Here’s How to Tell in Less Than 1 Minute Whether You’ve Made a Great First Impression, Backed by Science

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Young soldier in military wear keeping arms crossed and smiling

By Jeff Haden

Making a great first impression is supposed to be fairly simple. Smile. Make eye contact. Listen more than you speak. Ask questions about the other person.

And, oddly enough, simply believe you will make a good first impression. A 2009 study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin shows people who expect to be “accepted” act more warmly and therefore are seen as more likable. (Of course, you genuinely have to believe you will be accepted — or at least “George Costanza believe” you will be accepted — which is obviously the hard part.)

So, yeah: You know what to do. But knowing what to do is never a guarantee of success.

How can you tell if you actually made a good first impression? Science to the rescue.

According to a 2018 meta-analysis of more than 50 different studies published in Psychological Bulletin, the key is to look for specific nonverbal and verbal signs to determine if you’ve established some degree of rapport.

  1. Smiling and laughing. No surprise there. But most people reflexively smile back, especially at first. And then there’s the Jimmy Fallon-esque “Oh, my gosh, I’ve never heard anyone say anything so funny” kind of laughter that doesn’t indicate anything genuine.
  2. Holding eye contact.Also, unsurprising; the eyes are usually the first indication the other person is thinking about somewhere they would rather be.
  3. Maintaining physical proximity.We all define “personal space” differently; the fact you back up half a step might just only mean I’ve slightly encroached on yours. Yet, according to the researchers, physical proximity is a key indicator of likability.
  4. Starting new topics of conversation.Another less obvious, yet important, indicator. If there’s no spark, polite people will see the current topic through and try to move on. But if they bring up something else without prompting…
  5. Unconsciously mimicking nonverbal expressions.A 2019 study published in Cognition and Emotion shows that when other people mimic your nonverbal expressions, that indicates they understand the emotions you’re experiencing — and may even result in “emotional contagion.” (Which means, if you want to use your first impression skills manipulatively, copying the other person’s expressions and gestures can make you seem more likable.)

So: Imagine you meet someone new. You know what to do. Smile. Make and hold eye contact. Laugh when appropriate. Don’t back away. Shift the conversational focus to the person you just met; one way is to use the 3 Questions Rule.

All the while, pay attention to how the other person responds. Whether they smile, laugh, and hold eye contact.

And more important, whether they maintain physical proximity, initiate new topics of conversation on their own and mimic some of your nonverbal expressions.

And then use what you learn to make a better first impression with the next person you meet.

Because the next person you meet could turn out to be one of your most important connections. Or one of your biggest customers.

Or, best of all, one of your closest friends.

Jeff Haden is a keynote speaker, ghostwriter, LinkedIn Influencer, contributing editor to Inc. and the author of The Motivation Myth: How High Achievers Really Set Themselves Up to Win.

Best Careers for Military Spouses

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military spouse and husband smiling in the kitchen

By Navy Federal

Military spouses often face hiring challenges due to their spouse’s occupation, and the global pandemic has exacerbated this even more. The unemployment rate of military spouses is nearly three times greater than the national average. According to Navy Federal’s research, 13% of military spouses are unemployed, and 43% of military spouses are under-employed. In both unemployment and under-employment, military spouses cited specific challenges around relocation, childcare responsibilities and the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As a military spouse myself, I know that military spouses face unique employment challenges that make securing a sustainable, long-term career very difficult,” said Matt Vean, Commercial Banking Lead at Navy Federal Credit Union. “This Best Careers list offers deeply-researched insights that this community can turn to for advice and direction as they take the next step in their employment journey.”

Research & Results

To help them navigate these challenges and enjoy long-term career success, we conducted more than 2,000 online interviews with military spouses both within Navy Federal’s current membership and in the general population earlier this year. We found that this community requires flexible hours/schedule, competitive compensation, a clear career advancement path, a consistent work location (either in-person or remote), a team-oriented work environment and flexibility in childcare options.

We then partnered with Hire Heroes USA® to identify industries and career paths that meet the values that matter most to this community.

“Although military spouse employment is being talked about more and more, there is still work that can be done. Military spouses are reporting they are looking for stability and flexibility across all industries according to the Best Careers list and data,” said Amy Dodson, a military spouse and Human Resources Manager at Hire Heroes USA. “I encourage military spouses to utilize employment resources that are tailored specifically to their unique needs, leverage volunteer work to build a career and search for companies that have military spouse hiring initiatives.”

With this in mind, here are the top 10 industries we identified as best for military spouses.

Government & Public Administration. No surprise here, but having a stable job is one of the most important qualities military spouses look for in a career. Government and Public Administration roles provide spouses with just that and more! In fact, nearly half (46%) of military spouses currently working in this industry plan to keep their job until they retire. Other important benefits of this industry are flexible scheduling and working for an organization that supports military service as employees. Some of the most popular career paths include analyst, manager or supervisor, support worker, or lawyer. Of note, the analyst is the role best suited for frequent relocation via permanent change of station (PCS).

