How to Ace the Career Fair

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Man holding a Job Fair sign

By Susan Ricker

Advance your job search with a wide variety of employers and organizations that can be found at career fairs—and learn how to do your military service justice.

A career fair is a great opportunity to interact with employers, share your experience and possibly secure a follow-up job interview or even an offer. With five to 10 minutes of an interviewer’s time, you can learn about their opportunities and talk yourself up, and discern if their organization might be right for you to join.

With all the perks that come along with career fairs, it can be easy to view this as the answer to your job search. But for job fair attendees – and military veterans in particular – it will greatly improve your chances of finding the right job match if you take careful steps to prepare. Along with dressing sharply and being punctual, here are the steps to take to make sure you can ace the career fair.

Go in with a plan. Career fairs are an efficient way to pack progress into your job search, since plenty of employers are assembled specifically to meet job seekers and identify prospective talent. But if you plan to make the rounds once you’re there and see who you’re interested in, you may be wasting your time.

Not every employer will be a good fit for your experience or career goals, so check the career fair’s website ahead of time to identify who will be in attendance and who’s company goals and positions are the best match for you. Create a list of who you want to make sure you meet, and take the time to research the company and customize your job application materials. You’ll be able to speak intelligently to their reps, as well as offer tailored information about yourself. Prepare for this by reading through their website, browsing past press releases or checking them out on social media.

Make your resume readable for civilians. A strong resume sums up your past experience and skills, then applies them to your prospective employer’s needs to demonstrate that you’re the best person for the job. For veterans, your service experience can be just as applicable to the position as a civilians, but you need to make sure that a non-military employer can understand how.

Translate your skills and experience into more business-friendly language, like your leadership skills, project management or experience in high-stress situations. The biggest challenge employers face in hiring veterans is understanding how their experience applies to the open position, so take out the guesswork for them and make it clear how you’ll benefit the organization.

Point out veteran advantages. While you were serving in the military, you picked up a number of skills and training, as well as some characteristics that allowed you to work well on a team and act as a strong leader and service member. Even though you’re no longer on active duty, those traits can still serve you and others well – and it helps to point this out to employers. A CareerBuilder survey shared the top qualities and soft skills that employers know to expect from employees with military experience, including:

  • Disciplined approach to work—63 percent
  • Ability to work as a team—60 percent
  • Respect and integrity—56 percent
  • Ability to perform under pressure—51 percent
  • Leadership skills—51 percent
  • Problem-solving skills—47 percent
  • Ability to adapt quickly—45 percent
  • Attitude of perseverance—41 percent
  • Communication skills—40 percent
  • Strong technical skills—31 percent

There are also a number of other advantages veterans have in the job market. For one, former military members have federal security clearance, which is not only required for many government jobs, but also for jobs at government-contracted companies that work on classified or defense-related projects. Because it can cost companies a lot of time and money to get security clearance for civilian employees, veterans are usually preferred for these types of positions.

End on a high note. When your time with the recruiter is coming to a close, express your interest in learning more about the position and company, and ask for the opportunity to come in for a longer interview. Also be sure to get their business card or information for connecting on social media, and follow up within 48 hours with a thank-you note for their time and reiterate your interest.

The career fair will go by quickly if you’ve done your prep work and come ready to talk about your experience and ideas. And for military veterans who prepare in advance and understand their best qualities to share, a career fair can be one of the best opportunities for connecting with the right employer.

Source:  CareerBuilder

Attracting and Sourcing Veterans—Help for corporations looking for the right veteran for the job

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recruiting and sourcing veterans

By Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University

Some organizations, such as TriWest, GAE, and the Combined Insurance Company of America, appoint a key veteran staff member to lead efforts in recruiting high-potential veteran candidates transitioning from military service to the private sector. This person understands military and corporate culture and can help HR and hiring managers understand military culture and service.

However, general recruiting efforts may not reach prospective employees with disabilities, so advertising with disability organizations, vocational rehabilitation programs, and disability-related job fairs are good ways to reach potential employees with disabilities.

Another means for attracting veterans is to develop marketing materials that help translate and transfer military skills/experience into civilian job responsibilities. Organizations that have focused veteran recruiting strategies leverage military classification codes in their application materials and jobs postings. These codes specify an individual’s job and rank, and often include additional qualifications, such as languages or specialized training.

Numerous organizations offer specialized websites for veterans, including AT&T, Amazon, Disney, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft, Sodexo, T-Mobile, and Walmart Inc. Military recruitment channels, career fairs, and other similar events are additional avenues where businesses can share their employment opportunities and veterans can explore whether there’s a match with their skills and experience. Businesses can showcase their job opportunities along with the benefits of joining their organization, while veterans have the opportunity to demonstrate they are some of the most qualified talent in the nation.

