Hire Vets Act Passes with Budget Bill

Hire vet act

By Debbie Gregory.

In what can only be called a great step forward in making sure that veterans are assisted in securing great jobs, California Republican Rep. Paul Cook’s “HIRE Vets Act” was signed into law.

The bill passed the House of Representatives overwhelmingly in February and passed the Senate on unanimous consent in March. Rep. Cook had reintroduced this bipartisan bill earlier this year.

HR 244, Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Military Veterans Act of 2017 is designed to promote the recruitment, hiring and retaining of veterans in the corporate sector.

“Veterans who serve this country honorably shouldn’t struggle to find employment and this bill creates an innovative system to encourage and recognize employers who make veterans a priority in their hiring practices,” said Rep Cook.

Through the U.S. Department of Labor, the HIRE Vets Act would allow businesses to display “HIRE Vets Medallions” on products and marketing materials. These medallions would be awarded as part of a two-tiered system, Gold and Platinum, associated with specific hiring and retention goals each year.

To ensure proper oversight, the Secretary of Labor would be required to provide Congress with annual reports on the success of the program with regard to veteran employment and retention results.

While the bill does not address recruitment, hiring or retention of disabled veterans, it is a step in the right direction.

Each year, nearly 200,000 service members transition from active duty to civilian life. The HIRE Vets Act would recognize qualified employers for meeting certain criteria designed to encourage veteran-friendly businesses.

“Our military men and women have the skills and experience that are an asset to employers in every sector of our economy,” said U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R.MO), a member of the Congressional Veterans Jobs Caucus.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Best High Tech Jobs for Veterans

techjobs

By Debbie Gregory.

High tech jobs for veterans are a natural transition, given their abilities to take initiative, problem-solve and make decisions, skills that they honed during their military service.

Those who have served are also well-versed in computers.

For employers, hiring military veterans makes perfect sense. If you’re wondering what some of the top high-tech jobs for veterans are:

  • Project Manager is probably the most natural transition point for most service members. They are in charge of the planning and execution of a particular project, and the foundational skills required are quite similar to what many learn in the military.
  • Solutions Architect is a great position for problem solvers. Solutions architects work with their company’s clients processing feedback on their company’s product, and providing solutions based on that feedback.
  • Software Development Manager is a managerial position, a good use of leadership skills. There are a number of responsibilities, but the primary ones are to get a product out the door or deliver results to the customer.
  • Data scientists are in demand, and the position entails knowing how analyze and interpret complex digital data, such as the usage statistics of a website, especially in order to assist a business in its decision-making.
  • Analytics Managers design, configure, and maintain a data analysis tool that allows them to analyze data and make conclusions about it.
  • Software Engineers apply the principles of software engineering to the design, development, maintenance, testing, and evaluation of the software and systems that make computers or anything containing software work.
  • UX Designers enhance user satisfaction with a product by improving the usability, accessibility, and pleasure provided in the interaction with the product.
  • Mobile Developers will work in the development of mobile applications.
  • QA Managers monitor software testing processes or test new products.

If you have a technical background, consider one of these great career paths.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

 

Tips for Veteran Job Seekers to Ace the Interview

ace the interview

By Debbie Gregory.

You already know your resume set you apart as a veteran job seeker because you have secured an interview. Perhaps your status as a military veteran aided you in this first step, because employers recognize the value of your military experience.

The one thing your military experience may not have prepared you for is the interview process when seeking post-service veteran employment. Polishing your interviewing skills can mean the difference between getting the job and being a runner-up.

Here are some great tips to guide veteran job seekers before, during and after the interview:

Before the interview do’s: Preparation is key. Know your strengths and weaknesses, your interests, and your career goals. Gear your resume to the particular job you’re applying for. Research the people interviewing you, the company, and the job itself. Know what does the company does, how they compare culturally and financially to their competitors, the company’s history, the requirements for the job, and how your experience matches those requirements. Practice interviewing with friends.

