Tag: #PersonalBranding

Five Job Search Tips for Vets Entering The Civilian Job Market

By Wayne R. Bodie, MBA, SPHR

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Photo by Benjamin Faust on Unsplash

While reading online posts, I noticed a significant number of unemployed military veterans with vast education and experiences. “What does it take to get hired in the civilian market?” they asked. They have decades of relevant service, noteworthy leadership skills, and their profile pictures are charismatic in formal dress uniform, so what is the problem?

Before I list a few tips that may address some of the questions I have seen, let me preface with two important pieces of information. The quest for jobs in the civilian market takes a long time. For each 10 thousand dollars, you wish to make annually, it may take up to one month to gain employment. So, if you are seeking a job that pays $60,000 it can take up to six months searching.

Next, feedback and notifications back to applicants have all but vanished. For every hundred resumes you send, you may hear little to nothing back. This is important to know because it can be discouraging to hear nothing or simply receive auto generated emails saying, “we have chosen another candidate.” You may be tempted to think the problem is with you. The problem is not with you.

Now, let’s work on getting you that job.

Here are 5 key tips for veterans entering the civilian job market. Human eyes typically no longer see your resume on a pre-screen. When you enter an application online, it typically feeds into an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). This system is designed to house and screen the organizations’ talent pool. It will pull the top candidates based on key words found in the job description or the needs of the hiring manager.

1.    Develop an ATS Compliant Resume. Aesthetics here can hinder your job search. Any complicated forms, text boxes, or tables can cause the ATS system to not “see” your qualifications. A simple TXT, Word, or PDF with no advanced graphics is best converted by ATS systems.

2.   Use the job description for the position you are applying to find the keywords the employer is looking for. Incorporate those keywords into your resume and in the description of your previous job duties. This can be done by reading the job description or using an online site such as www.wordle.com to scan the job description in which you are applying. You can also google top keywords related to the industry you are specifically seeking employment.

3.   “Civilianize” your resume. You want your job descriptions and titles of your previous positions to be perfectly understandable by a lay person. If a civilian recruiter does not understand your title or position, neither will the ATS. This may require you to use “functional titles” versus your official title. Find the position of your civilian counterpart and utilize this in your resume. You can explain your official title and rank during a pre-screen interview.

4.   Optimize your social media to reflect all the above recommendations. This will help increase your online ranking and in recruitment searches. If you are using LinkedIn be sure to let recruiters know that you are open to a new opportunity. This link shows a step by step tutorial.


5.   Consider a professional recruiter that specializes in a military to civilian transition. There are plenty of online services that will redo your resume or optimize your Linked In profile; however, someone who has walked your walk will take the extra time and energy in successfully getting you hired.

You are born leaders in every way. I cannot begin to express the amount of gratitude I have for all of you who have served our country. You have put yourself in harm’s way every day and have dealt with the tremendous personal sacrifice of protecting our nation’s freedom. We owe you a world of gratitude. The organization that hires you will be infinitely more successful because you are in it. I hope these quick and easy tips will help get you where you want to be.


Growing An Awesome Personal Brand: 8 Tips for Job Seekers

By Wayne R. Bodie, MBA, SPHR


Nowadays pretty much everyone is personal branding savvy, even non-techies. Very much like a product on a store shelf, the way we dress sends a strong message to those around us. So, obviously it pays dividends to invest in the right clothes, personal fitness, and to exercise presentable grooming techniques.

But You Are Smart, You Already Knew That.

So, let’s segue into much more topical issues. How much thought are you putting into your digital footprint? If you are in Human Resources or Operations, you already recognize how prominently social media factors into sourcing and researching potential talent. What your social media presence says about you today will have a huge bearing on your future employment successes.

The days of using a passive approach to social media have come and gone. If you don’t have a social media presence, you better get one. The absence of an online presence can be almost as detrimental to your future job opportunities as having a poorly presented brand. Resisting social media will affect your marketability.

At a bare minimum, if you haven’t done so already get a LinkedIn account up and running. To blow away the ever-expanding competition, consider spending money on the most important facet of your profile, a professional headshot. That investment pays off when that positive first impression entices the viewer to read further.

