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Archive for the ‘Military Transition’ Category

Do Your Homework: Critical Research When Considering a Career Move

UntitledYou’ve finally decided to consider career options and commit to your quest for an employment change. You’ve updated all of your job application documents and social media platforms with your current employment information and accolades. Aside from the information posted in the job description, have you really considered what your potential employer is TRULY seeking in a job candidate AND how competitive/creative candidates are expected to present themselves?

After working with a talented client, our plans for a simple resume update evolved into an intriguing project exploring the “soft skill” essentials of his potential suitor company within the global fashion industry.

We discovered that employees were “chatting” online about their corporate experiences, how to land a job, and what personality traits and passions candidates possessed that the employer was intent on hiring.   Absolutely none of this “golden” material was posted by a recruiter – we had to dig for it.

Our Findings 2

 

  • The company sought out individuals who thought on their feet, applied creative problem solving, and used all of their networks at their disposal to get things done.
  • Recruiters were interested in candidates who were able to display a unique passion for the beauty and fashion industry.
  • Employees felt deeply connected to the organization. They relished the opportunity to discuss their work on a deep level with colleagues, fashioning camaraderie.
  • The company incorporated third-party development programs that decreased voluntary employee turnover and continued to give the organization a leading edge over the competition.

Recommendations

 

  • Read company press releases. Identify what companies they partner with.
  • “Like” all associated social media platforms and engage in conversation by asking questions or providing positive feedback on a service or product (your name may get recognized by someone on a hiring panel).
  • Actively browse through related social media platforms to stay on top of the corporate news, events, and product lines.
  • Create a video – yes with you in it – as a supplement to your resume or cover letter. The more artistic the company is, the more appropriate this will be!
  • Pick out a concept, program, or product belonging to the potential employer that you personally connect with and plan to incorporate this into your cover letter. Cover letters are boring. Period. You can change that with your content and truly pique the reader’s interest. This also serves as a great talking point when you’re called for an interview!

Goal: Don’t let your application package sound and look like everyone else’s. DIG for information. Show them you’ve done your homework not just to make a powerful impression but also to truly find engaging, value-driven employment.

 

 

 

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Colorado Springs Gazette Features Résumés Right Away!

Many thanks to the Colorado Springs Gazette and reporter Erin Prater for her comprehensive cover story on Christine and Résumés Right Away!

We hope that you enjoy the read and we welcome your comments.  Lastly, there are a few points in the article I want to clarify.

I frequently work with and consult Soldiers and Airmen in Colorado Springs.  Many of them have experience with deployed and combat operations.  Those with combat experience contend with many complex variables in that environment, but they bring a strength, sense of teamwork, and focus that are unparalleled in the civilian environment.  When I meet with Soldiers that express concerns about their roles in, and perceptions of combat, we remain sensitive to the gravity of their experience while focusing on the positive, constructive lessons and applications of  combat. This approach is meant to instill confidence during the transition from military to civilian life.

In the example shared in the article, the Soldier I spoke with expressed concern that combat operations were his primary responsibility. We worked through the process to glean information about teambuilding, goal-setting, and mission readiness – all skills that are VERY transferable to and extremely valuable in the civilian workforce.

“Christine launched Résumés Right Away, which offers custom résumés and services to transitioning military members and small-business owners.”

Yes, we in fact provide career services to transitioning military members, but we also provide services to military spouses and professional, civilian job seekers.  We also partner with and provide business services and workshops for small businesses.

Click on the image below for access to the full article or click HERE.

Post-Military Careers (Don’t Have To Be Limited)

Click image to read original article

Okay, I felt compelled to respond to the ideas  introduced in this story – especially the slideshow and captions portraying veteran employment options.  Military careers can translate into much more than this story details.  Here are my thoughts:

Military transitioners can do anything they put their minds to! Their career fields don’t have to be limited. Based on my experience, the biggest challenge that military members transitioning into the civilian workforce have is simply translating and understanding the technical and inherent abilities they possess that are valuable to an employer. The best way to do this is to conduct a “skills inventory and self reflection”. I know, this sounds daunting and it may just be BUT it’s worse when you’re trying to pitch your elevator speech to an employer/recruiter and stumble over your words because you haven’t thought about who you are and what you have of value to give. It’s important to know who you are and what you’re about. You don’t get this from a single skills listing. This is one’s ‘foundation’, which is critical for career transition and professional reinvention.