Partnerships with business and trade associations represent another important channel for recruiting veteran talent, as well as a means for communicating the value of veterans in the workforce. Leveraging community collaboration and networking with other firms are excellent means for sourcing veterans. Encouraging inter- and intra-industry collaboration to identify and utilize the most comprehensive military skills translators creates more effective placement. The 100,000 Jobs Mission, a coalition of 41 companies committed to hiring at least 100,000 veterans by 2020, is an example of private-sector collaboration contributing to improved recruiting practices and outcomes.

JPMorgan Chase has instituted a “High-Touch Gold Desk,” where recruiters respond to any veteran applicant within five days of receiving the individual’s application for employment. This high-touch approach is positioned to support veterans in finding the right opportunity at JPMorgan Chase, based on the applicant’s experiences and qualifications. In addition, this personal response to each and every applicant has the benefit of helping the company’s HR staff become better educated as to how military skills and experiences correlate to the firm’s different work roles. The program functions by utilizing integrated, regional teams that map veteran applications against available positions at the firm. Using those maps, the teams are able to identify positions across the firm that best match the veteran’s skills profile. This results in a process that aligns the veteran with an opportunity where he or she is most likely to find success and also facilitates an approach to recruitment and hiring that looks across lines of business, as opposed to within a given organizational silo.

Other examples of focused military recruiting are at BAE and the Lockheed Martin Corporation. BAE provides career pathways for wounded warriors through its Warrior Integration Program (WIP), which is specifically designed to identify, hire, and develop qualified wounded veterans into valuable employees. Lockheed participates in the Army Partnership for Youth Success Program (PaYS), which allows those who serve our country to plan in advance to explore private-sector job opportunities. The program gives new soldiers the opportunity to select a job with a PaYS partner during the time of enlistment. After the position has been selected, a Statement of Understanding is signed, and the PaYS employer/partner promises to interview the returning solider, as long as he or she receives an honorable discharge, is otherwise qualified, and a job vacancy exists.

Many companies, including Walmart, leverage campus recruiting and veteran service organizations, such as the Student Veterans of American (SVA). Ernst & Young organizes veteran internship fairs at schools, while AT&T leverages internships that provide veterans job shadowing opportunities.

Following are other resources positioned to support employers with veteran-focused recruiting and onboarding initiatives.

U.S. DOL Vet Employment (VETS)

VETS proudly serves veterans and service members by providing resources and expertise to assist and prepare them to obtain careers, employment opportunities, and employment rights, as well as information on transition programs. VETS offers a multitude of resources for veterans looking for jobs.

Joining Forces

Joining Forces is a great resource and offers some of the nation’s top job resources for veterans and employers, such as access to the Veterans Job Bank, links to employment tools, like My Next Move for Veterans, and many more.

Virtual Career Fair for Veterans

This event includes military-friendly employers that represent thousands of available job opportunities for veterans.

U.S. Veterans Pipeline

An effort of the 100,000 Jobs Mission, the U.S. Veterans Pipeline is a talent networking and career management platform that allows users to connect directly to peers, companies, jobs, schools, education programs, and more.

Gold Card Initiative

This joint initiative between DOL’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and VETS provides post-9/11 era veterans with intensive and follow-up services, necessary for success in today’s job market. Eligible veterans can present their Gold Card at any One-Stop Career Center to obtain enhanced intensive services that include up to six months of follow-up, job readiness assessment, referral to job banks, and much more.

100,000 Jobs Mission

JPMorgan Chase and the other founding corporation/coalition members are committed to working together, sharing best recruiting and employment practices, and reporting hiring results.

Hero Health Hire

This initiative is a gathering place where business leaders, government officials, and concerned citizens can learn, share information, and commit to helping our nation’s disabled veterans find and retain meaningful employment. This initiative provides information, tools, and guidance for recruiting, hiring, training, and supporting disabled veterans in the workplace.

Hire Heroes USA

Hire Heroes USA (Hire Heroes) is dedicated to creating job opportunities for U.S. military veterans and their spouses through personalized employment training and corporate engagement.

Military Spouse Corporate Career Network

Offers virtual and in-person meetings or webinars, helping military spouses with resumes, employment resources, training to update skill sets, and assistance in finding employment resources in their current location or the area to which they’re relocating.

