Tips On How to Retain Military Veteran Employees

In a recent Q&A session, Recruiting Daily Advisor asked Diane Hudson, a career coach, resume writer, and speaker specializing in military conversion and transition assistance, for insight into how employers can improve veteran retention.

Military veterans have a very low unemployment rate in recent years, 3.9 percent as a group. However,  a 2016 U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation study finds 44 percent of veterans leave their first post-military jobs within a year, and an additional 15 percent leave by their two-year work anniversary.

Here is the Q&A session and great tips on how employers can retain military veteran employees:

RDA: Skills matching has been an issue for veterans in the past; that is, explaining how military skills transfer to the civilian workplace. Does this likely play a part with regard to retention?

DH: Yes, this may play a part in retention. Veterans often have trouble identifying their transferable skill sets. Many tell me, “I just do my job.” An infantryman may laundry-list his official duties based off of his military occupational specialty (or equivalent) job duties. However, his actual duties and accomplishments may involve a number of experiences ranging from inventory to logistics, to administration, training, and more—programs and projects not detailed in a job description. Even though he is well trained, educated, and experienced, he may be missing something specific to corporate. For example, a human resources specialist in the military may manage personnel actions and strength management, but not actually hire anyone, handle EEO complaints or work with unions. Accepting a position in HR may or may not be the right fit for transferable skill sets from military work.

Another reason veterans leave jobs in corporate America to move into a new positions, is being under-challenged. Most veterans are very well trained; they are leaders, they manage people, equipment, and money under often very stressful, fast-paced, and austere working conditions. I hear from many veterans after they start new jobs that they get bored quickly.

RDA: A number of companies have found that networking and affinity groups help military members adjust to the workplace. Mentor relationships can also make a difference. How important is ongoing support?

DH: Ongoing support is crucial to help veterans become accustomed to the new “corporate culture” and assimilate into the new work environment. For many veterans making a transition from 20 years of military service to corporate or federal can be like speaking Greek—or moving to a foreign country. The networking and affinity groups help the veterans learn of the new corporate culture, the differences in chain of command, and learn the new “corporate language.” This networking effort and mentorship also provides support and empowers veterans to excel in their new positions, as they add to their skill sets. The experience of transitioning from military to corporate is challenging and takes time; networking groups are a real benefit to veterans.

RDA: Needless to say, a corporate environment is very different from the military. Because of this, it seems as though transition would be ongoing. For example, processes and procedures probably come up all the time that are new or different. How important is it for companies to understand what veterans face, and how should companies address this issue?

DH: Mutual partnering and affinity groups also expose the corporate mentors to the military culture—so they can learn about the challenges the veterans face as they make the transition from military to corporate. One military officer said to me, “Diane, I feel like I am walking up to the edge of a cliff and I am not sure how to get down.”

Sometimes, veterans are misunderstood. For example, one of my clients was asked in a job interview, “Since you used ‘orders’ to get work accomplished, how will you manage a staff and volunteers?” He stated that he had only issued one “order” in his career and it was in a warzone and intended to save lives.

With this possible misunderstanding, it is important for companies that hire veterans to ensure transparency in communications, offer training, and integrate information about new processes and systems into the affinity groups.

RDA: As HR and related functions becomes more data-driven, frustration with veteran retention numbers may lead to scaling back of recruitment efforts. Why is it important to continue to recruit and hire veterans, while working to improve retention?

DH: The benefits of hiring veterans are many: They are well educated and trained; most officers and senior enlisted have degrees; they are hard workers—at age 25, with only six or so years of experience, many veterans have managed more people, resources, money, and equipment/inventory than most people in corporate will manage in a career. Veterans are smart and learn quickly. They are given the opportunity to operate in several jobs areas; they brief senior leaders, they write reports, and they travel the globe. They are disciplined and polite.

Given the opportunity to learn a new challenge in a new industry—their transferable skill sets can take companies to new levels. One of my clients, a submariner, landed a job with Pepsi in a bottling plant—and he loved his new project management position; another client got a job with Amazon and excelled; another client got a job with Walmart in logistics and stayed for another 20-year career; a physician and administrator got a job with the Veterans Administration, where he said he could give back to the military for several more years. Most retiring veterans with 20 years of experience are between 38 and 42 years of age; they have to offer another 20 years of experience and mentorship to the next generation of workers.

As companies and veterans collaborate together to teach each other about each others’ cultures, they will begin to embrace their differences and work together to ensure success for the employer and the mission.

If you would like to schedule a consultation or career coaching class for your employees, simply contact Diane. 

