By Steven Matthew Leonard
As we sat in the general’s office, the conversation carried the typical banter we’d come to expect. The general had a habit of talking out new concepts until he was sure he fully understood them and could articulate them clearly.
We were there to help him frame his thoughts, sort of like speech prep for big ideas.
That particular day, we’d brought in a major from a subordinate headquarters to give us a hand as we worked to make sense of a white paper he’d written. The topic wasn’t particularly difficult to grasp, but the writing was a little thick, so we thought it best to make him part of the process. Everything seemed to be progressing normally, until the junior officer’s tone changed sharply.
“No. That’s stupid. That’s not how it works,” the major blurted.
“You’re wrong.” The major pushed his chair back and crossed his arms in front of him. “I wrote it, I know.”
“Okay, let’s dial this back a bit,” the general answered. “Remember who you’re talking to.”
“You want a debate? I’ll debate you,” the major replied, pointing his finger at the general. “Right now. You’ll lose.”
The aide-de-camp and I looked at one another, totally dumbstruck. Try as we might, we couldn’t intervene quickly enough. The general didn’t have much of a temper, but the major had pushed his buttons to a point we hadn’t previously seen. The aide distracted the boss—whose face was rapidly approaching a disturbing shade of purple—as I pulled the major outside and away from the general’s office.
“He’s afraid to debate me,” the major said confidently. “He knows I’d win.”
“That’s not the point,” I explained. “If he’s wrong, you’re here to help him understand, not to piss him off. Not to argue with him. Not to tell him he’s stupid.”
“Nobody can beat me in a debate on this,” he said. “I know more about it than anyone. That’s why I wrote the white paper.”
I pushed the major out the door and down the hall, still in disbelief. Words like blunt, tactless, and caustic came to mind. I’d seen people disagree vehemently before, but never in quite so spectacular a fashion, and never with someone so senior to them. I shook my head as I watched the officer walk away, shoulders back and head held high. There was no doubt he believed he’d just achieved a major victory, oblivious to the fact that he’d probably just written the epitaph on his next evaluation.
When Trying to be Right is Really Wrong
It’s not unusual to want to disagree with your boss: A new project proposal you don’t think will solve anything, a timeline that isn’t realistic, or an initiative that will cost more than it’s worth. Disagreeing with the boss elevates speaking truth to power to new heights. This isn’t just about providing unsolicited feedback or sharing knowledge of a problem. It’s about telling someone you think they are wrong. And not just anyone—someone senior to you who could just be in a position to influence your future. For a lot of people, this situation triggers a fight-or-flight response, and they choose survival over disagreement.
The truth is you can disagree with someone without fearing for your livelihood. It requires a delicate blend of timing and social intelligence, but it can be done.
First, weigh the risks. Is the matter at hand so important that you want to take a stand? These are what I often call silver bullet moments. You only get so many silver bullets; don’t waste them on squirrels.
Second, acknowledge their authority. A little respect goes a long way if you’re planning to disagree. The decision is usually theirs to make, so acknowledge that. Your role is simply to help them make an informed decision, not to make the decision for them.
Third, ask permission to disagree. This is one area where it’s far better to ask permission now than to beg forgiveness later. Often, all this requires is a statement like, “If you don’t mind, I’d like to offer some thoughts.” This allows your boss to invite you into the discussion instead of you barging in like the Kool-Aid Man.
Fourth, validate their position. This is a simple, yet essential step in disagreeing with your boss. Acknowledge their position, even if you think it’s completely wrong: “I think that’s a great point. Maybe we could also…” If you allow disagreement to turn into debate, you’ve already lost.
Fifth, keep your emotions in check. Sometimes, our passions are our undoing. If you feel particularly strong about an issue, this can be a true challenge. Always remember facts, not emotions. This might also save you from using judgmental terms, such as “stupid,” “short-sighted,” or “wrong,” or inadvertently telling someone senior to you to do something that might be anatomically impossible.
Finally, stay humble. You’re not the authority figure in the room and it’s not your decision to make. Don’t pout if you don’t get your way and don’t gloat if you do. Keep things in perspective.
You can disagree with your boss without committing career seppuku. Be smart about it.