Business Support & Human Resources. Military spouses seek out a meaningful career and job that allows flexibility in childcare options and moving locations, which aligns well with Business Support and Human Resource positions. These roles also provide flexibility for families who experience a PCS. Some of the most popular career paths include administrative assistant, secretary, analyst, support worker or recruiter. This career path is a relatively new industry of interest for military spouses, with two-thirds (66%) currently in this industry having been in their position for up to 2 years.

Health Care & Social Assistance. One in ten military spouses are employed in the health care field. Military spouses desire this industry because it provides a meaningful career, offers stability and has competitive compensation. There are a wide range of roles that military spouses can explore in Health Care & Social Assistance; a few potential job functions include becoming a nurse, therapist, health caregiver, dental hygienist, pharmacy technician or medical assisting personnel.

Educational Services. The Educational Services industry aligns well with military spouses’ desires for mission-driven environments, work-life balance and stable careers. Some of the most popular career paths include becoming a teacher or instructor, education counselor, support worker, manager, or supervisor in education administration. For military spouses who regularly experience PCS or plan a PCS in the future, the role of support worker is particularly flexible for changing locations.

Information Technology. With everything becoming increasingly digitized, careers in the Information Technology space have seen a rise in popularity. The great news is that these job functions are a good fit for military spouses because they provide a meaningful, stable career that allows them the flexibility to change locations with ease. There are a wide range of roles that military spouses can explore in IT; a few potential job functions worth exploring include software or web developer, manager or supervisor, computer programmer, network analyst, database administrator, or information security personnel.

Financial Services. Financial Services is a popular career path, particularly among military spouses in urban areas. Military spouses appreciate a stable career with a clear advancement path and competitive compensation specifically within this industry. What’s more, over half (56%) of military spouses employed in this industry agree that their current job offers them a clear path for advancement. Some roles within this industry include accountant, bank teller, service representative, project manager, claim adjuster or credit analyst. A financial institution that understands the military lifestyle is most likely willing to help military spouses in these roles maintain their careers as they PCS.

Defense Contracting. Military spouses often find Defense Contracting to be a good fit, citing that the work is meaningful, supports military service as employees and offers flexible hours and schedules to fit their needs. Military spouses can explore a wide range of roles in Defense Contracting. A few potential job functions best suited for military spouses include being an architect, analyst, project manager or engineer. Project managerial roles are great for spouses of Active Duty servicemembers, as there’s greater flexibility for families experiencing PCS.

Community-Based Services. Community-Based Services roles are most popular for military spouses 55 and up. Why do they like this industry? These spouses can achieve a work-life balance while contributing positively to the greater good. They serve a purpose every day and are passionate about their work. Some of the most popular career paths include social services, administrative support services, religious services or church workers, program management, general management, training, instructing, or teaching.

Retail & Customer Service. Retail & Customer Service ranks on our list due to its flexible work schedule, team-oriented work environment, and creative or strategic opportunities available. The importance of flexibility in Retail cannot be overstated: over one-third (34%) of military spouses rank flexibility as the first thing they look for in an ideal job. Job functions within this sector include cashier, salesperson or customer service representative. The customer service representative role is especially flexible for military spouses who may experience or are experiencing PCS.

Manufacturing. Rounding out our top 10 list of careers for military spouses is Manufacturing, as spouses are attracted to competitive compensation, flexibility, and creative or strategic opportunities in their job. Some roles within this industry include assembler, brazer or welder, machinist or operator, production manager, or quality control inspector.

Planning for a career also means having a financial plan to match. There are different insurance and retirement savings options as a military spouse and specific considerations your family needs to take into account at each step in your spouse’s military career. Navy Federal Credit Union is proud to offer tools, tips and resources to help military spouses succeed in their career search and continue their financial literacy.
More Resources

Navy Federal has presented its “Best Of” lists every year since 2018. In 2018, we developed the first iteration of the Best Cities After Service list. In 2019, Navy Federal developed Best Careers After Service, a comprehensive list of the best careers that will make the transition from Active Duty to civilian life more successful. Last year, Navy Federal published Best Cities After Service 2.0, which helps identify top cities in the U.S. for military members who recently completed Active Duty service and their families amid changing priorities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you’re interested in even more resources, check out our blog. You’ll find articles and tips on topics important for military spouses, ranging from our military employment resources, military benefits you may not know about, and more.

Click here to view the article posted on Navy Federal.

Veterans turn to farming jobs, receive assistance through Farmer Veteran Coalition

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Army Veteran Jon Jackson on his farm

Veterans have an opportunity to use the land they fought to defend, getting assistance along the way.

Army Veteran Jon Jackson deployed twice to Iraq and four times to Afghanistan between 2003-2015. Now, he channels that energy into a new career as a farmer.

When he was in the service, Jackson had a backyard garden. He grew vegetables and had chickens, also admitting to having an illegal pig when he lived in Columbus, Georgia, near Fort Benning. After receiving a medical discharge following repeated deployments with the 3rd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, he decided he wanted to try his hand at a larger farm.

One of his first stops was Farmer Veteran Coalition. FVC is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization assisting Veterans – and currently serving members of the Armed Forces – to embark on careers in agriculture.

“Getting my start in farming, the Farmer Veteran Coalition was the one organization that had the best integrity, the best resources, the best information out there for a farmer like myself to get started,” he said.

