20 Things Job Seekers Can Do During a Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic put a halt on businesses large and small. From hospitality groups to financial firms to tech companies, businesses paused to figure out what comes next.

What does this mean for job seekers? Can you still find a post-military job when unemployment claims are skyrocketing and furloughs are becoming commonplace?

Yes, many companies are hiring. While recruiting, interviewing and onboarding are mostly done remotely now, there are still people finding jobs, getting promoted and growing their careers.

Whether you’re getting ready to transition out of the military or you’re in the job market currently, here are 20 things you could be doing to secure your next position:

Strategy

  1. Clarify your personal brand. Who are you, what do you want, and what can you offer? You need to be an expert on you, so spend the time to understand your brand and goals.
  2. Consider your values. What is your moral compass, and what are your non-negotiables? What do YOU stand for, and how will you move through your values to create value for others? Write down your values.
  3. Decide what will be your career path. Are you looking for a job or a career? What path have you laid out, starting with the first position and including any education you may need to arrive at your desired career? Map this out.
  4. Understand your ideal employer. Who are they, what do they want, and what value do they seek? Write down what you believe this employer needs from ideal employees.

Networking

  1. Who do you need to knowAre you connected to people with the influence, information and ability to endorse you to your ideal employer? Make a list of people you need to connect with.
  2. What do you want them to know about you/feel about you? Make lists of your goals regarding perception: What should your networking contacts know about you to best empower them to serve you?
  3. What do you need from them — information, introductions, referrals? Each person in your network can provide a different value to you. Write down, next to their name, how you believe they can serve you.
  4. How can you help them? Are you returning value, gratitude and referrals? Offer to write a recommendation on their LinkedIn profile, send a personalized thank you note, or introduce them to someone of value to them.

LinkedIn

  1. Connect on LinkedIn with people you’ve identified you need to know. Personalize the connection request and indicate how or why you believe a connection would be mutually beneficial.
  2. Initiate the conversation on LinkedIn. Personalize the message and perhaps suggest a phone call to learn more about their business.
  3. Review your LinkedIn contacts. Remove those who might reflect negatively on you because of their posts, comments or reputation.
  4. Solicit endorsements and recommendations to your profile. Send a personalized note to the contact you’re requesting the recommendation from. Offer specific keywords and phrases you’d like them to use, to strengthen your positioning and reputation.

Resume and Cover Letter

  1. Update your resume. Reflect any new certifications, knowledge or credentials.
  2. Check your keywords. Ensure specific, targeted keywords are used throughout your resume and cover letter, and are consistently promoted on your social media as well.
  3. Customize your resume to every open position you apply to. It takes time, and it’s worth it. Show the employer specifically how you are the candidate they seek.
  4. Look at the formatting of your resume. Is it clean and professional or overly designed? Can a reader find the information they need quickly or is it packed with irrelevant information that you could delete to streamline it?

Career

  1. Learn new skills by taking online courses to expand your certifications and credentials. Consider LinkedIn Learning courses that support your skills and experience and give you insight about the civilian sector.
  2. Assess the goals you initially set when you started your transition. Do you still want a management position or has that changed? Are new opportunities — given the job market — interesting to you? Write those down.
  3. Deploy a feedback survey to evaluate your current reputation. With your growth goals in mind, how much work do you have to do on your reputation to achieve your ideal career?
  4. Find a mentor. Now might be an ideal time to find someone who can coach you, guide you and offer support as you search for your next career move.

The job market certainly looks different in May 2020 than it did in February. But that can also reveal tremendous opportunities for job seekers willing to do the work and get creative in how they position themselves to employers!

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Source: Military.com

Take Time to Write and Solicit LinkedIn Recommendations

Today, it might feel like transition has slowed down. You may have approached your separation with excitement and enthusiasm, but suddenly find that the civilian sector stopped abruptly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Interviews aren’t scheduled as quickly, offers aren’t made as quickly, and you have time on your hands. Now is a great time to write LinkedIn recommendations for people in your network, and to ask for some from your close contacts.

Why Recommendations?

Recommendations on LinkedIn carry weight and influence. They are written by someone with a LinkedIn profile (so the viewer can check out the author’s credentials) and, if done correctly, recommendations can speak to your value, skills and experience in ways you can’t.

When you write your LinkedIn profile, you know you must promote your accomplishments. This is not the time to be obscure and subtle when highlighting your value. If you’ve done great things and are capable of creating tremendous value for your employer, you can share that on LinkedIn. You’ll list your job experiences, point to the results of your actions, and share the many ways you serve your communities through volunteerism.

