Who are you remembering this Veterans Day?

Today, we observe Veterans Day in the United States. I remember how important this day was to my grandfather, a very proud Navy veteran, who served aboard the U.S.S. Porter (DD-356) during World War II.

My grandfather, a charismatic country boy from the deep South with a sharp tongue and ability to turn any phrase into a song, was often described as being incredibly lucky. After joining the Navy, he was stationed at Pearl Harbor. Believe it or not, the U.S.S. Porter set sail from Pearl Harbor on December 5, 1941. just two days before the surprise attack that killed approximately 2,400 people. If that’s luck, it was certainly on his side.

The crew aboard the Porter saw their share of battles, including the Battle of Santa Cruz, in which the Porter was lost. My grandfather, again with luck on his side, survived the sinking and was picked up by the U.S.S. Shaw (DD-373). Ultimately, he was mustered out in November 1942. Later, taking advantage of the G.I. Bill, he bought a home in the suburbs and raised a family.

As a child, I remember being captivated by the memories my grandfather would share around the a restaurant dinner table. If accompanied by my grand-uncle, also a WWII veteran, the conversations would last long into the night, typically until the host or hostess gently nudged us out the door. Today, those stories are no more, but the memories survive.

While my grandfather numbers just one of many veterans in my family, Veterans Day was especially important to him. It was a chance for us and other Americans to honor him and others like him for their service to our country.

Today, I remember my grandfather, the other veterans in my family, and honor their service for our country.

Who are you remembering this Veterans Day?

Our unsung heroes – military spouses

When the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released their study of military spouses in the workplace in June of 2017, the results were jaw-dropping. The most significant challenges for military spouses in the workplace are unemployment or underemployment (underemployment would be like a general doing KP duty).

Furthermore, the study indicated that 92% of military spouses are women.

The study goes on to state that the spouse unemployment rate is 16%, which is four times greater than all adult women (4% in May 2017) and three times greater than woman aged 20 to 25.

The study does go into greater detail, including reasons why this problem exists. If you are interested, see the full study here.

The good news is, services offered by Veterans Job Resources are also available for spouses or partners of veterans, regardless of gender. We can help you polish your resume or with job placement. Don’t try to do it alone when you can have a nonprofit fighting on your behalf, free of charge. Contact us today.

Why military hard skills matter

Hard skills matter more than you might think in your job search. If you don’t have the hard skills required by potential employers, your job search will suffer.

What is a hard skill?

A hard skill is one that can be learned. For example, a hard skill for a warehousing worker might be 3PL Warehouse Manager or Asset Panda. Not to be confused with a soft skill, which is more like behaviors, such as persuasion or collaboration.

Why hard skills matter

When you apply for a job, many employers first filter applicants by hard skills. In fact, most companies have an application tracking system (ATS) that does just that, without any human intervention at all. If your skillset doesn’t match those in the job posting, it’s the equivalent of your resume going straight to the trash.

Even if a company doesn’t use an ATS or prefers to involve a human along the way (perhaps even meeting a hiring manager at a career fair), one of the first professional evaluations to occur is a review of your hard skills. If you have what they need, your chances of getting that job just increased.

Let’s say you get that interview and are a top candidate. Who will get the offer? Most likely, the person with the closest hard skills match.

Converting military hard skills

Your time in the military gave you many new hard skills – perhaps even with products not available outside the military. It’s just knowing how to translate them to your advantage in the civilian job market.

First, find a military skills translator, whether on the Web (Google it) or with a skilled resume writer who specializes in veterans resumes. Even if you have someone do the paperwork, you still need to commit similar products to memory so you can talk about it in an interview. If you are asked if you know a particular product, you can respond with “no, but I’ve used a similar product, and since they are so similar, it’ll be easy for me to learn quickly.” That answer showcases your soft skills, such as confidence and ability to learn. Soft skills that employers desire!

Conclusion

While most employers have told me they seek specific soft skills, the entry to barrier will be your hard skills. Without the hard skills employers need, your job search will struggle. Make the most of your career by staying on top of industry trends and taking advantage of any opportunity to add a new product to your hard skillset.

