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Tips For Military Veterans To Have An Effective Career Fair

This Content Provided Courtesy of USAA.

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Planning for an effective military to civilian transition is one of the most vital things to do for an effective career, family, and financial transition.  A job fair also known as a career fair is one of those steps.  Here are some tips how to have an effective and rewarding career fair.

 

1.     Arrive Early, Hydrated, and Fed.  Job fairs start early.  Arrive early to get a place in line and a close parking spot

2.     Dress for The Job You Want.  Plan to attend a job fair in professional and conservative business attire – a jacket, tie, dress shoes, and dress slacks.  It is tempting to wear your uniform, but a professional employer wants to be able to see you in their organization, not as a soldier, sailor, marine, or airmen.  Finally, impeccable personal dress is a way to standout.  Finally, wear comfortable shoes, you will do a lot of walking.

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3.     Have a Plan.  Create a personal plan for the companies that you want to meet with and have a personalized cover letter and resume for each of these companies.  This way, you have a personalized card, cover letter, and resume for each company when you speak to them.  This amount of preparation and personalization makes a substantial difference.

4.     Be Prepared to Interview.  Be ready and able to have a 30-60-minute interview with a company.  If you make a great first impression, the company may want to interview right on the spot.  Use the STARS format to answer interview questions.

a.     Situation, Task, Action, Result, Skills (STARS)

b.     Situation:  Describe the context within which you performed a job or faced a challenge at work.

c.      Task: Describe your responsibility in that situation.

d.     Action: Describe how you completed the task or endeavored to meet the challenge. Focus on what you did, rather than what your team, boss, or coworker did.

e.     Result: Finally, explain the outcomes or results generated by the action taken.

f.       Skills: Skills you used to be successful – includes both hard (technical) skills and soft skills (leadership, teaching, etc.).

g.     Create 6-10 sentence answers to frequent questions on leadership, improvements, cost savings, and how you learned a new skill.

5.     Attend the Classes.  Career fairs are often filled with classes on resume reviews by HR professionals, panels of employers, and other resources to help in a career change.  Take advantage and network during these training opportunities.

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6.     Have a Follow Up Plan.  When you meet with the companies, ask when you can follow up for more information, an interview, and get phone numbers and interviews for the follow up.

7.     A Career Fair Is Only One Way to Find a Job.  Don’t expect a career fair to be your entire answer to secure employment.  Continue to network, have personal interviews, and contact companies for other opportunities.  Remember, your goal is not one, but multiple job offers to be successful.

 

Resources to Support an Effective Military to Civilian Transition:

  1. 5 Keys to a Smoother Military Transition – Great Advice to Succeed By @USAA – http://bit.ly/2rI3qKT
  2. After Service: 3 Routes to a Civilian Career – Solid Military to Civilian Transition Advice By @USAA – http://bit.ly/2q8QzAg
  3. Create a Military Transition Fund to Have a Successful Military to Civilian Transition – http://bit.ly/2qMqrhB
  4. USAA Employment Tools to Help Translate Military Skills to Civilian Jobs – USAA Members Only (Free to Join) – http://bit.ly/2q2zsUF
  5. USAA INSIGHT: 3 Ways to Ease Your Shift from Military Service to Civilian Life From @USAA – http://bit.ly/2qMoz8x
  6. USAA Leaving the Military Guide – Advice & Support for a Smooth Transition – USAA Members Only (Free to Join) – http://bit.ly/2rI53Iu
  7. USAA Military Separation Assessment Tool for Financial Planning – USAA Members Only (Free to Join) – http://bit.ly/2q8R8tS
  8. USAA Military Separation Checklist Tool for Planning Your Military to Civilian Transition – USAA Members Only (Free to Join) – bit.ly/2q2RGp5
  9. USAA News – Member’s Easy Military Transition? He Credits Education and Planning – http://bit.ly/2qOdMJc

 

Happy 242nd Birthday To The US Army

Happbirthday22y 242nd Birthday To The US Army

This Content Courtesy of USAA.

June 14, 2017 marks the 242nd Birthday of the United States Army. The US Army is the oldest military service (besting the US Navy by just a few months)! Below are some of the traditions, missions, and values that define the US Army as a military service.

Army Birthday Traditions. Every US Army unit celebrates, remembers, and recognizes the US Army birthday in some way. There can be unit formation runs, Army Band concerts, military balls, formal dinners, or a cup of coffee and a piece of cake — cut with a sword or bayonet, of course. The Army Birthday is a time when everyone in the US Army, US Army National Guard, US Army Reserve, US Army Civilians, US Army Veterans, and family members pause, reflect, and join together to recognize all that the US Army has done and is doing.

