KAYLAH JACKSON

OCTOBER 23, 2018 – 4:50 PM

After serving in the Marines and Army Reserves, Elliott McKenzie struggled to find his new identity as a civilian. From dropping out of college, experiencing homelessness, then eventually landing a job with the help of the Call of Duty Endowment, his transition was a balance of highs and lows.

Like many veterans, adjusting from the high tempo and hyper-aware environment from deployments was a challenge. In a place like Ramadi, Iraq where McKenzie kept his head on a swivel at all times, he didn’t face the same threat when he went home. READ MORE…

When it comes to looking for a job, your resume is one of the most important tools you have. It’s one of the best ways to showcase your unique skills and experience to employers, which is the first step to getting the interviews (and job) you want. READ MORE

 

Ready to create your resume? Check out our resume training video for our top tips:

 

When you apply for a position online, you usually receive an automated message thanking you for applying, followed later on by either an invitation to interview, or a rejection email.

Those invitation and rejection emails you receive are from an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), and it means that your resume/application either did or did not match the combination of required education, experience, keywords, and the position description was asking for.

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are used by most employers today. In fact, 75% of large companies use an ATS for receiving and reviewing applications.

Veterans may be getting the short end of the stick when it comes to ATS’s. Veteran Job seekers may have never had to apply through ATS, and are used to using Federal resumes through USA Jobs or simply sending a resume directly to a recruiter.

Also, as a Veteran, you are likely not used to applying for positions in a way that agrees with ATS software needs. For example, Veterans are used to using acronyms, and will incorporate them into resumes. If the acronym is not pre-programmed into the ATS software, however, it wont pick up the word and the applicant may be scored lower in the candidate pool because of the perceived missing keyword. It is safest to spell out all keywords in online applications and resumes.

So, knowing what you know about ATS’s and recruiting practices, how do you ensure you meet the needs of the computer, to get in the hands of the recruiter?

Below I have outlined 5 opportunities in an application to align your content to ATS technology, boosting your chances of receiving an interview:

Formatting:

  • When you apply through an Applicant Tracking System, your resume usually gets pasted into plain text for ease of use for the reader. Because of this, if you have your resume in nontraditional formatting, you could be eliminated from the candidate pool.
  • Common mistakes: Putting your name, address or contact information in the header or footer of your resume won’t paste into plain text through ATS’s. If a recruiter filters out applications with missing information, you’ll be eliminated. Also, if you have a “creative” resume format with text boxes or lines dividing the resume vertically, some of your resume information may not be pasted, resulting in large chucks of experience missing for the application.

Required Qualifications:

  • In most position descriptions, you’ll see required and preferred qualifications summaries. To ensure that both the ATS and the reader see these qualifications clearly, put them in the first 3rd of your resume.
  • Common mistakes: If you don’t put a professional summary in your resume, you’re losing out on serious keyword-matching real estate. Your summary is a great way to incorporate everything the ATS is looking for, all within the first few lines. It also allows you to speak to your level of education, years of experience, and areas of expertise, so that when it gets in the hand of the recruiter, you easily demonstrate your value and goodness of fit for the job.

Hard Skills:

  • Hard skills refer to the qualities of the job you must know, like technical skills, software knowledge, or direct practice knowledge. If the position lists skills and/or experience that relate to your ability to perform the role, ensure you are highlighting those areas in each of your previous work histories to hit not only the keywords, but the frequency of the keywords as well.
  • Common mistakes: Don’t copy and paste keywords directly in your resume to hit the right terms and satisfy the algorithm! ATS’s are smart, and they will rank you not only on whether the keywords occur, but also on how frequently the words occur, and how well they are integrated into text (so, listing “Project Management” 5 times in a row on your resumes and changing the text to white won’t work in your favor).

Soft Skills:

  • Many opportunities online also note preferred personality qualities in a candidate, like “innovative”, “passionate” and “able to work independently”. These are soft skills that relate to culture fit for a company, and are tracked by the ATS as well.
  • Common mistakes: Many job seekers don’t think that these qualities matter, because they don’t relate directly to the position. Don’t make this mistake – rate higher in the applicant pool by incorporating these buzzwords in your professional summary or cover letter in your application. You can include these words in your professional summary to boost your ranking, and give yourself a leg up over other candidates that only focus on the hard skills.

Other Keywords:

  • Other keywords that occur in a position description online could relate to industry-breadth. These words could be “technology” “Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems” or “Veteran services”. These words usually occur within the initial summary of the position, and relate to industry knowledge.
  • Common mistakes: Don’t take these terms lightly. A company will want to hire someone who may already have industry-related experience and will have a shorter learning curve once hired. To outline your industry knowledge, ensure you identify these keywords and incorporate them into your resume, ideally across multiple work histories.

