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Veterans in Recruiting Funnels

How do Veterans fit into a Civilian Recruiting Funnel?

Veterans are no strangers to strategy, models, organizational structures, and formal processes focused on goals or outcomes. Whether this brings any comfort or not, the civilian world does function very similarly in that capacity, especially in the job selection and recruiting arenas.

(The Army actually utilizes a version of a recruiting funnel for it’s own recruiting and selection process too.)

So what is a recruiting funnel?

In its most basic form, it’s a strategy, often represented in a visual form. Think of it as a pipeline (or a process) that channels in a group of candidates (passive or active, depending on the recruiter and position looking to be filled) at the top. These candidates go through a good screening process in the middle that provides recruiters the opportunity to move the most talented applicants quickly to the bottom of the funnel to select, interview, and hire the best fitting applicant (or applicants) from that initial grouping that entered the funnel at the top.

More than likely, as you traverse the job market, you’ll end up in one of these funnels along the way. So it’s important to understand how it works and how you can be the best candidate to make it to the end of funnel for consideration and employment. There are several indicators that can assist in that success rate that we’ll discuss in an upcoming blog, but one to highlight now is a great resume. Our mission at Purepost is to ensure veterans are equipped with the best translation of their time in service which places them in the funnel at a competitive level. If you have not yet utilized the free resume translation service we provide, we invite you to get started today!

Know Where You Fit In: High-Skill, Middle-Skill, and Line Workers

Do you know where you fit in, in the labor force?

The labor force is no longer divided into white collar and blue collar workers. It’s actually broken up into three categories:

High-Skilled: college degree or higher

Middle-Skilled: associates degree or some college courses

Low-Line: high school diploma or GED

When you look closely at U.S. jobs and workers, we’re actually over capacity with high-skilled and low-skilled workers. In other words, there are not enough jobs to fill the demand of workers in the two categories. However, the opposite holds true for middle-skilled workers. As a nation, we don’t have enough workers to fill the demand for middle-skilled jobs.

This is were the military is poised perfectly to answer the call. When you look at the skills breakdown, of the military, based on education alone – we stand strong at 65% middle-skilled. This does not include all the skills and experience we obtain over the years of our service. Some examples of middle-skilled work are:

  • Health care workers/technicians
  • Legal assistants
  • Machinists
  • Electricians
  • Plumbers
  • Clerical workers
  • Engineering technicians
  • Green technology jobs
  • Sales
  • Transportation
  • Construction and repair
  • Production

As you can tell, most of this work can be found in the military or is work that is transferable based off the skills, aptitude, and experience we acquire while serving.

This data does not mean it’s going to be difficult or impossible to find a high-skilled or low-skilled job. Nor does it prove that it will be simple to find middle-skilled work. What this does show is where one fits in by education, and can be used to set expectations or prepare for a proactive transition into the private sector.

For further information, see The Future of The U.S. Workforce. If you’re interested on how the workforce breaks down in your home state or the state you wish to call home, check out the The National Skills Coalition by state.

Ted Talks for Veterans in Transition: Talk Nerdy To Me

There is an art in being able to explain yourself. Telling your story in a way that makes it compelling to an employer or interviewer is a skill to be mastered. Explaining your personal contribution and relevance to others doesn’t necessarily involve comprising your background and content but it does involve some self-awareness and delivery. How can you effectively talk and communicate your way through an interview process? Melissa Marshall has some great tips… gone are the days of death by powerpoint.

Tips To Overcome Culture Shock After the Army

cul·ture shock (noun):
the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone who is suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes.

The most common hurdles in military transitions are frequently discussed: employment, VA benefits, paperwork, medical out processing, etc. But what other elements of this transition experience exist that aren’t being as openly discussed?

We often tend to keep “culture shock” in strict reference to locational or geographical changes. A deployment to the Middle East warrants culture shock. A duty assignment in Korea warrants culture shock. A redeployment from Iraq back to Fort Bragg after 15 months is an acceptable reason for culture shock. (Even a PCS from Fort Drum to Fort Polk can be deemed worthy of culture shock. If you’ve been to Fort Polk, you’ll get it.)

But what happens when the “shock” isn’t so widely accepted or understood? It quickly changes from a cliché term thrown around in vague description to something deeply personal and conflicting.

