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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They do the heavy lifting.

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

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

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

They help with every step of the process.

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Orion Talent

L’Oréal USA Presented Have A BEAUTIFUL Day – Honoring U.S. Military Service Women and Their Family Members

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Loreal Have a Beautiful Day gathering of military spouses and veteranspictured

The L’Oréal USA Office of Diversity & Inclusion, in partnership with VALOR (Veterans at L’Oréal USA), an employee-led resource group, Bridging The Gap, Stand Beside Them, USO, American Legion, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and Women Veterans Interactive, welcomed 48 active duty women U.S. military personnel and veterans of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard, along with members of their families, to Have a BEAUTIFUL Day. The annual event was held at L’Oréal USA headquarters in Manhattan and featured a day of beauty services and career advice and education, including a panel discussion with employees who are veterans.

Guests received complimentary hair, makeup and manicure consultations and services offered by a team of volunteer professional stylists from the company’s Consumer Products Division Technical Center, L’Oréal Professionel, Matrix, Mizani, Redken, Pureology, Pulp Riot, L’Oréal Paris, Essie and Luxe & CPD Make-up.

Have a BEAUTIFUL Day began with registration and breakfast at the company’s nearby Terminal Stores. The service women, veterans and family members were then escorted to L’Oréal USA headquarters where they were greeted by a Marine Corps Color Guard and FDNY Bagpiper along with hundreds of L’Oréal USA employees waving miniature American flags and a rousing a capella rendition of the national anthem by L’Oréal employee Alicia Cooper.

The women were welcomed by Executive Vice-President, L’Oréal Americas Frédéric Rozé, who thanked them for their service noting that, “L’Oréal is strongly committed to hiring, retaining and advancing veterans in our company.  We have many veterans working in our corporate offices, manufacturing and distribution facilities, research and innovation offices – and throughout our company.”

Carol Hamilton, Group President of Acquisitions for L’Oréal USA, said, Today you’ll hear from a panel of veteran employees at L’Oréal who will tell you about their transition from military careers to the corporate world.  I can’t emphasize enough that the skills you developed in the military can translate successfully in both the private and public sectors.  The fact is that your talents are needed everywhere.  At L’Oréal, we have potential careers in fields such as sales, finance, marketing and operations.  We also have an initiative for positions in sales within our beauty advisor revolution program that are ideal for candidates who may be moving from one location to another.  You can find more details on our website at beautyadvisor.com.”

L’Oréal USA executive Cecilia Nelson-Hurt, AVP Diversity & Inclusion, also greeted the guests and gave an overview of the day. Each guest was then escorted to a salon station for consultations and services.

Among the guests for the day were:

  • VALOR panelists (veterans and L’Oreal employees) – Everett Betts, Kevin Reim, Bronco Figueroa, and Curtis Cunz;
  • Mike Ferraro, President & Co-founder, Bridging The Gap; Ginger Miller President, Women Veterans Interactive and Stephanie Richmond, Founder & CEO, Stand Beside Them; and
  • Keynote speaker –  Jas Boothe, founder of  Final Salute, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit committed to providing services and transitional housing to female veterans around the country as part of her commitment to “Never Leave a Fallen Comrade.”

In her address, Ms. Boothe outlined her passion for serving and was candid about the toll that her military experience, her defeat of aggressive cancer and her bout with homelessness had taken on her both physically and mentally. Dealing with and overcoming those challenges led to her establishing Final Salute, which provides services and housing that female veterans were unable to find elsewhere.

L’Oréal USA is committed to hiring veterans and “Have a BEAUTIFUL Day” is one of the strategic initiatives of the Office of Diversity & Inclusion designed to impact the workforce, workplace and marketplace.  The event seeks to raise awareness of the experiences of active duty and veteran U.S. military personnel, to provide unique, direct programs to show appreciation and support for deserving families with a day of beauty, pampering and professional styling advice to make beauty accessible to them, and to offer career education.

