Are you actively applying for jobs and want to brush up on your interviewing skills? Here are a 4 tips and tricks of techniques you can use to nail your interview:

 

  1. Utilize the S.T.A.R. Interviewing method: The S.T.A.R. Method is a behavioral based interviewing technique that evaluates problem solving skills, past performance, and measurable results produced in prior roles. When answering interview questions, follow the S.T.A.R. outline below:

 

  • Situation – Describe the context in which your job duties took place. Example: School, work, or volunteer
  • Task – Describe your role in completing a task and your responsibility within the group or company
  • Action – Describe what steps you took to complete the task you were given
  • Result – Describe the outcome and achievements generated by the work you produced

 

  1. Articulate WHY You Are Interested in the Position: While employers do want to hear what you can bring to the table to add value to their company, they also want to hear why you are interested in working for them! Figure out why you are attracted to a position and speak to it on your interview. This well hopefully resonate with the hiring manager and set you apart from other candidates.

 

  1. Conduct Research on the Company and the Person You Are Interviewing With: In order to maximize your interview time and impress the hiring manager DO YOUR HOMEWORK! You can do this by researching important statistic and milestones within the company you are interviewing for. If you are fortunate enough to know who you are interviewing with, take a little time to conduct background research on them as well by looking up their LinkedIn profile and biography on the company website. This can ultimately help you potentially connect with your interviewer and obtain the position.

 

  1. Demonstrate your value: Pitch ideas or suggestions you have specific to initiatives or goals within the company. This will allow the hiring manager to draw a direct correlation about how your work fits into the bigger vision of the company.

 

  1. Show Your Work: Provide a portfolio of previous projects you have completed with companies to demonstrate the work you have produced in the past. This includes but is not limited to: drawings, photos, diagrams, contracts, newsletters, and flyers. Showing visual representation of your work helps hiring managers draw a direct correlation of how you can apply your skill set to the position you are interviewing for.

 

 

The U.S.VETS hiring event was a hit! 25 veterans were given the opportunity to interview for positions with U.S.VETS Inglewood, U.S.VETS Inland Empire, JVS, & Volunteers of America. Some veterans were even hired on the spot, during the interview. Since the event was such a success we hope to do another U.S.VETS Hiring Event soon!

 

Networking is the key to finding the perfect career, and connecting veterans to employers who want to hire them is the goal of U.S.VETS Career Network.

On March 23rd, U.S.VETS Career Network teamed up with ZipRecruiter and their corporate responsibility team Zip Cares to host a Veteran-specific workshop at ZipRecruiter HQ.

The event went beautifully, with 14 Career Network clients experiencing the intimate meet and greet with 14 ZipRecruiter employees. We began the event with a lunch at the Santa Monica ZipRecruiter Headquarters, allowing the attendees to network with one another as well as with the employees, breaking the ice and opening the event up for more informal connections and information sharing. The Veterans also received a full tour of the ZipRecruiter HQ offices.

Next, five ZipRecruiter leaders formed a panel, answering questions regarding their experiences at the company, and any advice on finding the perfect career in tech. The panel consisted of Elliot Wilson, VP of Operations (and veteran), Claudia Chen, onboarding coordinator, Jeff Zwelling, Chief Operating Officer, Jeff Moore, Manager of Engineering (and veteran), and Greg DeLong, Key Account Manager (and veteran).

The panel discussion was enlightening for the attendees, opening discussion around ZipRecruiter culture, the stories of each panelist on how they found and achieved their career, and advice on personal branding and networking in the civilian workforce.

After the panel, we broke up into intimate one on one informational interviews, one veteran matched with one ZipRecruiter employee. This “speed networking” activity helps each attendee to connect with more than one employee, and helps them to build internal connections within the company if they choose to pursue a position in the future. It also provides them with the opportunity to receive intimate knowledge on what their resume should look like, and how to apply this knowledge to applications.

Veteran attendees walked away from the event with new tips on how to improve and tailor their job search, as well as new connections to build and grow their professional networks. Special thanks to ZipRecruiter for co-hosting this event with U.S.VETS Career Network!

 

Cheers,

Maggie Cutler, MSW

 

Recruit Military Recap:

 

Yesterday, U.S.VETS Career Network attended the Recruit Military Career Expo in San Diego California. Over 300 veteran and 40 employers were in attendance. Top employers that attended yesterday’s event included Pepsi Co, Northface, Blue Cross Blue Shield California, Raytheon, and Aetna.

 

If you are interested in attending a RecruitMilitary event in the future please email crobinson@usvetsinc.org .

