Military Veterans and Active Duty Personnel – Check This Site Out

Social media is used by so many today that it has become a ubiquitous aspect of our 21st century reality. Businesses and individuals alike use a variety of social media platforms to connect to others. 

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 08.26.33

There is a new social media site that Veterans and Active Duty Military personnel may want to check out. http://www.togetherweserved.com/ is a social media site set up for us, or to be more specific, those of us who served. The gives the user the ability to add a ton of information about you and your career (military and post military). While they have a very small subscription fee there is also a robust package for those who want a free service.

Not so long ago we published an article that will help you keep your social media pages and strategies professional and prevent them from becoming a liability in your career search or in your military career. Read that post here… 

Veteran Underemployment, the Self-Inflicted Wound

Potential

For the last half of 2014, veteran unemployment was at or lower than civilian unemployment. In fact, many would argue there is no veteran unemployment crisis in this country, and while I agree, this is only half the story. For the most part, veterans who want jobs have jobs. Hence the key word jobs, not careers. The bigger issue is veteran underemployment.

Today’s Armed Forces are the most educated, well-trained, and dedicated military our country has ever seen. There are countless reasons why organizations benefit from hiring veterans, ranging from tax breaks to the knowledge that they are hiring the cream of the crop in the job market. Companies realize this and, without a doubt, are hiring veterans. Although veterans are working, in most cases, they are not working in jobs and positions that reflect their true potential and we as veterans are partially to blame.

I recently had a lengthy discussion with a military veteran who just weeks ago retired after over 20 years of service. This senior NCO had done some amazing things over the course of his career, but the one thing he did not do is prepare himself for life after the service. Because he was part of the drawdown, his retirement basically snuck up on him. He is not alone. Despite the military’s best efforts to prepare transitioners, so many veterans leave the service without a solid exit plan.

troops and seals

Here are some key strategic errors many transitioners make that leaves them underemployed:

Timing. Whether you are entering government service or corporate America, you must understand that the hiring process is lengthy. The time from initial application, interview, and hire can take three to six months or longer. So what does this mean? It means you have to apply backwards planning to your transition plan.

For example, let’s say your discharge or retirement date is 1 August, with terminal leave starting 31 June. Let’s say you want to take a couple of weeks to rest and relax after transition, and you want to start work on or about 15 July. This should tell you to start applying for jobs as early as January. Waiting until June is way too late.

So how does poor timing lead to underemployment? First, as your transition date gets closer, you might be pressured to take the first thing that comes along regardless of pay and benefits. After all, it’s a job. You might also be willing to accept a job well below your pay grade until something better comes along. Not much of a plan, is it?

Education. It’s no surprise, more education is directly related to a larger annual income. Furthermore, a person with a high school diploma is far more likely to be laid off than a person with a bachelors degree, and far more likely to have longer gaps of unemployment.

Whether you stayed in the military for four years or 20 years, there is no excuse for not completing a degree. With the GI Bill, tuition assistance, and loan repayment, the military is basically giving away a free education. If you choose not to take advantage of those programs, you will be facing underemployment. It’s great that you were a Platoon Sergeant who led men into combat, but if the job you want requires a degree and you don’t have one, then what?

Some companies will take military service over a degree, but don’t count on it. Don’t give a company a reason not to hire you. Make an educational plan early in your military career and execute.

Resume. Veterans accomplish a great number of things while in uniform, but many do a poor job of capturing it on a resume. A civilian recruiter or hiring manager may not know what a squad leader is, so why would you list it on a resume? “Squadron Commander” may be a key phrase for you, but the person, or computer, screening your resume has no clue what that is.

Resumes must be tailored for the job you are applying to and free of military jargon. It needs to be free from spelling and grammatical errors. It needs to be “civilianized” for corporate America and in a completely different format when applying for federal government jobs.

Professional On-line Profile. Most people have social media pages. No matter how private you “think” your social media page is remember this… it’s not! Potential employers regularly review social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and others. This is common practice and NOT a practice just reserved for potential employees who will need background checks.