He used Farmer Veteran Coalition grants to get started and also connected with other Veteran farmers to gain experience, advice and find camaraderie.

Farming start

Jackson’s original goal was to open up a barbecue restaurant.

“It was literally the proverbial question: What comes first, the barbecue joint or the pigs?” Jackson said.

Jackson searched for an in-residence training program but couldn’t find one. Using his Ranger mentality, he started his own, creating the AG Tech to Success program. The collaborative effort is between Central Georgia Technical College, Fort Valley State University and through the group Jackson created, STAG Vets, Inc.

The program aims to increase the number of qualified Veterans trained and educated in food and agriculture production through a comprehensive, hands-on model farm/ranch program within the central Georgia region.

The Sustainable Small Farm and Agriculture Technician program study is a 17-week program. Veterans receive a specialized technical certificate of credit. The program includes hands-on training in the production, management and marketing of small-scale food production.

Farming program origins

Jackson’s location is Comfort Farms in Milledgeville, Georgia. The farm name is in honor of one of Jackson’s teammates. Army Capt. Kyle A. Comfort, a fellow Ranger, was killed in action May 8, 2010, in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province.

Jackson said the constant deployments and horrors of war caught up with him, leading to a mental health crisis.

“I was in a really dark, dark place and I needed help,” he said.

His mental health crisis lit a fire under him. He started the peer-to-peer program for active duty and Veterans. They come out two to four days to work on the farm, helping with farm projects.

“It’s just to get Vets who are going through crisis outside of their own head space and do something productive,” he said. Working with people and on the farm helps them talk through issues, he noted.

Building camaraderie

The program’s goal is to be proactive, building camaraderie before a Veteran needs help.

“We want our shelter during sunny days, not when it’s actually raining,” he added.

Jackson said another Veteran team building event is the upcoming Q For the Few backyard barbecue cook-off during Labor Day weekend. Veteran teams will compete in the contest, cooking two slabs of ribs, eight chicken thighs and a side dish. The competition includes two teams from the Western Judicial Circuit Veterans Court in Athens, Georgia. They target Veterans in the local area who are or could be charged with a felony or misdemeanor criminal offense stemming from mental illness or substance abuse problems associated with service. The Superior Court works with VA. The group came to the farm for a short trip recently and instantly connected with the program.

“These guys have kind of crawled their way out of a dark space and now they’re coming in next week, practicing their barbecue and having fun,” he said.

Advice for Veterans

Jackson’s best advice for a Veteran thinking about farming is to simply volunteer at a farm.

“Learn all types of agriculture,” he said, including visiting everything from blueberry to cattle farms. He also advised to visit chefs to see how they use it on a plate, whether in a restaurant or catering. Jackson believes seeing different types of operations will help Veterans decide – or avoid – a certain type of farming.

“Everyone says, ‘I want to go cattle’ until they get kicked in the chest by a damn cow,” he joked.

Whatever direction a Veteran decides, Jackson wants Veterans to know that farming takes a long time to master.

“Farming is the only profession that you’re still a beginner with less than 10 years of experience, so it’s not a fast process,” he said. “You need to start slow.”

From fire trucks to farming

Evan Boone used to spend his days fixing fire trucks during his four years in the Air Force. Now, he spends his days tending to cows, pigs, sheep and chickens.

He started out with a small farm at his last assignment at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. He said his wife and him fell in love with the farming lifestyle, and soon decided to pursue their dream. Following his discharge, Boone moved to Aroda, Virginia, to start Three Springs Farm.

Growing up in a neighborhood, Boone had little experience outside visiting family farms in West Virginia. He also used Farmer Veteran Coalition for assistance, including webinars and training opportunities to learn. He also received a fellowship in 2019 and a grant to buy a three-door glass freezer for his farm store, which he said was a “game changer” because he can sell direct to consumers.

Boone especially enjoys the farming lifestyle and how every day is both busy and different. He likened the military and farmer lifestyles are similar because the commitment to helping fellow Americans.

“It’s really that sense of duty and kind of being there to feed people,” he said. “That’s what it’s about. It’s about each other.”

Read the complete article posted on the VA website here.

What You Can Do to Successfully Transition from A Military Career

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man dressed in a suit with several other professionals in the background

Change can be challenging — or even downright difficult. But if you’re transitioning from the military, choosing a career at VA can make the experience alot easier and less stressful.

At VA, we understand the unique circumstances transitioning service members face and have created plenty of resources and tools to support you in your move to a new career. You will work alongside other veterans as you continue your mission to serve.

Here are six things you can do to successfully transition from a military career to one at VA:

1 . PREPARE FOR YOUR TRANSITION WELL IN ADVANCE.
Planning and preparing for your next move can help relieve stress and boost your confidence. Take advantage of what’s available to you while you’re still a service member, such as the Department of Defense Transition Assistance Program. Take stock of your skills and think about how you could parlay them into a job at VA.