Don’t miss out! Register to attend the free resume writing seminar at the YMCA

Don’t forget, on Saturday, September 30, 2017, between 10 AM and 12 noon, Veterans Job Resources will be hosting a free resume writing seminar for veterans at the Sacramento Central YMCA on W Street.

You will learn how to:

  • Write a resume to get a Federal Government job
  • Navigate the USAJOBS Federal Government employment site
  • Write resumes to get you noticed in the civilian job market
  • Find the right job with personal branding

By attending this event, veterans will learn how to market themselves effectively to get their dream job in the Federal Government or civilian corporate world.

Sacramento Central YMCA is located at 2021 W Street, Sacramento, between 19th and 21st streets. The event runs from 10 AM to noon on Saturday, September 30th.

Register to attend at EventBrite or on Facebook/veteransjobresources.

Write a targeted resume to get an interview

Writing your resume is tough enough, but with the odds of your resume being seen by hiring managers so slim, you’ll need all the help you can get. Eventually, the job of your dreams will finally be posted and you’ll want to go the extra mile to get an interview. So now what?

Customize your resume for the position!

Sounds easy enough, but to get past the applicant tracking system (ATS), you’ll need to learn the basics of search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is how journalists and other writers get their work seen by search engines (Google, Bing, etc.). That way, their articles will display in search results. ATS’s work in the same manner. They scan your resume like a search engine and if your resume matches the search criteria, your resume will be selected as a top match. The trick is, knowing how to align your resume with the search criteria. So how do you do that?

Match their job posting requirements!

Although there are multiple methods to do that, I’ll focus on just one to get you started: Keyword optimization. Keyword optimization involves researching and selected the best keywords (hint, they are in the job posting), so that your resume is seen by the ATS. Thankfully, there is a handy free tool available that can provide information to guide you.

How TagCrowd can help

With TagCrowd, you can cut and paste the job description and requirement into the appropriate box. Under Options, next to Show Frequencies? click Yes. After a quick visualization, you’ll get a list of the top keywords used in the job posting.

Visit TagCrowd at https://tagcrowd.com/

(no compensation was paid for my recommendation)

Next step

Your next step is carefully match a few of the top keywords in your resume (I generally aim for the top 5 meaningful keywords). This can be tricky. If the job posting is written poorly, you’ll discover some of the top keywords have nothing to do with the accomplishments on your resume. You’ll have to determine if the open position will actually be a good fit for you. If it is, you may also want to see if anyone in your professional network can put your resume in front of the hiring manager’s eyes.

Just a warning, don’t get too carried away with matching all the keywords exactly. This process, known as “keyword stuffing,” will be recognized as such by the ATS and you’ll be rejected.

Nevertheless, TagCrowd can be an important tool to use in customizing your resume to get your dream job. Use it wisely and you will get that interview!

1 tip to get seen by hiring managers

Recently, one of my resume writing clients vented his frustration with his job search over the last few months. “I feel like I have the skills and qualifications, so why isn’t anyone interested in me?” he disclosed to me. Let me break it down for you.

Initially, hiring managers want someone who can walk in the door and be familiar with their technologies and methodologies right away.

Corporations have applicant tracking systems (ATS) in place to screen out candidates that do not meet this requirement, so this is where it gets complicated. In fact, some of the most perfectly qualified candidates will never be seen by hiring managers. So what can you do?

First, you need to state the exact name of every technology that you’ve ever used on your resume. Call out the full product name and it’s descriptor, if possible. For example, my client said that he had used Remedy for four years when he worked at a call center. Remedy, itself, is a company name and, in fact, no longer in existence. What did the ATS see? Nothing.

I rewrote the accomplishment with the product name as it is known today, which is “BMC IT Service Management.” Many modern ATS’s are smart enough to know current product names and now will call him out as a candidate with 4 years’ experience in service management software. Some of the older systems aren’t as smart, but you have to keep looking forward.