If you ask a transitioned soldier what the hardest part of assimilating into a civilian job was, it’s going to be navigating through the unfamiliar culture, daily routines, interactions, attitudes, language, jargon, terminologies, and values of a civilian company. It’s not a simple job transfer. It’s not as easy as “took a new job today.” It’s a deep mental shift from one way of life to another and the more we continue to acknowledge, accept, and discuss this phase of transition, the better off our soldiers, families, and services will be.

A recent independent study on veterans in the workplace from the Burton Blatt Institute and Competitive Edge Services reports that “transition experiences can be complicated by a number of factors: physical and psychological service-related injuries (including PTSD), the lack of an easy way to communicate one’s experience and skills, and the lack of a written rule book on the prevailing unspoken corporate rules. Some reported being misunderstood by co-workers due to differences in one’s manner, expectations, and speech. Others were frustrated by the lack of a clear chain of command and a clear path for advancement. Others described missing the sense of mission and urgency within the military that resulted from knowing that the lives of others might depend on the speed and quality of one’s own work. Some also spoke of missing the camaraderie and bonds fostered by working and living in close quarters and depending on each other in critical, life and death situations. And others described how losing such bonds can create feelings of painful loneliness.”

In short, culture shock.

So how do you assimilate? How do you ease the stress of the cultural transition? In an ideal world, observation, research, and time to adapt would be key. But in a fast moving market, on the job training and job performance are expected immediately leaving little time to ease into the culture of your new career. So as you prepare, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Knowledge is power. Ask questions. Be bold and clear in your intentions. At any point in the employment seeking process the following set of questions are appropriate to ask:

“Could you explain the chain of command within your company’s structure?”

“How would you describe the daily pace of work here?”

“What are the defining elements of the team culture in this company?”

This short clip will provide you great additional material for conversations with potential employers: Top Ten Interview Questions to Ask an Employer

Stay involved. Staying connected to a community the understands where you’ve been, what you’ve done, where you struggle, where you thrive, and where you are going is life preserving. Even if you relocate and are far removed from a military installation or active military community, still seek out ways to remain connected. Veteran organizations that offer local chapters like Team RWB or Team Rubicon that offer events, get togethers, and physical training outlets are incredible morale boosters, networking, and destressor opportunities. Engaging in LinkedIn or Facebook communities geared towards veteran networking and support also provide real time, interactive platforms to stay engaged. Don’t shut yourself out. Don’t suffer in silence. A community exists to support you, just have seek out and reach out.

Focus on the commonalities. While the finer threads connecting military roles to civilian jobs may not always be strong, the encompassing strategy is the same. There is a job to be done, a team put together the get the job done, and specific parameters and expectations in which the job is to be done. Channel the energy and strong skill set you possess towards positive momentum in your new career.

Set realistic timeframes for adjustments. Two days on the job won’t leave you fully adjusted. The first 4-6 weeks in a new job are often training and information overload. Expect this and plan for it. If anything, veterans are apt to adapt and envelope loads of information under stressful situations, just remember those skills still exist it’s only the stream and source of information that has changed.

A smooth transition out of the military can be difficult, so here are some helpful tips to set yourself up for success in your new endeavors!

Myth vs. Fact: Debunking Veteran Hard and Soft Skills

Today, many corporate leaders are in search of veterans that will bring real value to the workplace. According to a survey report from CareerBuilder, one-third of surveyed employers reported they are actively recruiting veterans over the next year, up from 27 percent in last year’s survey. Estimates are that by the year 2023 there will be 3.5 million military veterans in the U.S. workforce.

While this is an exciting initiative for companies seeking to leverage skilled and talented Veterans in their workplace, it’s also challenging. Many hiring managers and recruiters don’t understand veterans’ experience and the related hard and soft skills — which likely stems back to the myths civilians have about military veterans.

Let’s now discuss some common veteran misconceptions and uncover how hiring managers can strengthen their understanding of the real skills veterans can bring to civilian jobs.

Myth #1: All veterans serve in combat.

Many civilians (and HR professionals) immediately associate all veteran experience with combat — but there are a plethora of jobs in the military that don’t involve combat. According to the Department of Defense, less than 20 percent of service members serve in front-line combat roles.