But how do you say what a great person you are? How do you let potential employers know that you’re someone who’s overcome obstacles in life? Either would be difficult to say about yourself. This is where recommendations come in. A focused and well-crafted recommendation can say things about you that would be awkward to say about yourself.

How to Write a Recommendation

When writing a recommendation for someone else, start by asking whether there are any topics, qualities or skills they would like you to highlight. Hopefully, they have a personal brand strategy with specific keywords they are promoting on their profile. Use those.

Make sure you speak only about what you know. Don’t feel you have to stretch beyond your knowledge and comfort. For instance, if you’re asked to write a recommendation that points to skills you haven’t witnessed or claims to have experienced their character in ways you haven’t, you open yourself up to risk that could harm your credibility. When in doubt, leave it out.

Note the value of your recommendation to them and their future success. For instance, I am in the branding and marketing business. If I write a recommendation for a graphic designer, it would carry a lot of weight, since I’m an expert in the field. That carries a lot of responsibility for me to be sure I’m careful about who I recommend publicly.

Similarly, say you were to write a recommendation for a soldier you served with, one who is transitioning to a career in graphic arts. You know them to be resilient, focused and patient because of the context from the Army. Are you qualified to speak about their creativity, imagination and computer skills unless you have experienced those as well?

How to Ask for a Recommendation

Asking for a recommendation on LinkedIn can feel like asking someone to tell others that you’re nice/cool/fun/worthy. But LinkedIn recommendations are not popularity gestures, they are strategic brand builders.

Ask for a recommendation from someone you trust, who’s seen your work or experienced your value. Then, offer to assist them in crafting the recommendation. You might suggest the keywords they could include that are most meaningful to you or the area of focus you are striving for.

Do you want the recommendation to speak to your past (what you did in the military) or what they believe you’ll contribute in the future? Do you seek a recommendation that speaks to your character and integrity or one that highlights your unique skills and talents? When you drive the formation of the recommendation, you are controlling the narrative around how you’ll be presented.

When time permits, LinkedIn recommendations are great to give and get. Be sure to periodically reorder them on your profile so the most relevant ones are on top, not just the most recent. This means you are being strategic about how your LinkedIn profile communicates your value.

Source: Military.com

How the Veterans Beneifts Administration is Connecting with Veterans During COVID 19

Things have changed a bit since then. The COVID-19 pandemic has grounded the man who oversees the administration of veterans benefits—including the GI Bill®. But that hasn’t stopped him from connecting with veterans. It’s just changed the way he’s doing it.

I chatted with Lawrence by phone, and he talked about the weekly whiteboard sessions he’s doing on social media, how he’s connected with nearly a quarter of a million veterans by phone in seven states through Tele-Town Halls, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way this critical pillar of the VA does business. His responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.

HOW HAS THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC CHANGED THE VBA’S DAILY OPERATIONS?

Lawrence: It’s had a significant effect on how we do business. We’re still open for business, but it is different, and so probably north of 95% of our employees are now teleworking. And this was actually planned. We have a big telework capability, and VA’s Office of Information Technology has really upped the bandwidth, so we’re doing quite well with that.

So what we keep telling folks is, ‘We’re available at the toll free number, 1-800-827-1000, or on the web at va.gov, and that we’re still open for business. Call us. Contact us.

HOW HAS THE PANDEMIC CHANGED THE WAY YOU OPERATE AS A VA LEADER?

Lawrence: I’m a big believer in social media, and then of course getting out to the conferences. So you can’t do that anymore, and that’s been very frustrating because I really value that time to interact with veterans and hear what people have to say and answer questions.

So I started doing two things on social media. The first was using LinkedIn Live. This is a feature that just allows you to record and be shared in LinkedIn. So every Friday at noontime I try to do what I call a ‘Whiteboard Session – VBA in 10 Minutes,’ where I provide veterans and others the latest of what’s going on at VBA—a little bit of VA—but mostly VBA, answering some of the things you’re asking: What about this? What about that? And then providing some toll-free numbers that we have, and then also talking about the Tele-Town Halls. And sometimes, answering some of the questions that were presented in the Tele-Town Halls just to get closure because I either didn’t know the answer or wanted to go deeper into the answer. It’s an effective tool, but of course you have to be on LinkedIn.

TELE-TOWN HALLS

The Tele-Town Halls then kind of emerged out of that as a desire to do more Q&A. LinkedIn Live, I would say, is one-way communication. But the Tele-Town Halls were designed to get information to folks who maybe aren’t on LinkedIn and aren’t on the web, but also to answer questions. So, if you have a chance to listen in, it’s a pretty short communication from me, and then we take calls from veterans, family members and the like, who ask questions—how does this work? How does that work? I answer right there, and then we post the FAQs—the Frequently Asked Questions—later on social media so people can see it. So that’s been a really, really good change. So far I’ve done seven of these, and I’ve hit almost 225,000 folks on the phone, and so it’s kind of a big deal in terms of getting the word out. I like them so much I think I’ll continue doing both of these when we return to the new normal to augment or complement travel.