For instance, VA created the Intermediate Care Technician (ICT) Program to hire former medics and military corpsmen into positions at VA medical centers. Ask supervisors for letters of referral or to serve as job references. Brush off your resume and make it shine. Talk with former service members who have already transitioned to civilian careers for tips and moral support. If you think you want to switch careers or need more education or training to make you competitive in your current career, explore educational opportunities and see how VA benefits may support you.

2. MAKE LINKEDIN A BEST FRIEND.
LinkedIn is an invaluable, career tool that can help you network, search for jobs and take advantage of careerbuilding resources. VA offers transitioning service members a free year of LinkedIn Prime, which includes more than 14,000 LinkedIn learning courses. LinkedIn Prime also has two learning paths for veterans: Transition from Military to Civilian Employment and Transition from Military to Student Life. Need some help navigating LinkedIn? Check out this video for tips on using LinkedIn for job searching.

3. ACTIVATE YOUR SUPPORT NETWORK.
Job hunting can take a toll on even the most persistent job seeker. That’s why having a support network is a good idea. In addition to current and former military colleagues, family members, neighbors, friends and acquaintances may all potentially be great contacts. You might be surprised to learn where they worked, who they know and who they might be able to connect you with. Keep an open mind and network, network, network!

4. SPEND TIME ON THE VA CAREERS WEBSITE.
The VA Careers website has all kinds of resources to help you explore and apply for positions at VA. A page dedicated to veterans has useful information about benefits and veterans’ hiring preference — and lets you view available opportunities or search for specific VA careers. On our Navigating the Hiring Process page, you’ll find an instructional guide that can help you search and apply for positions through USAJOBS.gov, as well as tips for preparing and submitting a job application.

The VA Careers blog is chock full of information about topics like how to ace a cover letter, how VA helps transitioning service members and spouses pursue civilian careers and what you can expect in a post-military career. VA Careers also participates in virtual career fairs, allowing you to speak with VA recruiters and learn about available positions.

5. CONTACT A VA RECRUITER.
Be proactive and email a VA recruiter. Connecting with a recruiter will speed the job application process and help you secure an interview. A recruiter can answer questions and guide you on finding the opportunity that best matches your skillset, preparing your resume and planning for interviews.

6. FINALLY, DON’T GIVE UP!
Finding a job takes time and patience, especially in a tight job market. Create a transition plan, rely on your network, use LinkedIn often, take advantage of all the resources VA Careers has to offer, connect with a recruiter and stick with it!

Source: VA.gov

Resume Tips to Land a Federal Job

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graphic design of text regarding resume bullet points surrounding non-descript person in the center

Whether you’re a current federal employee or new to the Federal Government, your resume is the primary way for you to communicate your education, skills and experience.

BEFORE YOU GET STARTED
Read the entire job announcement. Focus on the following sections to understand whether or not you qualify for the position. This critical information is found under:
■ Duties and Qualifications
■ How to Apply (including a preview of the assessment questionnaire)
■ How You Will be Evaluated
Make sure you have the required experience and/or education before you apply. Hiring agencies use the job announcement to describe the job and the required
qualifications, including:
■ Level and amount of experience
■ Education
■ Training

WHAT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR RESUME
Federal jobs often require that you have experience in a particular type of work for a certain period of time. You must show how your skills and experiences meet the qualifications and requirements listed in the job announcement to be considered for the job.

Include dates, hours, level of experience and examples for each work experience.

For each work experience you list, make sure you include:
■ Start and end dates (including the month and year).
■ The number of hours you worked per week.
■ The level and amount of experience – for instance, whether you served as a project manager or a team member helps to illustrate your level of experience.
■ Examples of relevant experiences and accomplishments that prove you can perform the tasks at the level required for the job as stated in the job announcement. Your experience needs to address every required qualification.
Example:
Program Analyst GS-343-11
January 2009 – Present
40 Hours/Week
$63,000/Year
Experience/Accomplishment

INCLUDE VOLUNTEER WORK AND ROLES IN COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS
Don’t limit yourself to only including paid work experience. Include relevant volunteer work or community organizations roles that demonstrate your ability to do the job.
■ Use numbers to highlight your accomplishments
■ Use numbers, percentages or dollars to highlight your accomplishments – you can find this information in things like your performance reviews, previous job descriptions, awards and letters of recommendation.

When explaining your accomplishments:
■ Include examples of how you saved money, earned money, or managed money.
■ Include examples of how you saved or managed time.
Examples:
“Improved efficiency of document processing by 25 percent over the previous year.”
“Wrote 25 news releases in a three-week period under daily deadlines.”
“Managed a student organization budget of more than $7,000.”
“Wrote prospect letter that has brought in more than $25,000 in donations to date.”

These statements show in concrete terms what you accomplished.

CUSTOMIZE YOUR RESUME
You should tailor your resume to the job announcement rather than sending out the same resume for every job. Customizing your resume helps you match your competencies, knowledge, skills, abilities and experience to the requirements for each job. Emphasize your strengths and include everything you’ve done that relates to the job you’re seeking. Leave out experience that isn’t relevant.

USE SIMILAR TERMS AND ADDRESS EVERY REQUIRED QUALIFICATION
Your experience needs to address every required qualification in the job announcement. Hiring agencies will look for specific terms in your resume to make sure you have the experience they’re seeking.