 

Best,

Chanise Simms-Robinson, MSW

How many people do you know that truly enjoy their job? Who can you think of that looks forward to Monday? You may be laughing to yourself because there aren’t a lot people who look forward to Mondays. This is because most people are not passionate about what they are doing, the environment they are in, or the people they work with. This doesn’t have to be the case for you! Yes, every person needs to survive and make a living. But if you want more than just that, then this is the post for you. Here are some techniques to move toward a better life.

Eliminate What You Hate

I know someone who used to work for a tax firm. He worked long days and nights during tax season. He usually wouldn’t even go home because it was too far to come back so early and he needed sleep, so he would stay at a hotel. This executive was paid very well and had great benefits but he just didn’t enjoy what he was doing. He didn’t get to spend a lot of time with his family and there wasn’t a lot of flexibility in his schedule. After getting headaches frequently he decided to go to the doctor, it turned out he had a benign brain tumor. He was forced to stop working and to have surgery. After the surgery and time to heal, he was cleared to go back to work. But after this life changing incident he decided he wanted to eliminate all things he hated in his life. He started with quitting his job.

The point is that you shouldn’t wait until a medical emergency to see that you are suffering. Look at the specific things you want change in your life and make small steps to changing it daily. You have to always keep moving to get to your goal.

Be Patient With Your Passion

Now you may be thinking, that is easier said than done. Well sure it is, but nothing is life worth having is easy. The next thought may be, “I don’t know what would make me enjoy my job every day.” That’s ok, it takes some people many years before they figure out what makes them excited to work. A fun way to start to explore this within yourself is to be aware of who’s jobs you are envious of. Make a list of the people that make you feel this way and see what they have in common. Typically, these are some things you too would like to be doing every day.

Another way to think of what you are passionate about is to visualize your ideal morning. Upon waking up and getting out of bed, what kind of clothing are you putting on? Where are you going? What are you doing that you are looking forward to? Visualizing what you want can simply point you to what you may already know.

Lastly, keep in mind that this process takes time and there is no right way of going about it. Vera Wang, a famous fashion designer, didn’t start designing until she was 40 years old. She had already done many things up until that point but wanted to try something different. You can too.

Try New Things

To really understand what you love to do, you must try new things. This requires some effort on your part. You can get a new hobby, try a dance class, enroll at a college for cooking, whatever it is you may enjoy doing or have thought about. It is found that people with numerous skills have been more successful over all. Oliver Emberton, a start-up founder, shares that, “Steve Jobs was not the world’s greatest engineer, salesperson, designer or businessman. But he was uniquely good enough at all of these things, and wove them together into something far greater.” To create a business or master a craft it usually takes a combination of skillsets to really succeed.

Also when trying new things, ask people about their experiences with that trade. The more you talk to people the more you can understand if it may be something right for you too. The concept I want you to get out of all of this is that life is short and you should enjoy what you do. So, I dare you to get out there and mix it up, eliminate what you hate, be patient with your passion, and try new things. I dare you to love your job!

Denise Berry, Army Veteran

U.S.VETS Career Veteran Network and BMW Technical Regional Recruiter , Roberto Castillo,  hosted a Veteran Employer Luncheon discussing different career opportunities in the automotive industry. Roberto also shared his personal military to civilian transition story and how he obtained his management role in the BMW company. If you are a veteran and interested in attending future employer events hosted by our Career Veteran Network, please register online today!

Cover letters; they are designed to accompany to every application you submit, and each one you write could mean the difference between being chosen for an interview or passed over. Many clients I work with find cover letters confusing, and are not sure how to write one without sounding redundant to their resume.

A cover letter is different from a resume in that it takes on a narrative format, and goes into specifics, while a resume uses bullet points, and communicates generic accomplishments and quantifiable impact. It is essentially a short essay that you write as a way to demonstrate to the employer that you are the best candidate for the position, both in your professional and personal identity.

Today, most job seekers are applying to hundreds of openings a week. The idea of crafting a unique page-long narrative on your skills and experiences as well as specifics to the position and the company itself seems daunting to say the least. Is it a good use of your time to make unique cover letters for every position? The answer is both a yes and a no.

YES, you should always submit a cover letter when you apply to a position. I say this because most employers will use the cover letter as a means of “weeding out” unmotivated candidates. Some employers will include in the application that it is suggested, without being required, and then only pull applications that include a cover letter. Or, employers won’t put any note on the application, and still only pull applications that include a cover letter. By opting out of writing a cover letter, you’re willingly telling the employer that you don’t care about the job enough to take the time to submit more than a relatively tailored resume.

As I stated earlier, I understand why it seems like a waste of your time. In college when I was beginning my job search, I applied to several positons a week, and would take the time to write cover letters for every position. But after dozens of applications and barely a handful of responses from potential employers, I grew frustrated. Here I was, spending upwards of an hour to two on an application to tailor my resume and to write out a carefully written love letter to a company on why I’m a rock star candidate – and I wasn’t even getting selected for a phone interview! But I soon learned why I was not receiving responses – and it was not because I wasn’t a good fit for the positons.