By Emily King
When interviewing a former service member, your goal is to understand the various roles, responsibilities, skills, and experience the candidate has accumulated over the course of his or her military career.
To do this, you may need to look well beyond the most recent position, going back 10 years.
Unlike a civilian resume that often culminates in the highest level of responsibility to date, the military resume is often a collection of seemingly unrelated experiences and must, therefore, be considered together as a whole.
Below is a list of questions you can select from to assist you in understanding the candidate’s background, and convey your interest in the world from which they are coming.
General opening questions can build rapport and sense where the individual is in his or her transition from military service to civilian employment.
Begin with “I know leaving the military can be a big transition . . .”
- How is it going, separating from military service?
- How has the adjustment been?
- What has been the biggest surprise about the civilian workplace?
- What opportunities are you looking forward to taking advantage of as a civilian employee?
- What challenges do you foresee as a new civilian employee?
For each job over the past 10 years, ask:
- How would you describe this position in layman’s terms?
- What was your primary mission in this job?
- What did it take to accomplish this mission?
- What were the key activities you performed, and in what circumstances/conditions?
- What people or resources were you responsible for in this role?
- What were the greatest challenges in the role?
- What is an example of a time that everything went as planned?
- What was your contribution?
- What did you learn from the experience?
- How did you incorporate what worked and what you learned?
- What is an example of a time that things did not go as planned?
- What went wrong?
- What did you do, and what was your contribution?
- What did you learn from the experience?
- What did you change or do differently as a result of this experience?
- What aspects of this role or job would you like to find in a civilian position?
- What aspects of this role or job would you prefer not to perform in a civilian position?
General questions to ask include:
- How would you approach a situation in which… (describe something “typical” of the job the candidate is applying for; avoid irrelevant questions that may come across as setups)?
- What kinds of things did you coordinate and accomplish in the community (e.g., community social events, charitable projects, leadership roles)?
- Looking across your recent military work experiences, what key knowledge, skills, abilities, and experiences would you say are most valuable?
- Setting aside the specific job you were required to do, what activities do these knowledge, skills, abilities, and experiences prepare you to do?
Emily King, a nationally recognized expert on the transition from military service to civilian employment, is founder of the consulting firm Military Transitions and author of the book, Field Tested: Recruiting, Managing & Retaining Veterans.
Being able to translate your military skills, experiences, and accomplishments into terms that civilian hiring decision makers will easily understand and recognize as being valuable to their organization is key.
That translation requires that you understand how business decision makers think and the language they speak.
One way to speak an employer’s language is to communicate the impact and results you’ve achieved in your work experience.
Employers understand results; by communicating your ability to make a positive impact on critical aspects of the business, you’ll increase your chance of being hired.
Most organizations are focused on:
- Attracting and retaining customers
- Improving customer satisfaction, and product or process quality
- Increasing operational excellence
- Boosting the performance of the organization (in part or as a whole)
- Improving the organization’s strategy
- Maximizing the return on investment
Review the following examples for ideas on how to translate your experience into a framework employers’ value.
Results: Results hiring decision makers care about
Impact: How you have delivered results in these areas in the past, and/or how you can deliver them in the future?
Result: Quickly solve problems, and then prevent them from occurring again
Impact: When conducting after action reviews, I focus on the root causes of problems rather than searching for someone to blame. As a result, I ensure we only make a particular mistake one time, and that we can accurately identify and address any operational weaknesses.
Result: Improve safety and reduce accidents
Impact: Having spent time on rifle ranges, handling hazardous materials, and working around dangerous equipment, I understand how to develop, disseminate, and implement safety guidelines that virtually eliminate accidents or injuries.
Result: Increase the reliable operation of equipment, reducing breakdowns and expensive repairs
Impact: By inspecting and maintaining equipment before, during, and after an operation, I eliminate unexpected breakdowns and prevent the need for expensive repairs.
Result: Nurture teamwork and collaboration that allow staff to achieve things together that would be impossible for them to accomplish individually
Impact: I make sure all the members of my team understand how the tasks they perform will affect their coworkers and other units or departments that depend on us. Once they understand why and how their role is important, they stay motivated and collaborate more effectively with others.
