When I first started my position as a Business Development Associate, I was a recent University of Southern California graduate and did not have much work experience outside of the internships and positions I held on-campus during my undergraduate career.

In addition to adjusting myself to the working culture from previously being a full-time student, I was also attempting to navigate the art of networking in a new state where I had no family, a limited number of friends, and few professional resources.

Through trial and error, I learned the intimate details of what works (and doesn’t work) when you approach networking in your industry.

I notice that today, our veteran clients are going through the same challenges I went through, but now I have the tools to assist them and the opportunity to share the knowledge I have gained in my transition into the workforce!

This ultimately led me to start my own curriculum called Classroom to Careers. In this series, I provide workshops, networking mixers, and tips on how to successfully transition from being a student to a full-time employee.

Among many different skills you must acquire to successfully transition from higher education to the workforce, the art of networking is the greatest of them all!

80% of people get a job opportunity though someone they know, and about 50% of every company’s total hires are internal referrals!

On those numbers alone, you should see the value in flexing your networking muscles. Whether a professional in your field, a current student, or a transitioning Veteran, everyone can benefit from the below roadmap to networking success.

Here are my tips on how to develop a networking strategy when conducting a job search.

  1. Do Your Research: While some things do happen by coincidence, other things happen by hard work and preparation. One of the best ways to prepare yourself to meet an employer is by not only researching the employer, but also different industry specific events that are happening in your area through LinkedIn, Facebook, or Eventbrite. Conducting research will ultimately allow you to position yourself to meet employers and impress them with the you information you know about the company.


  1. Create a List: Once you identify an event with employers you are interested in connecting with, be sure to create a list of the employers you want to connect with at an event. This will allow you to attend the event with purpose and be focused on your networking goals.


  1. Practice Your Elevator Pitch: Imagine being in the elevator with the employer of your dreams, but you only have 30 seconds until the individual gets off on their floor, to tell them about yourself and why you would like to work for their company. This analogy is exactly what an elevator pitch is! To write an effective elevator pitch, think about and write down:Who you are, what you do, and how your skill set will add value to a particular company or industry. Your elevator pitch will ultimately allow you to start conversations with employers and make the most of your time with them.


  1. Tailor Your Resume to Each Employer: Once you have researched the companies you are interested in connecting with at an event, tailor each of your resumes to a specific job or department you are interested in applying for. You can do this by going online to company websites, searching current openings, and identifying keywords or technical skills desired in the job description. The information in the job posting can serve as your blueprint for projects, skills, or positions you want to highlight in your resume. Tailoring your resume to specific employers will also allow the recruiter to draw a correlation between the skills you offer and how you can bring value to their company.


  1. Collect Business Cards: When you go to networking meetings, ensure that you not only collect business cards from employers you are interested in connecting with, but bring your own business card. This will provide you with a way to connect with recruiters, even if they forget to follow-up with you.


  1. Follow-up: The most important thing about effective networking is follow-up! After meeting a new contact, be sure to send a follow-up email to the individual 24-48 hours within your initial introduction. This email can consist of reminding the individual who you are, referencing what conversation you had with them (see tip #6 for more information), and asking to schedule a follow-up call to discuss next steps on potentially learning more about what they do or opportunities within the company. I also suggest attaching a copy of your resume if it is appropriate.


  1. Create Follow-up Plan: I was at a women’s networking event and a speaker by the name of Kimberly Rolfe said, “Never forget a contact and never let a contact forget you.” Yet, oftentimes people that attend professional networking events get frustrated because they expect to meet an employer, exchange business cards, drop off their resume and then instantly get a job. This simply does not happen, and follow up is rare, both on the employer and on the participant. So be proactive! I would suggest creating a strategic follow-up plan with each contact or employer you meet at event. You can do this by creating an excel spread sheet listing the name, date and location of the individual you met. You also can write down footnotes regarding the conversation you had with the employer and schedule a time to reconnect with them. This spread sheet will ultimately provide you with the tool you need to send an effective follow-up email after the event, and stay in contact with employer’s months later with information that will impress them.

Those are my tips to be a networking all-star!



Thank you ABC7 for featuring U.S.VETS Career Network last Friday at your news network! The segment was under the ABC7 Salutes series, which highlights local organizations that are making a difference in the veteran communities

We discussed the Veteran Hiring Initiative behind Los Angeles Unified School District ‘s new Troop’s To Education program.