PHOTO CAPTION: Pictured center front are Frédéric Rozé, Executive Vice-President, L’Oréal Americas and Carol Hamilton, Group President of Acquisitions for L’Oréal USA, surrounded by a Marine Corps Color Guard and FDNY Bagpiper at the opening welcome to L’Oréal USA’s Have a BEAUTIFUL Day.

About L’Oréal USA

L’Oréal USA is the largest subsidiary of the L’Oréal Group, the world’s leading beauty company. L’Oréal USA manages a portfolio of more than 30 iconic beauty brands, including Garnier, Giorgio Armani Beauty, Kérastase, Lancôme, La Roche-Posay, L’Oréal Paris and Yves Saint Laurent Beauté. L’Oréal USA also serves as the international hub for the product development and marketing strategy for L’Oréal’s 21 American brands: AcneFree, Baxter of California, Carol’s Daughter, CeraVe, Clarisonic, Dermablend, essie, IT Cosmetics, Kiehl’s, Matrix, Maybelline New York, Mizani, NYX Professional Makeup, Pulp Riot, Pureology, Ralph Lauren Fragrances, Redken, Seed Phytonutrients, Softsheen-Carson, SkinCeuticals and Urban Decay. Generating more than $7 billion in sales annually, L’Oréal USA is committed to growth through sustainable innovation, driven by the company’s Sharing Beauty With All ambition for sustainable development across the Group’s value chain. The company is headquartered in New York City, employs more than 11,000 people, and operates administrative, research, manufacturing and distribution facilities across 14 states, including Arkansas, California, Florida, Kentucky, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas and Washington. For more information, visit www.lorealusa.com or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @LOrealUSA.

Source: L’Oréal USA

Your Guide to Launching a Civilian Career

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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

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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

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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.

Sailor Assigned to USS John F. Kennedy Participates in Christening Ceremony

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Master-at-Arms 1st Class Kristi Dennis in uniform

An Edmond, Oklahoma, native assigned to Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) will participate in the christening of the U.S. Navy’s second Ford-class aircraft carrier during a ceremony in Newport News, Dec. 7.

The Navy will christen its newest aircraft carrier on Saturday, Dec 7, 2019, during a ceremony at the Huntington-Ingalls Industries, Newport News Shipbuilding (HII-NNS) shipyard in Newport News.

Master-at-Arms 1st Class Kristi Dennis, who is assigned to PCU John F. Kennedy, discussed the pride in serving on board the second Ford-class aircraft carrier.

“It is a great honor and humbling experience to not only create new traditions with PCU JFK but also know I am a part of carrying on the traditions of the Navy for many generations,” said Dennis.

On Nov. 6, nearly a month earlier, the crew of PCU John F. Kennedy officially revealed the carrier’s seal. The seal is crafted to integrate elements that honor President John. F. Kennedy, his service to the Navy, and his vision for space exploration.

It features 35 stars located around the outer ring that represent John F. Kennedy as our nation’s 35th president. The 35th star is positioned after his middle initial and the two gold stars placed between CVN and the number 79 symbolize the fact that this is the second aircraft carrier bearing his name and legacy.

The Roman numeral “CIX” or 109, is a tribute to President Kennedy’s heroic naval service as commander of Patrol Boat 109 in the South Pacific. Additionally, the moon backdrop represents President Kennedy’s instrumental role in the nation’s space program.

“John F. Kennedy displayed extraordinary courage, both in combat as a naval officer, and as president of the United States,” said Capt. Todd Marzano, the ship’s first Commanding Officer. “The seal design and ship’s motto are a very powerful and fitting way to honor President Kennedy’s legacy.”

Anchoring these and other elements on the seal is the ship’s motto – Serve with Courage. Dennis discussed what Serving with Courage means to her.

“Courage is the foundation of integrity. It defines how you carry yourself in choosing to do what is right even when it is not the popular choice,” said Dennis.

