Posts

The Job Search: Dressing for Success

The Job Search: Dressing for Success

Contributed by Alan Rohlfing

(This is the first in a series of posts relating to the job search. Check back every Friday for observations on a variety of employment assistance topics.)

You know what they say…you never get a second chance to make a great first impression. Whether it’s reporting in to your new military unit or trying to land a job, many of us still believe that good first impressions are crucial. For the next few minutes, we’re going to take a deeper dive into the ‘land a job’ arena, from the perspective of proper dress during an interview.

Many civilians think that active military and fully separated Veterans have the wardrobe thing all figured out. They see us looking sharp in a parade or a recruiting commercial, but may not realize that while many of us were issued our uniforms, we also had it drilled into our heads exactly how to wear them…by memorizing ‘wear and appearance of the uniform’ regulations or just by verbal instructions from our favorite drill sergeant.

But when it comes to the civilian side of the wardrobe closet, especially for those of us still serving or in the initial stages of separating, things may be woefully inadequate. In fact, I’ve known plenty of Soldiers over the years that had exactly “0” civilian suits on hand. If only we could wear our most comfortable field uniform to the job fair and our service dress to the interview…

For now, let’s move forward under the premise that wearing a military uniform of any type is not an option. You may be like most other humans and cue up your best Internet search query to get smart on what you should wear at different points of the job search. During the interview process, specifically, the clothing you select is indicative of your respect for the interviewers and the companies they represent, as well as how seriously you take the interview itself. The better you dress, the more seriously you will be taken and considered. No doubt about it.

While the way we dress for a job interview isn’t the only criteria on which we’ll be judged, it is the most obvious. Other nonverbal factors include things such as your choice of accessories, firmness of handshake, degree of eye contact, and overall projection of confidence. All are important, to be sure; for the rest of this post, however, let’s focus on attire. We’ve broken down some tips and techniques into recommendations for men and women, with some general tips to serve as bookends. While we didn’t write these rules, feedback from many employers and hiring managers over the years indicates that job searchers should sure pay attention to them.

Tips for everyone. Make sure to wear deodorant, brush your teeth, and comb your hair (sorry if that goes without saying). Bring along breath mints if you won’t be able to brush your teeth before the interview, but don’t eat the mints or chew gum during the conversation. Don’t wear scented items like perfume and cologne; I’ve spoken to more than one interviewer who was allergic to a particular scent being worn, and those particular interviews weren’t exactly enjoyable experiences.

Tips for women. Acceptable attire for women usually includes a suit or conservatively tailored dress, with a coordinated blouse. Avoid blouses or sweaters that are transparent, are tight fitting, have low necklines, or have details that detract from your face. Wear plain-style, non-patterned hosiery, of a color that flatters your skin tone. Wear flat shoes or low pumps in colors that avoid making your feet a focal point. Limit your jewelry: avoid dangling earrings, and wear no more than one ring per hand and a dress watch. You may want to consider manicured nails with clear nail polish. Make your primary accessory a portfolio or small briefcase (don’t carry a purse and a briefcase…choose one or the other).

Tips for men. Feedback indicates that men should wear suits of a solid color (navy, black, or gray, in pinstripe or solid) with a white, long sleeve shirt. Ties should be conservative (silk or silk-like, tied with a half-Windsor knot) and of a color that strongly contrasts with the color of your shirt. Wear professional-looking, lace-up shoes with dark socks, coupled with a leather belt that visually blends with or matches your shoes. Again, wear limited jewelry – no more than one ring per hand and a dress watch. Ensure you have neatly trimmed nails and accessorize with a portfolio or small briefcase.

More tips for everyone. In general, dress in a professional and conservative manner. Ensure your clothing fits well and is clean and pressed. Stay away from denim. Remove facial and body piercings, cover up any visible tattoos, and fix your hair so that it’s conservative in color and style, if possible.

If you haven’t taken anything else from this short post, make sure and put conscious thought into what you wear to the interview. A good rule of thumb is to dress for the job you want five years from now, not the job you want today. Some say to choose the same clothing you’d expect the boss of the company to wear.  Some will tell you to dress conservatively. The point of it all, however, is to keep the focus on the interview, not what you’re wearing.

Do your homework and know the business climate and culture of the company you’re interviewing for, if at all possible. Dress your best for the interview, regardless of the dress code at the organization. Dressing for success will feed into your confidence level, which will be on full display during your interview. And go knock ‘em dead, sweaty palms and all…

 

Do you have any ‘lessons learned’ from your job interviews as you transitioned from active service to the workforce? Anything that might benefit your brothers- and sisters-in-arms, facing the same challenges? If so, tell us your story and email Kris@militaryconnection.com!

Six Growth Industries Experiencing the Biggest Hiring Increases

Six Growth Industries Experiencing the Biggest Hiring Increases

Six Growth Industries Experiencing the Biggest Hiring Increases

Contributed by Debbie Gregory

With unemployment at just 3.9 percent, the jobless rate has reached an 18-year low. This is great news for businesses, but the low unemployment rate makes finding a job more challenging for job seekers.