In fact, military jobs are categorized into more than 7,000 occupational specialty codes, from radio operator to pilot and tower equipment installer to logistician to procurement clerk and mechanic, just to name a few. That adds a laundry list of both hard and soft skills to the mix, and it’s crucial that hiring managers understand vets’ real qualifications and experiences.

Myth #2: Military skills aren’t transferable to civilian jobs.

You’ve undoubtedly heard that hiring veterans is valuable because of their leadership, teamwork, values, resiliency, focus on mission, accomplishments, etc. While this is all true — and will benefit your workplace— veterans also possess many hard skills that directly transfer to jobs in the civilian world.

The over 200,000 veterans transitioning out of military service each year are bringing hard skills to industries such as healthcare, aviation, finance, logistics, and administration. Because of the training they received in their military careers, veterans are qualified to fill roles such as Patient Care Technician, Registered Nurse, Biomedical Technician, and Clinical Manager.

In this case, there is a cost reduction associated with training and skill building, as veterans already have the skills needed to get to work.

Myth #3: All veterans have PTSD.

A lot of people think that all veterans have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), making them “unstable” and “unreliable” in the civilian work setting.

In reality, 8 percent of all Americans suffer from PTSD, and the number of military veterans with PTSD is relatively low when compared to the total number of those who have served. Hiring managers should not generalize veterans and assume right off the bat that they’re unfit for fast paced, and often high stress, civilian positions. In actuality, veteran skills enable success in competitive environments.

Setting the Record Straight

Veteran hard and soft skills can greatly impact organizations that value integrity, commitment, and accountability. Hiring managers should keep in mind that veterans are capable of succeeding in roles where independent thinking and self-motivation are critical. Veterans’ soft skills like determination, adaptability, and leadership allow them to succeed in challenging, competitive civilian roles.

HR professionals can reframe the way they comprehend veteran skillsets by asking as many questions as possible, engaging their colleagues to further their knowledge on military skills, and analyzing their perceptions and beliefs.

Understanding the real value of veterans in the workplace can provide your company a wealth of opportunity. To learn more about how to improve your understanding of veteran skills for a veteran to civilian resume, request a call with a dedicated member of our team.

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

Ted Talks for Veterans in Transition: Body Language

TED has spreading ‘ideas worth sharing’ all over the world since 1984. As something that began as a one-time conference quickly became an annual conference in 1990. TED (Technology, Education, Design) has grown into a flourishing non-for profit organization, finding the cutting edge experts on important issues and ideas.

In a widening global platform of internet virality, it’s often hard to know what is worth your time and what you should just pass by without a second thought. If you have not yet heard of Ted Talks – they are among the most influential dialogues and speeches making impacts on social relationships, educational approaches, technology advances, environmental resources, political endeavors; you name it, there is a probably a Ted Talk on the topic.

So how can Ted Talks help in your transition? We are excited to feature a Ted Talk every month that highlights a different component of the transition process, career development, or civilian workplace. Being aware of modern issues, innovative solutions, and breakthroughs in all areas of personal development can be a driving force in confidence, presentation, and a successful transition.

The way we walk, the way we talk- It all matters. Have you ever thought much about your body language during an interview? The vibe you give off at a social networking event? How your eyes and audible sighs form the relationships and shape the responses others give you?

Dr. Cuddy is a professor and social psychologist at Harvard Business School. Her research on non-verbal expressions of power has afforded some ground breaking insights and explanations that are relevant in just about every facet of day-to-day life.

Leaving the military and entering the civilian workforce will bring a new wave of new people and new experiences in various social situations. What better to know than how our body language affects others and how we can cue others into what we are saying non-verbally. Cuddy explains how her research has empirically verified that certain specific types of body language shape who we are and have the ability to influence positive outcomes for us. The base summary of her discourse at the Ted Global event in Edinburgh, Scotland, is that engaging in “power poses” or dominant postures for as little as 2-minutes a day can decrease your cortisol levels (the stress hormone), increase your testosterone levels, and increase your appetite for risk. Who doesn’t need a little less stress and a little more excitement in their lives? The most immediately obvious use of this model for veterans or service members transitioning out of the military, as well as military spouses seeking employment, is to engage in “power poses” to prepare for job interviews. Dr. Cuddy, along with Dana R. Carney and Andrew J. Yap, have confirmed that employment of this technique definitively improves the performance of job seekers during interviews. Cuddy summarizes the key aspects of the research with, “Our bodies change our minds, and our minds can change our behavior, and our behavior can change our outcomes.”