Mission of The US Army. The U.S. Army’s mission is to fight and win our Nation’s wars by providing prompt, sustained land dominance across the full range of military operations and spectrum of conflict in support of combatant commanders.

The US Army Values: There are seven US Army Values that create a great personal reminder of the combined value of performance, ethics, loyalty, and courage to complete assigned tasks.

  1. LOYALTY — Bearing true faith and allegiance is a matter of believing in and devoting yourself to something or someone.
  2. DUTY — Duty means being able to accomplish tasks as part of a team. The work of the U.S. Army is a complex combination of missions, tasks and responsibilities — all in constant motion.
  3. RESPECT — Treat people as they should be treated. Respect is what allows us to appreciate the best in other people. Respect is trusting that all people have done their jobs and fulfilled their duty.
  4. SELFLESS SERVICE — Put the welfare of the nation, the Army and your subordinates before your own. The basic building block of selfless service is the commitment of each team member to go a little further, endure a little longer, and look a little closer to see how he or she can add to the effort.
  5. HONOR — Honor is a matter of carrying out, acting, and living the values of respect, duty, loyalty, selfless service, integrity and personal courage in everything you do.
  6. INTEGRITY — Do what’s right, legally and morally. Integrity is a quality you develop by adhering to moral principles.
  7. PERSONAL COURAGE — Face fear, danger or adversity (physical or moral). Personal courage has long been associated with our Army.

SOURCE: US ARMY Values, https://www.army.mil/values/index.html

Get to Know More About the US Army:

Other Military Service Birthdays:

  • US Army — June 14, 1775
  • US Navy — October 13, 1775
  • US Marine Corps — November 10, 1775
  • US Coast Guard — August 4, 1790
  • US Air Force — September 18, 1947

Please share your stories of US Army Birthday’s past and present and how you celebrated the day!

Related Posts:

  1. Lessons in Appreciating Diversity from World War II
  2. Teach Your Boss About the Military for National Guard and Reserve Members
  3. How Military Strategy Can Help Your Career Strategy

10 Steps for An Effective Military to Civilian Transition

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SPONSORED CONTENT COURTESY OF USAA.

Here are 10 Easy to Follow and High Impact Steps for An Effective Career Transition:

  1. Attitude is Everything. Attitude is one of the most important mental criteria that will make an employee shine in terms of both performance and leadership.  Ensure you have a positive and constructive attitude for even the most seemingly mundane tasks.  In addition, have a positive attitude even if you believe that your new position is below your level of responsibility in the military.
  1. Be Open to New Experiences. Often, when we are exposed to a vast array of new experiences, we fall back on our military ways and mind sets.  These uncertainties in the economy, fluidity of roles in a commercial organization, and differences between the veteran and non-veteran employees can encourage a status-quo or “pull back” approach by the veteran employee.   No matter the expressed definition of workplace activity and company roles, you should dive into whatever roles and experiences are offered immediately.
  1. Further Your Education. Community colleges offer good overview business classes to improve your baseline knowledge of business in such vital areas as Accounting, Finance, Statistics, or Applied Mathematics.  If possible, take them in person because fellow students, professors, and college staff are great resources for networking.
  1. Leverage Your Military Experience to Your Company and Job. Veterans need to translate their military 8dbb6e22bde6dd23a486f6c0c3798347skills to their businesses and organizations in a fashion that supports the culture and work practices of their company.  Look for ways to translate and apply your military skills in a way that supports your company’s culture, workplace practices, and the rules & regulations of your industry.
  1. Mentor an Individual or Group. Mentoring or coaching is a fantastic skill to help build talent, commitment, and initiative in an organization.  In the military, performance counseling sessions was a way to identify the standard of the organization, how a soldier performed to that standard, and what step (s) would be taken to improve the soldier’s performance.  Ken Hicks, an Army veteran and the CEO of Foot Locker, stated, “So I learned that you’re very dependent on your people to be their best. You train and develop and motivate them.”
  1. Pointerviewrtray a Professional Image in Dress and Conduct. You should strive to portray and supportive physical and mental bearing in the workplace.   John Meyer, an Air Force Veteran and the CEO or Acxiom, stated in a Harvard Business Review Blog post, “I think professionalism and professional appearance is pretty important because it gives you the first impression, the benefit of the doubt. If you look the part, you get the opportunity to show whether you’re competent or not.”  Remember, as a rule, dress for the job you want, not the job you have.  Your quality of speech needs to be clear, understandable, free of non-industry jargon, no use of military acronyms, no use of military phrases, confident, and compelling.  Absolutely avoid swearing, insulting other cultural or ethnic groups, and demeaning language at all costs, even if others portray poor word and language choices.
  1. Teach A Class. Teaching in the military was something everyone did as a part of training no matter your service, rank, and specialty.  Teaching is a wonderful way to build confidence, position yourself as an expert, and improve your presentation skills.  Volunteer with a charity, education, business, or government organization to teach a class or series of classes to show how military skill sets can be translated for business.
  1. Use Only Positive Words & Conduct on Social Media. Ensure that your look on all Social Media is “clean” and portrays you and your company in the best possible light.  Limit any mention of your new employer for at least 6-8 months until you understand all your company’s social media policies.  If in doubt, do not use any social media to talk about your employer.
  1. Watch the Use of Sir / Ma’am and Other Military Speech Patterns. In the corporate world, expect to use a first name, but defer and treat seniors respectfully as if they were higher military officer.  A senior vice president needs to be respected like a general / flag officer even though you use a first name.
  1. Websites to Stay Up to Date – Quick and Easy on Business News. Just like reading the morning and evening intelligence reports, staying current on today’s important news is necessary.  Websites such as the New York Times, Business Week, Fortune, Washington Post, Google News Custom Alerts, Smart Brief, Harvard Business Review Blogs, and the Corporate Advisory Board all have daily e-mail’s that deliver the innovative business news to your e-mail for free.  Scheduled e-mail news is the easiest and most efficient way to stay up to date.

