Book review of “LinkedIn for Military”

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LinkedIn for Military: A Warrior's Guide for Changing Careers

LinkedIn for Military: A Warrior’s Guide for Changing Careers provides tips on using the business social network LinkedIn tailored for veterans as they transition from military to civilian employment.  It covers how to convey your career experience in LinkedIn, writing your profile summary, avoiding military acronyms, how to use your contacts to expand your LinkedIn following, and tips on joining LinkedIn groups.

The surprising thing about this book is how short it is.  At 32 pages with 14 point font with generous spacing, this is really an article in book format.  Not that a book on best practices for LinkedIn needs to be very long, but I was expecting something more substantive.

For example, “chapter” 2 is about crafting a powerful LinkedIn summary for your profile.  There are helpful suggestions on how to go about having an elevator pitch for yourself and using your career highlights in your LinkedIn profile.  But it would have been even more helpful if the book included additional examples of strong summaries and bad ones.  Instead, each chapter only includes one or two examples, and they’re almost always Air Force examples.

One area that the book does not get into is how to share updates or posts with your LinkedIn network.  Posting information to LinkedIn periodically about your field can help reinforce your expertise and drive engagement within your business network.

The best tip in the book is that you should get some people to read your LinkedIn profile and tell you what they think.  That’s always good advice, and I would add onto it by saying you should try to get somebody without military experience to read it to make sure your military jargon is readable, and try to get somebody outside of your family to read it for an objective critique.

I liked the concept of a short book advising veterans about proper use of LinkedIn, but this book left me very underwhelmed.

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4 job interview tips for veterans

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  • Know your own military story cold.  Be self-aware.
  • Show how your military experience/story addresses the needs of the employer
  • Use compelling, easily understood language that resonates with the hiring manager
  • Get your selling points across quickly using phrases the interviewer can write down

This solid advice and several other good points come from Peter A. Gudmundsson in U.S. News and World Report yesterday:

Veterans: Learn to Tell Your Story in a Job Interview

Knowing how to describe your best traits is critical to a successful meeting with a potential employer.

Have you ever wondered what the hiring manager across the table is thinking during your job interview? The chances are good that they are asking themselves two questions: “Who is this person, really?” and “Can they fix my problem or solve my need?”

As the discussion continues, the interviewer’s inner dialog will perhaps expand to: “Can I see myself working with this person?” and “Will this candidate cause me any difficulties?”

In order to successfully navigate the interview, the veteran candidate needs to show that they can do the job, will do the job and that they will fit in the team and company cultures. The candidate must know their own story cold and show how that narrative addresses the interviewer’s questions.

For military veterans, telling your story is an especially critical task. Coming from an often misunderstood, underappreciated or plain incomprehensible series of experiences, it is up to the veteran job seeker to tell their story in a way that resonates with the interviewer.

As with any story, a job seeker must address the who, what, when, where and why of their veteran service. This does not have to be exhaustive, just logically consistent and compelling. Focus on the facts and feelings that match the job and career for which you are applying.

For example, a veteran applying for a technology role might say: “I joined the Navy for three reasons: the satisfaction of national service, to travel the world and to get first class technical training and experience. I realized all of those goals and more during three deployments to the Pacific and Indian oceans on a cruiser, working as a radar technician. I rose three rank levels by passing examinations and receiving stellar reviews from my seniors. I learned how to keep complex machinery working but also how teamwork and creative thinking are critical to performance. I can honestly say that the Navy provided me with the best possible preparation for the role you seek to fill.”

Remember, the key is explaining your story in a way that is compelling and appropriate to the company need. You don’t need translator software and you must avoid the use of too much military jargon and acronyms.

Each personal narrative needs the following subjects addressed:

Who: Who are you? What is important to you? Are you self-aware and comfortable in your own skin?

What: What are you good at doing? How can you prove that to the interviewer?

When/Where: What are the basic facts of your relevant experience?

Why: Why did you do the things you did and why should the interviewer care?

Use non-cliched headlines and soundbites that the interviewer can write down and digest. For example, goal-oriented, team-oriented, competitive and great attention to detail are all phrases that connote certain desirable traits (if accurate). Think like a campaigning politician who has only a few sentences to get an idea across. Don’t waste time or words when you can get right to the point…

Georgians can see Vietnam Memorial locally

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“The Wall That Heals” is open for visitation at Veterans Memorial Park at 651 Hyden Tyler Road in Chatsworth, Georgia from now until the end of the week.  The portable version of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. gives smaller communities a chance to see the monument.  On Sunday, May 15, there will be a closing ceremony before the mobile war memorial is moved to its next location.  Chattanooga’s WRCB has the story:

Vietnam Veterans Memorial visit North Georgia

Harvey Roach served in Vietnam from 1967 through 1969.

He remembers difficult days when he returned home to Georgia.

“We were called baby killers, we were spit on, you name it,” said Roach.

He also remembers the lives lost- brothers and sisters he plans to honor by visiting the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Chatsworth.

“When they set the wall up, it’s going to get emotional,” said Roach.

Tim Tetz with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund says the traveling wall allows everyone who was touched by Vietnam to remember what happened 50 years ago.

“This gives an opportunity for someone who lost a love one who served there, to pay their respects to their name and remember their sacrifice,” said Tetz.

The wall constructed of powder-coated aluminum will make 35 stops through December.

Tetz says for some, the wall offers healing.

“This is called: “The wall that heals.” When our founder came up with the idea to build a national memorial for our Vietnam veterans he realized there would be some healing there, but didn’t realize how much,” said Tetz.

Tetz has been carrying the stories of people who served in Vietnam since 1999, including the four people from Murray County who died in the war.