If you only watch one Ted Talk, make it this one; the guidance and advice that Professor Cuddy offers has the ability to dramatically increase the likelihood of positive outcomes as you move forward in your career and personal life!

~The Purepost Team

Quick Tips on Recruiters (The non-military kind).

Whether you started your military career in a recruiter’s office or not, you get the idea. You know the process. You know that the recruiter’s job is to onboard candidates that are a good fit for the military life. There are questions. There is an interview. There are physical standards to be met. They are your initial step in the military sector. While a recruiter in a corporate setting functions in a similar capacity, they have very little to do with the hiring process other than qualifying you as a candidate for the company they work for. So what exactly does a recruiter do in the civilian world? Do they sit in store front offices and wait for people to drop in and ask about employment?

Fast forward 20-30 years when your time comes to retire and transition into a civilian job, you’ll be taking on recruiters of a different kind. Corporate recruiters function on a very different wavelength with very different parameters and goals. Here are the top 5 things that you should know:

  1. A corporate recruiter is not a headhunter. Different jobs. Different roles in the job marketplace. A recruiter normally specializes in one industry or in one particular company. They are involved in a broad spectrum of human resource capabilities for their company. A headhunter, on the other hand, usually seeks out talent for one specific job and can be contracted by many different companies at once.
  2. Recruiters are the connection between YOU (the candidate) and the hiring manager. They seek to make the best matches for their company, pass those candidates onto hiring managers who then conduct interviews and make job offers. The recruiter won’t be a part of the hiring process past connecting you to the hiring manager.
  3. A recruiter is not there to help guide you in your career transition or active seeking process of employment. They are paid by a company to find candidates to fulfill jobs within their organization. So while a recruiter may help you land a job within their company, they generally won’t make referrals, recommendations, or mentor you in a general sense.
  4. A recruiter will spend a VERY limited amount of time on your resume. So make it concise, easily formatted, and a strong reflection of you who are as an individual! Purepost can assist you in completing your resume as a military veteran entering the civilian sector. Having your military experience translated in a way that a recruiter, hiring manager, or future employer understands is critical. Recruiters are looking at up to a thousand resumes depending on the position, so give your resume the 30 second test. Can somebody not familiar with the military get a good picture of who you are by looking at your resume in 30 seconds?
  5. Ask questions. This is your career and your future. “Once you have my resume, when should I expect to hear from you again?” or “Will you ever submit my resume to a company without my approval?” are questions that a professional should have no issues answering and should welcome from a prepared, professional candidate.

We look forward to providing additional tips and content on recruiters, the process, and how to navigate your way through your career transition. If you have any specific requests or insights, please email us at blogs@purepost.co.

~The Purepost Team

Sources: 
What Does A Recruiter Actually Do?
5 Things You Should Know About Job Recruiters
At First Glance

A Veteran’s Call to Action

When I left the Army in 2007, I had been away from combat for one year and was in the process of transitioning to life as a student. As ridiculous as this sounds, I was more afraid of going to class than receiving a 0300 Dustoff mission. I was afraid because I didn’t know how to act as a civilian, I was zoning out in class thinking about Iraq, I was surrounded by people who had never experienced combat, and I believed I had lost my identity.

Warriors and the Village

Hundreds of years ago, warriors left their villages to fight wars. Sometimes they were away from home for years. Villages knew their warriors, the same as small towns like Bandera, TX and Elmira, NY know their warriors today. When warriors in the past returned to their villages, they were welcomed back with open arms. Every person in the village understood what their warrior had been through. Warriors were not held on pedestals, but were respected because villagers knew they were fighting and defending the community. This understanding helped make the transition from warrior to farmer a relatively smooth one. This understanding eliminated misconceptions about combat and what it meant to be a warrior transitioning to a new profession. Older generations of warriors in a village were the norm, which reinforced the re-assimilation of younger warriors returning home. Our community understood us.

Fast forward to the first half of the 20th century. Many communities were smaller than they are today. There were still generations of warriors in these communities. Organizations like The American Legion and the VFW provided a common place where warriors could come together. Service was mandatory and generations of warriors were still abundant.