Digging Deep: The Top 3 Most Common Applicant Tracking Systems and Their Features:

Taleo: This is the most common ATS by far, with over 40% of companies today using Taleo for their sourcing needs. This ATS does not pick up plurals, and tense changes in your resume can mean the difference between a rejection and an offer. For example, if a hiring manager searches “Planning Events” and you list “Event Planning,” your resume might not be recognized as a match.

  • Companies that use Taleo: Starbucks, Nike, Marriott, Nintendo, Tesla, Kaiser Permanente, Nordstrom, Boeing, Walgreens, HP, US Bank, United Airlines.

Greenhouse: This ATS does not parse resumes into plain text, so creative formatting may be acceptable if applying through Greenhouse. Also, Greenhouse ranks applications based on frequency of keywords. For example, a resume with “Project Management” listed 6 times will be ranked higher than one with it only 2 times.

  • Companies that use Greenhouse: Airbnb, FitBit, Pinterest, Snapchat, Instacart, TripAdvisor, Reddit, Warby Parker, BuzzFeed, J.D. Power.

iCiMS: This ATS parses resumes to search for the skills listed in the position description. Because of this, it is important to precisely match the exact skill that is listed online. For example, if you write “Project Manage” and iCiMS was instructed to look for “Project Managed” it will not pick up the match and will rank your application lower. Also, iCiMS uses knockout questions for application, and you’ll get flagged for selecting “no” for these.

  • Companies that use iCiMS: FedEx, Sony, Amazon, Uber, Goldman Sachs, Samsung, and Southwest Airlines.

Tailoring your resume and application to individual jobs can be tiring, but if you make it a habit to identify the ATS, apply the right keywords, and focus on highlighting your relevant experience, it becomes easier over time.

Also, job seekers who integrate tailoring into their applications see 3X more call backs and invitations for interviews, so it is worth the effort! I hope these tips have helped you to boost your confidence in your applications and in your ability to show employers why you’re a top candidate for a position. Try working with the ATS, and give yourself a leg up over other applicants!

Cheers, Maggie

You’re almost there. Your resume landed you an interview and now it’s time to seal the deal. So what’s the best way to prepare?

To find the answer, I looked back on my interviews, sifted through research, and most

importantly, asked employees from today’s most coveted companies. I tried to find deep insights beyond the typical “sit up straight!” and “dress to impress!” tips we hear too much.

Below you’ll find the 12 best tips to help before, during and after your interview.

BEFORE

 1.    Research Earnings Calls, Quarterly Reports & Blog Posts

In today’s world, content is king. Goldman Sachs publishes quarterly reports, Microsoft records its earning calls, and every startup has a blog.

With so much out there, I’m baffled that few of us look past the company’s homepage. It’s like we’re writing an essay on The Odyssey without quoting a single passage from the book.

Example: If you’re interviewing with Google, here’s two ways to answer: “What’s Google’s biggest opportunity in the next 5 years?”

  • Weak: “I think wearable technology will be big because Google Glass and Apple Watch represent a new trend that shows…”
  • Strong: “Call me geeky, but I was listening to Google’s quarterly earnings call and was blown away by the fact that display advertising hit over $5 billion in the past few years. Therefore, I think that…”

Neither answer is wrong, but the latter says much more. It shows you’ve done your homework and give answers rooted in data.

2.   Use Google Alerts

Keeping up with company news is hard, especially if you’re interviewing with multiple places at once. That’s why Google Alerts is a savior; it’s a tool that emails you anytime a new story appears for a specific term. That way, you learn about current events without searching for them.

 Example: If you’re applying to Creative Artists Agency, follow these steps:

  1. Go to www.google.com/alerts
  2. Type in “Creative Artists Agency”
  3. Put in your email address if you’re not already logged in to Gmail

Soon enough, you’ll get updates on CAA and have more ammo for your interview.

3. Use Social Sweepster To Clean Your Facebook & Twitter

Nowadays, 91% of employers search your social media for any red flags. While most people tell you to watch every single thing you upload, there’s a much easier solution. Use Social Sweepster, an app that detects pictures of red solo cups, beer bottles, and other “suspicious” objects. It even detects profanity from your past posts! Now, that’s f%$king awesome!

“Too many recruiters reject candidate because of something they found on their social platforms” Social Sweepster CEO Tom McGrath says. “We help you create the first impression on your own terms.”

4. Schedule For Tuesday at 10:30 AM

According to Glassdoor, the best time to interview is 10:30 AM on Tuesday. Remember, your interviewer has a world of responsibilities beyond hiring. They’re responding to emails, balancing projects, and meeting tons of other candidates so it’s crucial to consider when they’ll be in the best mental state to meet you.