Source: toolkit.vets.syr.edu

Stuck on Writing a Resume? Follow these tips

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Resume Tips

By Erik Bowitz

Veterans face a particularly tough challenge compared to most unemployed people when it comes to resume writing and marketing themselves for job openings.

While difficult, translating a military resume into a civilian resume is far from impossible, and if anyone can take on the challenge, it’s an American veteran. Experience as a veteran will be an advantage in today’s competitive job market. Below are just a few tips that will hopefully aid in your resume writing process and give you a bump-up on the competition.

1 Choose a mission, set an objective.

The biggest mistake all job seekers make is using one generic resume for every job they apply to. This is a tactically faulted approach, as each position will most likely be seeking a slightly different job candidate. For this reason, your resume should be specifically targeted to each job position. Don’t be a generalist but a master of what is being sought by the employer.

Include a career objective at the beginning of your resume in which you clearly define your goal and the position being sought. Using one generic career objective for all jobs applied to will ensure you won’t stand out for any.

2 Remember, Civilians Don’t Speak Jargon

Most employers will not understand even some of the most basic of military lingo, including acronyms or systems knowledge specific to military application. This may come as a challenge, but translation will be needed from military jargon to layman acceptable generalist terminology. Resumes containing a lot of military terminology will cause HR managers’ eyes to glaze over because they do not understand it. Instead, convert terms for specific applications into broad terms for generic application.

Did you use a proprietary munitions inventory tracking and monitoring system called SCORPINX-57XP? Well, that bullet point should instead read something like, “proficient in inventory and inventory tracking systems.”

3 Match Your Skillset

Pick your battles whenever you can. By applying to jobs you are unqualified for, you are only wasting time and energy. Instead, apply to jobs you stand a good chance at landing because of your experience and skills. For example, you will have a difficult time landing a marketing job with a mechanical background. Instead, search for jobs using keywords, such as “mechanical,” “mechanics,” and “mechanical engineering.”

If you still have your heart set on marketing, find a technical school near your community and enroll. You can pursue an associate degree in fewer than two-years, and schools offering general marketing programs are a dime a dozen.

4 Toot Your Own Horn

As mentioned above, it is important to frame your resume with a civilian reader’s perspective in mind, as that will be necessary to communicate skills, experience, and goals you wish to achieve. However, display your military experience prominently on your resume, as it’s full of golden HR “keywords,” such as:

  • Leadership skills
  • Independent thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Applied teamwork skills
  • Professional dedication

Having served in the armed forces, you are by default highly valuable with critical thinking skills and problem-solving skills. By accompanying your military experience with these skills, you validate your claims, something that many civilian applicants will struggle to do.

5 Triple-Check Fundamentals and Numerically Quantify

As many times as resume consultants warn against it, job applicants consistently include grammatical errors or spelling mistakes on their cover letters and resumes alike. Running a document through spell-check is not sufficient; proofreading requires human eyes. If you don’t have a friend or family member with grammar skills up to the challenge of reviewing your resume, consider contacting an old English teacher.

Finally, throughout your resume, whenever possible, numerically quantify your achievements. For example, if you led a group of soldiers, state how many, written in numerical form as in “100” instead of “one hundred.” Numerals pop out to HR types and make resumes look more qualified.

Also, add ultimate qualifications by including military honors and any medals earned, as this is definitely one area where civilians will not be able to compete with you.

Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

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

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Bob-Wiedower-headshot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Richard Rawlings: On A Mission For Vets

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Richard Rawlings On a Mission For Vets

By Brady Rhoades

Active duty service members and veterans alike are big fans of Richard Rawlings. From outposts around the world, they tune into Fast N’ Loud, a Discovery Channel TV show that features Rawlings and his crew restoring broken down, classic cars in the Gas Monkey Garage. Rawlings’ products—energy drinks, tequila, sweatshirts—are available at more than 200 military bases in the United States and abroad.

Our military men and women may be fans of Rawlings, but Rawlings is an even bigger fan of them. “I can never express enough gratitude to them for keeping us safe,” he said, in an interview with U.S. Veterans Magazine. “I hope they all come back safe and happy.”

In 2017, Rawlings spent Thanksgiving with the troops in South Korea. He wanted to serve dinner to the men and women stationed in Seoul, but military tradition calls for the brass to serve the front-liners, so he made the rounds, broke bread, and offered his personal thank-yous. “It was an amazing experience,” said Rawlings, who was a police officer, firefighter, and paramedic before becoming a businessman. “It really hit me in the gut how young some of these people are …. It was great. We talked about cars.”