Result: Analyze and select from among competing courses of action
Impact: I have learned to quickly generate several possible courses of action, evaluate each to spot the strengths, advantages, and weaknesses, and then develop an action plan around the most promising one.
By Rhonda Sanderson
Don Stone’s entrepreneurial spirit first began when he learned to fly while serving in the Air Force. After leaving the service, Stone took his flight knowledge and chose to open his first business as a fixed-based operation, which is basically a gas station for planes, at a small airport in Colorado.
While it was a fun business overall, he faced challenges with the city and county governments that owned the airport. This experience helped him immensely for his next endeavor—owning and operating a franchise.
Stone’s first franchise was part of a 216-location hair salon company near Texas. After selling that business in 2000, he was immediately interested in purchasing another.
“My experience with franchising was what made me pursue future opportunities,” Stone shared. “I spoke to someone in Dallas about a mobile pet grooming business that wanted to expand and start franchising. Because of my experience with the hair salon franchise, I thought of using that same model to expand it, but instead ended up buying the business outright.”
After much due diligence, Stone realized it would be complicated to turn the mobile grooming business into a franchise. He was surprised to learn that mobile pet grooming salons are more complicated than the average person would expect, so instead of franchising, he kept the business as it was and it has since grown significantly. Stone now operates over 50 mobile grooming salons in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
As time went on, Stone continued to watch for a complementary business to purchase.
“I knew one of the founders of Pet Butler,” he said. “I watched the business as it grew and franchised.”
Once the Dallas/Fort Worth market opened, he jumped at the chance to diversify by adding a Pet Butler franchise to his current business model.
“It was easy for me to add on because we had the back-office services in place already,” Stone explained. “It was a great way to acquire a much-needed service, popular in the pet specialty services group.”
Stone was able to keep his focus on the same great services for pets in people’s homes or offices. He has a full-time manager and six scoopers—four having been a part of his organization for more than 10 years. And when Pet Butler was acquired by Spring-Green Enterprises in 2017, franchisees of Pet Butler received not only digital marketing help, but also back-office support—a huge advantage Stone says because he’s not tied to a desk.
The company’s National Call Center answers all calls from would be and existing customers, and provides immediate information to the franchise owner.
“Within minutes, we are on the phone with the customer solving any issues or schedule changes.” Stone said.
The back-office support team also handles customer billing and processes payments. Stone has also gotten his son involved with the Pet Butler end of the business, which, frankly, involves the back end of a dog! Stone has a dedicated, full-time Pet Butler manager, but he, too, scoops poop, and his son is learning to become a manager for the business by scooping poop as well.
“He will learn the business by doing, not by taking over,” Stone says.
In fact, all of Stone’s children are involved in both his Pet Butler and mobile grooming businesses. They came to them on their own, which was very important to Stone.
“It is interesting to get a different perspective from my kids,” said Stone, who is proud to build his businesses alongside his kids.
His advice to those veterans thinking about purchasing a Pet Butler franchise?
“You must have an entrepreneurial spirit, but you also need to follow the program,” Stone said, “The franchisor spends a lot of time and money on what works and what does not. A good franchisee will learn from that so they don’t repeat costly mistakes.”
Stone added, “If you’re in the pet business already or are looking for a business in a booming industry, take a serious look at this. Ninety percent of the things you need to know and do are already figured out for you. It’s a great business.”
Pet Butler was acquired in 2017 by Spring-Green Enterprises, the parent company of 43-year-old Spring-Green Lawn Care and SGE Marketing Services. They currently have 30 franchisees located in 26 states with plans to open 60 more within the next 5 years.
To learn more about how Pet Butler serves pets and their people, visit their website here.
To inquire about a franchise, call (844) 777-8608 or visit their website here.
By Innovate Marketing Group
As the live events industry awaits COVID-19 regulations, guidelines, and phase rollouts; innovations and digital opportunities arise, virtual events take center stage, and the importance of an events agency and planner sustains.
Why go virtual? Virtual events have proven to be an effective and efficient way to convey content and engage attendees. Experts shared that future events will incorporate a digital aspect as a hybrid-type model as the events industry seeks to widen their audience and maintain contingency plans. Events will see more virtual aspects embedded into their programs moving forward.
Going virtual also brings market share and new opportunities.