For example, if the qualifications section says you need experience with “MS Project” you need to use the words, “MS Project” in your resume.

ORGANIZE YOUR RESUME TO MAKE IT EASY TO UNDERSTAND
You need to organize your resume to help agencies evaluate your experience. If you don’t provide the information required for the hiring agency to determine your qualifications, you might not be considered for the job.

■ Use reverse chronological order to list your experience – start with your most recent experience first and work your way back.
■ Provide greater detail for experience that is relevant to the job for which you are applying. Show all experiences and accomplishments under the job in which you earned it. This helps agencies determine the amount of experience you have with that particular skill.
■ Use either bullet or paragraph format to describe your experiences and accomplishments.
■ Use plain language – avoid using acronyms and terms that are not easily understood.

BE CONCISE
Hiring agencies often receive dozens or even hundreds of resumes for certain positions. Hiring managers quickly skim through submissions and
eliminate candidates who clearly are not qualified. Look at your resume and ask:
■ Can a hiring manager see my main credentials within 10 to 15 seconds?
■ Does critical information jump off the page?
■ Do I effectively sell myself on the top quarter of the first page?
■ Review your resume before you apply
■ Check your resume for spelling and grammatical errors and have someone else, with a good eye for detail, review your resume.

IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT THE FEDERAL HIRING PROCESS
The Federal Government does have a standard job application. Your resume is your application. Hiring agencies use the job announcement to describe the job and list the required qualifications and responsibilities.

After applying, the hiring agency uses the information in your resume to verify if you have the required qualifications stated in the job announcement. Once the hiring agency has determined who is qualified, they may use other assessments, such as interviews or testing, to
determine the best qualified applications.

Source: usajobs.gov

Applying for a VA job? Here’s how to keep your application forms in order

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cropped view of soldier in uniform using laptop in office

If you’re applying for a VA job, you’ve probably already noticed that the federal application process is different than in the civilian world.

We know the federal government has a bit of a reputation for lengthy processes and forms. While we try to streamline the application process as much as possible, there are usually at least a few forms and documents that you’ll need to upload when applying for a federal job.

Staying organized

Kenneth Mitchell, a VA recruiter, offers a few tips on how to make sure your application, forms and documents are in order before you hit submit.

Check which forms and documents are required. When you find a job that interests you on USAJobs, scroll down past the Duties and Requirements section to the Required Documents section. This will list the forms and documents that need to accompany your application. For some positions, like physicians, the only requirement is a CV or resume. “VA utilizes direct hiring authority for physicians, which makes the process easier and provides more flexibility,” Mitchell said. Other job types will require more forms and documents. If you later realize you forgot something, no worries. You can go back and update your application, as long as it remains open in USAJobs.

Consider whether additional forms will help your application. Even though they may not be required, you should still submit forms that may get you preferred status for your application. For instance, submit form DD-214 if you’ve served in the military and form SF-15 to receive Veterans’ preference. Military spouses also can receive hiring preference and will need to submit a marriage certificate, spouse’s military orders, and other documentation.

Build your USAJobs profile ahead of time. Plan on investing some time developing a comprehensive profile in your USAJobs account. “It’s worth the time up front to be thorough and include in your profile any supporting documents – resume, cover letter, letters of reference, transcripts, degrees and diplomas, awards, transcripts, etc. It’s really pretty easy to apply for positions once the profile is built,” Mitchell said. Keep track of which positions you apply for by noting their announcement and control numbers.

Keep several versions of your resume. You want to make sure your resume is fine tuned for the job you’re seeking and uses keywords from the specific job opportunity announcement. “Be sure to include those experiences you do have that are specific to the position you are applying for,” Mitchell recommended. “For example, you may have a resume geared towards program management and another geared more towards process improvement.” Check out our blog post on preparing your federal resume for more tips.

A worthwhile investment

While applying for a federal job can be a bit more cumbersome and require some up-front work, Mitchell provided assurance that it’s worth it.

A Veteran himself, Mitchell enjoys the chance to continue his service and is also appreciative of those who are interested in helping Veterans receive the health care they need.

“As a VA employee, I find it to be the most professionally rewarding and personally satisfying job I’ve had,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity to continue my service in a very meaningful way.”

Work at VA

Now that you’re organized and ready to go, take the next step toward a VA career.

The Ultimate Job Search Checklist

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unrecognizable african american man typing on laptop keyboard

Job searches can be overwhelming and sometimes it is difficult to know exactly where to start. Resume Worded has put together a step-by-step checklist to help you stay organized and task-oriented.

Here are the things you’ll need to think about when job searching:

Your Resume/CV
These introductory documents are what help you get an interview. A strong resume/CV gets past initial filters/screens and makes a strong impression on hiring managers. Make sure you understand what type of document (resume, academic CV, federal resume) to use for the job you are applying to. Create impact on your document through strong content and a clean, easy to skim format. Lastly, always have another set of eyes look at this document to help you edit for errors.

Your Online Presence
When you are job searching, you should assume people are looking you up online. It might be a good idea to make all of your personal Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, SnapChat accounts private. One account that should have a public present though is LinkedIn. Take some time to update it and optimize it with keywords for your intended career path/sector.

