Tag Archives: jobs for veterans

Three Reasons You Need an Outstanding Resume

You Won’t Guess Any of Them

2-½ minutes to read

Most experts acknowledge your resume won’t get you a job. But, they say, an outstanding resume should get you an interview. The mere fact these experts tell you to aim for an interview tells you their mindset. You’re a beggar hoping and praying to get called in. (See my post on why you want a meeting not an interview.) Though the conventional reason is wrong, you still need a dynamite resume.

Three Reasons You Need an Outstanding Resume

It's not about getting you a job or even an interview. Your resume clarifies the tactical plan you need to follow to get the job you want.

The Internet Is Your Resume

Resume experts focus on how to write a resume that will get through an Automated Tracking System. Most ATSs select about 2% of candidates. In other words, the experts want you taking 1 in 50 shots at getting the 20% of jobs that companies advertise. Smart job-hunters don’t need a resume for this purpose.

Your online presence is your real resume. When a hiring manager or recruiter wants to size you up for a job, he’ll look at LinkedIn. So it seems like you could print out a copy of your LinkedIn profile and use it for a resume. If only it were so easy.

First, your LinkedIn profile should contain much more information than your resume. Think of LinkedIn as the documentary of your professional prospects. Then your resume is the preview of coming attraction. Second, LinkedIn is formatted for online viewing. It will look terrible printed out.

The good news is you don’t have to start from scratch. A solid LinkedIn profile should be the foundation for an outstanding resume. That way, you brand yourself, by sending a consistent message about the value you’ll bring to an organization.

Without Clarity, You Can’t Sell Yourself

So, you’ll need to spend time putting together an outstanding resume for three reasons:

  1. Some companies will ask you for it, either to prepare to meet with you or at the meeting itself to paper their file.
  1. When you’re networking face-to-face someone may ask you for your resume. In that case you want to have printed copies available right then and there. Have them in matching envelopes so they’ll stay clean and get less rumpled. When you give the person your resume, make sure to get his contact information and an appropriate time to follow up. This will help you gauge his seriousness in helping you and show your professionalism.
  1. MOST important, writing an outstanding resume will spell out your marketing message. Think broadly about the type of job you want. Consider the specific organization where you want to work. Then clarify your thinking by writing down a clear and succinct presentation of your Unique Value Proposition (UVP) targeted to a job category or company. When done, you'll have a plan to drill so you present yourself more articulately at a meeting to discuss a job.

Most job-hunters wing it when they speak with a hiring manager. They don’t take the time to write down why they’re the best candidate. By using your resume as your marketing plan, you’ll stay on message.

Forget ATSs and interviews. Write an outstanding resume so you have complete clarity about the value you'll deliver to an organization. And so you can communicate that value with confidence.

Does your resume give you clarity about how to sell your UVP?

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How to Put an Amazing Job in Your Destiny

Unlock Your Edge with This Proven Breakthrough Quality

2 minutes to read

When you meet with a hiring manager, do you KNOW you’re the best candidate for the job? Think about it. How would you feel when choosing a surgeon? If the doctor didn’t show the self-confidence that comes from being the best, would you want him operating on you? Of course not. The stakes are too high. Employers think the same way. A company will only risk choosing a lesser candidate if it can underpay him.

How to Put an Amazing Job in Your Destiny

Why Self-Confidence Matters

RABS! How can you suggest such vanity?! Good question. But if you’re the best candidate it’s not conceited to say so. When the message is true, modesty comes from the way you send it.

The most admirable athletes combine two qualities:

  • An obsessive desire to excel.
  • Humility about their accomplishments.

Look at the 10 greatest basketball players of all time. All fit this model. None are braggarts. Even when Lebron James declared himself the best player in the world, he conveyed no bravado.

Right now say out loud, “I’m the best candidate for this job.” Do you sound as certain and matter-of-fact as Lebron James? Anything less and you send the message, “Choose somebody else.” If you don’t have the self-knowledge and confidence, where will the hiring manager get it?

You want stability. What would you think if a company told you, “We don’t know if our business is competitive in the marketplace. There may be other companies that make a better product than we do.” You’d hesitate about going to work there. After all, if they think the competition can clobber them, what kind of job security would you have? You shouldn’t have to convince them they’re great.

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Companies want security and stability too. They want an employee who will deliver value. Someone they can rely on. You need to convince them you will deliver these by being self-confident.

Self-Confidence Produces Your Destiny

You can boost your self-confidence in two ways:

Clarity. Begin by knowing your purpose and mission. Ensure your goals align with them. Be crystal clear on your Unique Value Proposition. Have a simple yet powerful way of explaining it to an employer. When you have this level of clarity, you sound, in fact are, self-confident.

Preparation. Thoroughly research the company. Know its market, future plans, and challenges. Identify any gaps so you can get the additional information you need. Know nothings and know-it-alls look the same, insecure. Actually, the know-it-all is worse. He appears to be compensating for a weakness. To sound confident, express thoughts without hesitating and ask questions without embarrassment.

