Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Sobering Words of Advice for Transitioning Military Veterans As You Enter The Job Market - Sultan Camp's Article

In a recent edition of Business Insider, recruiter Sultan Camp offers a very provocative article entitled: "Thank You for Your Military Service - Here Are 9 Reasons Why I Won't Hire You."  Written from his perspective as a headhunter who places military veterans in a variety of roles, he offers nine warnings that should serve as a cautionary tale to each veteran who is preparing to enter the job market in what is still a challenging economic climate.

I will share the 9 Topics, and trust you to click on the following link to dig deeper and read the full article.

  1. You Can’t (or Won’t) Accept That You’re Starting Over
  2. You Believe You’re Unique (Just Like Every Other Transitioning Person That Day)
  3. Your Resume Is Longer Than the CEO of Our Company’s (or Shorter Than a Recent College Graduate’s)
  4. You Didn’t Proofread Your Resume
  5. You Don’t Have a LinkedIn Profile (Or, Even Worse, It’s Not Complete
  6. You Think Social Media Is For Kids or Sharing War Stories
  7. You Didn’t Prepare For The Interview
  8. You Wrote a Thank You Note (But Only to Say Thank You)
  9. You Don’t Know What You Want to Do

    Full Business Insider Article Link
Let me add my own observation to Mr. Camp's excellent advice.  I would add Points #10 and #11:

#10. You did not utilize your network of contacts assertively enough or strategically enough to open doors for you.

#11  \Prepare to tell your "story" in short narrative vignettes, telling what you have done to solve a problem or seize an opportunity and telling how you have utilized your hard skills and soft skills to accomplish something meaningful.  Weave these stories into the interview.

Among the 9 Points that this article makes, I would highlight #3, #4, #5 #7 as particularly crucial.

#3 For most military veterans, a two page resume is appropriate, using the Harvard Business School format.  It should be results oriented with data to back up claims of productivity rather than just a list of activities you have performed.  You should be telling a story of what you accomplished, not just what you did with your time.

#4 Ask at least one other trusted person to join you in reading and re-reading and proofreading your resume to weed out errors and fine-tuning sections that are not clear and concise.

#5 LinkedIn - a full Profile with recommendations and endorsements is an absolute necessity in this job market.  If you need help, I refer you to a fine book written by my friend, Dave Gowel, "The Power In A Link"

#7 Prepare for the interview by learning all you can about the company, the job, the culture, the background of the people with whom you will be interviewing.  Use your network connections and their connections to learn all that you can so that you can make the case for yourself as someone who can solve the problem that needs to be solved by filling this open position.

Think of all of these steps of preparation as battlefield assessment, coming up with a battle plan and executing that plan.  If a job offer does not result, then do an "After Action Review" to see what lessons you can learn so that you are better at interviewing the second, third and tenth time around.

This is a battle you can win, but it takes preparation, courage, resilience and team work.

Best of luck in finding the next meaningful place of service  and employment.



Samir said...

Good find!

Anonymous said...

As a retired US Navy Senior Chief (1998) this would have been an invaluable article for me to particular #1. This was a very hard pill to swallow and took several years for me to work out intellectually and emotionally. As for #3,4,5, (#7 didn't exist)...those I was prepared for and believe I did a good job.

But for the most part I completely agree with the author.