demonstrate these skills than during a job interview. Come with extra copies of your resume, cover letter, job application, portfolio of past work and business cards. Be sure to proofread all your documents. Show up early and prepared with answers to common interview questions. Do a little research and come up with a few questions for your potential employer.
  1. Self-confidence—When it comes down to it, a job interview is an opportunity to sell yourself. Do whatever you need to do to boost your confidence and present yourself professionally: dress nicely and appropriately, be prompt, make eye contact, and be personable. The best way to make an employer believe in you is to believe in yourself.

As you search for a job, it’s crucial for you to identify your transferable skills, incorporate them into your resume, and highlight them in your job interview. As a service member, you have all the skills on this list and more. You just have to demonstrate those assets to a future employer.

Source: militaryonesource.mil

7 Steps to Finding a Job: Advice from a CEO

LinkedIn
close-up hand business man yping keyboard laptop

Finding a Job and getting employed is not rocket science. Just follow this advice from a CEO and you will get multiple invitations for interviews with the companies for which you apply.

I have been reading resumes for 46 years. I have hired hundreds of people. I have helped tens of thousands to get jobs. I focus entirely on assisting U.S. Veterans; however, this article will help any job seeker get a job faster.

Finding a way to support yourself and your family is not as difficult as it may seem, if you do it the right way. It is a multi-pronged offense and attack. You must use all of these tactics.

First: You must have confidence in yourself. You must believe that you can do the job you for which you are applying. The people who hire personnel have talked to thousands of applicants. They are very astute at reading people. You are probably not going to fool them. Do not apply for jobs that you are not qualified for and that you cannot do to the company’s complete satisfaction. It will not work out well for you or for them.

Second: Write a short, confident and intriguing cover letter, and include it with your resume. This is a brief summary of why you are the perfect candidate for their job opening. Make them want to read your resume. Include the title of the job and a few of the keywords the company has used in their job description.

Third: This is essential! When you send a resume to apply for a specific job, use the qualifications and experience listed in their job posting for reference when writing. Use their key descriptive words in your resume. (Ask yourself this question: When the person posted this job, which words in their job description did they choose as the “keywords” for their computer to look for to send them only qualified candidates. (Most resumes are read first by a computer that chooses resumes to be seen, based on their use of the keywords in the job description. The others are deleted.) Most companies do this now to save time. All that companies are looking for is a brief and honest response that proves that you meet their job guidelines, in order to fill their positions ASAP.
Too many, in fact, most applicants, send in a general resume. They have not included any of the information that the company needs to decide about whether they are qualified. They have not responded specifically to any of the list of qualifications and experience included in the job description. And they have not added any of the keywords listed in their employment ad. You will not be hired if you do the same. You will be like all the other frustrated job seekers.

*Note: do not apply for jobs using the same resume! The best way to conquer your objective is to use a bullet, not a shotgun. Snipers are sent for specific objectives. “Street-Sweepers” are for crowds. Hence, when applying for specific jobs, use a bullet to bring down your objective.

Fourth: If you were in the U.S. Military, do not make a long list of what you did in the DoD, without explaining how that makes you qualified for their open position. (Saying that you were an 0311 Infantry Rifleman will not get you any jobs. Such descriptions cannot be understood or translated by civilians. Perhaps if you said “0311 Infantry: Trained to use various sophisticated equipment and electronics in multiple situations as needed. Experienced in communications and in filling reports. Trained to assume leadership immediately when necessary. …”  (Note*: Most first readers of your resume will be non-veterans and be in their early 20s. They will not be the decision maker. They are probably not a US veteran and cannot make any sense of what your military responsibilities were and how they relate to the job they need to fill, unless you explain it in words they understand and can apply to the job they must fill.)

Fifth: Use LinkedIn. This is the Number One worldwide space for companies, employers, employees, and serious job seekers. Create a profile. Fill it out completely. Join 50 relevant groups. Follow some of the leaders in your industry and join some of the groups to which they belong. Follow companies for which you want to work. Connect with executives and employees in those companies. (Use the Search bar to do all this.) Read the posts that they make, like them and make a comment. Also, write and post articles and send them to your groups. Make your self known. Build relationships.