The Troops to Education program at LAUSD fast-tracks veteran applicants so that they can be hired as substitute teachers in as little as 2 weeks. The program also focuses on the full time teacher track, and offers a unique District Intern program, which enlists students completing their education in teaching to earn income while they are gaining hours, and complete a $10,000 teaching credential for free.

U.S.VETS Career Networks works with the veteran candidates along every step of the LAUSD hiring process, for the full life cycle recruitment of veteran talent, and even one-year post-placement for supportive services and professional development opportunities. The total list of services offered in the LAUSD – U.S.VETS Career Network Partnership are below:

  • CBEST Testing Fee (2nd test)
  • Application Assistance
  • Interview Preparation
  • Interview Scheduling
  • Certificate of Clearance (COC) Fee Assistance
  • Final Credential Fee Assistance

Congratulations Puentes Juan on hiring 104 veterans since the programs inception!

If you’re a veteran and interested in becoming a teacher at LAUSD, email me your resume at mcutler@usvetsinc.org with the position title in the subject line.




Do your military skills translate into real life? They most definitely do. Every job in the military has components that transfer over to the civilian job market. Whether you were in the infantry or you were in an administrative position they both can get you into your next position and here is how.

  • Changing your Military Resume
    • You may be thinking, if I knew how to do that then I may not be reading this right now. But don’t be intimidated it is actually quite simple! First you start but listing the skills you have from your time in service. The next step is just changing the key words so that they can match civilian jobs. You have to ask yourself, “What did I do? Who do I lead? How many people was I in charge of? What did I add value to?” For example, an infantry man who served 4 years was a platoon sergeant that was in charge of 30 soldiers and had to manage all of them and their gear. So, this would be translated as: Supervised, trained, and evaluated 30 personnel, that supported the local population of 3,500, while maintaining a inventory list of 800 items with assets valued at 3M. This shows leadership, quantifiable data, and management of assets.


  • What Employers Want to See
    • Technical Skills: Employers want to see the technical skills that closely relate the job you are trying to obtain. Jobs that are in the medical, engineering, truck driving, and mechanical fields have skills sets that can easily be added. For the jobs that aren’t as easy to translate, it is important to focus on the example above.
    • Retention: Most contracts in the military are for more than two years. This looks great on a civilian resume. When you are able to stick to the commitment of being in your role, it shows that you will have longevity with the company. Companies are always looking to reduce turnover so as to not have to reinvest in a new employee. Most companies would rather get the fit right in the beginning, and reward you for staying.
    • People Skills: One of the most common phrases we hear these days when it comes to hiring people is, “Is this person a good ‘culture fit’ for this company?” This may not make sense if you are coming out of the military since every one just has to get along regardless if they want to or not. But companies actually look to see if you have the right interpersonal skills, demeanor, even attire to fit in at their company. Then of course as mentioned above, it is important to point out your leadership skills. This is important because management will want to see that you were coachable and able to grow at your last place of employment.


  • Get Your Education
    • Regardless of what branch of the military you served in, you may have access to amazing educational benefits. So use them! The Post 9/11 GI Bill, Tuition Assistance, Vocational Rehabilitation, and more were all created to help further the education of military members so as to have them get better jobs when they get out. Some of them will actually help support you while you are receiving your education, like the GI Bill. They will pay the tuition, your BAH (housing based on the zip code your live in), books, supplies, and so much more. By going back to school you can add more value to your resume, so you can grow at the company you are at or get a different job. School can be the gate way to a better position and an easier transition into civilian life.

Transitioning from the military into the civilian workforce can be like going from one world to another, but it is possible. It doesn’t matter what job you did, your skills can be bring value to an organization.

Remember people have done it before you, so you can do it too!


Denise Berry

Raytheon in partnership with U.S.VETS Career Network presents a Veteran-specific event to expose professional veteran talent to enhanced employment seeking skills and overall career preparedness. Learn directly from Human Resource professionals at an industry-leading defense company and committed veteran employer.

Event includes:

Raytheon hiring practices
– Veteran transition perspective
– Raytheon-specific resume guidance
– Mock Interviews with Raytheon HR professionals

Please research opportunties with Raytheon before the day of the event. You will be asked to submit your resume before the event.

Dress code for this event is business casual: Long sleeve shirts, blouses, jackets and slacks.

Contact: Maggie Cutler
Veteran Talent Specialist
(213) 223 8376

Money isn’t everything.