Finding a Job Online
Cast a wide net when searching for jobs online. General websites like Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor can be helpful; however, you will also want to utilize niche job boards related to your field. Science Careers and Nature Careers often have relevant job postings. You might also want to check some professional associations connected to you field.

Applying for A Job Online
Your resume/CV and cover letter are your first introduction with an online application, so they need to be near perfect. Make sure you focus on quality not quantity and tailor each document for the relevant posting.

Getting an Introduction/Referral
A huge part of job searching is networking. Don’t hesitate to be in touch with your contacts and ask for resume referrals when appropriate. Informational interviews are a great way to learn more about a career path and a company, so start reaching out now and having these conversations. People who actively network tend to shave time off their total job search, so in the end it does pay off!

Interviewing
The key to interviewing well is in the preparation. Learn about the employer and your interviewers. Know what type of interview you might anticipate. Then, practice as much as you can! Rehearse or write out your answers to typical interview questions. Think about interview questions you have struggled with in the past. And last, but not least make sure you have prepared thoughtful questions for each interviewer.

Source: NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education

Putting Your Military Experience to Work in the Electronics Industry

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man with blue work shirt and cap standing next to american flag

By Rob Mortensen, Senior Manager, North American MEGAYSYS Operations at EMD Electronics

The MEGASYS organization at EMD Electronics provides a unique service, as our employees actually work onsite in our customers’ facilities to maintain our delivery systems equipment and safely handle our materials (chemicals and gases) throughout the stages of manufacturing semiconductors.

I recently sat down with Walter Marrable, a Chemical Operations Supervisor on our MEGASYS team in Austin, TX, to learn about how the skills he acquired in the U.S. military translate to his role in our organization.

Marrable served in the United States Navy for six years as a nuclear-trained machinist. “I was responsible for supervising an engine room that directly controlled the maneuverability of aircraft carriers and power generation. Managing the engine room included conducting regular maintenance and repairs. When I left the military, I had over 1000 hours of applied experience in maintenance work.”

Marrable said that what drew him to apply for a position in MEGASYS directly after leaving the military was the technical aspect of the role. He was interested in semiconductor technology and had long-admired our customers and wanted to be a part of the industry. Drawing parallels from his work in the engine room to the fab; he shared that moving materials and regulating pressure temperatures were very similar.

“You still have (material) levels and equipment that operate in a specific way. You need to understand the ins and outs of those systems and why components are designed the way they are, and where they are located and processed. All of that definitely translated over into working in MEGASYS,” Marrable shares. “Once you understand the technical pieces of equipment, it’s easier to learn additional types of equipment in the fab.”

In speaking to Marrable, it’s quite apparent that he brings a high level of discipline to his position and makes safety and quality a priority in his work.

“In the military, just like in here at MEGASYS, we have a chain of command. As a supervisor, I am responsible for developing the team and adhering to strict protocols, procedures. There’s more PPE here at our customer site for good reason, and safety is a top priority,” he says. “Onboarding new team members and continuing education for our tenured employees related to our protocols are essential. Safety is everyone’s job, just like in the military. We can’t ignore potential hazards. We have to know how to take action,” Marrable concludes.

At EMD Electronics, we are committed to hiring U.S. veterans. Marrable’s advice for anyone leaving the military who may be interested in working for us was pretty straightforward. “Like any career, you’re going to get out what you put into it. There’s a lot to learn, and there’s so many opportunities,” he says. “From a technical side of things, MEGASYS is a phenomenal place to be. We have so much exposure to the manufacturing process and working with technical equipment. Not to mention building relationships with the customer and understanding their needs.

“MEGASYS has a variety of work. Whether you decide to pursue operations like me or work on the maintenance team, you have options to expand your skills. You also have the opportunity to explore different shifts and decide which kind works best for you. The operations team works a rotating shift—three on/three off, four on/four off in 12-hour shifts. If you are on the maintenance team, you’ll work Monday to Friday, 9-5. So, if you’re somebody who doesn’t like shift work, apply for the maintenance team,” he suggests.

Marrable noted that opportunities to grow are similar in MEGASYS too. “There’s definitely a runway ahead. Leaders work with you to guide you in the right direction to advance your career. There’s a lot of hands-on learning to build your skill set.”

If you’d like to learn more about joining our team, and working with great people like Marrable, visit our website at emdgroup.com/careers.

Source: EMD Electronics

3 Tips for Companies to Successfully Attract & Hire Veterans

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veteran in fatigues holding up sign that says help wanted

By Nicole Paquette

It would be an understatement to say that the process of separating from the military is daunting, a fact that every veteran who has gone through it can probably attest to. After spending years of my life as an active-duty member in the U.S. Coast Guard, within a regimented system with a strict set of guidelines, the concept of working as a civilian was difficult to wrap my head around.

I believe every veteran is responsible for finding their own way through the separation process, because the Soldier for Life – Transition Assistance Program (SFL-TAP) course isn’t sufficient without individual effort. But many veterans struggle when it comes time to find a job, and it would be valuable for employers to understand more about where we are coming from as well as how to appeal to – and accommodate for – veterans during the hiring process.

