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How Employers Can Retain Veteran Employees

regard

By Debbie Gregory.

Despite a push to increase jobs for military veterans, statistics reveal that almost half of all veterans leave their first post-military position within a year, and only 20-40% of veterans will see their second work anniversary.

It would be naive to conclude that these vets are leaving for better veteran jobs. Most of these first jobs are vacated due to a lack of familiar work culture, career development/advancement, meaning, or professional development opportunities.

What can veteran employers do to help retain their veteran employees?

The first step would be integrate new veteran employees into the workforce by overcoming language differences. Military terminology is quite a bit different from civilian terminology. Even the job descriptions may need to go through a skills translator. Veterans that aren’t familiar with corporate language may be perceived as less competent or cooperative, and may have trouble connecting with their superiors. A simple remedy is to educate managers, recruiters, and leaders about military culture and language. If the company already employs veterans, they should be called upon to help close the divide.

Preparing an orientation program for veteran students has shown great success at colleges and universities. Perhaps a similar program for new veteran employees would assist them in navigating the organization.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the rules in the military are often very different than in the corporate world, so clarity is key. Make sure the unwritten rules are as clear as the written ones.

Buddy up: giving veteran employees a connection with someone who is already well-established in the organization with a similar military background can give a new employee the insight and connection they need to succeed at your company.

Help your veteran employees understand their role within the company. Remember that those who have served are purpose, vision, mission, and value motivated.

Through small, meaningful actions, employers can get great results in retention by integrating veterans into corporate life.

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.

How the Federal Job Freeze Could Affect Veteran Jobs

freeze

By Debbie Gregory.

A federal hiring freeze imposed by President Trump will no doubt have a massive effect on veteran job seekers. But jobs in the military, as well as jobs at the Department of Veterans Affairs that are deemed necessary for public health and safety will be exempted from the freeze, according to acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Snyder.

“Right now, the system’s broken,” said White House press secretary Sean Spicer, adding that the freeze is meant only to “pause” hiring until further analysis can be done and a plan put in place to fix things.

“What we need to do, whether it’s the VA or any other agency, is make sure that we’re hiring smartly and effectively and efficiently,” Spicer said.

The hiring freeze has come under fire from dozens of Democrats, including every Democrat in the Senate, who say it disproportionately affects jobs for veterans, as the VA won’t be able to hire support staff and veterans won’t be able to apply for federal jobs. The Democrats wanted Trump to exempt the entire VA from the order.

“And I think the VA in particular, if you look at the problems that have plagued people, hiring more people isn’t the answer, it’s hiring the right people, putting the procedures in place that ensure that our veterans — whether health care or mortgages or the other services that VA provides to those who have served our nation — get the services that they’ve earned.”

Not mentioned is staff to handle benefits claims, which are ideal government jobs for veterans. Hundreds of thousands of appeals for disability benefits claims are pending, and critics of the hiring freeze have said it could cause back-ups that would impact those who have served.

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.

Interview Do’s & Don’ts, and the Questions You Should/Should Not Answer

job

By Debbie Gregory.

If you’re searching for a veteran job after military service, you may be out of practice when it comes to the job interviewing process. Here are some important tips.

Do’s:

Prepare: Research the people interviewing you, the company, and the job itself. Know what does the company does, the requirements for the job, and how your experience matches those requirements.

Engage: Remember that you are, first and foremost, having a conversation. It’s nerve-wracking and highly formalized, but avoid stock responses. Preparation is a foundation, not a set-in-stone strategy.

Ask the right questions: Don’t be afraid to ask questions, but make sure they are the right questions. For example:  Who do you think would be the ideal candidate for this position, and how do I compare? Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications? What are the challenges of this position? What do you like most about working for this company?

Close on a positive: Towards the close of the interview, look the interviewer in the eye and say, “I can do this job, and do it well. I am the type of person who puts 100% effort and energy into my work. What are the next steps?