“Some companies that were previously on hold to wait out COVID-19 have either pivoted to virtual or seriously considering since the recovery is so uncertain. Business still needs to go on. Leadership conferences, educational and training are still vital for companies,” said Amanda Ma, chief experience officer of Innovate Marketing Group.
All of the different elements of a virtual event need to be coordinated into one impactful and engaging experience. The event agency’s role includes helping guiding businesses to pivot to the new normal, advising and adjusting contract changes, applying event strategies to help meet goals, vendor coordination and recommendations, program management and managing multiple tracks, marketing and communication, incorporating sponsors and stakeholders and the guest experience.
Some of the many benefits of pivoting to virtual include:
- Cost savings and lower cost per guest attending
- Access to a wider audience and reach, and not limited by location
- Replay capabilities and reusable on demand content
- Lower carbon footprint and less impact on the environment
- Attendee engagement
- Opportunity to get creative and engage viewers in new ways
- Metrics, instant data tracking and capture, and gaining new insights
- Virtual events eliminate the need for a venue, catering, rentals, stage, décor, photographer, videographer, transportation, etc.
- Taking action – calls to action link in right away; connect, survey, polling, Q&A and donate
Some challenges in comparison to a live event include emotion and energy, stimulations such as touch, taste and smell, memory and recall, networking, and viewer attention span.
Innovate Marketing Group also shares top best practices in going virtual, such as setting your goals on information, education, message, attendee and sponsor engagement, networking, etc.
Format: Determine your virtual event format – webinar, webcast, pre-recorded sessions, simu-live, live streaming, networking, exhibitors.
Registration: Reconsider the registration process, including number of users who will be accessing the website, personal data, payment processing safety, and customized questions per data you would like to collect.
Keep Your Audience Engaged: with tools such as live polling, question and answer sessions, networking opportunities, gamification, live leader boards, rewards and social media feeds. Maintain your event experience by making your guests feel involved and connected to your program. We are in the planning stages of a 3,000 people walk/run event, and one of the ideas is on the day of the event to have a virtual DJ play during the walk and the organization lowers the volume if messages need to be communicated. The music is based on what the organizers want. This way while people are walking, they can stay connected as part of the program.
Pre-Event Communication & Marketing: Communication and marketing are key. Unlike an in-person event where they must get dressed up, drive to the event, and spend more time to prepare for the event, a virtual event is simply a login to a platform. Therefore, it is very important to send out reminders and build up the anticipation of the event. In a recent virtual event, we advised the client to ask for the attendee’s cell phone number.
So, in addition to email reminders, the week of event and day of, a text notification was sent out to all attendees. We received great feedback for putting that in place. It reminded folks the virtual event is coming up and to tune in. Digital marketing, promotion, advertisement, and video content is still very important for a virtual event, before broadcasting on your event day.
Surprise and Delight Before the Event: Sending a swag bag prior to the event with items relevant to the event. For an upcoming conference, we are sending a box with a blue light blocking glasses, candle, custom door handle, notebook, T-shirt, and a coffee tumbler. We have a special note to go along with this kit to kick off the conference mindset. On the day of the conference, we asked everyone to wear the shirt provided. One less worry about what to wear on “top.”
Content is King: Offer educational, relevant, timely and meaningful content that people will want to hear. It is vital to create content that captivates guests, sparks their creativity and results in productivity.
Do Not Try to Replicate Your Live Event: Instead, look for new opportunities but stay true to purpose of your event. Keep principle of why your guests were coming together, and make it part of the equation.
Test, Test, and Test Again: Technical difficulties may occur, and it often distracts from your event. Have a run through with your speakers and moderator in advance and test the virtual release on your platforms.
By Jessica Evans
Walmart. Nike, Fed Ex. What do these companies have in common They were all started by veterans, proving that we’re among the country’s best entrepreneurs. The reason? Well, that’s simple: Veterans already have all the skills that successful business owners need—namely the ability to lead a diverse group of people, understanding how to manage personnel effectively, and we have the grit and determination to see things through.
If you are considering starting a business, but aren’t sure where to start, here are a few tips to help:
Take advantage of the help that’s available
There are so many programs and resources available, so how can you tell which are legit and trustworthy? Your best bet is to begin locally. Start searching for veteran-entrepreneur groups in your AO first and then go from there. This way, you’re eliminating any groups that might try to take advantage of you, and you’re leaning on the experience of other veterans to help guide your path.