Other recent milestones PCU John F. Kennedy have completed include the ship’s dry dock was flooded on Oct. 29, officially launching the aircraft carrier approximately three months early to the original schedule. The ship’s keel was laid on Aug. 22, 2015, and placement of the 588-metric ton island superstructure was completed on May 29, 2019.

Source: Navy Outreach

Power Couple: Soldier Recruits Wife to Join Army

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U.S. Military wife and husband in uniform standing side by side with arms folded

By Alexandra Shea, IMCOM

Staff Sgt. Joshua Mitchell is used to talking with various people about military careers and the benefits that are offered to those who choose to wear the uniform and serve their country as a Soldier. As a recruiter in the Malden, Massachusetts, area, he is constantly talking to strangers, even off-duty, according to his wife, Eunjee.

“The first year after I moved to America, I knew I needed a car,” Eunjee said. “We went to the car dealership, and he recruited the car dealer.”

The couple met in Korea while Staff Sgt. Mitchell was stationed there. They originally met online and met face-to-face for the first time on New Year’s Day. They married shortly after, and Eunjee Mitchell immigrated to the United States, where her husband became a recruiter. She often would hear the conversations he had about joining the military. After two years of listening to Staff Sgt. Mitchell, she decided enlisting was the right choice for her.

“He was interviewing other recruiters, and one was Korean like me. She told me how the Army helps her a lot to speak (better) English and get her involved in the community,” said Eunjee. “The conversation with her gave me the thought that I could try.”

She enlisted as a 92A – Automated Logistical Specialist in the Army Reserves.

“I knew hanging around with me she would be interested in the Army, but I didn’t think she would (join),” said Staff Sgt. Mitchell. “I definitely wrote her contract.”

After 10 weeks of South Carolina’s famously hot summer weather, Eunjee Mitchell walked across Fort Jackson’s Hilton Field with the rest of her company as they graduated Basic Combat Training. With three bachelor’s degrees, she graduated with the rank of specialist.

While she knew her husband would be attending her ceremony, Staff Sgt. Mitchell was able to arrive to the installation early and surprise his wife during the Family Day dress rehearsal.

“While I was waiting behind the trees, I was trying to stay calm. I was very emotional,” said Spc. Mitchell.

She instantly recognized her husband on the parade field and knew “my recruiter is here.”

“I saw him, and he was in uniform, so I recognized him because he’s so tall,” she said.

Standing at six-feet, five-inches, Staff Sgt. Mitchell is not easily missed. Since immigrating to a new country and culture, Spc. Mitchell has never been separated from her husband, until attending Basic Combat Training.

“I didn’t see her until she was walking out,” said Staff Sgt. Mitchell. “She’s a tough little lady. I’m crazy proud of her.”

The couple were allowed to speak for a short time before Spc. Mitchell had to return to her daily duties. The following day, they were reunited for Family Day, where they were able to spend an entire day together visiting various parts of the installation and get lunch together.

After the graduation ceremony, Spc. Mitchell traveled back to her home state with her husband. Once there, Spc. Mitchell will rejoin her Reserve unit and attend Advanced Individual Training in the coming months.

When asked what her future might look like now that BCT is complete, Spc. Mitchell said she is excited to begin her new career and possibly a family. She also explained how her experience on Fort Jackson has helped her to understand her husband and brings them closer as a couple.

“The first year we were married I didn’t understand the little things like why he didn’t want to take his boots off in the house,” said Spc. Mitchell. “I understand him more now.”

Source: army.mil

What Qualifies Someone as a Veteran?

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woman veteran holding child who has a U.S. Flag in his hand

By Keith King

Here are just a few examples of the statements we hear when we ask someone to list their qualifications needed to be recognized as a veteran (and the true answer):

  • Anyone with an honorable discharge? NO
  • Must have been overseas?            NO
  • Must have served during a period of war? NO
  • National Guard and Reserve members? Maybe, under specific conditions.
  • Anyone who has a DD-214 form? NO
  • If they served, they are a Veteran? NO

The key is understanding the person’s service record: Did he or she serve in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge or medal was authorized. Was he or she awarded the campaign badge or medal? Just serving during the time period does not qualify most reservists or guardsmen or women.