10:30 AM Tuesday is the sweet spot because you:

  • Avoid the bookends. On Mondays and Fridays, employees gear up for the week or wind down. By the same token, avoid the first or last slots of any workday.
  • Avoid lunchtime. Immediately before noon, your interviewer may be too hungry to concentrate; immediately after, they may be in a food coma.

But there’s a caveat. Research shows it’s best to take the earliest interview slot “in circumstances under which decisions must be made quickly or without much deliberation because preferences are unconsciously and immediately guided to those options presented first.”

Bottom line: if the firm is hiring for a job starting in a few months, try to interview late morning between Tuesday through Thursday. If the firm is hiring immediately, grab the earliest slot.

What To Notice Around The Office When You Go For A Job Interview

5. Craft Your “Story Statement”

 Though most interviews start with the same prompt (“tell me about yourself” or “walk me through your resume”), we blow it off with boring answers like:

I studied [major X] because I really care about making a difference in [industry Y] as you can see through my last job at [company Z]…

This answer is like tearing out the first 200 pages of your autobiography. You leave out everything that gives meaning to why you want this job in the first place. What was your moment of epiphany? How did your childhood influence you? Why does this job move you? Most people don’t answer these questions. They start and end with their professional experience, leaving little to inspire the interviewer.

Next time, use what I call a “Story Statement,” which is a Cliff Notes of your autobiography.

Example: Here’s an amazing Story Statement that Teach For America fellow Kareli Lizarraga used for her interviews.

I grew up in California and Arizona after immigrating to the United States when I was four years old. Since neither of my parents went to college, I relied on my high school teachers to help me apply to top universities. With their support, I was able to attend the University of Pennsylvania. Then I spent a summer at a Washington DC law firm, which represented low-income students and helped me realize that my passion lay within creating educational opportunities for all.

I decided to become a teacher because I see myself so deeply reflected in the stories of so many students in your schools – and that’s why I’m so excited about the opportunity to interview with you today. Like my teachers did for me, I want to impact the next generation of students by supporting them and understanding the experiences they’re facing.

A Story Statement shows that you’re a person, not just a professional.  It also makes it easy for your interviewer to predict the next chapter of your story. For Kareli, Teach For America is a logical next step. Of course, if she interviewed for Apple, she may change her Story Statement to include an early experience with her first computer and talk about how her passion for tech grew from there. For a Bain interview, she could mention how she started problem solving at a young age and now wants to do it on a big scale.

Chances are, we’ve all had experiences we can connect to where we’re trying to go. It’s just a matter of selecting the right ones to tell our story. That said, if you struggle to craft your Story Statement for a particular interview, you might be applying for the wrong job.

6. Wear a Subtle Fashion Statement

We already know dressing well makes a difference. But what if we took our attention to detail a step further? That’s exactly what Morgan Stanley analyst Julio German Arias Castillo did for his interviews.

“Wear something that represents your culture or background,” he says. “In my case, I always wear a pin of the Panamanian flag on my suit lapel. Most of my interviewers ask about it so it becomes a chance to discuss my upbringing and love of my homeland.”

Julio created a conversation starter with his clothing. Depending on the company, you can be more playful: wear a bracelet from your recent travels to India, a tie with a quirky pattern, or — if you can pull it off — a small mockingjay pin if you’re a Hunger Games fan. As long as it’s subtle and tasteful, your fashion statement can build rapport through fun conversations about your hometown or mutual love for Katniss Everdeen.

7. Prepare for The “What’s Your Weakness?” Question

 Most people overthink this question and give a canned answer like “I’m too much of a perfectionist!” Others give a genuine answer but still fall short of what this question is really asking. It’s not about admitting your weaknesses. It’s about showing how you overcome them. What systems have you put in place? What progress have you made? Include those thoughts to strengthen your answer.

Example:

  • Weak: “My weakness is that I struggle to run efficient meetings…”
  • Strong: “I sometimes struggle to run efficient meetings. But I’ve worked to improve by drafting an agenda before every meeting, sending it to all participants, and then following up with a recap and clear action items so everyone knows what to do moving forward.”

8. Brainstorm 3 “PAR” Anecdotes

Your interview is as memorable as the stories you share. Many people have fascinating experiences but forget them when they’re on the spot.  To remedy this, have three anecdotes ready to plug into your interview. Your anecdotes should follow a simple format:

  1. Problem – what was the situation?
  2. Action – what did you do to solve it?
  3. Result – what changed afterwards?

With this format, you can adapt your PAR anecdotes to fit a variety of questions such as “tell me about a time you worked with a team” or “when have you struggled most?”

