Best practices and success trends for military veterans - Fox 2 News Headlines

Best practices and success trends for military veterans in career transition and 2nd career advancement

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The day after Veterans' Day Gardner White is looking to hire military veterans.

Jessie Turner and Thomas Cleaver from Gardner White join Fox 2's Murray Feldman to talk about the opportunities that exist with the company.

Visit Gardner White's careers page to learn more.

Here is some good information for veterans seeking work from author Chad Story:

  1. The Geography-Industry-Occupation Matrix (GIO).  The Geography-Industry-Occupation (GIO) framework helps you research and create some career goals.  The end result of the GIO process is to identify 8-12 companies in the locations and industries that you are interested in.  These 8-12 target companies then help you with your networking and job application process.  For example, if you really want to be in the Energy Exploration Industry (I), then your two Geographies could be Southern Texas and North Dakota.  Then you use Hoover's or InfoUSA to find Energy Exploration companies in those areas.  The ideal result would be 4-6 companies to network and apply at in those two geographies.  Your Occupation choice can be driven by position availability or from discussions with your networking contacts.
  2. Create a Robust Career Transition Plan with Back Up Options.  The vast majority of veterans experienced the military-to-civilian transition as exceptionally challenging.  Having a lengthy, detailed transition plan with a strict personal financial budget as well as emergency savings makes this easier.  Additionally, planning out healthcare options, schools, housing, and cost of living differences add to the mental well being for veterans.  Veterans should pursue 8-10 different companies and multiple positions to ensure a competitive job offer. 
  3. Veterans Need to Network to Show Their Value & Discover Options. Personal networking is the way the vast majority of jobs are found.  In addition to jobs, Networking allows people to learn in depth and often unspoken knowledge about companies and industries.  Networking connects you to information, decision makers, and job opportunities. 

Here's a video that shows how to create and execute a networking plan. Use the link to watch it below and download the accompanying handout:


  1. Download the Handout
  2. Watch the Video
  3. A Letter Writing Campaign for Networking Makes a Great Impression.  One of the largest problems creating a networking campaign for finding a job or expanding your career prospects is finding contacts.  The use of your local library branch and resources such as Hoover's and InfoUSA, you can easily assemble a list of several hundred people in mid-level and executive positions that you can network with.  Once you have your list, you can use Microsoft Word and Excel for a letter writing campaign ("The Campaign of Me") to create contacts and discover more options.
  4. Translate and Apply Your Military Skills to Business Use.  The number one item from six different studies is that Employers want veterans to translate and apply their military skills to their new occupations.  Employers want to understand how to use military skills in their business.  Veterans need to translate military skills, different workplace culture, and often times their communication style to fit their new company.  Their next challenge is to be able to teach and demonstrate how military skills make the company better.
  5. Use the War-game Process to Test Your Plan & Make Improvements.   The War Game is an independent process that matches a draft plan against anticipated competitor and important stakeholder actions to determine necessary plan adjustments to create the optimum changes of success.  The result of a war game reveals anticipated actions of competitors, customers, and suppliers against a draft plan.  Your career transition plan and career advancement plan can use the war-game process to anticipate challenges as well as ensure you have a GREAT plan.
  6. Use Rehearsals and Standard Procedures (SOP's) to Improve Performance.  How are using rehearsals to improve your interview and networking performance?  Do you have a pre-interview and job application SOP?  Are you using rehearsals to improve your team's business performance?  Employees with a long history with the company and front line supervisors will have the best ideas what items are most critical to the company's success.  Having people discuss, practice, and then create standard procedures improves quality, cuts cost, and improves morale.
  7. Use All Your Resources.  When looking for information and opportunities, the Internet is one and not your only place to look.  All states have Local Veteran Employment Representatives (LVER), state Veteran Affairs Officers, your local networking contacts, and others.  You really need to branch out and use all electronic and physical resources to help you expand and create your network and possible job options.  If possible, call and talk to these contacts, do not rely on email or web forms.
  8. Your Resume: Simple & Clear Language, 1-Page, Direct, and Use Quantified Achievements.  Resumes are best when they are simple, 1 page, have sufficient white space, and have quantified results.  The use of quantified results fully sells your abilities to bring the same success you had in the military to your new organization. 
  9. Your Last Step and Not the First – Apply for the Job.   The actual job application should be your last step and not your first.  Determine your goals and know where you want to live and what you want to do.  Most importantly, have a firm network in the companies that you want to work.  These contacts are critical to secure interviews and give you recommendations to the hiring manager.  Once you know the Company, the Industry, and what you want to do, it will help you immensely in interviews and the entire application process.

Advice for Your First Days on the Job.  Embrace the Culture, Learn Your Position, Engage with Others:

Combat To Corporate Steps for a Successful Career Transition 

1)      Attitude is Everything.  Attitude is one of the most important mental criteria that will make an employee shine in terms of both performance and leadership.  Ensure you have a positive and constructive attitude for even the most seemingly mundane tasks.

2)      Watch the Use of Sir / Ma'am and Other Military Speech Patterns.  In the corporate world, expect to use a first name, but defer and treat seniors respectfully as if they were higher military officer.  A senior vice president needs to be respected like a general / flag officer even though you use a first name.

3)      Keep Yourself In Good Physical Shape.  Cognitive and physical well-being is the mental and physical state when your mental purpose is aligned with your physical body

4)      Be Open to New Experiences.  Often times, when we are exposed to a vast array of new experiences, we fall back on our military ways and mind sets.  All of these uncertainties in the economy, fluidity of roles in a commercial organization, and differences between the veteran and non-veteran employees can encourage a status-quo or "pull back" approach by the veteran employee.   No matter the expressed definition of workplace activity and company roles, you should dive into whatever roles and experiences are offered immediately.