Do not flinch and wait for an answer. No one likes rejection and they want a candidate who will accept the offer and not reject it.  This might be the most important part of the interview.

Don’ts:

Be late: This rule is ironclad. No excuses, no exceptions. Showing up late shows disregard for your potential employer’s time, and insinuates your inability to plan.

Say negative things about your current or past employers or managers: No matter how grounded your complaints are, negative comments will be viewed as disrespectful. When faced with the challenge of talking about former employers, make sure you are prepared with a positive spin on your experiences.

Be Desperate: Never let on that you’re applying just because you need a job. It’s in the best interests of the employer to hire a passionate employee rather than someone who is simply filling a slot.

Show lapses in your professional veneer: The interview begins as soon as you receive notice that they want to interview you. Party pictures on social media? Not a great idea. As soon as you enter the building, make sure you treat everyone with respect and courtesy. Don’t let your professional veneer slip for a moment.

Talk too much: Don’t take too long to answer direct questions. It gives the impression that you can’t get to the point. An even though you’re nervous, try not to over-talk.

Ask the wrong questions: Examples of this would be: How much does the job pay? What are the benefits? What can you tell me about your company? (You should have already done your homework.) How long will it take to get a promotion? Are you flexible on the schedule? Can I work from home?

Give away too much information: Don’t weaken future earning potential by speaking too freely about current income. No matter the official salary range of the position you are interviewing for, your current earnings have an enormous effect on the size of the offer.

You already know your resume set you apart as a candidate of choice to be invited for an interview. Hone your interviewing skills to actually win job offers. Polishing your interviewing skills can mean the difference between getting the job and being a runner-up.

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.

Conflicting Reports on Veteran Jobs, Veteran Employment

jobtips

By Debbie Gregory.

There has been recent conversation about the unemployment rate as it pertains to veteran employment. Some sources say there are many veteran jobs, while other sources claim, at least in certain regional areas around the country, that veteran employment is scarce.

Veterans face employment challenges that their civilian counterparts do not. Probably most important is understanding how military skills translate to civilian jobs. This is an easy fix and can be remedied by the use of a Military To Civilian Occupational skills translator.

Another indicator that veteran employment could be on the rise is that many of the career sectors most sought out by veterans are considered to be high–growth sectors. Jobs for military veterans in Computer Science/Network Systems Management; Health Care Administration; Human Resources Training Management; Training and Education, and Law Enforcement are all popular career choices.

Regardless of the career choice veterans will make, there is some preparation needed before beginning a veteran job search. Here are a few helpful veteran job tips:

As previously stated, translate military skills into civilian language. While your skills may be a perfect fit, if you don’t translate them on your resume or in interviews in a way that speaks the employer’s language, you may not be considered for the position.

Determine if you need additional training. There are numerous resources available, including online courses and certificate programs that are both easily accessible and affordable.

Network both online and off line. Don’t underestimate the power of who you know. Networking is still one of the most effective strategies in the job search process..

Many employers look to veterans because of the skills acquired in the military, including leadership ability, understanding of sophisticated technologies, and teamwork.

 

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.

How Are Veterans Assimilating in the Civilian Workplace?

vetsintheworkplace

By Debbie Gregory.

Although many service members have successfully navigated deployment stressors, readjustment to civilian life, and especially civilian employment, can be challenging for former military personnel. The Center for Talent Innovation, a non-profit “think tank,” has released the results of a new study on veterans assimilating in the civilian workplace.

According to “Mission Critical: Unlocking the Value of Veterans in the Workforce,” nearly a third of U.S. veterans in civilian jobs hide their war injuries from employers. Veterans may have mental health concerns, physical disabilities, or other personal issues that can impact their productivity or performance at work. Additionally, many of them downplay their military service in order to get along with co-workers.

About 28 percent said they lasted six months or less in their first job and another 16.3 percent remained only 7 to 12 months. Why are veterans tuning out and stalling out when it comes to veterans assimilating in the civilian workplace? Almost two-thirds of CTI survey respondents said they felt a greater sense of meaning and purpose in the military than they did in their current job. Many of them say that they feel invisible to their senior leaders, who can’t see their full potential.