It’s different today in the early 21st century. Technology and industrialization have grown our communities and formed our great cities. Our military is vastly improved. We have superior combat technology and our warriors are better trained and educated. We do more with fewer warriors, resulting in only 1 percent of our population serving at any given time. Generations of warriors are widening. Today, a warrior comes back from years of fighting, separates from service, and is thrown into a society that does not understand what he has been through.

Who can help Warriors?

So how do we do a better job of veteran assimilation? I could make the argument that our government and local municipalities should solve the homeless veteran battle, veteran unemployment, and the lack of healthcare resources. I could also make a case for joining the local VFW or American Legion post. I believe it’s our duty, as fellow veterans, to welcome back our brother and sister warriors. It’s our duty, as veterans, to be the community that assists with the transition from warrior to farmer, so to speak. No one can do this better than veterans. And every veteran can make an individual difference. With social media, technology, and the cell phone, we’re all connected and closer than we were 10 years ago. A couple of months ago I discovered that a flight medic I served with was retiring. I got this from his Facebook timeline. The village is not dead, it’s just changed a bit.

Here are some examples of how veterans can help veterans:

  • Telling your transition story to a veteran – Warriors need to understand that they are experiencing nothing that another warrior before them has not been through. This can assist with avoiding isolation from loved ones and assist with combating PTSD – resulting in encouragement to seek professional help.
  • Resume writing – A veteran assisted me in translating my military service to private sector understanding. I was completely lost without his assistance. The process involves digging up old OERs/NCOERs, looking at past assignments, and reflecting on your career. Assistance from a warrior whose made the transition provides validation that what you did while serving can translate to the private sector. It will help you to understand how you can contribute after service and what gaps need to be filled through education and training to be successful. This is why I founded Purepost.
  • Coaching newly separated veterans on how to interact in the private sector – I currently hold monthly Skypes with two buddies who are in the process of leaving service. I tell them about my mistakes and what I thought when I was interacting for the first time in the private sector. The questions they ask me are the same questions I had back in 2007.
  • Connecting veterans with civilians in a social setting – I knew very few non-military folk when I left the Army. It took me a while to make civilian friends. After I made a few good friends, I could see they were just like me. In fact, I would argue having new friends, who have never served, is vital to the transition.
  • Offering assistance – When I was an Army Aviator, crew coordination was paramount to the safety and success of all missions. A vital element to crew coordination is “Offer Assistance.” Crewmembers offer assistance anytime a crewmember sees or recognizes anything that posses a hazard to flight. This could mean taking the controls if the pilot on the controls is having difficulty, or questioning another crewmember prior to taking action. All warriors in combat offer assistance. It’s a matter of life and death. Why should this be any different after service? If you meet a fellow warrior, ask how they’re doing. If you feel a connection, exchange emails or phone numbers. I consider any day I meet a fellow warrior in the San Francisco Bay Area to be a good day. We’re few and far between in this area and it’s good to know we can lean on each other if needed. Even if it’s for a discussion over a late night beer or coffee.

The days of the village welcoming the warrior back home are still possible. The village is now virtual and comprised of veterans. This past year I changed my profile picture on FB to a photo of me in my dress blues. I later noticed my news feed filled with dozens of profile picture updates. Fellow warriors were changing their profile pictures to high speed photos of them kitted up, wearing their dress uniform, or busting a pose in front of a Black Hawk. We do this because we’re proud of our service. We do this because other veterans are proud of our service. And we do this to show solidarity with our brothers and sisters to cope with. We may be hard to find in the real world, but we’re all discoverable and accessible in the virtual world.

I challenge all warriors to reflect on how they can welcome a warrior back to our village. We’ve been fighting for over a decade. We all have suffered, lost brothers and sisters, many have physical wounds, and we all have emotional wounds. We understand each other. We can’t sit around and wait for the government to do something for us and we can’t count on an organization to solve our problems. We all have the power to have a direct impact on a warrior. That’s something worth living for.

Anthony

Ted Talks for Veterans in Transition: How to Talk so People Will Listen

Ever wonder if people are really listening to you? As we’ve seen in previous TedTalk highlights, there are great behavioral methods to adopt to be not only a more effective communicator, but also someone who others’ actually listen, absorb, and react to. As your transition from military to civilian life involves many conversations where you need answers, assistance, opportunities, and results, Julian Treasure has some great tips on how to speak so that people WANT to listen.

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