During the interview do’s: Arrive early. Offer a confident, firm handshake. Remember that you are, first and foremost, having a conversation. It’s nerve-wracking and highly formalized, but avoid stock responses. Communicate effectively with your interviewer. Mirror his or her communication style. Allow your interviewer to set the tone of the conversation. For example, if the interviewer seems all business, don’t attempt to loosen him or her up with a joke or story.  If the interviewer is personable, try discussing his or her interests. Often personal items on display in the office can be a clue.  If asked a direct question, answer directly. Maintain good posture, eye contact, as steady a voice as you can muster, even if you’re nervous, and a positive attitude.

After the interview do’s: Make sure the interviewer knows that you’re interested in the position, you know you can do the job, and that you will put forth 100% effort. Thank the interviewer for his/her time, and inquire what the next step is. Be sure to get the interviewer’s business card and send a thank-you letter.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Law Enforcement Jobs for Veterans- Acing the Interview

police interview

By Debbie Gregory.

Law enforcement officers and military veterans have a lot in common: both wear their uniforms with pride; both are a part of a larger team of professionals protecting those who can’t protect themselves; both put their personal safety at risk; and both operate within a rigid command structure. There is a natural path that leads many military veterans to seek jobs in law enforcement when they transition to the civilian workforce.

Some pre-planning can help close the deal after the interview process to secure law enforcement jobs for veterans.

The interview is where you get your sole opportunity to make a good first impression. Preparing your answers to commonly asked interview questions can make or break your chances of getting the law enforcement job you are hoping for.

Why do you want this job? Draw on those similarities between military service and law enforcement: the service to those who can’t protect themselves, the camaraderie, and being part of a team.

What is your biggest weakness? Focus on something that you have worked on to improve. For example, if your tactical driving skills were less than what you were happy with, share some of the details of the advanced driving course you took.

Why should you be hired? Again, call on your military service, stressing that you are a physically and mentally fit candidate. You have good decision-making abilities, common sense, and respect a paramilitary chain of command.

Important don’ts to keep in mind:

  • Just like a civilian shouldn’t badmouth a previous boss, you shouldn’t badmouth those you served under. If you had a particularly challenging officer, focus on what you learned from that person.
  • If you’re asked to tell your interviewer about who you are, resist the temptation to give a chronology of your adult life. Instead, focus on your life experiences as they pertain to the job.
  • When it comes to compensation, don’t give an exact number. You should be familiar with the salary range, and you can say that you expect to be paid the appropriate range for this job, based on the location and your experience.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Guidelines for Obtaining a Security Clearance

security clearance

By Debbie Gregory.

A security clearance is a status granted to individuals allowing them access to classified information or to restricted areas.

A security clearance alone does not grant an individual access to specific classified materials. Rather, a security clearance means that an individual is eligible for access. In order to gain access to specific classified materials, an individual should also have a demonstrated “need to know” the classified information for his or her position and policy area responsibilities.

There are three levels of security clearances: Confidential, Secret, and Top Secret, which correspond to the levels of sensitivity of the information that a cleared individual will be eligible to access.

The process to obtain a security clearance must be initiated by a sponsoring federal agency and is usually paid for by the requesting agency.

The determination of whether the granting or continuing of eligibility for a security clearance is based upon careful consideration of 13 guidelines:

(1) allegiance to the United States; any act , association or sympathy that aims to overthrow the Government of the United States or alter the form of government by unconstitutional means.

(2) foreign influence; potential for foreign influence that could result in the compromise of classified information.

(3) foreign preference; any indication of a preference for a foreign country over the United States.

(4) sexual behavior that involves any criminal offense.

(5) personal conduct; refusing cooperation for any required testing, questioning or paperwork.

(6) financial considerations; financially overextended to be at risk of having to engage in illegal acts to generate funds.

(7) alcohol consumption; in excess, which could lead to bad judgement.

(8) drug involvement; could lead to impaired social or occupational functioning.

(9) emotional, mental, and personality disorders;

(10) criminal conduct; creates doubt about a person’s judgment, reliability and trustworthiness.

(11) security violations; raise doubts about an individual’s trustworthiness, willingness, and ability to safeguard classified information.