Know the questions you need to ask during the meeting. Have a written list. Practice saying them so you can do so while looking at the other person. Know how to get to the company. Check in advance where to park. Video yourself practicing what you’ll say so you can identify and correct weaknesses.

You and the organization want the same thing – security and stability. So when a company presents an uncertain future, you become wary. And when you look insecure, you give another candidate the edge. Get clarity and obsess about preparation. An amazing job will be in your destiny.

What makes you less than self-confident about meeting to discuss a job?

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How to Make Sure You’ll Love Your Job

7 Connections Between Your Happiness & Company Culture

3 minutes to read

I love the stories my father told me about his time in the navy during the 1950s. One of my favorites is about when he and his shipmates walked into a bar and found some Marines there. They exchanged taunts. The Marines called them swabbies. They called the Marines jarheads. A fight broke out. But in the midst of the brawl some soldiers came into the bar. All of a sudden the swabbies and jarheads joined forces against the army.

How to Make Sure You’ll Love Your Job

Reintegration is a Cultural Transition

This story sums up so much about military culture of the 50s. Post World War II, men were primed to fight like their fathers or brothers had. Marines thought the navy was filled with wimps who dropped them off on the shore of an island held by a hostile enemy to do the real fighting. Sailors who had engaged in ship-to-ship combat saw the risk of being sunk and drowned as far more dangerous than land-based combat. Each service branch’s culture defined them.

Like the military, private sector industries and companies have distinct cultures. After World War II, millions of service members returned to civilian life. They made organizational culture in the private sector more like the military than it ever had been before. Over the decades, the similarity has decreased. Besides defense contracting, you won’t find an industry that feels like the military.

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Part of deciding where to focus your job-hunt involves understanding the kind of culture where you’ll fit in. Then you’ll need to find an industry and companies that, as well as possible, match your vision.

Culture Determines If You’ll Love Your Job

Aside from general comfort, culture affects:

  • The length of your workday and week. In general, and especially working up to deployment, you worked until the job got done. But your pay stayed the same regardless. Civilian life has formed different expectations about task completion and compensation.
  • After hours time you’ll have to spend handling work matters and socializing with co-workers. Hours can be long in the private sector. With smart phones, everyone has a “crack-berry.” Going out after work with colleagues and your boss may be the only way to advance your career.
  • Your work environment, employee interaction, and competition among colleagues. Remember mandatory fun days? Some companies make fun an integral part of their culture. At such a place you may wonder why they don’t get to work so they can finish and go home.
  • Interaction with other employees, managers, and senior executives. Regulations and customs dictated dealings with your colleagues and leadership. Though they aren't in writing, most companies have strict protocols. Yet they may require a casual approach that makes you feel uncomfortable.
  • The kind of workspace you’ll get and what kind of personal items you may have there. Custom and protocol dictate these issues in the military too. In the private sector, you may have to negotiate them. Surprisingly, getting the wrong office may hamper your advancement in the company.
  • Perks offered by the organization. Break rooms, gyms, and childcare facilities were standard in the military. Not so in the private sector.
  • The training and personal development you’ll get. For the most part, you knew what training benchmarks you had to meet to advance your military career. The matter is much more open in civilian life

You can see that company culture impacts every aspect of you work life. So you’ll need to examine it at three points in your job-hunt:

  1. When deciding which industry and organizations to target.
  2. Before you go to a meeting to discuss a job. (Never go on a job interview.)
  3. Prior to accepting an offer.

If you want to love your job, culture is central. You should practice the four ways of figuring it out:

  1. Research – On and Offline.
  2. Onsite observation.
  3. Talking with people who work in an industry or at a company.
  4. Asking questions during a meeting to discuss a job.

If nothing else, at some point in every meeting the person will ask, "Do you have any questions for me?" This is your invitation to learn as much as possible about a company’s culture.

What do you need to know so you can research company culture more effectively?

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How to Get a Company to Give You the Job

2-½ minutes to read

It’s aggravating when you’re not asked to come talk about a job. It’s worse going to a bunch of meetings and still not landing one. Nothing fuels self-doubt more than having a great meeting with the hiring manager, walking away feeling it’s in the bag, only to have the phone remain silent. If you keep coming up short you’re committing job search sin #8: Not asking for the job if you want it or not following up properly or at all.

How to Get a Company to Give You the Job 

When You Want the Job, Ask

To a large extent, job hunting is a numbers game. If you have been diligent about identifying your skills, understanding your passion, and determining market demand you will get a job. When you work from the inside, as I suggested in last week’s post, you’ll reduce the time it takes. But you’re not going to be offered every job you apply for. You may not get offered any of them if another candidate has the gumption to ask at the end of a meeting, “given everything we’ve discussed, can you offer me the job?”