Example: University of Pennsylvania Senior Hunter Horsley has a terrific PAR anecdote for his interviews.

  • Problem: “When I worked on Lore, an education tech startup, our big marketing challenge was finding a way to get professors to try our product. Ads are inefficient and competitors like Blackboard and Canvas had sales teams call IT administrators to sign multi-year contracts — a very slow and expensive process. We needed to move faster.”
  • Action: “We realized that students preferred our product so we teamed up with about 200 students from 100 colleges. They developed a custom outreach plan for their campus and we provided resources to support them.”
  • Result: “This was highly effective in creating awareness with professors. In fact, it became a competitive advantage. During our first two semesters, our team of 15 people drove adoption that outpaced a competing product launched by Pearson at the same time. An additional benefit was that the approach created brand affinity. Because professors heard about the tool from students instead of an ad, the value proposition came across more authentically.”

DURING

9.    Think Aloud on Analytical Questions

Some interviews include tough analytical questions. Whether you’re solving for an exact number (“what’s the EBITDA of Company X?”) or rough estimate (“how many ping pong balls can fit in a Boeing 777?”), it’s important to talk through your thinking. Don’t just give an answer; show how you got there.

Example: Consider these two answers to “How many lawn mowers are there today in the United States?”

  • Weak: After 45 seconds of silence, you blurt out “75 million!”
  • Strong: You’re talking the entire way through, sharing your calculations and assumptions.

“Let’s start from the top down. Assuming the US population is 300 million and each household averages 3 people, then we have 100 million families in the US. Let’s assume urban households don’t have lawns to mow and therefore only suburban and rural families buy lawnmowers. If roughly 25% of America is urban and 75% is suburban and rural then we have 75 million households that own a lawnmower.”

(side note: it’s okay to make assumptions and for those assumptions to be off. But that’s why you need to communicate them first).

This is a great way to show your communication skills alongside your analytical ones. Plus, if you make an error, it’s easier to know where you went wrong and fix it.

10. Ask Questions That Kill Two Birds With One Stone

At the end of your interview, it’ll be your turn to ask a few questions. This is a perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone – that is, asking a genuine question while conveying something new about you. Most people just do the first part and forgo a final chance to impress the interviewer.

Example:

  • Weak: Will this role provide opportunities to work in emerging markets?
  • Strong: I’m passionate about languages and minored in Arabic in college. Will this role provide opportunities to work in emerging markets in the Middle East?
  • Weak: Are there opportunities for community service?
  • Strong: I used to work with Habitat for Humanity and was so grateful for the opportunity to give back. For a full time employee, are there company-wide community service events that I could take part in?
  • Weak: What’s [Company X]’s fastest growing division?
  • Strong: According to your quarterly report, your revenues grew by 17%. Is that because of a particular division within the company?

This works beautifully if you haven’t found a natural way to bring up an accomplishment or cite a publication beforehand.

11. Grow A Backbone & Ask This Final Question

This one takes guts — and that’s why I love it. Spredfast Product Manager Luke Fernandez says it’s the “single piece of advice that has consistently made a difference.”

Before your interview ends, ask this one last question: “Have I said anything in this interview or given you any other reason to doubt that I am a good fit for the role?”

“It’s bold, but if delivered honestly, it displays true desire and confidence,” Luke said. “I’ve been commended for that specific question in interviews with Google, YouTube, BCG, Deloitte, Twitter, and Spredfast. In one situation, the interviewer actually said yes and gave me the chance to clarify something that would have otherwise lost me an offer.”

Talk about badass!

AFTER

12. Email a Personalized Thank You Note

Thank your interviewer within 24 hours of finishing. It not only shows your gratitude, it also combats recency bias if you interviewed early. Not to mention, it opens the door for dialogue even if you don’t get the job. Sometimes, recruiters reach back out on the same email thread months later, mentioning new job opportunities.

 Example: Accenture senior analyst Anthony Scafidi shared a wonderful email from Robert Hsu, an interviewee whose follow up email shows how to do it right.

Hi Anthony,

Appreciate your taking the time to chat with me today. I really enjoyed hearing about your two projects so far, how much you love the people at Accenture, and how you’ve been able to continue your community service work even while working. (Hope you had a good meeting with your mentee!) Best wishes on your current project.

Sincerely,

Robert”

Source: Forbes

Military.com By Janet Farley for MilitaryMoney.com

You’ve served your country proudly and now it’s time to move on professionally. More than anything, you want your transition from boots to suits to be a smooth one. You want to land a good job that pays well. The only thing standing in your way? Your so-called resume.

Explaining to would-be employers what you did in the military in a way that makes sense to them can be difficult. Often, skills, experiences and accomplishments get lost in translation or in the lack thereof. This is where the Military Skills Translator comes in, and you must decide what needs to be translated and what doesn’t.