It’s great that your LinkedIn profile picture is of you in your dress uniform, but could that cause a barrier between the hiring manager that knows nothing about military service, or a corporate recruiter intimidated by all the medals and badges? I like the Facebook profile picture of you having a hefeweizen in Heidelberg, but what would a potential employer think? The picture of you and your team in full body armor with your M4 slung across your chest in front of a LAV-25 is sweet, but could it scare a hiring manager?

As you prepare to transition and start the job application process, think about your online profile. Think about it through the eyes of a recruiter. Think about it through the eyes of a hiring manager. If you need to clean it up, clean it up!

Mind Set. It’s outstanding that you’re a retired Master Gunnery Sergeant. I am proud of you for retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel or Navy Commander. Thank you for your service. I hate to break it to you though, your rank does not matter to anyone outside the military.

Just because you were a Brigade Command Sergeant Major does not entitle you automatically to a six figure corporate salary. If you are lucky enough to land that job, congratulations. For everyone else, you are starting over and need to understand that.

I am not saying you should apply for entry level positions and be underemployed, I am merely stating you must have realistic expectations of the job market and realistic expectations of the level of jobs you should be applying to. Otherwise, you are setting yourself up for frustration and might find yourself in a position where you have to take the first thing that comes along.

Lets imagine for a moment that you are one of those who did not serve in the military. After 10 or 20 years of doing one kind of job you decide to change to a new career field. Virtually the same thing would apply to that civilian, they would have to have realistic expectations. If you were a senior software developer and then decided to get into automotive design you are not likely to head an automotive design team right off the bat.

The key take away here is whether you spent four years or twenty four years in the service, you must have a plan to “rebrand” yourself. Although you are a Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine for life, one day you will be a civilian. It’s never too late to plan for life after the military.

~ Article written by Jason Caswell, Forward March Inc – Director of Training and Talent Pipeline Services

FMI LOGO WITH STEEL MIL SEALS

Resume and Interview Tips and Suggestions for Veterans and Transitioning Military (part 3 of 3)

Sometimes we run across articles that have really good advice for veterans and transitioning military personnel with regards to employment. This morning as I perused the “hot sheets” for articles on veteran employment and transition I came across this little gem over at the Seattle PI website. This article titled “2015: Underemployment the New Employment for Many Veterans – Part 1a” echoes a lot of what we have been writing here on the Forward March Inc. blog page. However there are some golden nuggets that can help you out so we strongly suggest taking a minute or two and checking it out.

Forward March Inc. has posted some new positions on our website and more are coming in January! Make sure to check them out here…


We thought, with all these new positions coming on line in the next 30 days, we would post a three part series we released earlier in the year to help veterans and transitioning military in the areas of resumes, interviewing, social media and a more.This information is actually really helpful to anyone from any background when they are going through the job searching process so feel free to share it with anyone you know may be benefitted by the info in these articles.

Part III – Resume and Interview Tips and Suggestions

Resume and Interview Tips and Suggestions

Below are suggestions to use in your resume writing and also for your interviews. 

Leadership and management skills – Leadership and management skills acquired during your military service are to be highlighted. Highlight when you had leadership and management experience, training, or when you had leadership and management on a project/mission/task. Leadership and management does not necessarily have to translate to the job you are interviewing for, when they do not highlight them as a capability to manage people/materials/resources. 

Practice good communication skills – Your physical and verbal communication should be open, friendly, and confident. Try to physically relax and make eye contact with the person you are interviewing with. Avoid crossing arms, putting hands on hips or in pockets, or slouching when talking or listening to a potential employer. Make sure in your speech you keep your communication professional, short, and positive. Never talk about situations, people, or events in a negative manner. Try to keep the conversation positive. Never complain about previous employers, coworkers, assignments, duties, or situations. Avoid unnecessary details when relating your job experience. Keep your political and sociological ideologies out of the interview process.