In many ways, the recruitment and hiring process for veterans is no different than it would be for anyone else. But there are some differences and sensitivities that employers should keep in mind.

Here are my top three tips for employers looking to hire veterans and how to integrate this valuable talent pool into their workforce:

1) Be military friendly and promote accordingly

For employers interested in hiring veterans, the first step is to build your brand towards being an organization that is military and veteran-friendly, such as by including a line in each job posting highlighting that fact. It may also be useful to include the names of the branches to attract veteran applicants, in the listings themselves as well as any social media accounts. A great tool to include would be common hashtags that service members and veterans follow and use themselves. To really align this intention with action, research the most common certifications soldiers acquire and the duties they perform during their career or, even better, consult with a service member or veteran to overcome a massive hurdle in veteran job searches: translating a veteran’s resume.

Communicating the value of their skills and qualifications in a way that matches up with a job posting is more difficult for veterans–especially since the vast majority of hiring managers are civilians. The military relies heavily on acronyms, so the resumes of most veterans are full of them and to the average civilian, many of these acronyms are foreign; this is one of the biggest barriers to veteran hiring. Having someone “in the know” can help clarify how these certifications and duties translate into a particular position or industry is invaluable. Making this extra effort will not only ensure highly qualified candidates are not being filtered out based on a misunderstanding, it will also show a company’s commitment to being military-friendly is more than just marketing.

2) Highlight benefits that appeal to veterans

When veterans separate from the military, they take with them a slew of lifetime benefits: health insurance, education assistance, disability compensation, eligibility for a VA mortgage loan and many, many more. That being said, veterans will be looking for more than just a good health plan and vacation time to make a benefits package appealing. A few of the benefits I’ve found particularly valuable following my transition are health insurance for family members/dependents, dental and vision insurance, and a 401K plan to save for retirement. Despite free and excellent healthcare for veterans, our benefits don’t include health insurance for family members/dependents, dental or vision care.

Another benefit veterans may look for from a future employer is the opportunity to use allocated time off to volunteer. After serving in the military and spending the majority of their career helping others, veterans are more likely to work at companies that allow them to continue to give back to the community. Advertising these benefits, as well as any coordination with nonprofits, charities or other donation-matching programs, is likely to pique the interest of veterans and encourage them to apply.

3) Banish stigmas and stereotypes

Despite the modern world we live in, veterans are still contending with outdated stereotypes and assumptions about who they are and what they want, especially in the professional world. There is a standard misconception of veterans as old, disabled and uninterested in integrating into American society, but these stereotypes couldn’t be further from the truth. While there are, of course, veterans of all ages, many veterans entered the military at 18 or 19, chose to serve for 4 years and are now in their 20s. I personally have a hard time thinking of myself as a veteran, in part because of the stigmas and stereotypes that do not reflect who I am or my experience.

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Nicole Paquette, Author

Most of the concerns employers have with regards to veterans can be overcome by education and collaboration. Some veterans come home with PTSD or other psychological conditions, but many civilians struggle with similar issues, as nearly one in five Americans live with a mental illness. Companies looking to hire veterans should focus on what they bring to the table – a strong work ethic and valuable experiences from their time in the military – and less on outdated and misguided assumptions about who veterans are and how they will behave.

Just as in any venture, changing the employment process for veterans isn’t one-sided. Employers who want to incorporate veterans into their workforce should adjust their hiring practices, but veterans are also responsible for committing their time and effort to finding the position and company that are the best fit for their many transferable skills. As our society grows to become even more inclusive, employers can utilize these tips to ensure that the workplaces of the future are welcoming for everyone, veterans included.

Nicole Paquette is the Team Captain of Military Enrollment at MedCerts and a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard.

Resources for Military Spouses in the Job Search

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Just as military veterans have sacrificed so much in service to our country, so too have their spouses. The Navy and Marine Corps recognize the invaluable contribution of military spouses and welcome their talents and strengths in our civilian workforce.

In the Department of the Navy — and throughout the Federal Government — military spouses have greater opportunities than ever before to be hired as members of the civilian workforce.

In 2009, the President signed an Executive Order that provides a non-competitive appointment authority for hiring certain qualified military spouses, spouses of disabled veterans and un-remarried widows/widowers of veterans.

Spouses of Active-Duty Military When Accompanying on a Change of Duty Status

Spouses accompanying their military sponsor on a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move who meet all the following conditions:

  • The sponsor must be serving on active duty for more than 180 consecutive days, must have been issued an order for a PCS and must be authorized for dependent travel as part of the PCS orders.
  • The spouse must have been married to the sponsor on or prior to the date of the service member’s orders authorizing the PCS.
  • The spouse does not have to relocate to the new duty station in order to apply for non-competitive appointments.
  • Spouses who wish to exercise military spouse preference must relocate with the service member.
  • The position must be in the local commuting area of the sponsor’s new duty station.