I read several articles on cover letters, and looked at literature written by recruiters, hiring managers and other human resource and talent acquisition professionals about what they like to see in an application and what they can’t stand. I learned that my cover letters were too generic, and were not crafted in a way that communicated my value and my interest to the reader. Think about the last cover letter you wrote: Did it reveal unique aspects of your experience, personality and value, or simply reiterate your resume in narrative form?

Now, the NO portion of my answer is this: Writing a cover letter does not have to be a long drawn out process. And NO, you do not need to write a brand new cover letter for every application. You can craft a phenomenal cover letter using the below algorithm, and then you can “plug and play” the information you need to include for each application you submit. Similar to creating your general resume, and then tailoring it to the position description. This is similar to an Office Word template. You can use different details and apply your own unique style to the cover letter, but hit the key points I have outlined and I am confident that you’ll begin to see the difference in your job search.

1.    Contact information: Put the employers contact information at the top, and put your contact information in the header of your cover letter (name, email and phone number and address). This will save space on the page for you to write more in the body of your letter, and ensure that the reader sees that information first.

2.    Addressing the letter: Instead of putting “Dear Hiring Manager” or “To Whom it may concern” use LinkedIn to research and locate the hiring managers name to address them directly in the cover letter.

3.    Introduction: Begin with how you found out about the position, and why you believe that you are the best candidate. You can also include how you have a personal connection to the company or industry. For example:

“I am writing in regards to the recent posting for {position title}. I was thrilled to hear about the role through LinkedIn, and I believe that I have the skills and qualifications you desire to meet the needs of a rapidly growing {industry, company, or specific initiative}. I am also personally passionate about {Industry, company, or role} and the impact that you have on each individual and on the community.

4.    First paragraph: Speak to the main experience required of the position – and how you have become proficient in that skill or area. Mention a previous employer and reference a specific project you managed or achievement you had while performing in that role. For Example:

“The role notes a strong background in {Skill}. While working with {previous employer}, I managed {responsibility as it relates to skill). In my role I {main responsibilities and successes} occurring within {previous employer}. As your {position title}, I would feel comfortable managing multiple projects with competing deadlines and varying timelines.

5.    Second and third paragraph: Determine the remaining two or three skills required of the position, these are usually under the qualifications section of the position description. You may use one paragraph per skill, and reference different employers, or different responsibilities within the same employer. It is key to be specific about how you are knowledgeable and can perform the duties of the role, this is where you are citing specific projects or other details that would not normally be included in your resume. For example:

 “The {position title} posting also noted that you prefer experience in {skill 1} and {skill 2}.

While managing {responsibility} at {previous employer}, I lead {role 1, as it relates to skill 1} I have {specific project experience}. I have experience in {specific experience as it relates to skill 1} I also have experience in {responsibility, as it relates to skill 1}.

In regards to {skill 2}, I have {specific project experience}. Within {role 2, as it relates to skill 2} I have also {specific project experience}. Specifically, I have {specific experience as it relates to skill 2} I bring a wealth of knowledge in {responsibility, as it relates to skill 2}.

 

6.    Bringing in home: Now that you have cited your specific experience, knowledge and skills as they relate to the positon you are applying to, it is important to communicate your culture fit. Chances are that there are hundreds or even thousands of applicants who have similar skills and experience to you. So why should the hiring manger pick you? The closing paragraph is your chance to impress them with your research, and your personal relationship with the employer or industry. For example:

 “{Company’s name} work means a lot to me personally because of the impact that it has in the community. By {specific achievement or mission statement of the company}, you are making a positive impact on the world. Overseeing {position title} for participants who will contribute to that mission is a role I would be very passionate about.

Personally, I can attest to the value of such work. {specific anecdote of personal attachment or passion you have for the company’s work or industry}. Whether it be {previous achievement}, {previous achievement}, or {previous achievement}, I aim to change the world one person at a time. I would be honored to be selected to interview for {position title} for {company name}, and I look forward to hearing from you” 

Ending your cover letter with a call to action brings it to the attention of the reader that you are prepared to take on the challenge of the position, and are ready to be considered right away. You can also speak to how you can best be reached (email or phone) and when you are available to speak (Monday to Friday, or any day 9 am to 5 pm, etc.).

 Remember that your cover letter is simply a chance to broaden the readers view of why you’re a good fit for the role, it is your chance to make specific references that will tie you to the company’s mission, values ad culture. Do not be afraid to make it personal, and show them why you are passionate about what you do.

Now, go out there and land your dream job!

Maggie Cutler

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!

Chanise

 

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.

Cheers,

Maggie

 

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!

Hooah!

Denise Berry