To devise a way to recognize our troops serving in a “war,” the Department of Defense (DoD) created designated periods of conflict that if you serve in an area of hostility and are awarded a campaign medal, you are considered a veteran. We use, “180 days of active duty not counting training or 1 day in a combat zone,” as our rule of thumb to determine if a person is a veteran or not. This is a much higher standard than what the Veteran Affairs (VA) uses for benefit awards.

To be a veteran, a service member must have:

—        180 days of consecutive active duty (not counting training)

—        Or one day in a combat zone: served on Active Duty during a period of war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge was authorized.

—        Served in the National Guard or Reserve for 20 years and retired under honorable conditions. (passed 2016)

The form no one tells you about is, in many cases, more important than the one everyone thinks they know (DD214). The DD 256 and 257 are issued when the person has not met the active duty requirements to be considered a veteran by the DoD. But having a DD214 form doesn’t automatically mean you are a veteran! What is truly bothersome is that people who have served but don’t qualify as a veteran can request a DD214. To the untrained eye, this person has a DD214 and in most cases their character of service is honorable, so people think that person is a veteran. But they’re not!

In a recent report, the DoD admitted that data is collected from 30 different sources to “build” a DD-214. The truth about a DD214: it takes a highly trained person who understands veteran laws and exactly what the information is showing them to determine if that person meets the standards to be called a veteran.

The National Veteran Business Development Council (NVBDC) uses: Title 38 U.S. Code § 4211 as our standard to determine the definition of a veteran. The applicant must have received an Honorable Discharge (HD) or Discharge Under Honorable Conditions (UHC).

The NVBDC does not accept DD214’s from the applicant. Why? One word: Photoshop. The most downloaded Federal form is the blank DD-214. It shouldn’t come as a big surprise that the amount of fraud in the Federal purchasing programs, especially the VA, is estimated at over $500 million per year per government estimates.

Keith King is the founder and CEO of the NVBDC as well as a 40-year veteran advocate with heavy legislative experience and a strong record of success in writing, lobbying for, and getting passage of laws to benefit all veterans. He is an expert in veteran law and VA claims, and the difference between them.

Your Guide to Launching a Civilian Career

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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

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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

Veterans Are Finding Lasting Peace After Taking These Free Journeys into Nature for Months at a Time

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veteran on a hike looking out at the wilderness in the distance standing near a cliff

With countless US ex-service members struggling to readjust to civilian life following their deployment, more and more veterans are finding unparalleled success in alternative forms of rehabilitation and therapy.

Warrior Expeditions is a nonprofit that has proven nature to be an effective treatment for veterans suffering from PTSD. The organization helps veterans overcome their trauma by sending them on longterm nature excursions lasting two to six months.

The charity, which also provides all the gear and supplies necessary for the journeys, typically helps 30 to 40 veterans every year with about 10 different expeditions—all of which are facilitated at no cost to the vets.

The organization’s recently concluded 53-day trip through North Carolina is the first time that Warrior Expeditions has incorporated paddling, biking, and hiking into one of their excursions.

Marine Corps veteran Sean Gobin was inspired to launch the charity after he returned to the US in 2012 following several combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. He then found peace and healing by hiking all 2,185 miles of the Appalachian Trail—and he knew that he wanted to share the experience with other veterans just like him.

There is no shortage of evidence on how spending time in nature can positively impact one’s physical and mental health. For the veterans participating in the Warrior Expedition outings, these therapeutic perks are also supplemented by the benefits of exercise, meditation, and sleeping outdoors.

Continue on to the Good News Network to read the complete article.