The company may choose to speak with all candidates before making a decision. But the hiring manager may not want to risk losing an excellent employee. So if a previous candidate makes his wishes clear, you’ll be out of luck.

It seems so basic. But a lot of veterans don't do it. If you want the job, ask for it.

The purpose of the meeting is for you and the hiring manager to assess the mutual benefit of your working there. When you ask for the job it should be clear you believe this is good for you AND the company.

You won’t be ruled out for making your assessment clear. Nor will it impact your position when negotiating compensation. In most cases, such decisiveness will work to your advantage.

If the hiring manager doesn’t see the fit, aren’t you better off knowing immediately. And if he disagrees with your assessment or doesn’t like your assertiveness what does that bode about a future work situation?

Alleviating the Fear of Asking

Asking for the job can have three results:

  1. No, you’re not the person we’re looking for. Great, you know where you stand. Perhaps you thought the meeting went well. Was your perception correct? Ask questions. The hiring manager may be reluctant to discuss the matter. If the reasons sound harsh he may have legal concerns. Ask for suggestions on how you can improve for your next meeting.
  2. No, not right now. Great, you know you’re still in the running.
  3. Yes. Great! You got the job!

There is no downside to asking for a job you want. You may feel uncomfortable. Practice what you’ll say. Stand or sit in front of a mirror and watch yourself. Better, rehearse with a friend and video yourself. Before long you won’t feel awkward.

If the company needs time, make a plan to follow up. What happens next in the process? Will they be assessing the people they spoke with? Or will there be a second or third meeting? What is the timeline? Be polite but don’t leave matters vague.

Establish the latest that you can expect to hear back. Confirm you can follow up after that time. Do so, even if you’ve found another job in the meantime. Show you follow through. Don’t burn any bridges.

Within a day of the meeting send a handwritten thank you. A quick email right after is fine. A card or note the person will keep on his desk keeps you front of mind.

If you got a flat out no, before you leave the meeting ask for referrals to other companies looking for someone with your qualifications. Most people don’t like rejecting a candidate so they’ll be happy to help if they can. You can’t lose anything by asking.

To get the job you want you’ll have to ask for it. Most likely, you’ll have to ask more than once. A proper follow plan and execution will make the process easier and more comfortable.

Do you think it’s better to know right away if you didn’t get a job?

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How to Be an Insider Who Gets the Job

3 minutes to read

Many veterans tell me stories about not getting a job that they obviously qualify for. They can’t figure out why they lost out or didn’t even get a meeting with HR. It feels like when you were a kid and wanted to be in a particular club. Try as you might, they wouldn’t let you in. If your hunt for employment feels like constant rejection from the “in crowd,” you’re committing job search sin #7: Applying for a job at a company where you don’t have an internal advocate.

How to Be an Insider Who Gets the Job

The Huge Advantage of Getting Referred

About 7% of applicants for a job got referred by someone already working at the company. But 40% of people hired by a company come from employee referrals. Six times as many people apply for jobs through job boards. But only 15% of hires come from that source. Your chances of landing the job you want increase significantly when you have an advocate in your target company. Consider that:

  • 86% of employers and recruiters said referrals are their top source for quality candidates.
  • 70% of employers felt referred hires better fit their companies’ culture and values.
  • 67% said the recruiting process is shorter with referrals.
  • 51% said it was less expensive with referrals.

You may be thinking that’s fine for employers, but what about me?

  • Employees hired through referrals reduce their average start time from 39-55 days to 29 days.
  • The process for hiring a referred employee is 55% faster than one who comes through a career site.
  • Referred employees stay at companies two to three times longer than those hired through a job board.

You’ll likely have greater job satisfaction if you’re referred to a company.

So if having an insider advocating for you is so great, why doesn’t every job searcher get one? Well, most people don’t have the basis for making the initial connection. And they won’t do the hard work to build the relationships.

As a veteran, neither of these hurdles stands in your way. Military people love to help each other out. And you’re used to working hard.

Becoming an Insider

Here’s where social media gives you a huge advantage. Once you’ve identified a target company, find another veteran who works there. Stick with someone who served in your branch of the service if possible. Then get in touch with the person and start building a relationship.

Earlier this year I wrote several posts on relationships building. They explain how to choose whom to connect with and the process of growing relationships. If you’re not sure how to get started select a topic, read up on it, then take action.

Learn what it takes to go from contact to relationship.

Build relationships physically, mentally, and spiritually. Keep in mind business relationships are first and foremost relationships.

How to spend your time creating relationships wisely.

How to make connections.

Prepare yourself to invest time.

Be on the lookout for fortunate opportunities to create relationships.

You may blow the first few contacts. But remember, you’re dealing with your fellow veterans. We’ve been there and want to help you. So be genuine, be open, and by all means be proactive! Get a company you want to work for in your sights. Then go find your internal advocate so you can be an insider and get a job you’ll love.

What is the best way for you to connect to other people?

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