8401272827_6a3fe41250_b Highlight your military skill and projects while being brief and describing things as much as possible in terms any civilian can easily understand. Avoid acronyms that are military knowledge specific.

Quantify work experience and achievements – Specifically what did you do, what problems/challenges did you overcome, problem solving tools, etc. For instance highlight the state of a project before you brought the solution to bear and then highlight how you improved the state.

Highlight goals and achievements – Depending on the interview style and time given for the interview, it is incumbent upon you to highlight briefly and succinctly your achievements, goals achieved, recognition and awards for achievements, etc. Make sure you highlight the necessity of teamwork, as often as is applicable so that an employer sees that you know that mission success is more about the team than the individual. This lets employers know that you are going to be a team player and not a lone wolf. Keep your examples to about two. Again, pay attention to the interviewer and take their lead, if they seem to want more information or more examples/details/etc then supply those.

References – In an interview these may or may not be asked for. Frequently when time is short interviewers will not ask for references. Make sure that your relevant and impressive references are highlighted before the end of your interview. Be brief, but make sure that the interviewer is aware of your references.

Highlight volunteer/intern/freelance work – Any volunteer work or freelance work done in the field you are looking at applying for should be listed on your resume and highlighted in your interview.

Clearances – When applying for positions which you think you may need a security clearance for make sure you note on your resume if you have a CURRENT security clearance and what level it is.

Photo Credit - Bokeh Breath by Rick Camacho

Photo Credit – Bokeh Breath by Rick Camacho

Lastly but most importantly – Relax, be yourself. People generally appreciate a person that is true to who they are.

~ Article by Tobin Pilotte, Directer of Marketing and Technology for Forward March Inc. 

Resume Writing and Social Networking Tips for Veteran Job Seekers

Forward March Inc. has posted some new positions on our website and more are coming in January! Make sure to check them out here…

We thought, with all these new positions coming on line in the next 30 days, we would post a three part series we released earlier in the year to help veterans and transitioning military in the areas of resumes, interviewing, social media and a more.This information is actually really helpful to anyone from any background when they are going through the job searching process so feel free to share it with anyone you know may be benefitted by the info in these articles.

tips for resumes and interviews

Part two of three in our continuing series on veteran and transitioning military employment preparation.

Most people have social media pages. No matter how private you “think” your social media page is remember this… it’s not! Potential employers regularly review social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and others. This is common practice and is NOT a practice just reserved for potential employees who will need background checks.

If your social media page(s) contain images, videos, music, or speech that causes employers to think you are not a good candidate it can prevent you from getting an interview or landing the job. Many employees have found that their social media has been the reason for their termination.

Here are some rules that will keep you from having issues with your social media:

  • Remove any images, videos, or other content that contains vulgarity.
  • Remove images or other content that contains sexual content.
  • Remove content that contains alcohol or drug use.
  • Remove images containing violence, graphic images of war/violence/gore/etc

Its pretty easy, though possibly time consuming, to clean up a social media site with the above guidelines. However, its much harder to clean up your comments on posts you or others in your network or in the public have posted. It may be advisable to close your social media account(s) weeks or even a month before you begin sending out your resume and networking.

Some brutally honest advice you may not want to hear – Sometimes it’s better to close down your social media page than to try to clean it up. You will have to assess the difficulty and time invested in cleaning up a page vs. shutting it down and starting a new page at a later date. Should you decide to close down your social media page you have to remember that it takes time. Facebook, for instance, can take weeks to close your page down.

LinkedIn profiles are difficult to delete; that has to be done by LinkedIn at your request. It usually (at the time of this article) takes about two days to get your profile deleted. LinkedIn is a professional social media outlet for professional networking. Follow these guidelines for keeping your LinkedIn page in a favorable light.

Do not post entries or posts that contain vulgarity, sexually explicit remarks, or potentially political or religious inflammatory remarks. In a nut-shell follow the same rules posted above for Facebook. Additionally it is important to remember to keep your LikedIn content professional, and relevant to your professional career.