 

Veteran and Military Job Search Opportunities

jobs-military

Military experience? Leaving the Military and looking for a new job or career?

Use these links and articles for help during your job search:

1.) Veteran Friendly and Military Friendly Employers

2.) All “Veteran Job Search” Articles by Diane Hudson

3.) Diane was recently interviewed by AARP for an article on military transitions.

View the article here: Out of Uniform and Into the Job Market

Enjoy!

Thank you,

Diane

Career Coaching Competency: Powerful Questioning

This is Article #4 in our New Series: The “Must Knows” of Career Coaching – Core Competencies

By Diane Hudson Burns, CPCC, CEIP, CPRW
Director, Certified Professional Career Coach Program

Communicating Effectively means asking Powerful Questions.

Career Coaching - Asking Powerful Questions“Career Coaching is a query-based approach to guiding job seekers to self-actualization and discovery of career choices and professions.

It is about effective communication, leading a job seeker to discover for himself an appropriate career path and requirements, as well as building a strong foundational partnership between the coach and the job seekers.

Effective communications are critical to facilitate career success and progress.

Learning to listen well and to pose gripping questions is the mastery behind Career Coaching.” – From Module 3, Certified Professional Career Coach program.

The Job Seeker’s Perspective

Very often, job seekers looking for a job, promotion, or career path, ask questions like:

  • “What do you think I should do?”
  • “How can you find me a job?”
  • “Tell me what to do.”
  • “What contacts do you have who can help me? Do you have insider leads?”
  • “Can you guarantee me a job?”
  • “How soon can I get a job?”
  • “I can do anything – just give me a good resume – and I can ace the interview.”

Well, the answer to these questions, are questions. By turning the job seeker’s questions into questions, he is then required to determine the answers and brainstorm though the process:

“What do you think I should do?”

  • Well, what do you think you should do?
  • What are your options?
  • What are your immediate options?

“How can you find me a job?”

  • Tell me about your last job search?
  • How do you think this job search will be different from your last job search?
  • What was your last job search like?

“Tell me what to do.”

  • What do you want me to tell you to do?
  • What do you want / need to know about job search or career management?
  • What decisions are you making at this juncture?

“What contacts do you have who can help me? Do you have insider leads?”

  • How do you identify contacts?
  • Tell me about your social media plan.

“I can do anything – just give me a good resume – and I can ace the interview.”

  • What do you mean when you say, ‘you can do anything’?
  • What type of jobs are you looking for?
  • What skill sets do you have that are a good fit for a target job?
  • What gaps might you have in targeting certain positions?

The Query System

By asking questions as a follow up to questions, this places the job seeker in the position of having to think through options, decisions, and discussion points. As a coach, I coach job seekers to make decisions based on asking a series of questions, and allowing them the joy and subsequent consequences of making a decision.

Powerful questioning and probing questions help move job seekers into a position of thought – they may experience the “Ah Ha” moment, as they are moved to action considering ideas they may have not thought of otherwise. As job seekers move to a position of making a decision, they may not feel as “stuck”, when options are revealed.

More Questions

Continuing the question string, job seekers may consider the following probing questions:

  • Considering your values, what is important in this decision?
  • Considering what motivates you, what is important to you in this decision?
  • What does your pro/con list look like?
  • How committed are you to our work together?
  • How committed are you to this path, versus the other path?
  • What is the best action to take right now? Why?
  • What might be the consequences of that decision?
  • How does this fit with your five-year plan?
  • What patterns do you recognize that you fall into most often?

Question Types

Powerful questions begin with “What”, “Why” and “How”; or include “Describe”, “Tell me about”, “Explain that in detail”, “If you did…, how would that look?”. Open-ended questions help job seekers to think and develop full responses.

Clarifying

Rephrasing or reframing questions asked by job seekers, and clarifying what was said, helps job seekers “hear” their question from a different perspective.

  • It sounds to me like you feel …. about this situation? Is that correct?
  • What I hear you saying is … ?

This rephrasing allows the job seeker to say, “No, what I meant was ….” Or, “Yes, that is exactly right.”

Summary

Powerful questioning is a strong tool to help job seekers make decisions; shift the focus of a job search; develop a career management plan; learn how to negotiate a salary; identify goals, values, and motivations; select an occupational interest; or identify gaps in knowledge or education versus target jobs. Working with a career coach, job seekers are able to make tough and life-time-impacting decisions. Working with a career coach, job seekers will more clearly understand the decisions they need to make in their quest for employment-related requirements, and be encouraged along the path of stretching their comfort zones, and learning how to make decisions through their own self-awareness and discovery.