To Translate or Not To Translate:

That is the question to answer before you start drafting your resume. Will you be sending it to someone within the defense industry? Or will you be targeting employers outside of it?

If the answer is yes to the former, then you may not need to spend a great deal of time translating your job titles, descriptions, awards and training into English.

Those within the defense industry usually understand what you are communicating, but not always. Keep in mind that there are a lot of people who work in the industry who have never worn a uniform and may not fully understand what you’ve accomplished.

If you are targeting a job outside of the defense world, then you most certainly need to translate your skills, experiences and accomplishments into the English Language.

It can be challenging, but not impossible.

From Tank To Cubical:

“You have to be patient because there is no such thing as a perfect resume,” said Philip Lapple, a former M1 Main Battletank Crewmember (19K-Armour Crewman) in the U.S. Army.

Lapple wants to switch career gears completely and get a job in business. To reach that goal, he is currently attending the University of Maryland, University College and working on a degree in Management Studies.

“I really don’t think I will get a good job until I finish my degree but I’m trying,” said Lapple.

In the meantime, he is working on creating a basic master resume that he can tailor to individual job opportunities as they arise.

“On my resume, I try to show that I am a well-rounded package of education and expertise,” said Lapple adding that it continues to be a work in progress.

Lapple has attended the Army Career and Alumni Program (ACAP) courses and has also used the services of the local Army Community Service Center’s Employment Readiness Program.

“You’re not going to get it right the first time or the second time you write it,” said Lapple who finds himself revising his resume each time someone else critiques it for him.

Lapple understands that he needs to translate specific words in order to make his resume work. Rather than say he was a tank crewmember, he says that he was a heavy equipment operator.

To highlight his skills without over emphasizing equipment operation, he puts strong emphasis on leadership.

“My latest version shows words like mentoring, efficiency, and work load planning. I also use the word “team” instead of platoon or squad,” said Lapple.

“I am also physically counting and adding up the dollar value of items that I was in charge of in the military and noting the number of people or employees I supervised,” said Lapple.

“Right now, school is my priority. In my case, I feel like my resume has to show not only practical experience but a degree as well,” said Lapple.

Staying In The Same Industry:

“I have a resume but it’s horrible. I want to make it better in order to be competitive,” said Gary Heinstrom, a U.S. Army Specialist who currently serves as a medic with the 554th Military Police Company based in Germany.

Heinstrom is knee deep in the process of transitioning out of the military. He is considering staying in his career field, but he wouldn’t rule out getting his foot in the door to federal employment in any field either.

“I just started the process of getting out and there is so much information coming at me at one time. It’s overwhelming but it seems necessary at the same time,” said Heinstrom.

If Heinstrom does indeed try to stay in the medical field, he may find that the level of translation needed for his resume differs from those needed by Lapple.

In some military career fields, such as those in the medical field, there may not be as strong a need to translate some of the skills, abilities and experiences for the civilian counterpart. In or out of uniform, patient care, record-keeping and specific medical procedures and protocol are universally understood with the career field.

“Instead of saying that I was a medic, I am writing that I was a health care specialist. I am also a certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), and that is the same in or out of the military,” said Heinstrom.

Heinstrom says that he is also making it a point to quantify his accomplishments and avoid the use of personal pronouns.

For More Assistance:

Translating the military words on your resume into civilian ones can be challenging. You don’t have to do it alone, though.

Visit your transition assistance office or the family services and support center’s employment readiness program. On either doorstep, you’ll find expert one-on-one counseling assistance or available classes, free of charge.

For your own research the following websites offer excellent military-to-civilian translation tools:

Here are some word for word common translation examples:

Job Titles Examples:

You can also get ideas on how to effectively translate your military experiences by looking at the civilian job descriptions or vacancy announcements for the jobs that interest you.

  • Commander = Director or Senior Manager
  • Executive Officer  = Deputy Director
  • Field Grade Officer = Executive or Manager
  • Company Grade Officer = Operations Manager or Section Manager
  • Warrant Officer =Technical Specialist or Department Manager
  • Senior NCOs = First-Line Supervisor
  • Infantry = Security Force
  • First Sergeant = Personnel Manager
  • Squad Leader = Team Leader or Team Chief
  • Supply Sergeant = Supply Manager or Logistics Manager
  • Operations NCO= Operations Supervisor

General Terms Examples:

  • AI= additionally skilled in
  • combat = hazardous conditions
  • company = company, department or section
  • medal = award
  • military personnel office = human resources
  • mission = task/function/objective
  • military occupation specialty/classification = career specialty
  • squad/platoon = team or section
  • reconnaissance = data collection and analysis
  • regulations= policy or guidelines
  • security clearance= security clearance
  • service members = employees
  • subordinates = employees
  • TAD/TDY = business trip

Next Steps: Finding The Right Job:

Ready to polish your resume, and connect with employers looking to hire veterans? Join our Job Board today!