WHAT QUESTIONS DO YOU HEAR MOST FREQUENTLY?

Lawrence: Perhaps the most repeated question is asking about spousal benefits: What will my wife get, says the husband, when I die? So I get a lot of questions about that.

We get surprisingly frustrating questions such as, ‘Will my benefits continue?’ As if somehow we would stop those benefits.

WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HAVE FOR SERVICE MEMBERS GETTING READY TO TRANSITION FROM THE MILITARY?

Lawrence: The VA’s here to help. We continue to be open for business. It’s not business as usual—it’s a little bit different. But especially if you need help with your benefits, we’re on the web at va.gov as well as the 1-800-827-1000 number. So please, please, please—we’re here to help and we know now during this time it’s particularly important.

I would remind them that while it’s probably more frustrating than it was just a couple months ago when veteran unemployment was at a record low, the fundamentals of our economy are strong, and while it will be difficult for a little while, I would expect that desire to employ veterans will rebound. It will be just a matter of time, and everybody’s going through this process in terms of how they’ve been changed regardless of the situation. So we understand.

And then the final thing is, if the social isolation and the combination of things is really causing problems and they think they or a buddy might be in crisis or just needing some attention, I would ask you to remind them of the crisis line: 1-800-273-8255. That line is manned by people ready to do interventions, whether it’s conversation or sending somebody to their homes to be dealt with. You can also do it on text—some people like that—you can text 838255. So I guess my message would be: Regardless of your situation, we’re here. You can reach us. No matter how bad it seems, it isn’t as bad as they might imagine and we’re here to help.

Here are three key VBA programs Lawrence highlighted:

Post-9/11 GI Bill®: Heralded as the best military education benefit in US history, Congress recently enacted legislation to keep benefits flowing during the COVID-19 pandemic. For information, visit va.gov or call the toll free number: 1-888-GIBILL-1

Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program: Provides veterans with job training, employment accommodations, résumé development, and job seeking skills coaching. Other services may be provided to assist veterans and service members in starting their own businesses or independent living services for those who are severely disabled and unable to work in traditional employment. For information, visit the VR&E Process page.

Solid Start: Launched recently to call every newly separated service member three times during their first year out of service to discuss their transition experience, ask questions about navigating benefits, and connect with resources to ease challenges they may face. “We’re reminding everybody to please take the phone call, and let us help the veterans,” Lawrence said.

Source: GI Jobs.com

Top Reasons to Consider a Temp Job

When people wonder how to find a job, they generally think about full-time work. But more often these days, it’s not about committing to a 40-hour-a-week grind at one company for the next two to five years. Today, one in five jobs in America is being filled by a contract worker, according to an NPR/Marist poll. Just look at all the temp jobs and contract jobs now hiring on Monster!

Temporary work is its own kind of contract work, often undertaken for a few hours to a few weeks or months, depending on the position and the level in the company. Everyone—from entry-level and C-suite to IT and administrative—can temp. And there are several advantages to keeping your options open.

You get to know a job before committing

Even if you’ve gone through the most thorough interview process available, it’s still hard to know exactly what you’re walking into when you join a company. Enter the temp position, stage left. When you temp for a firm, you can get a sense for the work, the people, and the culture without committing yourself to a full-time position.

“Like an internship, [temping] offers a chance to assess whether this company or industry is one where you’d like to work,” says Christopher Lee, a career consultant in San Diego and founder of PurposeRedeemed.com. “You have an opportunity to build relationships and, if you are interested in pursuing a permanent role there, demonstrate the value you bring through the quality of your work.”

This is especially helpful in discovering when an industry or company isn’t what you expected. A temp position saves you the trouble of having to quit due to a poor fit. “There have certainly been types of jobs that, from the outside, I thought, ‘That’s what I want to do,’ and then I got an internship and saw what happens on a day-to-day basis and said, ‘This is not for me,’” Lee says. “Temping can offer that same sort of validation.”

You can develop new skills

It’s easy to get pigeonholed into an industry or career. And once you’re there, you become more of an expert in your subject area—which makes it even harder to jump ship to something else that interests you. With temping, however, you can dip your toe into many different places and pick up a variety of new proficiencies on the job.