“On paper, they are very marketable and most employers jump at the chance to hire them,” said John Muckelbauer, staff counsel for Veterans of Foreign Wars, a group with 1.7 million members around the world. “But once they’re in the door, some find it more difficult to properly assimilate.”

“It’s quite a culture shock to move from the military to the civilian world,” said Linda Huber, chief financial officer of Moody’s Corp, who rose to captain while in the U.S. Army from 1980 to 1984. “Veterans can be very careful about saying too much about their status.”

Employers can ease the transition for veterans assimilating in the civilian workplace by creating a workplace culture that helps people feel comfortable discussing the challenges they face in the workplace.

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.

Military Connection: New Interactive Tool for Searching VA Careers

Atlanta-VAMC

By Debbie Gregory.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is making it easier to connect Veterans to their jobs. A new online interactive map directs job seekers to VA careers in their desired area, with just a scroll of their mouse.

The VA Careers homepage at www.VACareers.VA.gov provides anyone interested in employment at the VA with a wealth of information. The site is dedicated to recruiting the best employees for facilities that serve and care for our nation’s Veterans. Additionally, there are helpful resources, including career information, employee testimonials, links to the blog, and information about hiring Veterans. The site also features a chat function for employment and career questions for prospective applicants.

Browsing the VA’s career opportunities is a breeze with the interactive map, which shows current openings in all fifty states and in American territories. Users can simply scroll in or out on the map to find opportunities in or near particular locations where they live or desire to work. The map shows different VA locations that users can click on and be given a list of openings at that facility. Each position features a job description and a link to directly apply .

Users can also search for openings on the interactive map based on keywords, job type or location. There is even a “Draw” function that allows users to shade in a specific area with multiple VA locations.

The VA Careers Homepage and its interactive map are a testament to how the VA is innovating and pioneering methods to link Veterans to services. For more information about VA jobs and to use the interactive map, visit www.VACareers.va.gov. Or to search for additional jobs for Veterans, visit our Jobs Page.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: New Interactive Tool for Searching VA Careers: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Training Program for Solar Industry Expanded

solar ready vets

By Debbie Gregory.

Ten military installations are slated to participate in a new initiative that provides jobs and energy.

Recently, President Obama kicked off the expansion of what is being called the “Solar Ready Vets Program” at Hill Air Force Base, in Utah.

Last year, a few small pilot programs started around the country through a partnership between the Department of Energy and the DOD, with the intention of connecting Veterans to the solar energy industry. The program prepare participants for careers as solar photovoltaic (PV) system installers, sales representatives, system inspectors, and other solar-related occupations.

The success of these pilot programs, combined with the growing demand of jobs in the field of solar energy, and the ongoing need to employ our nation’s Veterans, has resulted in the expansion of the Solar Ready Vets Program. The goal is to train 75,000 workers for the renewable energy industry by 2020. Through the Solar Ready Veterans Program, a large portion of these workers will be former service members.

Hill AFB is one of the ten military installations that will participate in the expanded program. Solar Ready Vets is underway at Camp Pendleton, Fort Carson, and Naval Station Norfolk.

Through the program, transitioning service members will learn how to size and install solar panels, connect electricity to the grid, and interpret and comply with local building codes. This accelerated training will prepare them for these careers in this high demand field.

The solar industry is adding jobs at a rate of ten times faster than the bulk of the rest of the economy. This makes it a promising industry for Veterans to get into today.  With the unemployment rate for transitioning service members being consistently over the national unemployment rate, a growing job market should attract a lot of Veterans to the solar industry.

For more information about the Solar Ready Vets program, please visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s web portal at http://energy.gov/eere/sunshot/solar-ready-vets.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Training Program for Solar Industry Expanded: By Debbie Gregory

 

Military Connection: Joining Forces Initiative Efforts Continue

First Lady Michelle Obama Speaking at Joining Forces Event

First Lady Michelle Obama Speaking at Joining Forces Event

By Debbie Gregory.