But, how do you leverage your personal brand into a much larger brand? Keep that LinkedIn account current with your most recent educational and professional history. Fill out as much profile information as you can include skills, achievements, and certifications. Once the basics are in place, you can regularly work the account. This means soliciting endorsements, writing and sharing industry relevant content, and arguably the most important strategy will be developing key relationships. This isn’t your social account, this is a business network. Avoid collecting connections that serve no strategic importance.

Start conversations, interact and join groups. Carry those relationships offline and meet for coffee to talk shop, or plan an after-hour networking mixer. Take a little time each day to work on your social media account and establish professional, valuable, and strategic business partnerships, not just “connections.” Meet a vendor or two that can undercut a current price or provide a better service. This justifies time well spent.

Don’t Stop There!

Consider a piece of digital real-estate to call home. A personal website and a custom URL is not just for graphic designers or amateur photographers anymore. Regardless of your industry, a personal website is the new norm that delivers wonderful opportunities to further develop your brand and be creative too.  Don’t believe me? Fill out a couple of online resume’s today in any industry and see how many now ask for your Linked-In URL and your personal website.

A Final Suggestion

Take the time to tidy up your personal Facebook account.Even if your privacy settings are set to: (1) not show on search engines or (2) can only be seen by friends, don’t be shocked if your interviewer, a recruiter or hiring manager asks you to log into your Facebook account. It is happening with greater frequency every day. Don’t let pictures of a seemingly innocent night out with an old friend end up costing you a six-figure job opportunity.

It’s no secret traditional networking is a huge advantage in a job search. Personal connections land most jobs. The good old-fashioned way still gets results so pick up the phone and dial a friend. But the remaining 20% of positions available that everybody battles for will be online. In this heated arena, only the very best branded online candidates will triumph over those poorly represented or worst yet, those having no online branding at all.

Hiring A Safety Manager: Consider Ex-Military or Paramilitary Professionals

By Wayne R. Bodie, MBA, SPHR


Your safety manager just left and with him his 20 years of experience out the door. Since you have rapid fire choices to make, you need this position filled quickly. Do you groom someone internally?  A learning curve in a safety role could cost your organization greatly in terms of fines, penalties, or even worst an on-the-job injury or death.

You know you need OSHA compliance, check. You need someone safety driven and goal oriented, check. Probably most importantly you need someone on-site who has a “Command Presence.” Ah, a term that many of us don’t consider in a job description.

We all know the mantra, “every accident is preventable.” We proudly hang our signs “X number of days accident-free,” but achieving success is easier talked about than putting into practice. Pardon the pun, workplace safety best practices do not happen by accident. To establish a safety-first culture as a core value, upper management buy-in is essential, and your safety manager must sell safety solutions and the program benefits to your troops.

Keep in mind credentialing is not the end all be all. You could have the highest credentialed safety manager in the world, but if he can’t sell your line personnel on a safety culture, accidents will happen. Don’t create a “paper” safety culture. Rather, hire a leader who can motivate and inspire others on the importance and strict adherence to safety plans.

Ex-military and paramilitary professionals have an abundance of safety training. In many cases, their equivalency of training far exceeds their civilian counterparts. In addition to their formal safety training, they are bred to lead even the most defiant employee. They function extremely well under pressure. Even the worst in a 9-5 civilian world will not faze these professionals. Consider this talent pool has functioned in the absolute worst conditions, at times in complete sleep deprivation mode, while managing teams and critical incidents that others can only imagine or watch on TV.

Ex-military and paramilitary candidates possess value-added skills. Their ancillary certifications and professional associations can greatly benefit your organization. Many are CPR Instructors, Emergency Medical Technicians, and Paramedics. Providing skills training in basic CPR/First Aid to personnel may make the difference between a survivable and un-survivable worksite injury. Consider these individuals as a tool in your recruitment toolbox for safety manager roles. Along with expanding your talent pool, come interview day, you will surely hear an interesting tale or two on interview day when you ask, “Tell me about your most difficult situation and how you overcame it.” Take it from me, I have some wild tales to tell.