“You may have a great work ethic, great background, and you land a position that’s offering a different set of skills or knowledge,” says Deborah Woolridge, a career coach and HR professional in New York City. “And they’re willing to take you under their wing to learn different things.”

This is particularly helpful if you’re coming out of college without a lot of experience, if you’re trying to switch industries, or if you’re returning to work after time off.

The arrangement can be flexible

Maybe you’re starting your own business. Maybe you have a side passion that doesn’t really pay the bills. Whatever it is, you need cash—and flexible, temporary work can provide the income you need while still allowing you the time to work on other things. It’s also a reasonable way to start to power down your career later in life.

“You can imagine the kind of people who have been running really hard for 30 years,” says Debbie Seeger, co-founder of Patina Solutions, an interim executive placement firm. “We’ve found, especially the baby boomer generation, that there is a desire to keep working, but maybe to change the way the work is arranged.”

Temping also gives experienced professionals a way to focus on the part of their work that really gives them joy—and skip the rest. “They want to provide expertise,” Seeger says. “And yet, at the same time, they may not necessarily want to sign up for the fully loaded salary experience.”

You could get a full-time gig

In many cases, a temp position can develop into the real thing. “I landed a job at Sony Music while temping,” says Callista Gould, author of The Exceptional Professional: What You Need to Know to Grow Your Career. “I would have never had the opportunity otherwise.”

When you temp for a company, you’re already top of mind when a job opening becomes available. You’re regularly working with people who know the quality of your work, your work ethic, and your personality. That can make a big difference to a hiring manager when it comes time to consider candidates for a permanent position.

“Should a permanent position open up, I think if you demonstrated your commitment to the company, you’d be a strong candidate compared to someone from the outside applying without any internal references,” Lee says.

Find your fit

Temporary positions offer you a great way to gain new skills and make valuable contacts, which is especially reassuring during such uncertain times. Could you use some help finding temp jobs? Join Monster for free today. As a member, you can upload up to five versions of your resume—each tailored to the types of jobs that interest you. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates, just like you. Additionally, you can get job alerts sent directly to your inbox to cut down on time spent looking through ads. Those are two quick and easy ways Monster can help your career continue to move forward.

Source: Monster.com

5 Jobs with the Worst Bosses

No matter how much you love your job, having a bad boss can turn it into a nightmare. It seems, though, that some jobs garner more bad bosses than others. That’s according to PayScale, who surveyed 24,000 people in February 2013 on what they wanted to change most about their job. The survey also asked about job stress and satisfaction. Here are the top five professions who said they wanted new bosses.

1) Chemists and Materials Scientists

Chemists analyze and conduct experiments with chemicals in research labs or for companies to develop new products and processes. Materials scientists research and study chemical properties of natural, synthetic and composite materials in order to strengthen, improve or combine them. According to PayScale, 19.4 percent of the chemists and materials scientists who responded say they hate their boss, and 54 percent reported high stress and 16 percent low job satisfaction.

2) Dental Hygienists

If you don’t like to go to the dentist, you’re not alone: 18.2 percent of dental hygienists said they hate their boss, and 54 percent reported high stress in their job. Nine percent of dental hygienists reported low job satisfaction. Dental hygienists do a lot of the work at your dental appointment: They clean teeth, screen for gingivitis and other maladies, and educate patients on proper oral care. They may also take X-rays for the dentist to examine.

3) Bakers

According to PayScale, 17.9 percent of bakers hate their boss. Almost two-thirds of them report high stress on the job, and 16 percent said they had low job satisfaction. Bakers are responsible for measuring, mixing and baking dough and may be involved with stocking display cases at restaurants or bakeries. Bakers work for a wide variety employers, including grocery stores, bakeries and restaurants. Large-scale baking operations that work around the clock also employ bakers; night shifts and weekend work are not uncommon.

4) Food Service Managers

The high-stress world of restaurants takes its toll on food service managers; 17 percent of them say they hate their boss, and a whopping 76 percent say they have high stress from their career. Fourteen percent say they have low job satisfaction. Food service managers are responsible for the day-to-day operations at restaurants. They often work long hours and because they are the ones unhappy customers complain to, food service managers are often stuck with solving problems and making hard decisions under pressure.

5) Occupational Health and Safety Specialists and Technicians

Occupational health and safety technicians collect data about the safety and health conditions in different environments and then work with specialists to look at different options to mitigate hazards and help protect workers, equipment and the public. They’re not confined to only dangerous worksites such as construction and mining; they may also look at data from offices, for example. PayScale says that 15.8 percent of occupational health and safety specialists and technicians hate their boss, and that 66 percent reported high stress at work. Seven percent of them reported low job satisfaction.

 

Source: Military.com