The connections you make on LinkedIn can be extremely valuable in putting you on the top of the list of candidates a company will consider. If you can get a recommendation from an executive or an employee of a company, it helps tremendously.

LinkedIn is also an online space that virtually every recruiter in the world has joined and uses to find job seekers to fill every job opening they acquire.

Take the time to watch all the videos that LinkedIn offers for job seekers. (Click Here.)

Sixth: Use niche job boards. Look for job boards that are exclusive for your experience and industry. If you are a US veteran, go to sites like HirePatriots.com. Post your resume and search for the jobs and the state or city in which you want to find employment. If you find a job you know you can do well, give them a call. HirePatriots will act as your agent and contact the company and recommend you. – There are such niche job boards for every industry. The BIG job boards are becoming obsolete. They are too expensive and less effective for employers to use. And for job seekers, it is like trying to find a needle in a haystack!

Seventh: For those of you that are not shy, here is a sensational way to get seen and noticed: Your local media wants stories about US veterans. They also want a US veteran that can explain what it is like to be in the military, what is learned and gained by being in the US military, and why it is so hard for our military to transition. Write the producer, editor, station manager and some of their reporters. Send a short letter letting them know that you are a U.S. veteran and that you would like to talk on these subjects and educate their listeners. You will get interviews! The News runs out of things to say every 24 hours. By offering them to speak about U.S. veteran issues, you help them fill their News time slots. During your live interview, give a brief resume of your own experience and mention that you are currently looking for employment. This will work with civilians too, if you give them a story their audience wants to hear.

Search for local TV, radio, newspapers, and magazines in your local area.  Magazines in the USA,  USA newspapers, USA TV stations, and USA local news media by city and state.

P.S. If you are a U.S. veteran, reach out to me. Let’s talk and see if I can be of any further assistance. Mark Baird/ ceo@hirepatriots.com/ 760-730-3734

5 Ways to Create an Effective Military-to-Civilian Resume

LinkedIn
man in a suit giving a thumbs up signal

Transitioning from military to civilian life is difficult. Communication is subtle in the civilian world, and that can be tough when you’re used to straightforward and explicit military orders.

When you’re applying for a job, you have to navigate this communication gap. There’s also the additional challenge of learning how to structure a resume when you’ve always, or for a long time, had a Field Service Record to explain your qualifications to superiors.

These five strategies can help you manage the transition by creating a strong  military-to-civilian resume that will land you job interviews.

#1: Reframe your Skills to Target Civilian Employers

As a military veteran, you have many resume skills that civilian employers need. To start, you have certain technical and job-specific skills that qualify you for civilian jobs. You just need to know how to present them effectively.

Military Connection and other organizations have automated tools at your disposal. Military Connections lets you enter your Military Occupational Specialty code or title, or a keyword from that title, and then presents jobs you might qualify for, and how you would use your skills in those jobs.

Additionally, according to researchers from LinkedIn, veterans are more likely than lifelong civilians to be:

  • Reliable team players
  • Strong problem solvers
  • Critical thinkers
  • Team leaders
  • Detail-oriented workers

Don’t underestimate the power of soft skills. They’re even more in-demand than technical abilities for many types of jobs.

#2: Translate Military Jargon into Language that Civilians Can Understand

A civilian human resources manager might not know the difference between a senior noncommissioned officer and a squad leader, or how many people are in a battalion versus a platoon. Use civilian terms like “supervised,” “led,” and “mentored” to indicate your level of responsibility and how you affected the personnel under your command.

Additionally, avoid all military acronyms if you’re applying to a civilian company. Don’t just spell them out; a civilian employer might not understand “Officer Efficiency Reports” any better than they understand “OER.” Translate it to “performance review.” Remember, an employer wants to be confident you understand the civilian workforce.