That our troops are fans of his shows and his famous—or is it infamous?—”Gas Monkeys” and request that his merchandise get trucked, flown, and shipped to bases from Camp Pendleton to South Korea to Guam never ceases to amaze him. “It’s an absolute honor,” he said.

Gas Monkey Garage visited troops in Korea last Thanksgiving
Korea: Gas Monkey Garage visited troops in Korea last Thanksgiving

As for what servicemen and women do as professionals and as patriots, he said, “It’s just very noble.” Rawlings is nothing if not relatable. He’s Texan, folksy, funny, and a bit of a gearhead, and he drinks Miller Lite and razzes his pals. He’s the consummate guy next door. And he’s a family man.

Let’s face it: In the car and garage business, dudes are the demographic, right guys? But that’s not entirely so with Fast N’ Loud and his other show, Garage Rehab, on which he helps struggling shop owners. Garage Rehab debuted in 2017 and is now in its second season. And yes, men can’t get enough of watching the crew cherry out a Ferrari F40 or 1930 Ford L-29, but women love it, too, and families also watch the show together. That’s exactly how Rawlings planned it after watching hours and hours of machismo car shows.

“It’s family accessible,” he said. “Grandmas come up to me, and I’m proud of that.” He says the family feel of his shows reminds him of his home life. Here’s how he describes it: “Come on over, watch the Cowboys game, and tinker around in the garage.” He adds, “It’s not an act.”

In 2002, Rawlings launched Gas Monkey Garage in Dallas. The shop created automobiles for customers worldwide. Soon after, he got out of the printing business when he sold Lincoln Press. Now, it was all cars, all the time. Since 2012, the facility has been the focus of Fast N’ Loud.

In September 2013, Rawlings started Gas Monkey Bar N’ Grill in Northwest Dallas, then set up a second location at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport in March 2014. Rawlings is working to launch a third Texas grill outside the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area.

In 2014, Gas Monkey Live, a venue dedicated predominantly to live music, was opened. In 2015, Rawlings published his first autobiography, Fast N’ Loud: Blood, Sweat and Beers, which includes such colorful lines as: “If we’re gonna have fun, it better have a motor,” and “We turn rust into gold. We make it fast and loud.”

NASCAR: Rawlings walks the red carpet prior to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
NASCAR: Rawlings walks the red carpet prior to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

All the entertainment activity on top of multiple lines of merchandise? He’ll never admit it, but Richard Rawlings—the car kid, the self-admitted daydreamer, the maniac who broke the Cannonball Run record with a time of 32 hours, 51 minutes from New York City to Los Angeles—is a mogul.

Rawlings, born in Fort Worth in 1969, got his love of cars from his dad, who liked to fuss about in the garage and go to car shows. He learned the business of buying and selling cars in high school. His first car: a 1974 Mercury Comet. But back then, all he wanted to do was scrape together enough dough to buy his next cool ride.

After graduating from Eastern Hills High School in Fort Worth, he worked as a police officer, firefighter, and paramedic. Then he got bit by the entrepreneur bug and opened a printing business. But his first and abiding love has always been cars.

Rawlings learned early on that if you’ve got cash in your pocket, you can buy ramshackle rides on the cheap, then fix, shine, and sell them for a profit. But it wasn’t all about money; it was about taking a no-hope car and making her new again. He pitched a reality TV show built around that concept for eight years and heard, “sorry, no thanks” about a million times before landing Fast N’ Loud.

Even he couldn’t have dreamed that he’d meet the coolest car guy ever, the original Cannon

Garage Rehab helps out American Warrior Garage
Garage Rehab helps out American Warrior Garage-PHOTO: DISCOVERY CHANNEL

Ball Runner, the handsome man at the wheel of a Trans Am: Burt Reynolds. Reynolds passed away last September, but not before Rawlings got the chance to meet him and pay homage. Several years ago, in what’s become a classic episode of Fast N’ Loud, Rawlings rolled up to Reynold’s Florida home in a 1978 black bandit Trans Am and shook hands with the star. He was also trying to collect on a bet—a $25,000 roll of the dice—that he could get Reynolds to sign the Trans Am.

“I’m almost at a loss for words,” he said. “I mean, here I am, standing there with Burt Reynolds, and I’m trying to get his signature so I can make twenty-five grand, yet I feel like I should just give him the twenty-five grand for even gracing me with his presence.”

Rawlings considers himself lucky and feels a responsibility to give back. He teamed up with Gary Sinise Foundation for a future two-part episode of Fast N’ Loud, which finds Richard and his team restoring a classic ’81 Jeep CJ7 that is being auctioned off at Barrett Jackson in Scottsdale—all proceeds go to the Foundation. Also, an upcoming episode of Garage Rehab focuses on American Warrior Garage, where veterans train to learn the automotive industry and land jobs. Of that, Rawlings says, “I think there could be one of those in every city.”