 

Resources to Support an Effective Military to Civilian Transition:

  1. 5 Keys to a Smoother Military Transition – Great Advice to Succeed By @USAA – http://bit.ly/2rI3qKT
  2. After Service: 3 Routes to a Civilian Career – Solid Military to Civilian Transition Advice By @USAA – http://bit.ly/2q8QzAg
  3. Create a Military Transition Fund to Have a Successful Military to Civilian Transition – http://bit.ly/2qMqrhB
  4. USAA Employment Tools to Help Translate Military Skills to Civilian Jobs – USAA Members Only (Free to Join) – http://bit.ly/2q2zsUF
  5. USAA INSIGHT: 3 Ways to Ease Your Shift from Military Service to Civilian Life From @USAA – http://bit.ly/2qMoz8x
  6. USAA Leaving the Military Guide – Advice & Support for a Smooth Transition – USAA Members Only (Free to Join) – http://bit.ly/2rI53Iu
  7. USAA Military Separation Assessment Tool for Financial Planning – USAA Members Only (Free to Join) – http://bit.ly/2q8R8tS
  8. USAA Military Separation Checklist Tool for Planning Your Military to Civilian Transition – USAA Members Only (Free to Join) – bit.ly/2q2RGp5
  9. USAA News – Member’s Easy Military Transition? He Credits Education and Planning – http://bit.ly/2qOdMJc

 

 

 

Remember On A Personal Level This Memorial Day

Memorial Day2SPONSORED CONTENT COURTESY OF USAA.

Memorial Day is a solemn holiday that is difficult to appreciate. What makes it difficult is how to honor and how to remember in an appropriate and respectful manner for the military members who fell in battle. The best way to remember the fallen on Memorial Day is to make Memorial Day a day of personal memories, sharing, and respect.

Fly a Flag at Your Home. Flying a flag at your home is a wonderful way to make sure that you remember the sacrifice of Memorial Day the entire day. If you can, have everyone in your neighborhood fly their flags. Memorial Day helps remind us how special America is and the fluttering of flags along neighborhoods, on lawns, and from windows makes everyone pause, remember, and appreciate the greatest sacrifice a service member can make.

Remember the Favorite Times & Share the Stories of Fallen Friends. This is one of the hardest pieces of advice to give about Memorial Day. Remembering and appreciating fallen friends is very hard because it brings back such intense emotions that do not fade quickly. However, it transforms Memorial Day into a day of personal memory and growth. A few stories about my friends that fell. One of my friends was a Special Forces, military ski instructor the day I first met him. I was brand new to my Special Forces unit and I was trying (and failing) to ski some intermediate downhill terrain in my military issue skis and boots. I was, literally, pulling my head from a snow bank when I looked up and saw him beautifully skiing swiftly down the terrain that I had just tumbled down. He skied down to me, helped me up, and then taught me how to ski better. He helped inspire me to be a better officer from that day forward. These are the memories of my friends that I want to share and I want others to remember. Memorial Day is not a day to remember how military members died. I want my friend remembered for being a great leader, for being a skilled Special Forces Non-Commissioned Officer, and for being an inspiration to everyone that met him. Memorial Day is a day to remember the men and women and what made them great soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen.