Many of my clients and fellow military professionals go through the reflection period talking to a career professional who asks the right questions. I recently sat with an ‘infantry guy’ who was so frustrated with his transition process because he thought that all he was qualified to do was security-related work, when we finally pointed fingers toward project and program management, fitness instruction, outdoor recreation management, and corporate training as possible industries of interest. “Who would’ve thought?”, he said.

I recently wrote a quick article touching on this very subject as of recent. 100% inspired by my military transitioners! “Don’t Let Your Job Title Define You” – http://wp.me/p18A9U-hM

You can be all you you can be, just like the Army says. Really.

To view the article from my CareerBlog, visit http://t.co/82n8mQPV.

Post-Military Careers Don’t Have To Be Limited

I recently came across a slideshow that CNBC.COM put out a few months ago (through a LinkedIn group) about military members in transition facing a massive adjustment period when returning to civilian life.  I felt compelled to respond to the ideas the slideshow and captions introduced regarding veteran employment options.


Military transitioners can do anything they put their minds to!  Their career fields don’t have to be limited. Based on my experience, the biggest challenge that military members transitioning into the civilian workforce have is simply translating and understanding the technical and inherent abilities they possess that are valuable to an employer. The best way to do this is to conduct a “skills inventory and self reflection”. I know, this sounds daunting and it may just be BUT it’s worse when you’re trying to pitch your elevator speech to an employer/recruiter and stumble over your words because you haven’t thought about who you are and what you have of value to give. It’s important to know who you are and what you’re about. You don’t get this from a single skills listing. This is one’s ‘foundation’, which is critical for career transition and professional reinvention.

Many of my clients and fellow military professionals go through the reflection period talking to a career professional who asks the right questions. I recently sat with an ‘infantry guy’ who was so frustrated with his transition process because he thought that all he was qualified to do was security-related work, when we finally pointed fingers toward project and program management, fitness instruction, outdoor recreation management, and corporate training as possible industries of interest. “Who would’ve thought?”, he said.

I recently wrote a quick article touching on this very subject as of recent. 100% inspired by my military transitioners!  Don’t Let Your Job Title Define You

You can be all you you can be, just like the Army says. Really.

Follow Christine at Brug’s Career Blog on Twitter!

Don’t Let Your Job Title Define You

No matter what position you hold in the office, the military, or at home, your given job title should not limit your ability to be successful in pursuing your career field of interest.  Think of yourself as an ongoing marketing campaign, targeting the career you’ve always wanted – the dream job.  Focusing solely on your job title to define your skills, experience, and education, can limit your career path and direction. For instance, just because you lack “Manager” or “Senior…” within your given position title doesn’t necessarily mean that you lack the corresponding experience.  This is particularly relevant to our military veterans.

Does the position of interest require management experience?  Are you hesitant to apply for the position because you have not had “Manager” in your job title?  Start with answering these questions:

  1. Have you ever been put in charge of something?
  2. Do you or have you volunteered for an organization where you were in a leadership role?
  3. Have you taken the initiative to create something new, to make something, make business operations more efficient, or save money?
  4. Have you mentored or trained a group or another colleague with outstanding results?
  5. Have you ever led a project, task, or program?

If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you have management experience.

Unfortunately, most career-minded employees bound their thinking, and focus on rigid adherence to roles spelled out in their job description.  The key to changing this behavior is to look holistically at your working experience and assess activities within this experience that point toward your desired profession, while investigating, pursuing, and achieving milestones which balance suitability for desired employment and attractiveness to potential employers.

How?