Who knows what his next big project will be? Even he doesn’t know. He’s certain of one thing, though: “I have a platform that I can use.”

View the Spring U.S. Veterans Magazine’s Digital Issue featuring Richard Rawlings coming soon!

4 Questions Candidates Should Ask During a Job Interview

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It’s a great time to be searching for jobs and exploring different opportunities. And ideally, that’ll mean going to lots of interviews.

Now, you’re surely aware that as part of the interview process, you’ll be asked a number of questions about your work experience, skills, and goals. But at some point during each conversation, you’ll most likely also be asked to come up with questions of your own. And that’s where a lot of job candidates find themselves stumped. Rather than let that happen, go in prepared with a list of insightful questions that show you’ve put thought into the role at hand. Here are a few you can start with.

1. How has the company evolved over the past few years?

Generally speaking, it’s best to work for a company that’s been showing signs of growth. And a good way to figure out whether the employer you’re applying to falls into that category is to see how it’s changed over the past few years. Ideally, your interviewer will give you insight as to how the company has progressed and developed its staff and product or service line. As a follow-up question, you might also ask how the company has adapted to recent challenges to get a sense of how it operates. Not only are these thoughtful questions, but they’re ones whose answers will inform your decision of whether to accept a job offer if you get one.

2. What has your experience been like working for this company?

Asking your interviewer about his or her personal experience working for the company you’re applying to is a good way to gain insight as to what your own experience might entail. It also shows that you’re taking an interest in your interviewer, and that you value his or her opinion.

3. What’s the company culture like?

You want to enjoy going to work, and a company whose culture promotes a pleasant environment is generally one worth pursuing. It’s always smart to ask about company culture during an interview because it can give you great insight into what your days might be like. Ask how the typical day goes for the average employee, and what steps the company takes to foster collaboration and teamwork. Along these lines, don’t hesitate to ask whether employees generally manage to maintain a decent work-life balance. While the answer might vary on a case-by-case basis, you should try to get a general sense of whether employees get enough personal time or are pushed too hard to always be available for work purposes.

4. What made the last person who filled this role successful?

Assuming you’re not the first person to land the position at hand, it pays to ask what made the previous employee good at what he or she did. Was that person a strong project manager? Was he or she a risk-taker? Asking this question shows you’re invested in being successful yourself.

The last thing you want to do during a job interview is come off as apathetic or unprepared. Before you sit down to meet with a prospective employer, jot down some important questions to ask in advance, or use the ones we’ve discussed here.

Continue on to YahooNews to read the complete article.

Career Advice for Military Spouses and Other Accompanying Partners

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Dual-career couples have unique relocation challenges.

Couples career-planning can be challenging under the best of circumstances. When one partner’s occupation requires relocation, it may be difficult to ensure both people can build fulfilling careers. “I do think it’s incumbent on couples to be strategic and have conversations about who is willing to do what,” says Lisa Wolf-Wendel, professor of higher education administration at the University of Kansas and co-author of “The Two-Body Problem: Dual-Career-Couple Hiring Practices in Higher Education.” “It’s quite miserable to move somewhere for one person’s job and the other person isn’t doing something that is satisfying.”

Several professions require relocation.

Moving is the norm in several professions. Military spouses have it particularly rough, since active-duty service members typically move every two to three years, sometimes without much notice. Members of the foreign service also relocate fairly frequently, to countries throughout the world, exposing their families to many unique cultures and labor markets. And when academics snag rare opportunities to research and teach at universities, their partners may find themselves having to pick up and move to far-flung college towns.
Who are accompanying partners?

In active-duty military families, 93 percent of spouses are women, according to the Syracuse University Institute for Veterans and Military Families. Their average age is 33, just a few years away from when women tend to reach their peak earning potential. More than a third of professors are partnered to other professors, according to Stanford University’s Clayman Institute for Gender Research. These couples may find it especially difficult to build mutually satisfying careers, since it’s rare for a university to offer two perfect-match jobs simultaneously. Women who work in academia are more likely than men to be partnered with other people who work in academia; 83 percent of women in the natural sciences are partnered with scientists compared to 54 percent of men.

Continue onto U.S. News & World Report to read the complete article.

Students In The Workplace Keep Industry And Academia On The Cutting Edge

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veteran student

When college students can spend several months at top international firms like Goldman Sachs, they naturally come away with valuable résumé-building experience. But what’s often left out of the conversation is the value that students inject back into the business.