In April, the Joining Forces initiative, launched by Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, announced that a number of companies in the industries of energy and technology have committed to train or hire 90,000 Veterans and military spouses within the next five years.

Joining Forces is celebrating its fourth year of assisting service members, Veterans, and their families and support them through wellness, education, and employment opportunities. The initiative began in 2011, at a time when the Veteran unemployment rate was at 12 %. Shortly after the initiative was launched, President Obama also challenged the private sector to hire 100,000 Veterans and military spouses.

Just four years later, more than 850,000 Veterans and military spouses have been hired or trained. The federal government has also upped its own Veteran hiring initiative, with  30% of its workforce now comprised of military Veterans. As a result of these combined efforts, the total Veteran unemployment rate is at 4.5 %, with a 6.5 % unemployment rate for Veterans of the Post-9/11 era.

But the need to train and hire Veterans for their post-military careers has not diminished. That is why Joining Forces has not slacked in its commitment to service members, Veterans and military families. As proof of this, Joining Forces recently secured a pledge to hire or train 33,000 Veterans and military spouses, over the next five years, from the Solar Energy Industries Association.

The  solar industry is creating new jobs at a rate ten times faster than the rest of the economy. Getting Veteran workers into that industry at such a critical time could mean sustainable careers and bright futures for the men and women who served during our nation’s longest period of war.

Joining Forces will continue to fulfill its commitment to help connect Veterans and military spouses not just to jobs, but to sustainable careers, allowing them to support their families. Joining Forces is calling on all companies, across the nation, in every industry, to do their part and continue to provide opportunities for our Veterans and military families.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the ArmyNavyAir ForceMarinesCoast Guard,Guard and ReserveVeterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Boardinformation on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Joining Forces Initiative Efforts Continue: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Why not Hire a Veteran?

Hiring Veterans

By Joe Silva

There is no question that unemployment among Veterans is improving. The utilization of resources such as the MilitaryConnection.com Jobs Page, Virtual Job Fair, as well as other government and private sector initiatives have made headway in eliminating unemployment among Veterans. But our latest generation of war Veterans still encounter an unemployment rate that is higher than their civilian counterparts, evidence that there is still a need for hiring initiatives for Veterans.

At MilitaryConnection.com, we are committed to honoring service members and Veterans from all branches and components, as well as the sacrifices made by their families. It is the obligation of our nation’s citizens to provide considerations for those who sacrificed for our country. Therefore, hiring advantages and initiative for Veterans are necessary to give back to those who have sacrificed so much. But we also see the hiring of Veterans as advantageous opportunities for employers as well. Veterans entering the talent pool are equipped with unique experiences, talents and education that just can’t be found anywhere else.  Savvy employers are taking notice.

Much like college, spending four or more years living and working on a military installation can be just as educational as living on a college campus. The military uses informal training, classroom instruction, online training modules, advanced testing and training review boards in their methods. In the military, service members are taught a multitude of technical, vocational and leadership skills, using real-world work environments to hone these skills. Unfortunately, too many employers don’t recognize the U.S. military as an educational institution.

Employers have also passed on hiring Veterans because of perceived skill gaps between military experience and private sector job requirements. But too often, these gaps can simply be attributed to the differences between military and corporate cultures. Employers who are interested in hiring qualified Veterans are encouraged to incorporate questions that address the functions of their military positions, and not just job titles and locations. Employers may find that most Veterans have a sharp knowledge of computer skills and administrative functions, even if their Military Occupational Specialty doesn’t suggest it.

The bottom line is that employers need to find ways to say “yes” to hiring Veterans. Business leaders claim to be constantly looking for the top talent. If this is the case, then why not start with a workforce whose talent, reliability and determination to succeed is mission accomplishment? Why not hire a Veteran?

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Why not Hire a Veteran? By Joe Silva