From Military.com

The VA has compiled their top tips to help veterans seeking employment. These tips will help veterans identify areas where they can improve and how to navigate the job-seeking process.

1. Network

Ask family members, friends, and other veterans to put you in touch with the decision-makers at the places you would like to work. Contact those people and ask for an informational interview. Unlike job interviews, informational interviews let you talk with potential employers about your strengths and experiences. Even if they are not hiring, the people you connect with may be able to refer you to others who are — and they themselves may keep you in mind for future openings.

2. Emphasize character

Your skills and certifications are important, but civilian employers also want to know about your broader experience and understand how you applied your skills. Use your cover letter, résumé, and networking conversations to emphasize situations in which you took initiative, demonstrated flexibility, exhibited leadership abilities, and performed for the good of the team.

3. Translate your credentials

Most of your military training can be applied to your post-military career. However, most states and the federal government require their own licenses and certifications for jobs including flying planes, treating patients, and operating certain machinery. Find out whether you need to take an exam or a recertification course to make use of your military credentials.

4. PACE yourself

From your time in the military, you may already be familiar with PACE planning — the primary, alternate, contingency, and emergency plan for each undertaking. As you begin your search for civilian employment, recognize that your top job choices may not work out. Identify your top job picks, positions you can live with, and positions that you’d rather not take, and apply to all of them. As long as the work won’t aggravate any health concerns, don’t hesitate to take a less desirable position to pay the bills while you look for something else.

5. Use veterans’ preference

The federal government gives preference to job-seeking veterans over many other applicants. Not all military service qualifies someone to receive veterans’ preference, and so it is important to understand the specific requirements. For more information about veterans’ preference visit the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s VetGuide.

6. Reduce stress, increase confidence

Employers want to know whether your personality will fit in well with their other employees’ personalities. Put your best foot forward at job interviews by keeping your stress levels down. Get plenty of exercise, rest, and engage in normal social activities. If you start to feel anxious about your job search or any other matter, contact your VocRehab Counselor for support.

7. Ready your paperwork

Every Veteran knows the value of his or her DD214 (Report of Separation) or DD2586 (Verification of Military Experience and Training) for VA-related purposes, but these documents are also important as you prepare to enter the civilian workforce or go back to school. Make sure you have copies of your DD214 and DD2586 to show your employer or school so that it can verify your military service, training, and experience. It may also be helpful to provide transcripts of any military training and coursework you completed.

8. Prepare for a new culture

The cultures of the civilian workforce and the military are different. Know in advance that you may feel disoriented for the first few weeks in the civilian workforce, and take your time in getting used to the new work culture.

9. Take control

Career advancement in the military is linear and highly structured: You move up the ladder one step at a time. In comparison, civilian career development is less regimented. Take control of your career development: If you want to learn new skills, identify a course at your local college, university, or other institution of learning and discuss it with your supervisor. Think about how horizontal career moves will help you broaden your skills. And don’t be afraid to talk about your career development goals with your supervisor.

10. Connect to VocRehab

VocRehab helps veterans and servicemembers navigate the transition from military to civilian employment. VocRehab offers counseling, training, education, and other services to help prepare you for your next mission.

 

Source: https://www.legion.org/careers/242134/vas-top-10-tips-veteran-job-seekers

ACP’s Approach:

ACP’s free Mentoring Program connects post-9/11 veterans (Protégés) with corporate professionals (Mentors) for customized mentorships. ACP assists veterans on their path towards fulfilling, long-term careers, whether the veteran is job searching or newly employed.

Typical mentorship goals include:

  • Résumé review and interview preparation
  • Career exploration and understanding job opportunities
  • Career advancement once a position is obtained
  • Work-life balance
  • Networking
  • Small business development
  • Leadership and professional communication
Program Guidelines

An ACP mentorship is a yearlong commitment. ACP encourages Mentors and Protégés to connect for monthly discussions to advance the veteran’s goals.

Each mentorship is supported by an ACP staff member who offers customized resources, training and suggestions and to help the pair build a successful mentorship.

Pairing Process

ACP’s staff personally pairs every applicant, hand-picking a Mentor for each Protégé based on career compatibility, experience level, location and personal interests. Every Mentor and Protégé has a phone call with an ACP staff member to communicate preferences, which are then taken into account during the pairing process.

Most mentoring pairs are long-distance and communicate primarily through phone, videoconference and email exchanges.