The Transition Assistance Program recently launched Boots to Business. This program can help you learn the bases of entrepreneurship and get a clear idea of worthwhile programs.
Lean on the Small Business Administration
The SBA has hundreds of Small Business Development Centers across the country and nearly twenty-four Veteran Business Outreach Centers that have cultivated resources specifically for veterans and transitioning service members. The SBA helps align you with mentors, learn how to market yourself, and explore lending options.
Consider opening a franchise
A franchise is ideal for veterans because it takes the guesswork out of starting a business. Having a corporate partner who knows the landscape and the industry makes most franchises “turn-key” choices. That’s one less stress for you as the owner and one more way that the business is set for success. When you don’t have to worry about marketing or coming up with an employee training manual, you have more time to dedicate to making your location flourish.
Franchising is so exciting because it gives you a chance to be your own boss without all of the headache and hassle of starting a business from the ground up. That doesn’t mean you don’t need to do your research. Remember that not all franchises are created equally, so you should be careful about what you select as your investment. Visit https://hiregibiz.com to search some military-friendly franchises.
Once you have a clearer understanding of the kind of business you want to run, you’re going to need some help navigating opening your business. That’s where Hire G.I. can help.
We offer free services to veterans and military spouses who are ready to start their own businesses. By signing up to speak with one of our certified business coaches, you’re taking the first step to your next great career. Visit www.hiregi.com for more information.
By Phil Panzarella, Chief Growth Officer, Easterseals DC MD VA
When veterans transition from the military to civilian life, organizations work to break down barriers, engage communities and connect veterans with what they need for meaningful employment, education and wellness. Community services are needed to ensure unmatched, accessible and indispensable resources and support for veterans to ensure they successfully transition to civilian life.
Veteran services provided by Easterseals’ national network of 68 affiliates focus on developing inclusive programs, including valuable training for veterans to leverage their skills to secure meaning employment.
“Easterseals has been delivering critical services to veterans and military families since the end of WWII,” says Angela Williams, National President and CEO of Easterseals, and herself a veteran. “We continue to be the ‘go to’ resource for them to help ensure their successful transition to civilian life.”
Historically, veteran employment programs are funded by the government, which in many cases lead to veterans falling through the cracks. Easterseals DC MD VA recognized this significant problem and established the Veteran Staffing Network (VSN), a meaningful innovation in the world of nonprofit service delivery. The VSN provides job search training and career coaching for veterans and military spouses.
While the VSN assists veterans’ search for employment in all industries, construction industry connections have yielded great success in matching skills to opportunities. There are established parallels that exist between the military and construction skill sets, and many candidates have qualities that construction companies would value such as flexibility, dependability and accountability.
Military service trains veterans to be problem solvers, team-orientated, safety-conscious and respectful of the same kinds of hierarchical structures that exist in the world of construction. Ultimately, there are great benefits to be realized by employing those who understand the overarching aspects of complex projects. The attributes offered by veterans are a result of military service that directly mirrors day-to-day construction operations.
According to a study performed by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IMVF) of Syracuse University, veterans stay at their jobs 30 percent longer than their civilian counterparts. Countless careers in the construction industry are built around operations, and job loyalty creates a smoother operational base for long-term projects. Looking at the broader military universe, veterans are often qualified at the operations management level; they are accustomed to following complex plans, working collaboratively with teams, interacting with all aspects of diverse cultures and making things happen efficiently. Operational leadership is most often found in the enlisted corps as officers are trained for tactical leadership, senior management and operations execution. They lead the deployment of assets, oversee labor resources and develop strategic plans and relationships.
But in order for veterans to deliver their best work, companies must be willing to provide job training. Recognizing that veterans are highly experienced at learning quickly and deploying effectively, training programs are essential and valuable for 18-26-year-olds transitioning to civilian life.
Unbeknownst to most, the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is a product of the construction industry. To meet the prerequisites required to take the PMP exam today, one must have a background in project management. Many veterans leave the military with those skill sets, and nonprofit veteran organizations are there to help them identify that experience and prepare them to leverage opportunities. A veteran interested in learning whether they qualify should engage with an organization like the Easterseals VSN.