That being said, it is still money that buys our house, drives our car, orders our dinners and plans our vacations. And for those reasons, money is a vital piece of landing the perfect job.

But despite being such an important process in finding and landing a job, salary negotiation is not a topic in high school or even college. Negotiating your salary with a new employer, or negotiating a raise with a current employer, is a vital skill and an important part of demonstrating your worth.

I recently had a conversation with a client regarding salary negotiation, and covered a few go-to tips that I believe are helpful in salary or promotional negotiations. To my surprise, the client had not considered several of the tips we discussed, and he let me know that even the most basic tips did not occur to him.

This led me to writing about this topic, as I realized that unlike resume writing tips or interview techniques, salary negotiation may not be that high on the priority list for job seekers. It is your livelihood you are negotiating here, however, so I challenge you to take the below guidelines into consideration when negotiating your next salary with a new employer or your next raise with a current employer.

1)   Your Employer (or Potential Employer) is your Ally, not Your Adversary

Many job seekers feel that salary negotiation is like an old western, with you and your employer in a stand-off over money lost or saved. Contrary to that belief, the person sitting across the table from you is your supporter, and you should treat the negotiation as a collaborative effort rather than a quick-draw.

Approach the conversation as something you will work on together. Using language such as “I am very excited about this opportunity, and I look forward to working together on this” or “This company would be wonderful to work for, but it would be much easier to accept this offer if it were {your desired increase in salary}” creates an open dialogue and lets the employer own the negotiation as much as you do.

Also, by making your negotiation a team effort, you can turn your employer into your champion. Every reason that you bring up as to why you deserve the raise is something they will likely repeat to their hiring manager or their supervisor. Arm them with solid, objective and easily digestible information that can be brought up the chain and ultimately approved for your benefit. Bring notes with you to hit points you would like to make, and then write them in a follow up email to that person so that they have the notes they need to communicate as well. By doing this, you create an ally, not an adversary.

2)   Remember That This is Business, Not Personal

Salary negotiation is purely a business conversation. It is the simple exchange of money in exchange for your skills and expertise. When you negotiate your salary with your employer, it is a discussion regarding how your work benefits the company, and how you should be fairly compensated for that work. You are negotiating a transaction.

Often, job seekers will make the mistake of trying to leverage their daily expenses or their knowledge of their co-worker’s salary as a way to negotiate a higher salary. This is a common mistake, and one that can quickly turn your negotiation in the wrong direction.

Your personal expenses are not a factor that the employer has any stock in. If you begin to discuss your mortgage or your car payments as a means to request a higher salary, the conversation becomes too personal for your employer to make an objective decision on how your work deserves higher payment. It also opens up the negotiation beyond simple salary for work, and dilutes the conversation. Debating cost of living is an argument you will always lose, because you made the decision to pay for those things, and that is out of the scope of your employer’s interest. It is very easy to create a counter argument to personal expenses, because they are subjective.

Instead of personal expenses, keep your reasoning for a higher salary focused completely on how you benefit the organization. Bring a list of your accomplishments at the company (or at a previous employer if this is a salary negotiation rather than a raise negotiation). Speak to how you are a valuable asset to the company, and how you have saved time, money or created innovations that have brought in profit. By keeping the conversation focused on the positive impact that you have made, you keep it professional and business-centered, while creating a condition for very little counter argument.

3)   Do Your Research

Research, research, research! This is an important part of salary negotiation because you cannot negotiate something that you know nothing about. This is where you can leverage your knowledge of the company, or average income of a person in your position at the company or in the area that you live in. Www.Glassdoor.com is a an invaluable resource in this area. Use your knowledge of the company or industry to identify your target range.

Knowledge of the average helps you negotiate with an employer, so that you may begin high and hopefully land on the average or even above it. For example, if the average entry level Design Engineer in Los Angeles makes $65,000 – $70,000, look into asking for $75,000, and then negotiate down to, say $71,500. This is a great tactic in ending up with more than you may have if you did not know the industry standard.

4)   Define Your Walk Away Point

Once you have done your research and understand the range you are targeting and why, it is important to identify the minimum salary that you will accept. Write down the reasons that this is your absolute minimum. Write down the reasons that you would not go lower than this, and have them ready for your negotiation with your employer in case you have to bring them up. Keep in mind that your range and your walk away point are things you should have in the back of your mind, and they should drive the negotiation, but you do not have to share this information with your employer right away, or at all if you don’t want to.