Joseph Camarda, a managing director in private wealth management at Goldman Sachs in San Francisco, cited this mutually beneficial exchange when explaining why the company has partnered with Drexel University in Philadelphia to place 145 students in cooperative education positions at its U.S. offices since 2014.

“They bring a young, vibrant, innovative mind to the team and that adds a value that we want to use over and over,” he said.

By collaborating with businesses, colleges and universities can deliver on the promise of relevance for career-minded students. From co-ops and internships, to mentoring and research opportunities, they can also invigorate programs on campus and bring value to firms.

Ashley Inman, a human resources expert who has worked with college interns in several industries, recalled one intern at a construction firm who developed an app for the company to better track inventory — a strategic innovation that helped streamline sales.

“Organizations can get stuck in their ways,” she said. “The value that the students bring is a fresh perspective.”

It’s part of the reason Goldman values its partnership with the university today — 13 years after the co-op relationship began with just a few students in the company’s Philadelphia office. A number of graduates since that time have gone on to work for Goldman full-time.

“The work ethic of these students is just phenomenal,” Camarda said. “It shows up every day.”

Real-Life Reciprocity

Students, in turn, bring valuable perspectives back to campus with them – including “bottom-line” urgency that can sometimes be lacking in academia, said Inman, who sits on the talent acquisition panel of the Society for Human Resource Management.

Strong and meaningful links to industry can inform curricula and programming on campus – helping to make sure academic offerings remain relevant to the needs of industry and students seeking jobs.

Higher education, however, has typically struggled to create and maintain those links, leading to a skills gap that leaves companies with jobs they can’t fill and students who can’t get jobs.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

How to Write an Impressive Cover Letter From Scratch in 30 Minutes

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You know enough to regularly update you resume—so if you find a job posting you’re interested in, you’re halfway through the application process.The other half, of course, is your cover letter. If you have some time and are just rusty, you can make a game plan to write a draft, then take a break, and come back to it with fresh eyes.

But if you see the deadline to apply is just 30 minutes away, you don’t have any time to spare. Here’s how to write a cover letter that will bolster your application—in just half an hour. (And if you need to revamp your resume or prep for interview in the same amount time, look here and here.)

Minutes 1 Through 10: Write Down Your Main Points

Maybe it’s just me, but I often struggle the most on the opening line of a cover letter. I know I shouldn’t lead with “My name is…,” and I want something that’ll grab the hiring manager’s attention. But my quest for the perfect beginning can lead me to spend 15 minutes (or more) typing and deleting the same line over and over. (And at that rate, my 30-minute cover letter would be all of two sentences.)

So, skip the intro if need be, and just start writing about why you’re a great fit for the open position. Don’t stress about the very best way to phrase your current responsibilities. Just write down your main points.

Need a prompt? Answer these questions: What do you find most exciting (or interesting) about the position? What relevant experience do you have? What would you bring to the role (and/or company) that’s unique to you?

Definitely make sure to have your resume and the job description open or printed out next to you. That way you can glance over at both and make sure you’re highlighting the right experience.

Minutes 10 Through 20: Add in Examples

OK, so you’ve written out all of reasons why you’re perfect for the job. Now it’s time to make sure you’re on the same page as the hiring manager. How so? Go back to that job description.

Re-read what the position calls for. Did you mention the experience and skills they’ll be screening for? To connect the dots in a way that’s clear—but wouldn’t be confused with a laundry list—add in an example or two.

If the job calls for people skills, swap out the line that reads, “I have excellent people skills” with a line that explains how in previous roles you’ve managed relationships with board members, which taught you about working with opinionated stakeholders. Does the position call for someone with sales experience? An anecdote about how you’ve been in sales since you set up your first lemonade stand when you were seven years old is memorable.

Continue onto Muse to read the complete article.

Recruiting Veterans Can Improve Your Company’s Bottom Line—Here’s how to do it

LinkedIn
Veteran employee talikn with hiring manager

What are your company’s biggest goals right now—building out a core product, improving customer service, growing your client base? When looking at employers’ top priorities, it’s rare to find hiring more veterans among them.

But when you hear what National Director of Military Affairs at Power Home Remodeling Mike Hansen has to say, you just might change your mind.

After a decorated military career, Hansen at first struggled to find a civilian position in the midst of the Great Recession. But after coming across a sales opportunity at Power Home Remodeling, he quickly found his footing. Within 12 months, he had closed a million dollars in deals. And Hansen wasn’t alone—he found that other employees who had served in the military were, on average, significantly outperforming the general population.

