Author: Anthony Garcia (page 2 of 2)

Why Hiring Veterans Can Reduce Talent Acquisition and Training Costs

Hiring the best candidate for the job typically takes a lot of time and money. While you feel pressure from leadership to fill your open positions as quickly as possible, recruiting the most qualified candidates will save you more time, money, and frustration in the long run.

Scrambling to just quickly fill your open jobs can result in loss of money, time invested, and increased attrition rates by not having the right talent in the role.

So, how can you cost-effectively hire and retain top notch employees? A good starting point is tapping into a pool of the most skilled, reliable, and impressive candidates. Here’s why the most qualified person for the job could very well be a veteran:

  1. Mission Focus

A military lifestyle by nature is mission focused. Veterans thrive in a culture built on cooperation, personal development, and overcoming obstacles to get the job done. These values naturally translate into civilian roles.

  1. Broad Spectrum Leaders

Veterans possess a wide range of solid leadership experience. Many soldiers become non-commissioned officers who are placed in leadership positions by the age of 20. Throughout military careers, these leaders are taught responsibility, integrity, and decision making techniques that develop into strong, natural leadership qualities.

Intuition is a skill most veterans possess when they exit the military that can enhance civilian job requirements like problem solving, strategizing, and decision making. Because military experience inevitably strengthens intuition, veterans are well fit for leadership and team building roles.   

  1. Shortened Onboarding Process

Often times, candidates are brought into positions with limited training and need to be handheld as they onboard. Veterans’ history of intensive training and formative real world experiences allow them to confidently lead from day one. Because strategic leadership skills have been acquired from years of military experience in rigorous training programs, vets may require less training, saving your company time and money during the onboarding process.

Veterans are extremely qualified for a number of civilian roles, but in order to get a clear picture of how their skills match your job descriptions, you need to first understand how their experience can best support your company — which is easier said than done in most HR departments today. You need a solution to translate military skills from resumes in ways you’ll actually be able to understand.

If you’d like to learn more about a veteran career platform that will provide you with veteran resumes that fit the roles you’re trying to fill as quickly and effectively as possible, request a call with a member of our team!

Set Yourself Up For Success Before Transitioning Out of the Military

Army soldiers are no stranger to preparedness and situational awareness. By the time most military personnel are transitioning out of the military, these skills have become second nature not only in relation to their military role, but in everyday life as well. Yet somewhere along the line, we see many veterans leaving out these very formative skills that are not only essential, but critical to a successful transition from active duty to the civilian sector.

Preparedness

You can never start too early. The industry recommendation in beginning your transition is somewhere around a year out (and most military offered assistance programs start around then as well), but there are many avenues of preparedness that you can begin at any time in your career. First on the list of early preparedness: a resume. Your resume will become your story. But, that story has to be translated from the military jargon and technicals terms that strongly define your experience into a meaningful snapshot of how you will benefit a future employer. That future employer will not know what your MOS, military awards, or training credentials mean to them as a civilian company. You have to be prepared and have that translation ready. So whether you’ve just enlisted, just finished the Captain’s Career Course, or you are reaching 25 years and counting down the days, start building your translated resume, and allow that story to build with you.

Situational Awareness

While your situation may no longer be in a combat zone, there are many layers of life, family, and future to work through as you strive to make the best decisions to sustain or even improve quality of life. A successful transition begins with staying actively engaged with the goal in sight. The transition experience is weighted with decision making, but when preparing early, there are a few basic parameters that you’ll need to be aware of and how your situation stands:

  • Are you willing to relocate?
  • Will you have children in school?
  • What fields or industries will you pursue?
  • Do you have a network to pull from? (If not, start here: 3 Steps to Building a Network)
  • What are you actually qualified to do in the civilian workforce?
  • Can I articulate my military experience in a way a civilian employer will understand?

If you start to ask these ‘veteran in transition’ questions early and engage in conversations with mentors and spouses, the framework to your transition will slowly begin to build. If you have a strong framework and concept of the direction you desire to go BEFORE you hit those mandated military transition programs, you’ll be able to better piece together the picture being offered for life after active military service.

Active, self-guided involvement in early preparedness is key to a successful transition. Don’t wait until someone says, “Your first TAPS workshop is next Monday.” Go into that transitional period with a plan in place. Remain knowledgeable about your options, clear on the storytelling of your military experience with a translated resume, and aware of the parameters you’ll be needing to set, meet, and achieve.

For more career-driven preparedness tips, check out this blog post!

ETS Equals Active Job Seekers

I decided to leave the Army in April of 2006. My 8 years of Active Duty Service would be complete May of 2007, which gave me roughly a year to prepare for my ETS.