While working to connect veterans to meaningful employment, the VSN simultaneously works with construction companies and their veteran employees to create veteran-friendly workplace cultures. In general, creating a robust military culture is an organizational lift. One key aspect of such a culture is the appointment of an executive champion, who can drive the “we proudly employ veterans” message to a variety of external and internal communities, both horizontally and vertically.
Best practices that demonstrate veteran-friendliness include establishing veteran-specific links and landing pages on corporate websites, pushing job postings to channels that veterans often visit, and ensuring presence at job fairs aimed specifically for veterans seeking employment. With all that said, it’s incumbent upon the company to provide its recruiting teams with training on how to speak a veteran’s language.
Engaging with an organization that can assist with employment and help to establish the right program is a great first step to creating a veteran-friendly culture. The construction industry is an ideal area of employment for veterans to cultivate their top-tier talents in order to find their passions. By providing workplace diversity, construction companies create attractive careers for veterans interested in taking their next step in life.
To learn more about the Veteran Staffing Network, click here.
By Connie Russell, CEO C. L. Russell Group, LLC
If you’re fortunate to be employed today, it doesn’t always mean you’re excited about it. If you’re like many employees, it isn’t exactly filling you with joy to work every day. The reason may be that many employees misalign their purpose and their employer’s purpose, which have them constantly seeking a new job. Many people want to feel a sense that what you contribute everyday actually matters. It matters in a large way, so much so that it can change someone’s life or even the world.
As a young child, did you ever experience chasing butterflies? It was as if the harder you tried to chase to catch them, the faster it seemed they escaped you. However, once you would stop running, sit down on the lawn and simply watched…something magical happened! The butterflies would come to you and rest on your arm or leg. It was never for long, but just long enough for you to smile and enjoy the moment as if you accomplished something really big. This is a feeling many of us want to experience at work. We want to know we make a difference. When you set out to actively look for purpose in your career, the harder you try, the harder it can be to find. Finding purpose in your work can be very much like chasing butterflies. Don’t run around anxiously, trying to find it. Instead, be patient and conduct a more thoughtful search. The meaning and purpose you seek will most likely appear when you least expect it.
Here are a few tips to help you discover a more purposeful career
Connect the dots
Where you start may be distinctly different from where you end up. Most people won’t discover their purpose immediately during their career. As you begin to follow what you’re interested in, you will begin to discover clarity as you explore your passions and different fields of work. Be open to embracing the uncertainties that comes along with this process. Know that you’re not expected to get it right the first time, or even the second. Continue to connect the dots along your journey. Soon, your dots will connect you with your passion.
Change your mindset
It’s all about attitude. Finding purpose in your work can have a lot to do with your attitude. Happiness and meaning often result when you focus on something or someone other than yourself. Practice having different perspectives in the workplace and remember: Everything isn’t always about you.
It’s OK to look back sometimes. Examine your situation
It’s so easy for us to get wrapped up in our day-to-day “to do” lists or the next big project. When we do this, we sometimes tend to focus forward on what we have not accomplished. Doing this can make you feel defeated once again and question the direction you’re taking. Take a moment to reflect on what you have accomplished and the difference it has made for others.
Pursue a career path that fosters learning
While you’re spending time trying to figure out what your passion truly is, at the very least, pursue a career that encourages constant learning. You’ll not only discover what new skills you may find passion in, but you’ll also discover what doesn’t interest you. Make learning a lifestyle.
Rediscover your ‘why’
What’s truly important? Ask yourself these questions: What makes you come alive? How do you measure your life? If money wasn’t an issue, would you do for a living? What are your natural strengths? Those skills you’ve always been good at. Asking yourself these questions can help you get on the right track to discovering your passion.
Understanding your ‘why’ will also help you articulate what makes you feel fulfilled and better understand what drives your behavior when you’re at your natural best. And this is a great feeling! This will give you a point of reference for direction in life. Your choices will become more intentional for your career as well as your personal life. You will begin to inspire others.
Nothing is more satisfying than having a clear understanding of direction in your life. In the great words of Nelson Mandela, “Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.” Finding fulfilment in life starts with understanding exactly why you do what you do.