  • Volunteer for an organization to learn new skill sets and gain experience.
  • Show initiative in your current position by volunteering for a special project.
  • Seek out advancement and promotion opportunities within your organization.
  • Propose a new idea on the job that may improve processes or conditions.
  • Join a professional group and volunteer for a committee leadership position.
  • Are you a subject matter expert?  Propose to assist in training fellow employees.

Why?

You will set yourself apart from your peers simply because you’re investing in learning and applying new skill sets and experiences.  Once you master the basics of what you’ve learned, your professional experience becomes more attractive to hiring managers and you’re better equipped to market your professional background with more confidence, simply because you have gained knowledge about other things outside of your job title.

Conduct a Skills Inventory

We must reflect on and inventory what we have to offer:  Transferable skills, experience, knowledge, challenges, business ethic and values.  The purpose behind this necessary reflection process is to discover alternative ways of describing who you are.  You cannot restrict your definition of yourself to your current or previous job title.  The more you reflect and take note of who you really are what you really have to offer, the quicker you will identify the true value you can bring to the table.


Ace the Interview, No Matter What: A Veteran’s Perspective

Article from HelloImLogisics.com

ACE THE INTERVIEW – NO MATTER WHAT

Congratulations! You’ve gotten past the résumé gatekeepers and landed a job interview. But even if you’re completely prepped for your one on one, you still don’t know what to expect from your interviewer. “You have to turn that around and give them a good interview even if they didn’t ask for it,” says Bill Byham, co-founder and CEO of Development Dimensions International, a human resources consulting firm.

Byham, whose company works with Fortune 500 mainstays, is famous for developing a job-interviewing strategy called targeted selection. Its goal is to get job candidates to speak in specifics about their past, which helps predict future performance. Here he shows us how you can turn your interview into a focused and successful hour.  Read more ->

I agree with the article, but I would widen the aperture a little further…as veterans, many of us are familiar with the concept of “knowing the enemy”. Do research on the company online and check the social media profiles of the leadership, hiring point of contact or team (if you know ahead of time) and predecessor if known. Understand as much of the nuance about product lines, functions, and organizational structure as you can. Know what you are getting in to.

I obtained an in-person interview with a firm after a telephone interview and webcast intro presentation. I thought this was sufficient to gain an understanding and as such did only marginal research on the firm and the POC I corresponded with. As a result, I was completely surprised by and unprepared to discuss the actual goals and mission of the organization. After a polite but brief conversation with the hiring manager, it was clear that I was not a fit for the company, nor was the company a fit for me.

Be early, don’t wear your leathers or corfram shoes. It detracts from your appearance and may demonstrate, as a veteran, an inability to integrate with civilian industry to a trained interviewer(s). Dress like you care and know how to dress. It seems a trivial and trifling thing to put in print…but upon hearing that it takes 7 seconds to make definitive judgments about someone, particularly in the interview setting, I procured a set of professional garments suitable to communicate the seriousness of my intentions toward attaining employment. There are guides and recommendations online, familiarize yourself with them.

Know thyself…prepare your thoughts and experiences and as this article states, be ready to recall and describe specific instances that apply to the questions being asked. Have notable achievements, challenges, and failures coupled with the associated experiential lessons and outcomes on the tip of your tongue. Don’t overstay your welcome when answering by talking too long. Speak clearly, tell the “story” and wrap it up. A “wag” might be 90 seconds for a complex answer to an interview question. Take notice if the interviewer has lost interest by breaking eye contact or other indicators. If they lose interest, finalize your answer. If the answer is engaging for the interviewer, they might ask for additional information/explanation.

Make sure your social media profiles are properly secured, populated with relevant corroborating content (as it pertains to your resume and experience), and of course ensure they are free of questionable content.

Know your worth…this is a tricky topic for me to address effectively, but suffice it to say, as veterans, familiarize yourself with civilian salary ranges and health benefits and provisions. Be informed, flexible, and most of all realistic. Statistics vary, but it might be that you take a reduction in salary to secure location, benefits, or opportunities for advancement.
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Jason Brugman is an active duty member of the Air National Guard.  He is also a transitioning veteran who experienced military-to-civilian transition and the civilian recruiting process first-hand.

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