In summary, do the foot work and research every product name you’ve ever used. Visit corporate websites to find out actual names and use it wisely on your resume. Not only in your “skills” section but also once (just once, not more) under each position that you’ve held in the past.

YMCA of Superior California resume writing event for veterans

PRESS RELEASE

Veterans Job Resources presents: YMCA of Superior California resume writing event for veterans.

Sacramento, CA – On Saturday, September 30, 2017, between 10 AM and 12 noon, Veterans Job Resources will be hosting a free resume writing seminar for veterans at the Sacramento Central YMCA on W Street.

Chris Angle, founder of Veterans Job Resources, will be discussing:

  • How to write a resume to get a Federal Government job
  • How to navigate the USAJOBS Federal Government employment site

In addition, guest speaker, Scott Parsons, will be discussing:

  • Writing resumes to get you noticed in the civilian job market
  • Finding the right job with personal branding

By attending this event, veterans will learn how to market themselves effectively to get their dream job in the Federal Government or civilian corporate world.

“As part of our mission at Veterans Job Resources, we are really excited to offer this seminar for veterans” explains Chris. “we hope veterans will walk away feeling empowered with their job search, knowing they are a step up from other candidates.”

Sacramento Central YMCA is located at 2021 W Street, Sacramento, between 19th and 21st streets. The event runs from 10 AM to noon on Saturday, September 30th.

Register to attend at EventBrite or on Facebook/veteransjobresources.

About Veterans Job Resources

Veterans Job Resources by PreciseAngle is an accredited 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides career advancement services and job placement to veterans. For more information, visit www.veteransjobresources.org

About Scott Parsons

Scott is a professional writer and career advancement enthusiast with over 20 years’ experience working as a writer in the civilian corporate world. For information, visit scottwrites4you.strikingly.com

About YMCA of Superior California

Inspiring all people to a healthy life – in spirit, mind and body is the mission that guides the work of the YMCA of Superior California. More than a pool or gym, the Y is a cause dedicated to the positive development of youth, healthy living for people of all ages, and social responsibility in addressing the critical needs of the communities we serve. With programs from athletics to advocacy, dance to disease prevention, and cycling to child care, the Y doesn’t just strengthen individuals, we strengthen communities. For more information, visit www.ymcasuperiorcal.org

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Insight Coffee Roasters networking event for veterans

PRESS RELEASE

Veterans Job Resources presents: Insight Coffee Roasters networking event for veterans.

Sacramento, CA – On Saturday, September 23, 2017, between 10 AM and 12 noon, Veterans Job Resources will be networking with veterans at Insight Coffee Roasters on 16th Street. 

Chris Angle, founder of Veterans Job Resources says “thanks to Insight Coffee Roasters, we’ll set up a table and be networking with veterans and connecting with our overall community.” She continues with “we also hope the community will find it in their hearts to donate to our nonprofit because everyone benefits when veterans have jobs.”

If you’re a veteran who needs help finding a job in the civilian workforce, come meet the Veterans Job Resources team in the relaxed setting of Insight Coffee Roasters, across from Fremont Park in beautiful downtown Sacramento.

“We all love coffee and hope to raise awareness about our organization and what we can do for veterans, free of charge” explains Chris. “Come on down, let me know you need a job, and have a coffee on Insight. I love talking with fellow veterans and want them to know that I’m here to help them start or advance their career in the civilian sector.”

Insight Coffee Roasters will be offering the first 25 veterans who exchange contact information with Veterans Job Resources a token for a free regular coffee.

Insight Coffee Roasters is located at 1615 16th street, Sacramento, between P and Q streets. The event runs from 10 AM to noon.

About Veterans Job Resources

Veterans Job Resources by PreciseAngle is an accredited 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides career advancement services and job placement to veterans.

About Insight Coffee Roasters

Insight Coffee Roasters was established in Sacramento, California in 2011 around a common love – coffee.

Dutch Bros. Coffee Helps Roseville Nonprofit Gross Over $2k at Charity Event

PRESS RELEASE

Veterans Job Resources uses coffee from Dutch Bros. Coffee in fundraising event, adding $2,074 to their most successful fundraising event ever.