#3: Open with a Qualifications Summary or Resume Summary

When you’re transitioning from military to civilian work, you’re changing industries. You should start your resume by highlighting those skills and achievements that will transfer best to your new industry.

As an industry-switcher, you should begin your resume with a resume summary or qualifications summary. Both are specific styles of resume introductions that draw attention to your skills or accomplishments rather than your experience.

A qualifications summary:

  • Focuses on skills
  • Uses five or six bullet points
  • Showcases abilities and achievements relevant to your target job
  • Highlights your value to a potential employer

A resume summary:

  • Focuses on your key accomplishments
  • Uses data to quantify these accomplishments
  • Is formatted using bullets with category subheadings

Determine whether your skill set or your various achievements are more marketable to your desired job, and choose the introduction that best reflects you as a candidate.

#4: Use Quantifiable Information to Highlight Your Accomplishments

Regardless of which introduction you end up choosing, fill the body of your resume with numerical data that quantifies your accomplishments. Under each job heading, introduce three to five bullet points, each with the following three-part structure:

  • Action verb
  • Data point
  • Relevant job responsibility

You don’t have to format every bullet point in this order, and it’s more than fine to include two pieces of data under the same bullet. For example:

“Provided safety training to three 150-member companies yearly, increasing compliance and reducing the number of injuries by 23%

The more quantifiable information you can attach to active descriptions of your work, the better an employer will understand that you get results.

#5: Tailor Your Skills and Experience to the Job Posting

Finally, exclude from your resume any information that doesn’t relate to your target job. All resumes should be specific, but tailoring to the position is particularly important for veterans.

Some employers think that a newly discharged or retired veteran is out of touch with the civilian working world, or that military skills aren’t useful in the private sector. You have to show them that this isn’t true.

Adjust your resume a bit for each job posting. It takes extra time, but it also shows an employer that you’re committed to the role rather than someone sending out bulk job applications.

The Takeaway

As a veteran, you have skills that civilians don’t, but employers won’t know it unless you explicitly show them. Take the time to create a military-to-civilian resume that shows all of the ways that you stand out.

For Business Minded U.S. Veterans

LinkedIn
maintenence-worker

The best way to provide good jobs for U.S. veterans is by helping other U.S. veterans to start successful businesses, because veterans like to hire veterans.

They share a camaraderie and respect for each other unlike any other. And they all have been trained how to work together effectively for maximum results.

Six years ago, in order to get more U.S. veterans employed with good wages I began teaching business minded veterans how to start a strong and successful Maintenance company from scratch. I realized that the more veteran owned businesses I created, the more veterans would get hired. I have developed 80 U.S. Military Maintenance businesses since. It has been an overwhelming success! They have earned millions of dollars and are employing thousands of other veterans.

But before I go further, I will introduce myself. Then I will summarize what I will do with you if you choose for me to show you how to start a maintenance business of your own, in just a week.

Many have earned $10 K or more in their first month. There are many U.S. Military Maintenance owners to talk with. You can talk to them personally and listen to their own success stories.

I have been putting on career fairs on military bases for more than a decade. And I have a job board exclusively for businesses seeking to employ U.S. veterans. HirePatriots.com.

It also has a unique job board for residents who want to hire local U.S. military to help with chores, and to provide a way to thank them; and for active duty, veterans and their spouses to earn extra money when needed. – My life has been devoted to serving our US military, veterans, and their families for more than 40 years. My primary focus has been to help provide ways for active duty and veterans to financially support themselves and their families well.

Book Cover of the Patriotic Business PlanI have written a best-selling book: The Patriotic Business Plan: How to Leap Over Your Competition. The book explains how I received voluminous local and national media attention, medals from two US Presidents, and financial support from civic leaders, organizations, and businesses. It was written in 2013 when social networks were exploding and changing the way businesses market themselves and increase profit. It has worked for myriads of businesses across the US and continues to grow in its effectiveness to immediately increase any businesses’ prestige, and bottom line. As its creator, I personally work with you to get your business started and to help you to also leap over your competition.

Learn more about these active duty, veteran and military opportunities and resources at PatriotHearts.