Your LinkedIn photo, which it is HIGHLY suggested that you have, should be professional. A clear, crisp headshot that has a relatively solid background is preferable. If your career direction is one where a suit and tie would be expected even part of the time then have your photo taken with a suit and tie. For both men and women, the photo should be business dress as opposed to business casual. If your career is one where dressing business casual is not required it is a good rule of thumb to go ahead and have your photo taken with business casual attire. Refrain from “goofy” faces, hand gestures, and most of all using objects, logos, pets, animals, movie images, etc. Only use your portrait, if you do not use a portrait then leave the image blank.

Ultimately it is important to be your self on social media, however, you should always temper that with professionalism as it is not just your “friends” who are looking at your social media posts. Remember this rule of thumb; “Nothing you post on the web is private”.

For further guidance on how to edit or delete social media entries or even delete accounts refer to the instructions on the social media sites themselves. Sites like Facebook and LinkedIn have excellent instructions on how to make these things happen and with a little time and attention you can “tune up” your social media and have it ready for your next step in getting your dream career.

~ Article by Tobin Pilotte, Directer of Marketing and Technology for Forward March Inc. 

Employment Preparation Part 1 of 3

Forward March Inc. has posted some new positions on our website and more are coming in January! Make sure to check them out here…

We thought, with all these new positions coming on line in the next 30 days, we would post a three part series we released earlier in the year to help veterans and transitioning military in the areas of resumes, interviewing, social media and a more.This information is actually really helpful to anyone from any background when they are going through the job searching process so feel free to share it with anyone you know may be benefitted by the info in these articles.

Military and Veteran Employment Preparation – Part 1 of 3

 resume tips

Landing a career as opposed to a job is what most every transitioning military person or military veteran desires. There are countless websites, books and other instructional resources that can help with figuring out what you want to do for a career, how to get an interview in your chosen profession, career networking, and how to land that dream job. Today’s post is not intended to be comprehensive but rather a guide for getting started once you have an idea of what you want to do for a career.

120314-A-DQ783-028“This seems like a lot of work” – Just remember, battles are frequently won or lost on the quality of intel. Your job search is no different. The more intel work you do, the more background knowledge you have of your desired position(s) and potential employer(s), the better you will do. Know your industry to the best of your ability through research. Practice being conversant about your field, your desired job, and about your desired employer in order to get the most out of your interview. 

Part I: Interview or Job Fair Preparation: 

Use a military skills translator and find the jobs that your skills translate to in the civilian world. Remember that these are a rough guide and not an exhaustive list. Many times your skills can translate to jobs or positions that are not seemingly aligned. This is where it is also important for you to do some research to see what it is you want to do job-wise. Research the jobs you want, the employers, and the job descriptions. Translate your experience to match where applicable.

VA Translator

Military.com Translator

Market yourself as broadly as possible – If you are an aircraft mechanic and only want to interview for aircraft mechanic jobs then market yourself very specifically in just that skillset. However, if you want to look at other possibilities in mechanics from auto mechanics to wind turbine mechanics to oilfield mechanics then be more broad with how you market your skills within mechanics. Highlight mechanics related skills that translate across several disciplines.

When you are preparing for a job fair and you know there will be a variety of employers, make sure to have several resumes in different formats that are industry specific. You can also have resumes on hand that are very specific to your ideal job on hand in case you are leaning to a particular specific position. HINT: keep each resume kind in a file folder that is clearly labeled so that you can quickly and easily access them when moving from employer to employer.

Resume Format – Know the correct format for your particular industry. There are on-line resources that give plenty of examples of resumes; focus more on the examples for your particular industry. For instance, an engineering firm wants a conservative resume, a graphic design firm wants something with creative flair. However, if you are applying for a government contracting position with a company such as Lockheed Martin or Boeing they will most likely have a format they want you to put your resume into. Check out this link for some industry specific examples:

Monster Resume Examples

Network, Network, Network – Use LinkedIn, make your profile as neat and professional as possible. Use the above pointers, such as being brief but concise.