Roseville, CA – September 16, 2017

The Dutch Mafia came out in force, with over 500 customers going through the coffee shop to support a fundraising event for veterans, donating generously for much-needed career services for our nation’s heroes.

Chris Angle, founder of Veterans Job Resources, said “we take great pride in reaching out and participating within the community, and we are so thankful for the support and participation of Dutch Bros. Coffee.” Humbled by the experience, she added “Mattie Place and her team went out of their way to advertise and set up the event. I couldn’t be more thankful for what they’ve done.”

Mattie Place, owner of the Roseville franchise, was on record for saying “it is an honor for Dutch Bros to be apart of this [event] in helping veterans.” She goes on to say “our customers were raving on social media about the event and how exciting it was to be able to support veterans.”

With the help of our supporters and the Dutch Bros. Coffee team, Veterans Job Resources was able to completely fund an upcoming veteran resume workshop” Chris explains. “That’s good news for veterans needing jobs and good news for employers seeking qualified candidates.”

About Veterans Job Resources

Veterans Job Resources by PreciseAngle is an accredited 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides career advancement services and job placement to veterans. For more information, visit www.veteransjobresources.org

About Dutch Bros. Coffee

Dutch Bros Coffee was founded in 1992 by Dane and Travis Boersma: brothers of Dutch descent. Today, Dutch Bros Coffee is the country’s largest, privately held drive-thru coffee company, with over 260 locations in seven states and over 5,000 employees.

The company donates over $2 million a year to its local communities and nonprofit organizations, including the Muscular Dystrophy Association, in honor of Dane, who passed away in 2009 after a four-year battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease. For more information, visit www.dutchbros.com

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Why won’t anyone hire a veteran?

It seems a simple concept. In the legal world, it’s called quid pro quo (“this for that”). You fight for our freedom and in return, you should be the strongest candidate for civilian jobs. But why aren’t you getting calls or interviews?

In my discussions with hiring managers, human resource leaders, and even reading articles across the Web, it’s abundantly clear that veterans face tremendous hurdles when looking for a job in the civilian world. Instead of dwelling on the difficulties of the process, here are some things you should know when transforming from the military to civilian workforce.

First and foremost, you are not alone. While it would be easier to simply blame corporations for being so narrow-minded, the reality is, you are a stranger to the hiring manager. We are taught very early not to trust strangers, and hiring managers are no exception. Break down that barrier by giving potential employers something to relate to. One method is to develop a personal brand, which will show your professional values. Employers that share your values are more likely to be interested in knowing more about you. Employers who don’t share your values are those you want to repel. This is a win-win situation.

Hard skills, those that are learned, will be your biggest hurdle. If you are going to apply to jobs through a job board or corporate website, your resume will be submitted to an applicant tracking system (ATS), what I call “the robots.” Hiring managers program the robots to screen out anyone who doesn’t have their desired skill set. Even though you may be an expert on the technology to take out the enemy with a push of a button, an employer might be more interested in your knowledge of JIRA. Find a career professional who specializes in translating military skills to civilian skills. 

When you make it past the robots, you’ll be quizzed on soft skills, or behaviors, in telephone or in-person interviews. Will you get along with your potential co-workers? Do you have similar likes or dislikes? Employers will want to know if you can do the job. In short, if the interviewers see themselves in you, you will be one of the top candidates. Keep your responses relatable. Military or civilian, if an interviewer can relate to your behavior, this works to your favor.

While you may have thrown in the towel on more than one occasion, there are plenty of reasons to have hope. First, many corporations have enacted social responsibility programs, which include efforts to hire veterans. You will have a step-up on other candidates from the get go. Second, there is a growing industry based on serving those who served. They offer you free career services, like resume writing, career counseling, and interview preparation. Organizations who offer job placement services for veterans are your best choice. In addition to being your personal advocate, they are able to bypass the dreaded robots!

Ready to find your dream job? Contact Veterans Job Resources for your free career services and job placement today.