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Career Coaching Competency: Active Listening

This is Article #3 in our New Series: The “Must Knows” of Career Coaching – Core Competencies

By Diane Hudson Burns, CPCC, CEIP, CPRW
Director, Certified Professional Career Coach Program

Today we will explore the importance of Communicating Effectively focused on Active Listening.

Career Coach Certification Online - Career Coaching CertificationAs a career coach, Listening is not about us – it is about the job seeker (or other person). Careful listening leads to query / questioning that reveal information needed by the job seeker to prepare a successful career search plan. Effective communication is important in developing and maintaining positive relationships and co-creating the coach-job seeker partnership.

Typically, when we think of communicating, we think of talking, speaking, consulting, or presenting. However, speaking is only a part of the communication equation.

Fifty-five percent of communication is what a person looks like; 38% of communication is what a person sounds like; and seven percent of communication is what a person says. So, if only seven percent of communication is what someone says – active listening is an integral part of communication

Listening

Listening means making a conscious effort to hear a sound and is a form of effective communication – it is the art of evaluating a spoken message. Sincere listening is attentive and open; and the listener is able to reflect the content and even the feelings of the speaker.

Active listening goes beyond turning off the radio or TV, and removing other distractions that may cause a problem in the ability to receive information. Certainly, turning off distracters will help you listen better. Beyond that, active listening requires a listener to understand, interpret, and evaluate what s/he heard.

The majority of people would rather talk than listen. Moreover, while someone is talking they are thinking what they might say when the speaker stops. Or they interrupt him/her in the middle of the sentence. These interruptions can be upsetting and distracting to the speaker; and prevent the listener from actually hearing and understanding what the speaker said. Research indicates that the average person listens for only 17 seconds before interrupting and interjecting his/her own ideas.

Practice Active and Reflective Listening

There are some exercises you can use to practice active listening:

  • Listen to a recorded message – and then repeat or summarize the story. Then listen again, to see how much of the story you got correct.
  • Listen to someone read a passage from a book or newspaper article, and then summarize and report back what you heard.
  • Listen to someone read directions to build something simple, i.e., connect a computer, remove and clean a garbage disposal drain pipe; install a shower head, or other, and see how well you are able to complete the task, without having the directions repeated.
  • Practice listening for a potential job seeker’s name when they call on the phone – repeat his/her name during the conversation.
  • Practice listening for a person’s name at a networking meeting – repeat his or her name back during your interaction.
  • Close your eyes for three minutes. Make a list of all the sounds you hear (try not to fall asleep).

A Good Listener

This does not include if the listener does not actually speak verbally, s/he is thinking of what to say next.

As you begin to listen even more to a job seeker’s situation, begin by asking some clarifying and reflective questions to glean additional information:

  • Do you mean…?
  • Can you further describe / specify?

Listening Between the Lines

In addition to listening to the words your job seekers speak, you will want to learn to listen between the lines, and listen for the tone of the message, the goals being presented, and attitudes. After working with a job seekers for a session or two, you will learn his style and learn to listen for changes in behavior and attitude – these changes may indicate sadness, happiness, excitement, or other needs/issues. You may also identify a change in direction.

For example, a job seeker may talk all along about finding a new job; and suddenly he wants to get a promotion. That will now become a new topic to explore.

Summary

If you find yourself interrupting others, interjecting your opinion, and offering advice, both with job seekers and in your personal life, you may want to take the lesson to heart, and practice active listening.

Feel free to make comments below or contact me with any questions!

Wishing You Success,

Diane

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The Latest Job & Career Search Trends, Tips and Tactics

job-search-trends-2014 - career coaching - career coach certificationAs many of you know, job and career search strategies are changing fast!

A few months back, I attended and spoke at an event called “Brain Day.”

If you’re not familiar with “Brain Day,” it’s an event where career professionals meet to brainstorm trends and best practices in the now, the new, and the next in careers. Events were held in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, and Russia. It was an extraordinary day!

The event is presented by the Career Thought Leaders Consortium.

I’ve attached the Event White Paper here.

On this paper, you’ll find hundreds of valuable facts, tips, insights and more.