Keep in mind that hiring managers will not always “low-ball” you in salary negotiations. Rather, they know that you will negotiate up, so they general start lower. You start higher, and you meet somewhere in the middle. Also keep in mind that a hiring manager is usually communicated a range.

For example, their superior would say “we can bring in a new Design Engineer, and we have $67,000 – $80,000 to work with”. This is something most job seekers don’t know, but if you have the experience and education and the company wants you badly enough, that hiring manager can also possibly go to their superior and request a special increase in salary, even if you are requesting something out of the range that was given to them to hire someone.

5)   Never, Ever Say a Number First  

The moment you put your expected range on the table, you may have lost potential income. Equally of concern, if you say your expected range and it is far out of what the hiring manager was told they would hire for, you may put yourself out of the running for the position.

Rather, when asked your range (although in your mind you know what you want to say) simply reply with “Why don’t you provide me with a range the is commensurate with my education and experience and we can discuss it from there?”, or “Why don’t you start the conversation with what the employee in this position previously was making in salary, and we can discuss it from there?”.

No matter what, whatever you have to do, have the employer state the range first. Once they come forward with a range (usually lower than what you desire) start to use the above tips to negotiate up to salary that you are comfortable with.

Also, in California a law was passed on January 1,2018 that does not allow employers to request salary information from applicants. You can write “negotiable” in the space for salary information in any online applications.

6)   Time Is On Your Side

One huge misconception that job seekers have when undergoing a salary negotiation is that it must begin and end in the time you sit down and speak with the employer. Don’t be fooled! Salary negations can take days, even weeks or months if the company is persistent. You have time to negotiate this very important thing, your livelihood. Treat this negotiation with the care and time that it deserves, and if you are not completely satisfied with the end offer, simple let your employer know.

Keep your response positive, but one can say something along the lines of “Thank you so much for this offer I am excited by this opportunity and would love to accept this position! However, I have to take a few days to think over the salary offer. I will call you in a few days and perhaps we can schedule another meeting to discuss the compensation”.

 Job seekers, recent graduates especially, tend to be eager to accept a position and feel that taking a few days to think it over may cost them the offer. This is simply not true. If an employer is negotiating salary with you, it means you have already been chosen and they want you to work with them. Taking a few days to think over how you feel about a position will not cost you an opportunity, and often the employer will respect that you are taking time to really think about the position you are about to take.

7)   Salary Is More Than Just Money

Lastly, but certainly not least, salary is not simply your annual income. You can accept a lower salary that your desired rage but request a sign-on bonus, more vacation days, work from home days, stock options, the list goes on and on. Remember that if you intend on staying with the employer for several years, it is important to consider more than just the income you receive in cash.

I hope this helps you negotiate a new salary or an existing one!




You hear this famous saying often, “It is not what you know, but who know.” Yet, when individuals think about wealth, thoughts such as money, investments, and property come to mind. Rarely do people consider their network as a source of developing wealth. However, typically our relationships with people are how we become exposed to opportunities to join communities, companies, and boards that provide us with financial gain.

Here are 3 reasons why you should consider your network as a potential way to increase your net worth:

  1. Referrals/ Recommendations: Recommendations are almost always required to join a company or educational institution. Having a community that knows who you are and is able to speak to your work can be a great gateway to opportunities that you may not have otherwise been considered for. According to a PayScale Study, 85% of jobs in companies are filled through an internal referral and 70% of those positions are never posted online! Therefore, expanding your network increases your chances of being selected and hired for employment opportunities.


  1. Gain Expertise without Official Training: while there are many pipelines for individuals to develop their expertise in an industry such as apprenticeships and internships, people who have an inter-disciplinary network have the advantage of gaining direct insight from colleagues without going through formal processes. The knowledge and insight gained from your network, can potentially equip you with the tools you need to start a new project, get promoted, or launch your own business. Hence, expanding your network can provide you with professional development without the hassle of formal training.


  1. Receive Sponsorship, Donations, Investments: If you are in a relationship based business like my role as a Business Development Associate, then you know sponsorship, donations, and investments are one of the biggest assets that keeps businesses profitable and afloat. Having a network of individuals that is interested in your work and supporting your business can potentially elicit additions funds or sponsorship to sustain or expand your company. It also can be one less resource you have to pay or search for. For this reason, expanding your networks can allow you access to more financial opportunities.