Look for and maintain network connections with people in the fields you are looking at going into. Network with people doing the work you want to do. Do not pass up opportunities to meet with these connections in person. Take concrete steps to meet these connections, especially in person. When reaching out to a potential connection on the internet, especially on LinkedIn make sure to make your message personal, do not use the default message.

As a veteran you are given a year of LinkedIn pro. Make that happen. (Offer is good as of the writing of this article)

In your network connections make sure you have a few trusted professional connections that can review your resume, and your LinkedIn page to make sure that they are as professional as possible.

Those trusted mentors are good resources for practicing your interviewing skills with.

Network with professional organizations, groups, and clubs that have people in your industry as members.

Dress to Impress – When interviewing put your best foot forward with regards to your appearance. When interviewing for a job it is important to go with business dress, a suit or at minimum; slacks, button down shirt, and a tie. Vests can be worn as well but try to keep your overall appearance conservative. That bright red silk shirt might be great but keep it for another occasion. If you need to appear in uniform ensure that your uniform is impeccable. ACUs are never acceptable for an interview or when meeting employers at a job fair. The exception to this would be if there is a job/career fair that is brought to your (military) location during duty hours and it is understood that everyone will be in ACUs.

These tips and suggestions should help you move toward landing the job you are looking for and starting on an exciting new career.

Check out the Tools and Resources page on our website for valuable links to help in your veteran job search or your military transition. 

Make sure you bookmark this site and come back for parts 2 and 3 where we will continue with social media and interview tips and suggestions.

~ Article by Tobin Pilotte, Directer of Marketing and Technology for Forward March Inc. 

Resume and Interview Tips and Suggestions – Military and Veteran Employment Preparation – Part 3 of 3

Part III – Resume and Interview Tips and Suggestions

Resume and Interview Tips and Suggestions

Below are suggestions to use in your resume writing and also for your interviews. 

Leadership and management skills – Leadership and management skills acquired during your military service are to be highlighted. Highlight when you had leadership and management experience, training, or when you had leadership and management on a project/mission/task. Leadership and management does not necessarily have to translate to the job you are interviewing for, when they do not highlight them as a capability to manage people/materials/resources. 

Practice good communication skills – Your physical and verbal communication should be open, friendly, and confident. Try to physically relax and make eye contact with the person you are interviewing with. Avoid crossing arms, putting hands on hips or in pockets, or slouching when talking or listening to a potential employer. Make sure in your speech you keep your communication professional, short, and positive. Never talk about situations, people, or events in a negative manner. Try to keep the conversation positive. Never complain about previous employers, coworkers, assignments, duties, or situations. Avoid unnecessary details when relating your job experience. Keep your political and sociological ideologies out of the interview process.


8401272827_6a3fe41250_b Highlight your military skill and projects while being brief and describing things as much as possible in terms any civilian can easily understand. Avoid acronyms that are military knowledge specific.

Quantify work experience and achievements – Specifically what did you do, what problems/challenges did you overcome, problem solving tools, etc. For instance highlight the state of a project before you brought the solution to bear and then highlight how you improved the state.

Highlight goals and achievements – Depending on the interview style and time given for the interview, it is incumbent upon you to highlight briefly and succinctly your achievements, goals achieved, recognition and awards for achievements, etc. Make sure you highlight the necessity of teamwork, as often as is applicable so that an employer sees that you know that mission success is more about the team than the individual. This lets employers know that you are going to be a team player and not a lone wolf. Keep your examples to about two. Again, pay attention to the interviewer and take their lead, if they seem to want more information or more examples/details/etc then supply those.

References – In an interview these may or may not be asked for. Frequently when time is short interviewers will not ask for references. Make sure that your relevant and impressive references are highlighted before the end of your interview. Be brief, but make sure that the interviewer is aware of your references.

Highlight volunteer/intern/freelance work – Any volunteer work or freelance work done in the field you are looking at applying for should be listed on your resume and highlighted in your interview.

Clearances – When applying for positions which you think you may need a security clearance for make sure you note on your resume if you have a CURRENT security clearance and what level it is.