5)      Portray a Professional Image.  You should strive to portray and supportive physical and mental bearing in the workplace.

6)      Use Professional, Understood language.  Your quality of speech needs to be clear, understandable, free of non-industry jargon, no use of military acronyms, no use of military phrases, confident, and compelling.  Absolutely avoid swearing, insulting other cultural or ethnic groups, and demeaning language at all costs, even if others do.

7)      Be an Example to Everyone.  An employee who projects a positive and supportive internal attitude and a positive external appearance is a tremendous asset to an organization.

8)      Clean Up Your Social Media.  Ensure that your look on all Social Media is "clean" and portrays you and your company in the best possible light.  Limit any mention of your new employer for at least 6-8 months until you understand all your company's social media policies.  If in doubt, do not use any social media to talk about your employer.

9)      Leverage Your Military Experience to Your Company and Job.  Veterans need to translate their military skills to their businesses and organizations in a fashion that supports the culture and work practices of their company.  Look for ways to translate and apply your military skills in a way that supports your company's culture, workplace practices, and the rules & regulations of your industry.

10)   Web sites to Stay Up to Date – Quick and Easy on Business News.  Just like reading the morning and evening intelligence reports, staying current on today's important news is a must.  Web sites such as the New York Times, Business Week, Fortune, Washington Post, Google News Custom Alerts, Smart Brief, Harvard Business Review Blogs, and the Corporate Advisory Board all have daily e-mail's that deliver the cutting edge business news to your e-mail for free.  Scheduled e-mail news is the easiest and most efficient way to stay up to date. 

11)   Teach A Class.  Teaching in the military was something everyone did as a part of training no matter your service, rank, and specialty.  Teaching is a great way to build confidence, position yourself as an expert, and improve your presentation skills.  Volunteer with a charity, education, business, or government organization to teach a class or series of classes to show how military skill sets can be translated for business.

12)   Further Your Education.  Community colleges offer good overview business classes to improve your baseline knowledge of business in such vital areas as Accounting, Finance, Statistics, or Applied Mathematics.  If possible, take them in person because fellow students, professors, and college staff are great resources for networking.

13)   Mentor an Individual or Group.  Mentoring or coaching is a fantastic skill to help build talent, commitment, and initiative in an organization.  In the military, performance counseling sessions was a way to identify the standard of the organization, how a soldier performed to that standard, and what step (s) would be taken to improve the soldier's performance.  Ken Hicks, an Army veteran and the CEO of Foot Locker, stated, "So I learned that you're very dependent on your people to be their best. You train and develop and motivate them." 

14)   "A Desk Is A Dangerous Place From Which To View The World," – John le Carre.  In the military, inspections, field visits, and "walking the line" were an implicit responsibility for leaders at all levels.  In business, conducting field visits with customers, manufacturing locations, and the like can make a huge difference in your career, allow you to understand the business, and establish a special relationship with your customers.  If you do not know what to do, get out and look at the problem from your customer's perspective.

15)   Ensure a Professional Appearance.  John Meyer, an Air Force Veteran and the CEO or Acxiom, stated in a Harvard Business Review Blog post, "I think professionalism and professional appearance is pretty important because it gives you the first impression, the benefit of the doubt. If you look the part, you get the opportunity to show whether you're competent or not."  The New Year is a great time to refresh your wardrobe and ensure you look the part.  Remember, as a general rule, dress for the job you want, not the job you have.

16)   Attend A Professional Convention, Speech By An Expert, Or Talk At A Local University.  Staying abreast of the competition and cutting edge trends in your industry is vital.  Ken Hicks, a US Army veteran and the CEO of Foot Locker, stated, "When I was in the Army I was in a cavalry regiment, and one of the cavalry's jobs is to go out and scout. I send people out to our competitors' stores all the time. We look at the competition, the press, any venue we can think of where we will see new ideas and new things."  Conventions are great ways to network, meet experts, see the competition, and understand how to succeed.

17)   Resources for Your Career Transition.  Here are a few books that can help you translate and apply military skills to business.

  1. "Combat Leader to Corporate Leader" By Chad Storlie.
  2. b.      "No Excuse Leadership: Lessons from the U.S. Army's Elite Rangers" by Brace E. Barber
  3. "It's Your Ship" By Michael Abrashoff.
  4. " Semper Fi: Business Leadership the Marine Corps Way" by Dan Carrison and Rod Walsh.
  5. e.      "Flawless Execution" by James D. Murphy.
  6. f.        "Turn the Ship Around! How to Create Leadership at Every Level" by David Marquet.

Career Transition Resource for veterans, employed veterans, and veterans in higher education:

ABOUT CHAD STORLIE: Chad is the author of two books how to translate and apply military experience to business: (1) Combat Leader to Corporate Leader and (2) Battlefield to Business Success.  Chad is a retired US Army Special Forces officer with 20+ years of service in Infantry, Special Forces, and joint headquarters units. He has served in Iraq, Bosnia, Korea, and throughout the United States. He has been awarded the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantryman's Badge, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Special Forces Tab, and the Ranger Tab.  Chad is a mid-level marketing executive and has worked in marketing and sales roles for various companies, including General Electric, Comcast, and Manugistics. Chad has been published in the Harvard Business Review blog,, and the Oxford Leadership Journal. He has been featured in news stories in Inc, Business Week, the New York Post, Federal Computer Weekly, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution.  Chad holds a BA from Northwestern University and an MBA from Georgetown University. 

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