Happy Networking!

Chanise Simms-Robinson, MSW

Hello and Happy New Year!

This has been an exciting and formative year for U.S.VETS Career Network, and I am pleased to share the U.S.VETS Career Network Los Angeles Site 2017 Impact Report. You all have played a vital role in our success this year:

255 more veterans are making an average of $48,000 a year in careers they love!

Also, 92% of those veterans have retained the employment they gained through our Network, how about that!

And over half of our hires (67% to be exact) have been in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math fields, amazing!

We could not have exceeded our goals without the support of our amazing funders, employers and community. Thank you from our veteran clients, and thank you from U.S.VETS Career Network!!

*Please note: The above data report reflects the activity of the Los Angeles Site of U.S.VETS Career Network only. U.S.VETS Career Network consists of 5 sites nationwide, and the National placement number is currently at 590 placements, exceeding the set goal of 525 placements for the year 2017!*



“The best way to predict your future is to create it” – Abraham Lincoln

Happy New Year! Are you ready for 2018? Do you have a neat to-do list of how to make yourself a better, more productive individual? What are your 2018 resolutions?

Personally, I think New Years resolutions are terrible. Here is why.

Resolutions focus on the end result rather than the journey, which can set you up for failure. And, resolutions incentivize procrastination.

For example, the goal of going from never exercising to becoming a fitness guru with a “no days off” mentality is a lofty one and will take a great deal of time and discipline. Between your current state and the goal, there are several smaller goals that must be achieved.

Rather than focusing on working out 7 days a week, simply join a local gym and explore different classes. Focusing on what works for you (i.e.: The Journey) creates a sustainable plan of action and relieves the pressure to succeed immediately.

By creating an achievable goal, you’re also allowing yourself the freedom to “fail” and re-tune your approach. And if you make your goal a “today resolution” rather than a “yearly resolution” and you fall short, tomorrow make it a “today resolution” again. Treat every day like your New Year, and you’ll find a million tiny victories

So, whether your New Years Resolution is to become a fitness guru, purge your storage unit, drink more water, or land your dream job, remember these two things: 1) Every day is your opportunity to try it again and 2) Failing isn’t failing, it is just learning and re-doing.

Now, with these two rules in mind, I recommend giving yourself a few simple resolutions to jump start your new job search in 2018. These 5 “resolutions” don’t necessarily have to be followed, but I hope they spark a new train of thought on how you are going to create your 2018.

1)   Stop Applying Anonymously

Traditionally, you start with a job in mind. You search for the job using any number of job boards (there are about 1,000 different ones) and then apply to it using a slightly tailored resume and a generic cover letter.

Most likely, you have done some version of this dozens of times, maybe even hundreds of times. Applying to positions has turned into a numbers game where we apply after merely skimming descriptions, upload one of ten different resumes, and never think of it again. We have put our job search on autopilot.

I challenge you, in 2018, to reverse this method.

Instead of casting your net wide into the online sea of opportunities and hoping something will bite, work within the network you know. Your friends, professional colleagues, classmates, and fellow alumni all have the potential to be an internal referral for you. Find your goal, and see what your Network can provide that could lead you to it.

For example, you could be offered a positon within a company that you have connections with, and once you gain experience there you can internally network to achieve your dream job in a different department. These opportunities will probably come few and far between, but each one will be a much more valuable opportunity than the 20 notifications you receive in a day from a job board.

LinkedIn super-star Michael Quinn states “Simply applying to vacancies online gives you less than a 4% chance of getting an interview. Employee referrals give increase your odds of getting the job 11x. It makes sense: only about 5 candidates make it to the hiring manager for interviews. How many of them do you think are employee referrals or internal hires? Did I mention that some companies are required by federal law to post jobs – even if they already have someone “identified” for it? Make 2018 the year you truly NETWORK”

Build your network and use what you have to achieve what you want. Always ask for an internal referral after you apply, and do the same for others, too!

2)   Don’t be Afraid to Pursue Jobs That Seem Out of Your Reach

Before you apply for CEO of anything, remember that you must always have the education and experience required of the positions you are applying. However, I believe like the autopilot application process, you may be stuck in rut of applying for the same positions over and over again, without re-assessing your worth.