Photo Credit - Bokeh Breath by Rick Camacho

Photo Credit – Bokeh Breath by Rick Camacho

Lastly but most importantly – Relax, be yourself. People generally appreciate a person that is true to who they are.

Veterans, Transitioning Military Personnel, and their families are encouraged to meet with employers at this free event.

If you are looking for a chance to put some of these tips and suggestions to work for you then make sure you come to the Veteran Employment Transition Networking Event on November 17th. This event will give you the opportunity to meet with potential employers, veterans organizations and more. Click here for more info…

About That Social Media Thing – Military and Veteran Employment Preparation – Part 2 of 3

tips for resumes and interviews

Part two of three in our continuing series on veteran and transitioning military employment preparation.

Most people have social media pages. No matter how private you “think” your social media page is remember this… it’s not! Potential employers regularly review social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and others. This is common practice and is NOT a practice just reserved for potential employees who will need background checks.

If your social media page(s) contain images, videos, music, or speech that causes employers to think you are not a good candidate it can prevent you from getting an interview or landing the job. Many employees have found that their social media has been the reason for their termination.

Here are some rules that will keep you from having issues with your social media:

  • Remove any images, videos, or other content that contains vulgarity.
  • Remove images or other content that contains sexual content.
  • Remove content that contains alcohol or drug use.
  • Remove images containing violence, graphic images of war/violence/gore/etc

Its pretty easy, though possibly time consuming, to clean up a social media site with the above guidelines. However, its much harder to clean up your comments on posts you or others in your network or in the public have posted. It may be advisable to close your social media account(s) weeks or even a month before you begin sending out your resume and networking.

Some brutally honest advice you may not want to hear – Sometimes it’s better to close down your social media page than to try to clean it up. You will have to assess the difficulty and time invested in cleaning up a page vs. shutting it down and starting a new page at a later date. Should you decide to close down your social media page you have to remember that it takes time. Facebook, for instance, can take weeks to close your page down.

LinkedIn profiles are difficult to delete; that has to be done by LinkedIn at your request. It usually (at the time of this article) takes about two days to get your profile deleted. LinkedIn is a professional social media outlet for professional networking. Follow these guidelines for keeping your LinkedIn page in a favorable light.

Do not post entries or posts that contain vulgarity, sexually explicit remarks, or potentially political or religious inflammatory remarks. In a nut-shell follow the same rules posted above for Facebook. Additionally it is important to remember to keep your LikedIn content professional, and relevant to your professional career.

Your LinkedIn photo, which it is HIGHLY suggested that you have, should be professional. A clear, crisp headshot that has a relatively solid background is preferable. If your career direction is one where a suit and tie would be expected even part of the time then have your photo taken with a suit and tie. For both men and women, the photo should be business dress as opposed to business casual. If your career is one where dressing business casual is not required it is a good rule of thumb to go ahead and have your photo taken with business casual attire. Refrain from “goofy” faces, hand gestures, and most of all using objects, logos, pets, animals, movie images, etc. Only use your portrait, if you do not use a portrait then leave the image blank.

Ultimately it is important to be your self on social media, however, you should always temper that with professionalism as it is not just your “friends” who are looking at your social media posts. Remember this rule of thumb; “Nothing you post on the web is private”.

For further guidance on how to edit or delete social media entries or even delete accounts refer to the instructions on the social media sites themselves. Sites like Facebook and LinkedIn have excellent instructions on how to make these things happen and with a little time and attention you can “tune up” your social media and have it ready for your next step in getting your dream career.

Veterans, Transitioning Military Personnel, and their families are encouraged to meet with employers at this free event.

Veterans, Transitioning Military Personnel, and their families are encouraged to meet with employers at this free event.

If you are looking for a chance to put some of these tips and suggestions to work for you then make sure you come to the Veteran Employment Transition Networking Event on November 17th. This event will give you the opportunity to meet with potential employers, veterans organizations and more. Click here for more info…