I didn’t realize I should have begun my job search as soon as I decided to ETS. No one explained to me that my civilian counter parts have their next job lined up before leaving their current job. No one explained to me that I should have been applying for jobs, networking, and discovering how my military skills transferred to specific job opportunities in the private sector.

To be honest I figured after leaving the Army I would find a job while taking a break from work. However, being unemployed in the private sector while looking for a job is a red flag for recruiters and employers. Here are some of the stereotypes:

  • The unemployed are lazy
  • The unemployed are incompetent
  • The unemployed don’t want to work
  • Something is wrong with the unemployed
  • The unemployed lack the skills necessary to find work

Bottom line, employers believe the best workers are the ones who already have work. If I had known this to be true I would have been actively seeking work while employed by the U.S. Army.

So what does being an active job seeker mean? LinkedIn says that an active job seeker or candidate is actively looking for work. This does not mean they’re unemployed, but it can. In our case, we’re not unemployed; we’ve just made the decision to transition from the military. The key is now to find work before our ETS date.

LinkedIn further explains that the active job seeker is looking for new work for a variety of reasons:

  • They’re concerned about their current employer’s stability
  • They would like to take more responsibility and grow professionally
  • Their job was outsourced (meaning the job is now held by someone separate from the current company)
  • Their employer went out of business

About 25% of the work force falls in this category, so we’re not alone from our civilian counter parts.

Now that we know we’re active job seekers there are a few steps to being effective active job seekers.

Resume

First, it starts with creating a resume that translates your military experience to civilian terms that recruiters understand and are searching for. Purepost takes care of this for you in about the time it takes to a 1040EZ tax return online. Building your resume has never been simpler, and we support all service branches.

A resume is important because it provides an overview of your professional achievements to a recruiter and employer. In many ways, a resume is similar to your ORB or ERB. Like your ORB/ERB, the resume provides a snapshot of your past and current jobs (duty assignments), achievements (awards), and education (training, badges, schools).

Your resume is:

  • What you will apply to jobs with, online
  • What you will email or take with you, when networking with professionals
  • What you will take with you to all interviews

Job Search

Once you’ve created your resume and understand how your military skills map to private sector skills, you’ll want to begin your job search.

Here is where you will want to be strategic in searching for your next career in the private sector. You will search for your job in one of three ways:

  • Location
  • Company
  • And of course Job characteristics

When I left the Army, I followed on to complete my Masters in Business Administration. Once I completed my education, I knew living in the San Francisco Bay Area was top priority to succeed in my next career.

This told me that I would not be looking for any career opportunities outside of the Bay Area.

After I settled on my location, the next most important factor to me was the type of job I wanted. This put the priority of company last and actually allowed for more job opportunities.

Once I decided on the type of job I wanted, I compiled a list of all the ideal companies I wanted to work at in the SF Bay Area. This is not as simple as it sounds and takes research to discover what companies where ideal for me. Here are some topics to research that can be discovered online or through Glassdoor.

  • The product or service provided to the consumer
  • The Culture
  • Company Leadership
  • Salaries
  • Current events and news concerning the company
  • Company Vision, Mission and Goals – what do they ultimate want to accomplish and create in the future
  • Current financial and cultural health of the company – i.e. have they laid employees off recently, how are their products and services doing in relevance to market share – in other words, are customers happy and are the products and service successful

I realize this all may seem overwhelming, but the articles here on the Purepost blog provide the guidance you need to break this task down in a manageable way, providing methods for determining the company you want to work at.

Networking

Once you’ve decided the location, job, and company you want to work at, it’s time to network. I’ve chosen to discuss networking before applying for a job because of one main reason – It’s all about who you know in the private sector. By knowing someone who works at a company you desire to work at, or an industry you desire to work in, your chances of finding a job increase. This does not mean you have to network to obtain a job; it just might speed up the process.

When I moved to San Francisco I applied to countless jobs. What was surprising was 90% of my interviews came from knowing someone at the company before submitting my job application.

For example, I was interested in working at a major health care system located in Oakland. Before applying for the job, I did my research on the company and later reached out to a gentleman, who I’ll call James. James also graduated from the same masters program I had attended. This was a connection I obtained from a friend who I also went to school with.

When I met James it was over coffee and he had 30 minutes to meet with me. Prior to our meeting, I had studied the company and knew of 3 jobs I was interested in. James first asked me why I was interested in his company. I explained that my background in the Army was Medical Service, in terms he would understand. I handed him my resume and explained my background. James asked a few questions about my Army experience and I fired back responses similar to being interviewed.

He then asked, how can I help? At this point I had brought up the jobs I was interested in and asked questions about these opportunities. I also explained why I was qualified. James explained that he knew people in that department to include the hiring manager (The employee who requested the position you are interviewing for. If you are provided a job offer, and decide to accept, you will be working for the hiring manager). James explained to send him an email with my resume to forward to the hiring manager. This experience resulted in an interview.