There are so many different opportunities available to job seekers today, and your knowledge, skills and abilities can translate into a plethora of different positions. Don’t let yourself get pigeonholed into the last position you held. Instead, look at the position you desire to hold in, say, 10 years. Look at people who have that position, and see where they came from, their roots. From there, you can begin to see the moves you must make in your career, and find similar opportunities to pursue.

Also, keep in mind the workforce climate – many many people are vying for the same opportunities. Often, the person in the entry level or management position is actually overqualified for it. Why is that? Simply put, the best way to guarantee success is to aim for the low-hanging fruit.

I challenge you, in 2018, to aim high.

Seek out positions you believe to be a little out of your reach. Notice that I say “seem”, this is because if you are determined and if you have the ambition and drive to pursue a challenging job, it will yield great success for you. If you are not moving up, where are you moving?

3)   Seek Out Mentorship

Asking for advice is a very underrated technique in finding your dream career. It seems superfluous to your career trajectory initially, but think about it:  Who knows the best path to success better than the person in your dream job now!

Mentorships begin either organically through a leader at your current place of work, or through your initiative to seek out one for an information interview. LinkedIn is invaluable in identifying and contacting a potential mentor. For those who have never requested an informational interview from someone; it is as simple an an Inmail asking for 15 minutes on the phone, or offering a free coffee after work one day.

Informational interviews are the first step in building rapport, but also in gaining first-hand knowledge on the “golden path”. Every person has a unique “how I arrived” story. Sometimes it is happen-stance, and of course each story will have some form of internal advocacy, as we know that landing a job is a lot of who you know. But in each story there are also common themes, and with enough conversations you can begin to map out what would be the best plan of action for your career path.

I challenge you, in 2018, to ask for help.

Find your champion, and you will find invaluable knowledge, professional advice, guidance on difficult decisions, and probably a lifelong friend.

4)   Reflect and Improve

Now that you have tapped into your Network, pursued ambitious roles, gained information and possibly found a mentor to guide you, it is time to check out your weaknesses.

Reflection is a vital skill. It helps you understand where your strengths lie, but more importantly where you fall short. If you are repeatedly pursuing opportunities and being rejected, it may be wise to look inward. Are you missing a pertinent level of experience that other applicants have? Is there a specific area of interest or a skill you lack that this employer may not require but prefers?

This year, make a conscience effort to pursue those areas that you may be weakest. Not only to better yourself as a professional, but to better yourself as an individual as well. Using your network and information you gain in your job search, make yourself the most marketable applicant. By constantly reflecting and improving, you are constantly evolving into a better version of yourself.

I challenge you, in 2018, to build a skill, join a professional society, pursue leadership roles, or volunteer.

All of these are actions that successful individuals are constantly pursuing. Although it may require some extra time and effort, employers will notice, and you will shoot to the top of a list of similar candidates for the initiative you take.

5)   Take a risk

Lastly, when the moment comes for you to take the leap of faith – take a risk! You may be offered that position you never thought you were qualified for, or you get an opportunity to move to a much larger company and become a small fish in a raging sea.

All of these changes are scary, and that is good! It was Karen Salmansohn who said “The best things in life are often waiting for you at the exit ramp of your comfort zone” and I couldn’t agree more.

I challenge you, in 2018, to move out of your comfort zone.

Happy New Year!



“Let your performance do the thinking.” ―Charlotte Brontë

I think about this quote often. In life, we often think about things and verbalize things far more frequently than we actually do things. We overthink, we over analyze, and the result or the product of our hard work get lost in the shuffle.

Just as in life, writing your resume is not exception to this very human challenge. We put so much pressure on ourselves to fit everything we can on this piece of paper to maximize our chances of being considered the right fit for a position. We write about our role, our work, and our day to day activities with little thought on the impact that the information will have on those reading it. We think “I did this, they want to know about it, right?”

But what if we scaled back? What is we treat our resume like a fine reduction sauce, and boil out all of the excess verbiage to leave only the strong flavor for our reader? What if we took every sentence in our resume, and asked the same three questions:

“Does this sentence communicate the challenge I was facing?”

“Does this sentence illustrate the unique skills I used to address that challenge?”

“Does this sentence demonstrate my quantifiable impact?”

If you do not answer with a resounding “YES!” to each one of the above, then the sentence is not serving you in the way that it should on your resume.