L. Russell Group, LLC is a workforce training consultant company, headquartered in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area. Visit clrussellgroup.com for more information.
As a military spouse, you’re qualified, educated and ready to serve. You have a unique perspective and understanding of what it means to care for our nation’s heroes.
The U.S Department of Veterans Affairs values this experience and knows you bring so much more to the table.
That’s why the VA has partnered with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) program. The career program connects military spouses with more than 390 affiliated employers who have committed to recruit, hire, promote and retain military in jobs everywhere.
“VA is thrilled to help DOD and military installations engage military spouses in conversations about career opportunities caring for our nation’s veterans,” said Tracey Therit, Chief Human Capital Officer at the Office of Human Resources and Administration/Operations, Security and Preparedness.
“We are using every method—communications, job feeds, social networking and more—to provide information on the federal hiring process and links to real opportunities at VA.”
Finding Opportunities to Grow
How are MSEP and VA making sure you get the chance to apply for a meaningful and rewarding career?
On USAJobs, we tag VA jobs ideal for military spouses. We highlight key information—remote work opportunities, flexible work schedules, child care and health benefits—on our job announcements.
For positions covered under Title 5 hiring authority, we use noncompetitive procedures approved by the Office of Personnel Management. That means when you apply to become a VA accountant, police officer or human resource specialist and meet the minimum qualifications, you’re hired.
We also work with DoD to identify spouses with health care experience or training as a physician, nurse, social worker or occupational therapist. These VHA-administered positions do not require application through USAJobs.
A career with VA is meaningful and mission-driven—and our total rewards benefits package consistently edges out those offered by the private sector. To learn more on how military spouses can benefit from choosing a VA career:
- Search for open positions using “military spouses” as a keyword.
- Explore the benefits of a VA career.
- Reach a recruiter at VAcareers@va.gov
Transitioning from military service to a civilian career comes with a host of emotions—excitement, hope and perhaps some uncertainty, especially in the wait for job offers.
As you establish your “new normal” and move into a new civilian career at VA or with another employer, maintaining a self-care routine can make that shift easier.
Here are seven ways to boost your confidence as you transition from military to civilian employment.
1. Check in with your friends
During your military career, you built a support system of contacts, and some of them may have already transitioned to a civilian career. Get talking! Opening up about your experiences solicits stories from other service members who made the move. Gain confidence knowing that you are not alone and learn strategies and tactics from others.
2. Keep an exercise routine
In general, physical activity is great for our health. But in times of transition, it’s even more important to care for your physical and mental health. Exercise boosts your mood and gets you out of the house. Consider trying out a new sport or fitness class. Need to join a gym? Check out your local YMCA, which may partner with the area VA facility to offer special services and rates for veterans.
3. Attend military transition classes
The U.S. Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP) offers military transition classes at every military installation, online and at other locations such as VA offices. TAP classes begin during your last year of service—after you have an identified separation plan. The program includes group classes particular to each service branch, briefings from VA and other agencies with veteran programs, and job and transition counselors.
4. Find a mentor
We all benefit from hearing stories from folks who have paved the way ahead of us. A mentor is a great resource in any job search, and especially for service members transitioning to civilian careers. Find someone who shares your values and have a clear idea of what you want to get out of the relationship. If you don’t have an ideal candidate in your network, search online for veteran mentor matching programs like Veterati (https://www.veterati.com/).
5. Seek out VA services
VA has you covered! We know the value of hiring veterans and have many programs available to transitioning military service members. VA works with DoD to create TAP classes and briefings. VA for Vets aids transitioning members seeking post-service jobs. And through VA Careers, veterans can identify themselves in the application process and get support from VA throughout the hiring process.
6. Leverage online resources.
There’s a multitude of online resources available to transitioning service members. You can find trainings, job boards, employers who specialize in hiring veterans, mentoring resources and online chat help. VA Careers’ Transitioning Military Personnel page and TAP are good places to start.
7. Volunteer your time.
If job offers don’t come right away, giving back is a great way to make new connections and establish yourself in the community. Volunteer in a field that’s similar to your chosen career path to get experience and build your resume.
Source: Department of Veteran Affairs