This discovery prompted Hansen to reach out to leadership all the way up to the co-CEO, Asher Raphael, to lobby for a veteran hiring program. Fast-forward five years later, and running the program became his full-time job when it launched in the spring of 2016. But make no mistake—Hansen doesn’t see his job as an act of corporate charity.

“When you go back to aligning the program with business objectives, you create a department that not only pays for itself, but pays for itself times ten,” Hansen said.

Glassdoor’s Emily Moore caught up with Hansen to learn more about his unique military affairs program, advice for companies hoping to hire veterans and vision for the future of the company—here’s what he had to say.

Glassdoor: How did the opportunity with Power Home Remodeling come about?

Mike Hansen: It actually kind of fell in my lap. One of the Marines I served with a few years before I joined Power started working in our Philadelphia branch, so he referred me to the local one outside of DC. I figured I’d go in for the interview and see where it went. I had no intention of working in this industry—I never thought I would be with a company like this given what I wanted to do. I was completely clueless, but ended up finding success rather quickly within the organization.

Glassdoor: What made you start thinking about recruiting more veterans to Power Home Remodeling?

Hansen: I met a couple other vets across the business that were doing pretty well, and we found that most of us were doing not just well, but disproportionately well. I wrote a couple of white papers to the chain of command saying, “Hey, we should have a more defined military initiative.” Then in 2015, our organization won Fortune Magazine’s number one place to work for Millennials and camaraderie—that was a real jump-off point. At that point, I got to meet with our co-CEO Asher Raphael and found that he wanted to do a military program and just didn’t know how. We felt that on the heels of that award, it was a really good time to launch this initiative. We set up a military affairs council, and we put together some ideas and thoughts of what we could do and what our objectives would be, and we just started iterating from there. Very quickly after that, we realized that someone would have to manage this full-time, and that’s when our co-CEO Asher asked me to move up to the headquarters and build the program.

Glassdoor: You mentioned that you noticed veterans were not only successful at Power Home Remodeling, but disproportionately successful. Can you talk a little bit more about why that might be?

Hansen: A lot of companies are afraid to hire vets because of PTSD or other perceived issues that come from being in the military. But everybody who is hired, whether they’re right out of college or a 40-year executive, comes with baggage. The difference is the military population has a natural leadership background, a strong work ethic and an understanding of how to operate in chaos that most non-veterans can’t really relate to. The culture is very mission-driven in the military, and that can be applied to any work environment. The second that an organization is able to vocalize their mission, that military drive kicks in and veterans just naturally work towards the objective.

Glassdoor: How did Power’s veteran hiring program start, and how has it changed and grown along the way?

Hansen: We started out thinking we were just going to offer a bonus and do some military-focused hiring. The more we dove in, we saw how our program aligned with the business objectives, and we started iterating and kept evolving our processes. One of the things that’s so unique is we’re able to tie the metrics of our initiative to the actual business growth, which then creates a positive feedback loop. Now, we want to double-down on some of our investments. A big goal for me is leadership development, because it’s one thing to build this program and to successfully identify, attract and onboard new talent, but when we have more veterans in Director, VP or Senior Vice President roles, military talent and leadership becomes part of the genetic makeup of the organization. That creates that positive feedback loop that just runs itself.

We actually have this joke in the business, even our co-CEO got me a T-shirt at our company party in Mexico last year that said, “Get Hansen Fired.” The idea is that my job is complete when I’m no longer needed. We’re trying to continue to build this cycle of leadership development so that more of that group will continue to take the business into the future without needing a dedicated department.

Glassdoor: A lot of companies want to hire veterans, but have no idea where to start. What advice would you offer to them?

Hansen: Number one, I think every company that’s bigger than a hundred people has probably got a veteran or two working there, and a lot of times they just don’t know. I think the first step is looking internally at your own veteran population, and getting together to understand their stories. What you’ll find is usually that some of those military veterans and spouses will already be performing above average. Then you can tie that back to where the business is going and which objectives you’re trying to solve for.

I think that’s what is intrinsically unique about our philosophy—it was never just about hiring. It was about solving business objectives. One of those objectives was investing in human capital and making sure we had the right people and the leadership development we needed to grow and scale the organization. We were able to very quickly identify that some of the gaps in our organization could be filled by a military affairs program. We come at it from a different angle, whereas most organizations view it just in terms of hiring or as a philanthropic endeavor.

Glassdoor: Are there any benefits or perks that companies should offer to help entice candidates to work there?