Your resume is your chance to brag about how you are different from anyone else, and there are countless words in the English language to assist you in demonstrating that. Using impactful action words to begin each sentence of your resume creates a tone for the reader and says “I am a person of action, and I am ready to improve your company by saving time/money/resources and creating profits/improvements/innovations”

Passive words on your resume such as “responsible for” or “role consisted of” will kill your chances of being considered, no hiring manager wants to read a position description, they want to hear your achievements! Sometimes it can de difficult to brag about ourselves (I am no exception to this, I struggled with this when I was job hunting as well). So, to help you get started, I have outlined an example of the same statement, but put in both a passive tone and an action-oriented tone. You can see the difference these three questions I stated above can make.

“Responsible for meeting weekly with clients and assisting them in resume writing and interview preparation”

“Utilizing technological tools such as GoTo Meeting to remotely coach 500 clients monthly in resume etiquette and interview preparation, resulting in 200 direct hires and a 30% increase in receiving requests for second interviews”

Phenomenal difference, right? Now let’s breakdown the statement with the three questions I provided above.

“Does this sentence communicate the challenge I was facing?”

YES – 500 clients indicates a high volume of need for one person, and shows that there was a high demand for the product or services I was offering.

“Does this sentence illustrate the unique skills I used to address that challenge?”

YES – Utilizing technology, I created a tool for my clients to access my services remotely. This shows that I am tech-savvy and innovative. It also shows that I am efficient, saving time and resources through remote coaching.

“Does this sentence demonstrate my quantifiable impact?”

YES – I positively impacted 500 clients, and through my coaching and resume writing skills I was able to assist 200 of those 500 in being hired, as well as increased the percentage of call backs for second interviews.

Now that you have the algorithm for your resume bullet points, it is time to put your ideas into action! The most important factor of any resume is the action word that begins each sentence. Sometimes it can be difficult to move out of your comfort zone of composition, and that is O.K. You always want the resume to sound like you, it is a not beneficial for you to write your resume like a chapter out of Charles Dickens with long winded prose and winding sentences. Instead, find a few quick, punchy words to add to your resume content. To help you with this process, I have found a great article that outlines different action words that can be substituted in for passive content. I provided an example of some of those words, below.

Instead of “duties included,” “responsible for,” “served as,” or “actions encompassed,” try:



























There are 139 of these awesome words, and they even break them down by different positions you may be applying to! Now, using your newfound knowledge on action words and resume writing, go out there and get hired!



Does your LinkedIn profile POP? Or do you feel like it may be mundane? A unique and eye-catching LinkedIn profile could mean the difference between a job achieved! Or an opportunity lost 🙁

One component of your LinkedIn that is more important than you think: Your headline! Did you know that you can change your headline? It does not need to be the most recent position you hold. You can write many different types of headlines. I have included some various types of headlines, and how they may work for you:

  • “Veteran Talent Specialist | Career Strategist | Employer Partnerships”
    •  This type of headline showcases what you do, divided into three district categories. It is succinct and to the point, and can help employers understand the numerous responsibilities you may have under one job title.
  • “Veteran Talent Specialist: Connecting the best Military talent to the best opportunities’ every day!”
    • This type of headline is a fun way to tell the viewer what you do and show your impact. It is more informal and focuses on one overreaching role you may have, and the result you focus on in your work.
  • “Veteran Talent Specialist, Marathon Runner, Dog Rescuer, Champion Scrap booker!”
    • This headline dives into your interests well as your professional identity. It is very informal, but it showcases your personality, which can be beneficial in many industries. If you are seeking a position that is high in soft-skills (retail, customer service, recruiting, outreach, sales) this is a headline that shows employers that you work hard and play hard.
  • “Veteran Talent Specialist | Professional Career Coach | Connecting Veterans with Opportunities through Networking and Corporate Partnerships”
    • This headline is a combination of the first and second examples. It is clear and concise, and begins with two position duties, while speaking to the focus of your role. It is the best for branding purposes, as it showcases both your brand (who you are), and your product (the services you offer).
  • “Seeking Opportunities in Career Counseling and Non Profits”
    • This headline shows that you are a job seeker! It is not my favorite version, but it gets the message out there that you are looking actively. Many recruiters source candidates directly through LinkedIn (yes, right?!) and when they search for people they could filter to try and find candidates with this headline specifically. It may be ideal for current students, or transitioning job seekers.

No matter what headline you choose, make it unique to you! For more information on different headlines, you can read about different versions in this article or this article.