Go & Visit a National Cemetery to Respect Fallen Military Members. Finding a national or state cemetery close to your home is a moving way to begin Memorial Day. If you can, go at dawn and watch the sunrise over the headstones. Walking among the graves, reading the names, and remembering the conflict that the soldier, sailor, marine, or airmen fell in is a moving and instructive way for children to remember Memorial Day. What always, always strikes me when I visit National Cemeteries is the sheer number of the fallen. I always see soldiers in formations which then fades into the images of the headstone. Every headstone has a memory, a face, and a family. Look up the closest National Cemetery through the Department of Veteran’s Affairs website at https://www.cem.va.gov/cem/cems/listcem.asp

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Reach Out to Surviving Family Members of the Fallen. If you know someone personally who had a family member fall in battle reach out to them before or after Memorial Day. When you talk to them, tell them one or several of your own stories of what you remember about the person who gave their life for the country. This simple act of reaching out, listening, and sharing your own memories is invaluable for their remembrances. Sharing and remembering funny stories and special occasions re-creates and remembers everything that made that person special.

Donate to the Children of the Fallen. Remembering the children of the fallen is a meaningful way to make a difference on Memorial Day. If you can, donate to a program that creates college scholarships for these children. Even better, serve as a coach, as a tutor, or as a mentor to help these children overcome the loss of a parent and become the great person that is inside each one of them. Helping a child of the fallen is one of the best things to help continue the memory of their fallen parent.

This Memorial Day remember and re-appreciate the fallen on a personal level. Share the stories and special memories of fallen friends and make others see how they were special not because they fell, but by being the people they were. Visiting a National Cemetery and reaching out to surviving family members is a profound way to listen and understand how special and unique the fallen servicemember was. Finally, find a way through donations, mentoring, or other forms of support to help the children of the fallen to become great people. Memorial Day is special when we remember the fallen at a personal level.

 

Related stories and information:

Demonstrate Your Military Values at Work Every Day

Bring the Advice from Your Military Mentors to Work

Commemorate the Service of Military Veterans With Together We Served

 

The Memorial Day poppy is inspired by the World War I poem, “In Flanders Fields” by Lt.Col. John McCrae of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Visit USAA’s virtual poppy wall where you can dedicate a #PoppyinMemory at  http://poppyinmemory.com

Advice On How To Approach An Effective Military to Civilian Transition

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Sponsored Content Courtesy of USAA

Transitions Can Be Difficult, But They Are Immensely Rewarding.  The transition from the military to a peacetime setting can be eased when the military experience is viewed as an opportunity for the military veteran to expand their skills and abilities in a new career.  Here are some points of advice to help military veterans make a successful transition.

  • The Value of Military Skills in The Workforce. To be successful in second career, you must be able to bring military training and experience to civilian employment.  A newly transitioned military veteran wants to make a bigger impact within the business organization and increase their value to the organization.  In the business world, the bigger the splash you make, the greater chances of promotion and additional opportunity.  A keystone of success in business is to fully leverage all military training and experience in the corporate business world to make a bigger difference.  Once you demonstrate skills fully, the hiring marketplace for skills will improve both inside and outside company, even in a down economy.  Employers of veterans often look to them to solve big challenges and take on additional responsibilities, thanks to their “can-do” attitudes and performance under-pressure skills.  All veterans inherently recognize that the military-to-civilian transition is difficult, especially in the workplace.  The key point of struggle is that recognizing the problem is not enough.  Veterans need skills, tools, understandings, and approaches today to accelerate their careers and their employers’ business results.
  • What Are Your Plans and Goals? The military provides a great deal of social and professional structure daily.  The fact that Army life is so structured (physical training, breakfast, training, work details and so on) helps reduce a great deal of stress because even after the return from military, there is a daily structure to help guide you through life.  Even for the most senior military veterans, there is a whirlwind of change and a complete lack of structure once you are released from active duty and return to the civilian world.  Freedom is a wonderful thing, but too much unstructured time can be a downfall that leads to excessive TV, video games, eating, solitude, and alcohol.  Military veterans need a plan to create structure and discipline in their daily life so they do not lose focus on their goals.  I advise veterans to create a list of what they want to do: exercise, see friends, sit in on classes at a college, work a part-time job, start a small business, or take on a constructive hobby such as photography or hiking.  Having a daily structure built around goals makes the military-to-civilian transition immensely easier, more productive, and much less likely to be derailed.