ACP’s Veteran Protégés

Article Source: https://www.acp-usa.org/mentoring-program/program-overview

I was watching “Chefs Table” this weekend, and a now-famous pastry chef was being interviewed about how he found his first job at a renowned restaurant. He said that he was living in Italy, and he called the restaurant and asked for work. The restaurant said, “sure, when do you want to start?” and that was how he landed his first job.

I stared at the screen, and laughed out loud. This business did not see his resume, did not know anything about who he was, they weren’t even aware of his relevant experience! Granted, this took place the early 2000’s, before the internet exploded onto the scene and changed the way we search and apply for employment. Wouldn’t is be great if it were that easy now?

Applying to jobs today can be…frustrating. In the past, you would look for a help wanted sign, walk into a building, and speak to the manager or owner there. Or, you would call around until someone said they had a vacancy.

Now, we have the internet. The internet has allowed us access to thousands of job opportunities we never would have known existed, which is wonderful. However, the internet has also allowed thousands of job seekers to apply to for jobs, and that has made the market extremely competitive for the job seeker. It is a gift and a curse.

Part of my role as a career strategist for my clients is to assist them in the daunting task of job applications. As one applicant in a sea of thousands, they often feel overwhelmed by the prospect of applying for jobs through job boards. To add to the stress of applying, I also have to explain to them how imperative it is to tailor their resume to every individual application; to make it unique and to show the employer how valuable they are.

As a job seeker, this is an impossible ask. Not only do they have to spend hours tailoring applications and writing cover letters for jobs, they usually never hear back from them. How can we expect them to put in this much effort?

So, as a way to alleviate some of stress in this arduous process and to empower my clients to make the most of their time and energy, I have employed the help of some nifty technology that can be found – you guessed it – on the internet. If you can’t beat them, join them! Battle technology with technology, use these tools to work smarter, not harder. And soon enough, you’ll feel like an expert in the game of online application.

1)   VMock

 What It Does: VMock: Smart Career Platform is an online tool that provides assessments of your application content. This can be a scan of your resume, cover letter, or even a presentation you are using in an interview. The tool “scans” your resume, and provides a score from 1-100 on a bell curve, on your resumes “strength”. The tool scores your resume using 3 core modules across 100+ parameters, and outlines in detail the strong and weak aspects of every bullet of your resume. It also provides recommendations on who to improve your score in the weak areas of your resume, one by one.

 Why I Like it: VMock made the list because of the multi-dimensional aspects of this tool. Not only does it score your resume, but it gives you algorithmic feedback on specific areas. This tool gives you an overview on your resume, and is not specific to an employer or industry too. The online tool provides feedback in other areas as well, such as “Career Fit”, which give you career advise based on the content of your resume. VMock is equally useful to students and recent grads and seasoned professionals.

2)   JobScan

What It Does: One of the most frustrating things about applying online is the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS’s). They determine your fit for a position based on keyword matching. You could be a good fit for a position, but if you do not match the keywords correctly, you get pushed out of the applicant pool. JobScan uses ATS technology to “scan” the resume you used for an application along with the position description, and score you out of 100 on how well it matches the position. It does not recommend you submit an application with a score less than 80. The tool provides a detailed “match report” which outlines areas that you fit the position (marked with a green check) and areas where you can improve (marked with a red x). You can add the keywords you missed, incorporate the tips it provides, and re-scan until you achieve that 80% or higher match.

Why I Like it: This tool is great for two reasons. For one, it helps you outsmart those pesky ATS’s and get called in for interview 3X more than if you tried tailoring your resume on your own. Two, it gives you an idea of how ATS’s work, and teaches you the things to look out for in your applications. I like JobScan because it has a “teach a man to fish” mentality. You can pay for premium and scan every application you use, but I have shown this to clients who have used it a few times for free (you receive 5 free scans a month) and then gone on to become master keyword matchers on their own. However, you choose to utilize this tool, you understand the game much better for it.

 3)   Glassdoor

 What It Does: Most job seekers are familiar with Glassdoor. It is the free online “yelp” of companies and positons, basically. Most people utilize Glassdoor to look up salaries of positions. But, there is much more to this online tool. Yes, you can research salaries on Glassdoor, and filter them by location, which is very advantageous if you’re about to negotiate salary with a potential employer. In addition to this, however, this tool provides in-depth reviews of a company, from benefits to perks, to work life balance and more. The information can never be edited or deleted, too, so you know you’re receiving somewhat genuine intel. You can also look an interviews – yes interviews! You can see what types of questions the applicants were asked, and whether or not they were hired.