In order to increase the chances of finding employment, job seekers should focus on the industries that are experiencing growth and are adding opportunities.

The August LinkedIn Workforce Report looks at the latest national data on hiring, skills, and migration trends through July 2018.

The industries with the biggest year-over-year hiring increases in July were agriculture (26% higher); manufacturing (12.3% higher); and transportation & logistics (12% higher). These sectors are running strong today, but they are also among the most vulnerable to a trade war escalation.

Next comes corporate services9.7% higher; energy and mining (8.5%); and software and IT services 7.5%).

When it comes to growth based on sales, mining-support services came in at the top spot. Next came heavy and civil engineering construction, beverage manufacturing, personal services and direct sales.

Rounding out the top ten are building finishing contractors, real estate agents and brokers, durable goods merchant wholesalers, fright trucking and architectural, engineering and related services.

MilitaryConnection.com, named a Top 100 Employment Website, is a leader when it comes to connecting prime military and veteran candidates with outstanding career opportunities in both the government and civilian sectors. Be sure to check out the Virtual Job Fair, Live Job Fairs and the Job Board. There is also a multitude of career-related information for job seekers searching for employment after their active military service is complete, including job tips, resume tips, a skills translator, and much more.

And the best thing about using MilitaryConnection.com’s resources is that they are FREE to all users. Register as a job seeker to gain access to the thousands of jobs advertised on our site.

 

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.

Newly Improved Transition Assistance Program Well Received

tap

By Debbie Gregory.

The Transition Assistance Program (TAP) provides transition assistance to promote, advance and instill a culture of education and/or employment readiness to Service members.

In the latest survey results from graduates, an overwhelming majority of former service members expressed that they felt that the newly redesigned TAP curriculum well prepared them to re-enter the civilian workforce. The redesigned program encompasses the requirements of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011.

Under the leadership of Susan Kelly, the director of the Transition to Veterans Program, the program was significantly expanded two years ago.

Expanded to a week-long, mandatory curriculum now offered in full at 206 installations, TAP provides information, tools, and training to ensure Service members and their spouses are prepared for the next step in civilian life, whether pursuing additional education, finding a job in the public or private sector, or starting their own business. This redesigned TAP is the result of an inter-agency collaboration to offer separating Service members and their spouses better, more easily accessible resources and information to make their transitions more successful.

Kelly emphasized the program’s four core components:

  • Adopt career readiness standards (CRS) which measure a service member’s preparedness to depart from active duty;
  • Develop Transition GPS, a curriculum that builds the skills needed by service members to meet the CRS;
  • A capstone event, during which commanders verify their members have met career readiness standards or, if not, ensure that they receive additional training or a warm handover; and
  • Implementation to the military life-cycle transition model, which aligns transition activities with touch-points across the military career.

Kelly said that according to the most recent participant assessment data, more than 80 percent of the participants said they “gained valuable information and skills to plan their transition, that the training enhanced their confidence in their transition, they intended to use what they learned in the classes, and that they knew how to access appropriate resources post separation.”

In the last two years, both public and private organizations recognized that service members “present an incredible pool of talent and they seek increased opportunities to harness that talent,” Kelly said.

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.

Spotlight: MilitaryConnection.com

I want to take this opportunity to welcome an extraordinary military spouse who also started the Homefront Six Blog. She will be in charge of our blog and forums. We are blessed to have her talents.

I also want to welcome all of you and invite you to visit us at MilitaryConnection.com . Please take a few minutes to check out the site and our new blog – The MC Blog…. Please take advantage of the thousands of resources and information that we provide to users on MilitaryConnection.com. There is something for everyone.

You can find directories of bases, hospitals, benefits,organizations, forms, etc. for every branch of the military including guard and reserves and veterans. (I have included a link to the Army Directory as an example). We also provide the news, military pay charts, military pay and retirement calculators, directories of commissaries and exchanges and more….

If you are looking for a job, you have come to the right place and this is an area of focus for us. We offer a Virtual Job Fair of top jobs or you may wish to research thousands of employers listed in our Directory of Employers. We just added a new Job Board with thousands of jobs. We also have many Employment Articles and Job Tips including topics such as “Dressing For Success at a Military Job Fair” and Interview Questions. We feature one of the most comprehensive directories of military job fairs too.

We recently added a Directory of Scholarships with thousands of Scholarships too. We also work closely with many non-profits and you can check them out in either our Charity Connection or in Helpful Links which is a Directory of Resources. We work closely with www.thanksusa.org. This wonderful group that has provided millions of dollars for scholarships with military dependents. Recently we funded a MilitaryConnection.com/ThanksUSA scholarship. ThanksUSA.org is having a concert tonight at the Warner Theater in D.C. featuring Mylin and Stephen Cochran who is a wounded warrior. Stephen is also quite a hottie. You can check him out (and others) in our Music area. The Military Buzz Area of the site is almost a mini site within our site and one worth your time in exploring.

We want to hear what is important to you. We thank all of you for your service to our nation and your sacrifices and support. When the next tour is back home, it’s on www.miltaryconnection.com.

Debbie Gregory, CEO