July 28, 2009

Mentors for Soldiers

Filed under: Job Search

On July 29-30 the US Army is welcoming almost 1,000 troops returning from Iraq at Fort Dix in New Jersey. They need mentors to help them back into jobs.

These soldiers will start their re-entry into the work force at a special two-day Career Fair. I’m happy to be giving the keynote presentation to help put them on the right track. Many other volunteers will be providing coaching and advice at that event, too.

The logo of Fort Dix features a soldier and the phrase The Ultimate Weapon. The Army gets it — It’s all about the people, not the hardware.

Once they leave the Army, these troops will be The Ultimate Workers.

It won’t be easy to do Q&A with 1,000 soldiers during a 40 minute presentation on July 28. So I’m inviting the troops to post their questions, comments, (rants!) on this blog thread. I invite Ask The Headhunter readers to join me in mentoring soldiers — putting our heads together to offer advice, guidance and any help we can.

Soldiers in transition: Please post your questions below in the Comments section. We’ll do our best to help and mentor.

Welcome home!

.

6 Comments on “Mentors for Soldiers”
By Scott
July 29, 2009 at 8:02 pm

I have been gone for a long time and suffer from TBI… How the hell am I supposed to get a job when this freaking war I was in destroyed my life.. I cant even tie my shoes.

By Tom Brownsword
July 31, 2009 at 2:15 pm

Hey Nick,

I retired from the Army about 12 years ago and just wanted to pop in and say that following your advice works. Yes, it’s a lot more work than just firing out resumes willy-nilly and posting on job boards — but my (almost perfectly!) following the suggestions laid out in your book, newsletter, and website, I managed to get a great job.

So thanks, Nick, for putting your efforts into helping soldiers, and I hope that lots of service members on the verge of getting out find out about you, study your materials, and use them to get a great job. It worked well for me!

Best regards,
Tom Brownsword

By Thomas Gartner
August 4, 2009 at 12:05 pm

One of the processes available to Soldiers is the nearest Army Career and Alumni Program (ACAP) Office. There are career counselors for Soldiers starting the transition process. Career Counselors assists with job search, resumes, cover letters, and Career Options, just to name a few things we do. However, career counselors can be an excellent resource in bouncing ideas around as well. Each Soldier is facing unique and different circumstances. There is no one answer when starting a career transition process. As a Career Counselor at Ft Carson, I know all the Career Counselors located at all active duty military bases are there for Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines. Can we guarantee a Soldier a job? No, we can not. However, we will do our best to help Soldiers achieve that end.

By Bill Scott
August 5, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Nick,

Thanks for going to Fort Dix to help transitioning military.

I would encourage all transitioning military to utilize all of the free job seeker resources that are available to them. There are many of these, but unfortunately, there is no one place that lists them all. Get ready to go to work, because finding a job is a job in itself.

1. As mentioned above, use the ACAP / TAP office to help you get ready to look for a job and interview. Spend time translating your military experience into civilian terms. This is very very important.

2. Don’t use your military move yet. It will give you an advantage over civilians if you can relocate for free. Also, the more places you are willing to move, the more job opportunities you will have.

3. Register with as many free job seeker services as possible. There are many free military-friendly job fairs, job boards and publications out there. Some combine all three (such as http://www.CivilianJobs.com )

4. If your MOS is one that is in constant demand (engineers, technicians, officers, NCOs, etc.), register with one or more no-charge military recruiter / headhunter / placement service (such as Bradley-Morris, Inc.). They will set up interviews for you in cities of your choosing. Here is a list of tips from Bradley-Morris, Inc. : http://www.bradley-morris.com/MilitarytoCivilianTransition.html .

5. There are also many blogs that offer free advice (such as http://www.MilitarytoCivilian.com )

6. Use your military network. Call a buddy that’s been out. Join a military network on LinkedIn. Find another Army veteran who is already in the civilian world doing something that you think you want to do and call them.

Good luck to all those transitioning and thank you for your service.

Regards,

Bill Scott
Bradley-Morris, Inc. (BMI)
Delivering Military-Experienced Talent to America’s Top Companies

By Anthony
August 17, 2009 at 8:44 am

Nick,
With the job market the way it is, how can me and every other Soldier who remain in the reserves get a fair resume screening? I have been on the job hunt for a few months now and am starting to feel as if companies do not want to hire a reservist due to the threat of deployment. I have been asked the deployment question in several interviews on positions that I am qualified to perform. I am starting to wonder if that is the case with the civilian sector and possible government positions also.

Respectfully,
Anthony

By Nick Corcodilos
August 21, 2009 at 10:48 am

@Anthony: Being in the reserves creates a career risk, that’s for sure. And some companies will discriminate against reservists for fear of losing them if they hire them. That makes it all the more important to position yourself as a new hire that will contribute to the company’s bottom line. You have to make the employer not only WANT you, but NEED you. Show how you will do the job in a way that will make a significant difference to the company’s business. Even if it’s driving a truck. Address the deployment issue head on but don’t sell yourself out. “Yes, I might get deployed. But that’s not what I focus on. I focus on how I can help my employer improve its bottom line. On how I can do the job to make a difference every day. I might get deployed. I might not. But what I can guarantee you is that if YOU deploy me on this job, THAT is what I will be focused on. If you will describe what you need a new hire to tackle, I’ll try to explain to you how I’ll do the work so it will make a difference.”

You need to hit hard on that last point. Be ready to outline how you will do the work. Think on your feet. Don’t be too clever, but be creative and thoughtful. No matter what the job is. Leave the employer thinking they need you, and they will take the risk of your being deployed at some point. One thing they will know: They will have a great worker while you are there.

The reality is, you MIGHT be deployed. There’s nothing to be done about that. So do something about what you can: Focus on the work and how you will do it better than anyone else.

I wish you the best.

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