He says the mobile wall gives those who haven’t had the chance to visit the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C., the chance to honor the 58,307 men and women who died…

The wall will return to Georgia Nov. 16-20 in Woodstock.

USAA branch comes to Buckhead

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USAA Financial Service Center

USAA, the well-respected financial institution that serves members of the military, veterans, and dependents, is opening a service center in Atlanta.  The bank typically serves its customers only by phone or online.  This strategy has allowed USAA to offer high interest rates on savings and checking accounts, low fees, and low car insurance premiums.

At the new branch, customers will be able to buy car insurance, open an account, make deposits or withdrawals, and get help with financial planning and military transitions like changing duty stations, deploying, or retiring.

The Atlanta USAA Financial Center will open on March 28.  It will be located at the corner of Peachtree and West Paces Ferry in Two Buckhead Plaza (near Chops):

Two Buckhead Plaza
3050 Peachtree Road, Suite 150
Atlanta, GA 30305

I’ve been a USAA member for years but have never had the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face.  This will be a great service option for military families in the Atlanta area!

Georgia honors 19 Vietnam combat Marines

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Viet Marines

This is part of a broader, overdue program to thank over 200,000 of Georgia’s Vietnam veterans for their service.  From the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer:

Georgia recognizes Vietnam vets who served in Marine Corps

  • 19 Marines from the Chattahoochee Valley were presented a State Certificate of Honor and lapel pin for service in Vietnam
  • The recognition is part of the state’s program to recognize 234,000 Georgia veterans who served in armed forces during Vietnam
  • Program started a year ago as part of the 50th anniversary of the war

Local Marines display 100 years of history

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Two Marine veterans are displaying their collection of historical military gear around schools in Henry, Spalding and other counties just south of the Atlanta area.  They will also come to your location if it’s not too far.  This seems like it would be a great opportunity for boy scout troops, ROTC programs, and history classes to take advantage of.

The two men assembled their collection from shops and flea markets.  I hope they accept donations–I’d rather give some of my old gear to them than leaving it on the curb!  The Henry Herald reports:

Veterans give military history lessons from personal collection

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

Mar 4, 2016

McDONOUGH — Students marveled at the walkie-talkie — a stamped steel, two-way radio shaped like an 80s cellphone receiver, but twice as large.

The device stood atop a table of artifacts dating back 100 years, pieces of a personal collection owned by McDonough residents Lamar Scott and Buddy Simpson. It was part of their exhibit displayed this week in the Navy JROTC wing of Eagle’s Landing High School.

Scott, 68, and Simpson, 78, are veteran Marines who served during the Vietnam War-era and want that history to be told and memorialized.

Over the past decade, they have collected hundreds of pieces to display in visits to area schools, churches and senior centers. The exhibit covers military engagements from World War I to the Vietnam War.

“I’ve been collecting for about 11 years,” said Scott. “I started off with just a little bit of a collection. I went from a few shelves in the bedroom to a 6-by-12-foot trailer. And now we have an 8-by-20-foot trailer.”

Scott has managed to collect most of his items through flea market sprees in the North Georgia area, while Simpson has built his collection buying from shops across the Southeast.

“We do it to teach students about history,” he said. “If you forget your past, you have no hope for the future. We’re preserving history through wartime collection.”

He and Simpson have loyal friendships in Russ Vermillion and Terry McClure who volunteer their time helping show the historic pieces.

Both wartime veterans have a vested interest in the military histories. Vermillion served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1968 to 1970, and McClure served in the Army from 1972 to 1974.

Vermillion keeps the group lively during exhibits with intermittent jokes, breaking lulls of seriousness with jest.

On Thursday, a cloud of chatter filled the Navy JROTC wing of Eagles Landing High, where the men and a few JROTC cadets spent seven hours setting up cabinets, table displays and mannequins.

About 50 mannequins clad in antique uniforms dwarfed the men as they answered questions from students passing through.

“These mannequins represent men and women that died for our freedoms,” said Scott. “The best representation is Jesus Christ that died for all of us. But if I can get four or five of these kids on the right road, I’ve done my job.”

Simpson said he regularly receives donations from people who might otherwise toss the historic items in the trash…

How to sell your military skills to a civilian employer

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Job Search

The book Job Search by Lt. Col. (Ret.) David G. Henderson provides good tips on the transition from the military to civilian employment. In Chapter 1, Henderson encourages readers to think about–and actually write down–what skills they have, what job preferences they have, and what goals they have. It may sound hokey, but it is a useful exercise that will prompt you to learn something about yourself.

The subtitle, “Marketing Your Military Experience,” refers to translating your military skills to a civilian hiring manager. This includes how to describe your experience and strengths on resumes. The book also includes smaller, practical tips; for example, avoid using military acronyms and don’t wear military dress shoes in civilian interviews.

The book is also helpful as a general employment guide with thoughtful suggestions on how to search for jobs and how to improve your resume. Henderson’s guidance is relevant to anybody seeking a second career or making a mid-life jump from one field to a very different field, because that’s essentially what military retirees are doing.

I read the 5th edition which was published in 2009. Even though the Internet had already been around for a long time then, the descriptions of online job searches in this book are quite dated. There are good resources listed for job searching, career assistance, and veteran support services, but some of the resources seem dated as well. The appendices are a bit too long and redundant bordering on fluff, but those pages can be skipped or skimmed.

This book is written from the point of view of a personnel officer attempting to help a servicemember who is within six months from retirement. However, I think it would be useful to veterans even several years after they have separated or retired from the military. Spend a few bucks to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward during a career transition!