(12) outside activities; especially those relating to foreign interests

and

(13) misuse of information technology systems; compromised ability to properly protect classified systems, networks, and information.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Decisiveness, Tenacity & Initiative Make Veterans the Best Employees

bootcamp

By Debbie Gregory.

When it comes to the characteristics that make employees the most valuable, the list is pretty long. But there are a few extra boxes that are ticked by military veterans that help make them among the most valued employees.

Decisiveness

Decisiveness is defined as being characterized by firmness and decision. Those who serve seldom have the luxury of long analysis when it comes to making a decision regarding a specific situation. They are trained to gather intel and understand it thoroughly. From the strength of a decision comes the ability to act. Being decisive is simply the most rational way to take on any problem. You observe the information you have available and then you decide what would be the most successful course of action. If you can’t get more data, decisive people simply make a decision based on the facts available.

Tenacity

Veterans know all about persistence and perseverance. Regardless of their branch of service, these former military members went through rigorous and demanding basic training (boot camp) in preparation for military service.

Initiative

Initiative is defined as an individual’s action that begins a process, often done without direct managerial influence. Anyone who has served  in the military learns to follow orders. But through their training, they also learn that they may be faced with situations that requires them to take action in the absence of orders. If something needs to be done, they don’t have to wait to be told.

So if you are an employer and you’re thinking of hiring veterans, keep in mind that there is value in these potential employees that goes beyond the specialized skills they learned in the military. The very nature of being in the military has given them attributes unlike those that people can gain through any other type of employment.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Calling All Veterans for Employment Study

survey says

By Debbie Gregory.

In the past several years, quite a bit of effort has gone into helping veterans successfully transition from service to civilian employment. Hiring commitments from the public sector, the private sector and nonprofits have resulted in improved training and support and have helped reduce the veteran unemployment rate.

Despite this success, a great deal remains unknown about veterans employment. Questions remain, such as: what does a veteran career path look like after the first post-service job? How does veteran retention compare to that of civilians? How do employers view veterans in the workforce? Can we estimate the contributions of veterans to the economy, to make a case for hiring veterans?

It was recently announced that the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) has been commissioned to conduct a study and produce a report on veteran employment, retention and economic performance.

CNAS needs volunteers to take part in this study.  Participants will be asked to take three anonymous, online surveys. Contributors will help illuminate how veterans and firms perceive employment and retention issues. If you would like to volunteer for this study, click on the link that pertains to you. Your participation is needed if you are:

  • A Veteran (including anyone who has served in the military, including those who may fall into the other groups)
  • In Human resources (including anyone who works primarily on recruiting, talent acquisition, human resources or related issues)
  • A Business manager/business leader (including anyone who manages personnel, business functions or business units, from first-line supervisors to executives)

Participants may skip questions they do not want to answer. Results from this study will be published in November 2016. Further information and the survey can be found on the CNAS website.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

What Are The Top 10 Paying Jobs?

top

By Debbie Gregory.

Would it surprise you to learn that attorneys are only in 10th place when it comes to the highest paying jobs in the U.S.?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, based on median annual salaries, the top paying jobs are in the medical field.

After attorneys come the friendly skies. In 9th place, you will find airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers, and 8th place is claimed by air traffic controllers.

While most pilots fly commercially transporting passengers and cargo, 34 percent of pilots work in other areas, including crop dusting, seed distribution, testing aircraft, firefighting and rescuing and evacuating injured persons. Air traffic controllers coordinate the movement of air traffic to make certain that planes stay a safe distance apart. Their immediate concern is safety, but controllers also must direct planes efficiently to minimize delays. Some regulate airport traffic through designated airspaces; others regulate airport arrivals and departures.

Next come those on the information super-highway, in 7th place, computer and information systems managers, who implement, plan, coordinate, and direct research on the computer-related activities of their companies.

Most people are familiar with the already mentioned careers, but coming in at number six is one I wasn’t familiar with…natural sciences manager. Those in this position direct research and development projects and oversee the work of life and physical scientists, including agricultural scientists, chemists, biologists, geologists, medical scientists, and physicists.