Hansen: We offer a $3,000 sign-up bonus for vets and spouses, but I’m not necessarily advocating that everybody do that—it just aligns with our business model because that’s the way we’ve built the program. I think the best things you can offer veterans are a sense of purpose, tying what they do back to how it’s making an impact in the lives of the people or the customers that they serve, and a sense of community. In the military, your sense of identity, purpose and community are all so defined by your environment. When you leave the military, you lose those things almost immediately. Companies that can create that sense of purpose and community naturally for their employees help them shape and evolve their new identity.

Glassdoor: Beyond creating a veteran hiring program, what can employers do to sustain it long-term?

Hansen: There are so many different versions of military hiring programs at different companies. What I like to know is, what was the foundation or the philosophy that spurred them to start that program? When you look five years down the road, the programs that were founded on philanthropy alone tend to fizzle out, or their impact wasn’t very measurable on the company. When you go back to aligning the program with business objectives, you create a department that not only pays for itself, but pays for itself times ten and helps create new opportunities across the business.

Source: Glassdoor.com

10 Reasons Veterans Make Great Employees

LinkedIn

By Julie Rains

Over the past few years, I have had the privilege of working with military veterans and active duty personnel who anticipate, are in the process, or have already transitioned to the civilian world.

Some job descriptions line up with their military credentials: a helicopter pilot making evacuations in Baghdad might find similar work with a law enforcement agency stateside; ditto for a technician who is searching for a mechanic’s position. But others may have incredibly valuable skills that aren’t recognized in the private sector. And, like many job seekers, the language of their current or most recent employers may be misinterpreted by those who screen candidates and make hiring decisions. Based on my experiences with military personnel, here are attributes that veterans often have and that make them great employees.

1. Understanding that actions and behaviors reflect on the organization

Military personnel, like other public servants, are always under scrutiny whether on a mission, back at the base, or on leave. They seem to understand that everything they do and say reflects on the integrity and reputation of the organization.

2. Cross-cultural skills

Our military personnel have the opportunity to interact with people of many countries. They might supervise local contract employees on base, conduct medical evacuations, or provide resources in humanitarian missions. Our veterans also have had the opportunity to work alongside others from all over the United States, providing them with knowledge of diverse cultures within our own country.

3. Innovation

I get the impression that many hiring managers may not always grasp that veterans may actually be more, rather than less, innovative in their thinking than non-veterans. Just as in the private sector, there are many opportunities for improving processes and results. In some cases, being in the field requires adapting to uncertain or changing circumstances, not being able to receive assistance from back-up teams, which further develops innovative thinking.

4. Ability to create something where nothing existed before

It took a while for one of my clients to explain to me what implementing “life support” systems in a previously undeveloped area meant. I finally realized that he directed the development of an infrastructure to house, feed, and take care of the basic needs of thousands of people. And, at some point, I understood that his logistical skills consisted not only of accessing supply chain resources but, more significantly, creating the supply chain.

5. Presentation skills

Many veterans, especially those who became officers, have excellent presentation skills. Some have fielded inquiries from Congressional representatives; others have spoken before senior executives (such as a Four-Star General). Delivering accurate information and being clear in meaning are both critical.

6. Quick Thinking

Missions and field exercises require leaders to quickly analyze situations, continuously process new and changing information, and make sound decisions. They have often received training on certain techniques, such as maneuvering a helicopter in a dust storm with no visibility, but real-world scenarios with life-or-death consequences can help hone focused thinking aligned with quick action under pressure.

7. Desire to reuse and recycle

More than one of my clients has mentioned that he or she was able to conserve resources by sharing inventory (equipment and supplies) with other facilities. In one case, he redistributed parts to sites worldwide; in another, she claimed serviceable but unneeded equipment from a nearby site.

8. Preparedness and flexibility

Readiness for deployments or impromptu operations plays a central role in many military job descriptions. Making sure that equipment is operating correctly and that supplies are ready allows responsiveness to organizational needs. And, understanding that uncertainty is the norm yields flexible employees.

9. Insight into how their actions impact other people

Doing a good job doesn’t mean just getting a good performance review, it means that fellow soldiers are as safe as possible and that critical missions are successful: the cargo plane with military troops is loaded properly; the helicopter that is transporting the critically wounded will respond to pilot controls, etc.

10. Demonstrated commitment to the greater good

Our veterans have shown that they have put themselves in danger to protect our freedom. Being able to sacrifice personal reward for greater, collective good is often a valuable asset.

There are even more skills, such as project management, purchasing, and team leadership skills, that our veterans possess. I have listed 10 that made the deepest impression on me.

Article was first published by Wise Bread.