Military spouses are eligible for Navy and Marine Corps civilian employment opportunities in two ways:

Non-competitive Appointments (E.O. 13473)

To apply for jobs, search for job opportunities in the Department of the Navy at don.usajobs.gov and apply directly to any position for which you meet all the qualification requirements. When applying, select Military Spouse under Executive Order 13473 on the eligibility questionnaire. See also “How to Apply” Tab at the top of the page for Applicant Toolkit information and resources.

Military Spouse Preference (MSP)

To exercise your military spouse preference, search for job opportunities in the Department of the Navy at don.usajobs.gov and apply directly to any position for which you meet all the qualification requirements. When applying, select Military Spouse Preference on the eligibility questionnaire. You will be asked to provide documentation that supports your status as military spouse preference eligible.

Spouses of Retired, Released or Discharged Veterans

There are two eligibility categories of spouses covered:

  1. Spouses of retired active-duty military with a service-connected disability of 100 percent, as documented by a branch of the armed services.
  2. Spouses of active-duty members released or discharged from active duty in the armed forces and have a disability rating of 100 percent, as documented by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Spouses who meet either category above can apply to any position for which they meet all the qualification requirements.

Unmarried Widows/Widowers

This eligibility category is for unmarried widows/widowers whose spouses died while serving on active duty in the armed forces. It is not necessary that the active-duty member was killed in combat. The death may have been the result of enemy attack, accident, disease or natural causes.

Unmarried widows/widowers can apply to any position “Open to U.S. Citizen” for which they meet all the qualification requirements.

Mothers of Disabled or Deceased Veterans

This eligibility is for mothers who meet one of the below categories:

  1. Mothers of disabled veterans are eligible if your son or daughter was separated with an honorable or general discharge from active duty, including training service in the Reserves or National Guard AND is permanently and totally disabled from a service-connected injury or illness.
  2. Mothers of deceased veterans are eligible when your son or daughter died under honorable conditions while on active duty during a war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign medal has been authorized.

Mothers can apply to any “Open to U.S. Citizen” position for which they meet all the qualification requirements.

Documentation Requirements

Documentation might include:

  • Proof of marriage to the service member;
  • A copy of PCS orders authorizing the spouse to accompany the service member to a new duty location;
  • Proof the service member was released or discharged due to a 100 percent disability;
  • Proof of the service member’s death while on active duty.

Source: Department of the Navy Civilian Human Resources (secnav.navy.mil)

4 Strategies for Rebounding from a Rejection Letter

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Hunting for a post-military job can sometimes feel like a roller coaster. There are some definite highs in the job search, like spotting the perfect position for you, landing an interview and receiving an offer.

But unfortunately, there are also some lows mixed in – including the dreaded rejection letter.

While it may be disappointing, getting a rejection letter can actually help you in your job search. It offers you an opportunity to learn from the process and improve upon certain areas for the next dream job that crosses your path.

But, while you’re looking for that next opportunity, how can you stay motivated for the next search? While everyone will have their own process, here are our four strategies for rebounding from a rejection letter:

  • Take a minute. There’s no denying it – rejection stings. It’s true in life, love and even work. Before you dive back into the job hunt, take some time to process your disappointment. Talk with friends or fellow service members, go for a walk, meditate, eat a whole bag of chips (okay, maybe not that last one). You might even need more than a minute. It’s okay to take a breather from your job hunt. Though it can be hard to step back when you’re facing the end of your military career, a pause may be the key to landing your first post-military job.
  • Keep perspective. Remember, there’s only so much you can control in a job search. Maybe you were a great candidate, but there was only one open position and a lot of great applicants. “Maintain healthy expectations about the process and don’t lose hope,” said James Marfield, associate director of VA’s National Recruitment Service. “It is not necessarily an indictment on your candidacy – it may just be that the hiring manager had better qualified candidates to choose from.” While it may look from the outside like some people have it easy and catch all the breaks, everyone gets a rejection letter at some point in their career. Transitioning to a post-military career can be an especially big leap, but there are plenty of people who have successfully made the transition. Have faith that you will, too.
  • Look in the rear view mirror. You got as far as an interview, so you know you’re doing a lot of things right. If you’re applying for a federal job like one at VA, you made it through the recruiter and were referred to the hiring manager, which is a big step. Your resume and cover letter are on point, and you’ve completed all the right federal forms to accompany your application. Before you dive back in to your job hunt, take some time to review your interview performance and see if there’s anything you could improve. Do you need to come up with better examples for VA’s performance-based interview format, or did you remember to send a thank you letter after your interview? Each interview is great preparation for the next one, but if you want even more practice, ask a friend or family member to rehearse with you.
  • Move forward. Once the feeling of rejection starts to fade and you’re feeling positive again, jump back in to your search with renewed energy and enthusiasm. As you continue to apply, look for ways you can continue to add to your skills and improve your candidacy for a civilian career, whether that’s through volunteering, additional training or part-time work experiences. Veterans can take advantage of a free year of LinkedIn premium, which includes access to training through LinkedIn Learning. The Department of Defense also offers transition assistance for Veterans, including training, apprenticeships and internships through SkillBridge.

No roller coaster lasts forever – even the job search coaster. While there may be more than one “no” along the way, all you need is one “yes” to land your dream post-military job.

Source: VAntage Point Blog and VA Careers (blogs.va.gov)

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