This happens across all industries and job types. One of my good friends, who had worked in a warehouse at a major grocery company, obtained a job as a forklift operator/driver from networking with my father. My father also worked in the same distribution warehouse and introduced my friend to the hiring manager after filling out a job application. It does not matter what type of skilled worker you are, networking works.

Applying for a Job

I discussed networking in length and believe it helps, but it’s not necessary to get a job. What is necessary is having a resume and filling out a job application. If you’ve never done this it can be a bit challenging and over whelming at first. This is why I recommend having a job search strategy. This will at least allow you to focus on specific jobs and companies to apply to.

So what does this process look like? The short answer is you have to apply for a job online. This could be through a companies own website or a job board like Monster.com.

Job boards like Monster.com are helpful in your job search.

Family Dollar uses Taleo for their application process.

Nestle also uses Taleo – this can make it easy when applying to other companies who use Taleo.

If you look closely at the Family Dollar’s and Nestle’s job application site, you will notice they are quite similar – that’s because they’re both powered by Teleo. Taleo is a talent software product for companies, which allows a company to manage their job applications. This also makes it easier for job seekers who have already filled out an application under within the Taleo system.

For example, if I fill out an application at a company that uses Taleo, I may not have to fill out a complete application or upload my resume to the next company. This definitely makes it easy if you’re applying to similar jobs, however if you’re applying for a different job, it’s best that you start over and complete the application to satisfy the job you’re applying for. This may also require you to upload a different resume with different skills selected. Luckily, Purepost makes this easy to change.

Becoming an active job seeker is a job in of-its-own. I know this can seem overwhelming, but it takes practice and it’s best to start as soon as you’ve made the decision to ETS. I’ve found that on average, it can take 3-6 months to find a job, once you’ve fine-tuned your process. Which means you need to treat your job search as a second job.

You’ve got incredible experience and skills that transfer perfectly to several career opportunities. Employers respect your service, they know you will learn on the job, and they know you’ve got core values that ensure success. A Purepost profile will assist in translating the rest.

Anthony Garcia
Purepost CEO
U.S. Army Combat Veteran, Iraq ‘03-’04 and ‘05

3 Steps to Building a Network

During my transition from active duty, I attended many career events and transition seminars that stressed the importance of networking and making connections. I didn’t heed this advice. At first, I felt my ability to network was proven during my time in the military as I built relationships easily with peers and members of various battalion and bridge staff sections. In the military realm, these relationships helped me quickly obtain supplies that I required for mission success or sped up the processing time for random paperwork. However, I quickly learned that networking in the military and networking in the corporate world are two different animals. I should have paid attention to those speakers. So to save you a little time and lessons hard learned, let’s breakdown the basics of networking outside of the military:

Social Network: This network is your family and friends. The people who provide the emotional and moral support required as you enter this new phase of your life. Regardless of your experiences in the military, leaving a job with an almost guaranteed paycheck on the 1st and 15th of the month is stressful as you look for your next job in an uncertain market. This is even truer if you did not adequately plan your finances to cover your expenses between departing the military and landing your next job (more on this in a future post). A well established social network of family and friends will be there to help support you during these times. 

Professional Network: Individuals focused on matters of business. These individuals can serve as mentors and help navigate you through your transition as you search for and/or prepare for entry into a new industry. The most well known professional networking tool is LinkedIn. LinkedIn offers itself as an excellent source for finding people who are already established in your desired industry. Fostering relationships with those individuals can give you valuable insight into the industry, market, and connections. Building up this network not only helps prepare you for your new job but it can also open up new opportunities in the future. For example, someone within your professional network can introduce you to job openings that only an “insider” would know about and you would not hear of it otherwise. This network can also direct you towards classes or skills that you need to develop in order to be successful in your new job.

Organizational Network: Organizations, trade groups, and professional associations related to your interested profession. This network avenue is excellent for learning the current and future state of the industry. By tapping into your organizational network you will be able to learn the intricate details of your industry, its best practices, and understand the future challenges and changes that will impact the industry and your job. I recommend that you join industry related groups on LinkedIn, following their social media feeds, and when ready join their organizations allowing you access to their publications and insights. Additionally, attending industry forums and seminars will provide you great insight into your industry and new technologies about to enter the market.

Networking is an essential component of your transition to best prepare you for your new role in civilian life. Building your support structure and network prior to transition will greatly assist you as you weigh your options and decide on the correct path for you – entering the work force, enrolling in school, or even starting your own business. Your balanced network will help guide you, ensuring that you are making informed decisions and setting yourself and/or your family up for success.

– Anthony

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