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  • What Is Your Story? Recent military veterans, since the start of the First Gulf War, make up a small percentage of the U.S. population.  Veterans inevitably encounter the all too frequent and inane questions of: “How many people did you kill?”  “Why are people still at Guantanamo?”  “Where is Iraq?”  “Are we still in Iraq and Afghanistan?”  (The last is my personal favorite.)  It is best to have a set of practiced responses to these questions and others instead of becoming angry or despondent at people’s apparent lack of knowledge or concern.  The clear majority of civilians are exceptionally proud of the military and its performance in military in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The problem that no one else can solve is the growing gulf between most Americans without military experience and the U.S. military veteran.  A preset story that is simple and well described or some humorous anecdotes will greatly help veterans explain their time in military and make them more comfortable doing so.  This will not close the experience gap, but it will make a veteran more at ease explaining their time serving the country to an audience that knows very little about the military.
  • Take Some Time to Explore. The literal descent from the military to the civilian world can be exceptionally disorienting.  I advise veterans to structure their time, but to also take some time to explore the world that they have been away from.  Traveling, doing the Outward Bound program for veterans (www.outwardbound.org), starting a small business, or taking a few college classes prior to full-time enrollment are excellent ways to try things out, explore and make sure that next path in life is one that you want.  Immediately going from military to the civilian world to a job or the college classroom can at times be too much.  A three- to six-month period to get comfortable, get sorted out and explore options before jumping in is an excellent way to help make the military-to-civilian transition a success.
  • Understand Daily Risks. With the newfound freedom of the civilian world, there are plenty of things that can derail the successful career plans of a veteran.  Alcohol, drug use, fast cars and motorcycles, men and women more interested in bank account than you, and personal financial mismanagement are just a few of the dangers to which recent military veterans have succumbed.  The transition from military to the civilian world will be difficult, and there will be residual effects from combat exposure such as combat stress and the potential for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  However, the use of counseling, veteran-to-veteran conversation, exercise, a good diet, and programs that teaches military veterans stress-mitigation techniques all help reduce risky behavior and make for a much more successful transition.
  • Do Not Be Afraid to Ask for Help and To Help Others. There are hundreds of resources to help military veterans process Veterans Affairs claims, treat stress, and find employment, and there are college programs to help veterans make the transition from military to the classroom.  In addition, military veterans are fantastic leaders, so there is space to help with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, shelters for homeless veterans and existing veteran’s service organizations.  The ability to accept help and offer to help others is a skill that I have been amazed at in recent military veterans.

 

Every veteran when they return from military will have to chart their own course.  Others and I have offered the steps and advice that we wish we had known about when we came back from the military.  The experience of military veterans is universal in that military has changed us, but we are all seeking to use the experience of military and what it taught us to improve our daily lives and the lives of others.  Military veterans are changed by their military experience, but they can use it to better themselves and to ensure that they have a fulfilling, happy, and satisfying life, career, family, and financial transition.

 

Resources to Support an Effective Military to Civilian Transition:

  1. 5 Keys to a Smoother Military Transition – Great Advice to Succeed By @USAA – http://bit.ly/2rI3qKT
  2. After Service: 3 Routes to a Civilian Career – Solid Military to Civilian Transition Advice By @USAA – http://bit.ly/2q8QzAg
  3. Create a Military Transition Fund to Have a Successful Military to Civilian Transition – http://bit.ly/2qMqrhB
  4. USAA Employment Tools to Help Translate Military Skills to Civilian Jobs – USAA Members Only (Free to Join) – http://bit.ly/2q2zsUF
  5. USAA INSIGHT: 3 Ways to Ease Your Shift from Military Service to Civilian Life From @USAA – http://bit.ly/2qMoz8x
  6. USAA Leaving the Military Guide – Advice & Support for a Smooth Transition – USAA Members Only (Free to Join) – http://bit.ly/2rI53Iu
  7. USAA Military Separation Assessment Tool for Financial Planning – USAA Members Only (Free to Join) – http://bit.ly/2q8R8tS
  8. USAA Military Separation Checklist Tool for Planning Your Military to Civilian Transition – USAA Members Only (Free to Join) – http://bit.ly/2q2RGp5
  9. USAA News – Member’s Easy Military Transition? He Credits Education and Planning – http://bit.ly/2qOdMJc