In 5th place are podiatrists, who work from under the knee to the tip of the toes. Podiatrists treat corns, calluses, ingrown toenails, bunions, heel spurs, and arch problems; ankle and foot injuries, deformities, and infections; and foot complaints associated with diabetes and other diseases.

Engineering managers come in fourth, and work with engineers who design and develop machinery, products, systems, and processes.

The chief executive officer (CEO) is the top executive of a company. It’s where the buck stops.  Of course, the CEO of a major corporation probably makes more than the CEO of a small business, but according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, CEOs are in third place.

While you may be surprised to learn that physicians are not in the number one position, they are as close as they can be, coming in at number two. It’s a long road to get there, requiring four years of undergraduate school, four years of medical school, and three to eight years of internship and residency.

So who is in first? The cousin-profession to physicians: dentists and oral surgeons.

We all know what dentists do, but may not be as familiar with oral surgeons. They’re the ones who operate on the mouth, jaws, teeth, gums, neck, and head.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Provision Scales Back Federal Job Preferences for Veterans

Veterans McCainBy Debbie Gregory.

Congress has stepped into a sensitive issue that’s been quietly roiling the hiring system for federal jobs: the Obama administration’s push to give preference to veterans.

While former service members would still go to the head of the hiring line, a little-noticed provision of the new defense bill recently passed by the Senate would eliminate the preference veterans get once they are in the government and apply for another federal job.

Top defense officials pressed Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for the change in order to ensure that qualified non-veterans are considered equally with veterans for specialized, hard-to-fill positions.

The provision would affect thousands of veterans, many of whom get a foot in the door with an entry-level position and then seek jobs at other agencies.

The provision has been fiercely opposed by leading service organizations, which had no idea until the legislation was on the floor that the Senate was moving to chip away at the government’s most visible effort to reward military service.

“Is Congress now starting to dial back the goodwill the country’s shown toward veterans’ employment?” asked Lauren Augustine, senior legislative associate for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, an advocacy group. “Are we now going to set a bad example to the private sector by limiting veterans preference in government?”

In 2009, Obama boosted the extra hiring credits given to veterans to give them a greater edge in getting federal jobs.

But the down-side to the policy has been that qualified non-veterans are getting shut out of federal jobs in deference to those who served, but may not be as qualified.

In 2014, almost half of those hired in full-time, permanent federal jobs were veterans. The figures for 2015 have not yet been released.

A spokesman for the House Armed Services Committee said the committee has not taken a position on the issue.

McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said last week that he does not think the Senate provision hurts veterans’ preference but instead “balances the goals of rewarding those who are eligible for a federal hiring advantage with the needs of the federal government and notably the Department of Defense to attract and hire the best talent for a variety of important national security jobs.”

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

DoD SkillBridge Program Prepares Servicemembers for Veteran Jobs

skillbridgeBy Debbie Gregory.

Under the framework of the Department of Defense SkillBridge program, eligible transitioning service members can participate in job skills training, preparing them for veteran jobs.

The DoD SkillBridge initiative promotes the civilian job training authority available for transitioning service members. Service members meeting certain qualifications can participate in civilian job and employment training, including apprenticeships and internships.

The training can take place up to six months in advance of a service member’s separation, and must offer a high probability of employment. Training is provided to the service member at little or no cost.

Service members use the SkillBridge application to search for training opportunities that best fit their goals. Search based on your skillset, your desired location and transition date. When service members find relevant training opportunities they can inquire with the training provider to learn more details about the opportunity and the application process.

Service members can set up a profile in the SkillBridge application to receive email or Twitter direct message notifications when a training opportunity matches with your profile.

Through DoD SkillBridge, tremendous potential exists for service members, companies, trade unions, and others for leveraging this new DoD authority.

The program is governed by DoD Directive 1322.29 — Job Training, Employment Skills Training, Apprenticeships, and Internships (JTEST-AI) for Eligible service members.

To be eligible a service member is expected to be discharged or released from active duty within 180 days of starting the JTEST-AI. The service member must initiate their own participation and also have approval from within their chain of command. For more information, visit the Department of Defense SkillBridge Program website.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.