USA News/Money wrote a nice wrap up of the conference and listed 10 Emerging Job Search Trends

Here are just a few of our favorites from their article:

  • Mobile apps will be the next big thing for applying for jobs. This trend has already emerged and is projected to grow rapidly.
  • Resumes will become an aggregation of social media. Some project less content but with more links to work projects, social media, video bios, contact options, infographics, and other online bio bits.
  • Younger job seekers approach career communications differently. Millennials are more comfortable with video and online representation. They think a paper resume is stagnant; they can’t “post or tweet” it. They are shunning email.
  • People are being hired without an in-person interview. Skype or Facetime may be used to replace face-to-face interviews altogether, saving companies money.
  • Mindvalley is a company that is leading the way in networking. They host large company parties and have all their employees bring their two smartest friends; they routinely poach people from McKinsey and Google. Instead of spending $3K on a job posting, they will spend $3K on a party for their employees.
  • Career professionals project a new economic model where people have multiple revenue streams instead of one job. By 2020, the prediction is that 50% of employees will work project to project; many will be self-employed.

Are you using the latest tips and tactics in your job & career search? By researching and utilizing these strategies, you’ll place yourself at a definite advantage over other job seekers.

Whether you are in the job/career search market, or working to coach others, these insights are extremely valuable and I hope they help you!

Thanks!

Diane

 

Teaching Job Search and Resume Application Procedures for Our Military

Federal job search and resume application procedures - San Diego
Having fun teaching Job Search and Resume Application Procedures for Wounded Warriors at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego

Every month, I work with our military teaching them job search and resume skills.

Often, I travel to bases around the world to do classes in person.

I am so very grateful for our military men & women and their dedication & service to our country!

I’m also grateful for the privilege to be able to work with so many really great people.

I wanted to do a quick post on some of my travels…

Here are just a couple of the classes I’ve been able to teach and the awesome people I’ve met:

– Job Search and Resume Application Procedures for Wounded Warriors at Camp Pendleton in CA Job Search and Resume Application Procedures - Ca

We had a great class & I met many awesome people.

One of my students, Jeremy Jordan, lives in Boise (my home town also) and his wife was there awaiting his return.

When I returned, I was able to go to lunch with his wife Allie.

Jeremy is to my right in the green t-shirt.

I was able to meet and work with other CPCC’s (Certified Professional Career Coaches) here also.

– Networking and Social Media for TAP, ACAP and Airmen and Family Readiness Specialists at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany. Certified Professional Career Coaching - Germany

In Germany, we went over in depth on how to use LinkedIn to network and for job search success.

I was able to meet three CPCCs at Ramstein Air Force base including Susan Williams, who has worked with Diane on the phone for three years and coordinates all the webinars and CPCC registration I also train the Airmen and Family Readiness Assistance Specialists in monthly webinars with a group of career counselors.

The career counselors are online from the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Turkey, the Azores, and in between. Topics include job search, interviewing, trends in job search, social media, networking, resume writing, career management, and more.

I’m having fun & just wanted to shout out how grateful I am to our military service men and women!

And… the privilege it is to serve you. Thanks! Diane

Diane Received First Annual Industry Award 2010

CMA Career Industry Mentor Award

New Orleans, LA — May 1, 2010. At the 2010 Career Management Alliance event, The Alliance Master Team selected Diane Hudson Burns, Career Coach & Resume Writer; Director, Certified Professional Career Coach Program, Professional Association of Resume Writers; Federal Resources Expert; expert at Workforce50.com; and principal of Career Marketing Techniques, as a distinguished recipient of the Mentor Award.

The Mentor Award honors individuals who have guided others in tradecraft, entrepreneurship, and community building.

“It takes a lot of dedication and perseverance to be called a ‘mentor’.” says Liz Sumner, Director, Career Management Alliance. “Through her dedicated teachings and contemporary wisdom, Ms. Hudson Burns has inspired her colleagues to step up their own levels of career management. She leads via her excellence.”

Ms. Hudson Burns has an especially strong record of writing career change and Federal government resumes with successful results for career transition and position placement. She has been quoted in major national newspapers’, including the Career Builder sections of The Baltimore Sun, the Los Angeles Times, and the Dayton Daily News.

Ms. Hudson Burns is an alumni of California State Polytechnic University-Pomona.

About Career Management Alliance

Founded in 1999, Career Management Alliance (formerly Career Masters Institute) is trusted as the world’s leading professional association dedicated to linking all divisions within the careers industry.

A distinctive community that values the strength of diverse knowledge, the Alliance attracts members from assorted career backgrounds, such as resume writing, career coaching, career counseling, college and university career development, government and military career transition, outplacement, recruiting, and HR.

The Alliance mission is to bridge all sectors of the industry and provide the connections, the content, and the credibility that contribute to each of our members’ success and the overall visibility and of the careers industry as a whole.

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