Why I Like it: Glassdoor keeps it real for job applicants. If you’re about to interview with a company and want to do real research, this tool is a great start. It provides you with the good, the bad and the ugly of what a company or organization has to offer, and you can go into the interview armed with the right questions about how they treat employees, how often the promote, how great the culture is, and more. A note: I would keep in mind that despite the “no edit and no delete” feature, this information must be taken with a grain of salt. Most people will only review something if they have a wonderful experience, or a terrible one. So, the reviews may be extreme and the personal accounts from past or current employees may air on the negative side. Keeping that in mind, however, the information is more useful than not.

 4)   JobHero

 What it Does: Do you ever feel overwhelmed by all of the things you’re using and documents you’re saving in the job search process? You have documents saved here, an excel spreadsheet tracker there, jobs saved on various job boards like LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter, and Indeed. You can lose information pretty easily, and its annoying to have to remember where everything is. JobHero allows you to store all of that precious information in one place. This tool allows you to save your job applications across web platforms and track your progress. You can also set reminders for yourself for follow-ups and deadlines for applications and assignments. You can also upload documents to the tool, like the resume you used to apply or specific things you were tasked with submitting to specific opportunities.

 Why I Like it: JobHero is an organizers dream. You don’t have to continually create systems to track things, because you can link everything to this one tool. You can filter things by date created, due dates and status of applications. JobHero Sidekick syncs your applications from all of your job boards to one dashboard. You can also search jobs and receive career advice on this tool, there are articles on salary negotiation, interviewing and more. If you enjoy streamlining your life, this tool helps you do it.

 5)   My Interview Practice

 What it Does: In addition to applying for jobs and tracking them, preparing for what happens when you finally get the call you have been hoping for is another source of anxiety. Soft skills are something I have seen as the biggest area of need for my clients. People simply do not practice their interview techniques, and it is killing their chances of landing a job! Practice really does make perfect. My interview practice is an online interview simulator that aids you in practicing your answers tot hose pesky behavior-based questions, as well as the more basic “strengths and weaknesses” ones. It provides interviews across various industries and positions, and provides you with a professional review of your answers.

 Why I Like it: I think it is always important to practice your job interview techniques. New questions are being proposed by Human Resource professionals all the time, and it is important to stay up to date. Like a muscle you must exercise, you need to keep your interview performance in shape. This tool not only helps you keep yourself well-versed, it allows you to practice with different interviewers, across industries and professions. You can also share your interview with a coach or a peer for their feedback. The question bank is updated constantly, to stay competitive with what the job market is demanding. If you’re applying for jobs, you should be practicing your interview techniques, too.

Those are my top favorite online tools at the moment. Keep in mind, there are hundreds of online tools, and these are just the ones I have used. You can research your won tools to find what works best for you – and share them with your peers on LinkedIn!

The job search journey can be difficult sometimes, but if you apply the “work smarter, not harder” methodology, you’ll see a change in the way you apply and the way that employers respond to you in the job market. Keep up the great work!

Cheers,

Maggie

 

Often, I hear veterans say that they become discouraged in the job hunt. So much so that they believe that this an actual reflection of who they are. It is important to never take the job search personally. Sure we could all learn more skills, have more training, have more degrees, but who you are is not the problem. Here are a few ways to remain positive and getting effective results in the job search process.

Enroll with an Employment Program:

Sometimes we all need a little help. Non-profit organizations like U.S.VETS are here to aid you in building your resume, bridging the gap with certifications, and connecting you to employers from the inside. But most all of it is helpful to have a point person to go to bounce ideas off of and to ask questions of. As you may have noticed in life we have to go out and get the opportunities, they don’t just come to us from inside our houses. By plugging into an organization it can also allow you have access to events that will allow you to connect with employers directly and explore your options. You may not know this but employers are looking for you! Ok, maybe not you specifically… but your set of skills. 🙂 So widen your net and get connected into the community.

Schedule Informational Interviews:

Did you know you can reach out to employers and ask them questions? Some people are even willing to sit down with you and discuss what it is that you do. This is a great option if you aren’t completely sold on what you want to do and want to learn more or even just want to get your foot in the door. Talking to someone in the inside will give you a lot more ideas of how to work there. (The employees that work at a business usually have the inside scoop.) They may be able to even tell you the ‘what not to do’ things as well that they wish they had done. Either way, always make sure to follow-up and thank them, and also connect with them on LinkedIn if you hadn’t already. Lastly make sure you reach out again to let them know you are still looking and if they have anything that would be a good fit. People are more likely to help people they have met, not just a name through a computer.

Remember, who you are is not the problem. You just need to get out there and catch one of the million possibilities right in front of you. You can do this through getting help with a non-profit or even going directly to the companies themselves to ask questions. The key is to be consistent and be bold while improving your skills. We are here for you!

-Denise Berry

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