with Brig Berthold, Rick Silva, and John Serpa
John Serpa: Well, that’s a wrap on cracking the code, I hope you’ve learned a thing or two, and I know that I have. It’s been an honor and a privilege to work with some of the H.R. professionals that joined us. I learned things from these folks every day. And so I hope you had the opportunity to hear something that may spark your interest and things that maybe you didn’t know. Maybe you know them now. Before we go, let’s have a conversation about some of the things that maybe you would want to take away if you were taking this training. Some of those things that we used to call the old foot-stomper, the things that you really know you need to take away from that training.
Brig Berthold: I’m going to jump in there, John, and say first things first. In my transition class, they told us we were hot commodities. They said, you get out of the military, you could have a top-secret security clearance. You’ve got all this cool stuff they can’t help but want to hire you. And that just is not the case. OK, you are an unknown quantity and you have got to get your foot in the door first. Doesn’t matter what rank you are. Doesn’t matter what your pay expectations might need to be. You’ve got to do the research and understand exactly what it what you’re able to earn in the market with your experience. So, get your foot in the door.
BB: I would say that LinkedIn is an enormous deal. I talk to companies all the time who even check LinkedIn for their line workers. We’re talking manufacturing on the line. Second, third shift. They’re still checking LinkedIn before they bring anybody in for an interview, which shocked me honestly. But it is it is a thing I keep hearing about. So even those non-exempt positions, I still hear about LinkedIn being important on those…check it every single time.
BB: And then the last thing I would say is the networking piece is critical. I think we beat that really, really hard. But instead of where it used to be, who you knew, you’ve all heard that a million times, right. It’s about who you know. It’s not who you know anymore. It’s about who knows you so if you go to a networking event and you get five business cards for people that you actually want to pursue for a potential employment opportunity and they don’t remember you, you can call them and try and reignite that relationship. But it’s not going to do you as much good as if that H.R. professional says, “I have a job that just came available and oh, man, that last time I was at a networking event, I met this person and they are the perfect person for this job. Let’s bring him in and see if they can do a great job. See if they interview well.” That is the secret sauce. It’s all about who knows you. Make an impression. Do it right the first time.
Rick Silva: Yeah. And… and I’ll expand on that a little bit to kind of segue into the other modules. Once you finally get into that environment where people are knowing you, you know, don’t… don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Right. So networking is huge, huge, huge. You absolutely need to network, but you also have to kind of grind it out. You’re going to be applying to jobs online. And I know sometimes it feels like you’ve just thrown that resume down the black hole, but that’s just… that’s a part of the job seeking experience. It’s not great, but it is what it is. So, you’ve got to network. You’ve got to keep applying to jobs. And then, you know, it’s not… it’s not a bad idea to reach out to a recruiter or a recruiting firm to work on your behalf. So, you’ve got three avenues that you can really, really dig into to help find yourself a job. So don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
RS: Also, we talked about ATSs and resumes, applicant tracking systems, resumes, making sure your resume is kind of tailored to that job that you’re applying to, and it doesn’t need to be a complete new resume for every single job, but it needs to be a version of your resume that aligns with the job that you’re working with, because those applicant tracking systems are in use by virtually every company out there. Big, small, huge, Amazon, all the way down to mom and pops. Somebody is using technology to track their applicants. Once you get… once you finally get your you know, you get a phone call and you get your… your foot in the door for an interview, do your research, do your research on that company so that you don’t go in with this ‘deer in the headlights’ look. And you can prove to that recruiter in that H.R. professional, you’ve taken the time to learn about that organization and about that position. And then when you’re sitting down with that interviewer, make sure you can translate your military experience into those behavioral based question answers. We talked about the STAR technique: Situation, Task, Action, Result. Even if it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison for the job you’re interviewing for. We all have experience in the military that we can… we can make those STAR stories.
RS: And when you leave that interview the next day, they should have a thank you note, whether it’s an email or a handwritten note, I prefer handwritten notes, but I know that’s not feasible for everybody. But set yourself apart. You’ll be one of the 10 percent of people that actually do that. And sometimes that’s going to be the difference between you getting the job and somebody else getting the job.
JS: Looking for a job is a full-time job, and you will see the difference once you get in the door. And now we’re working on offer letters, we’re working on negotiations. The more you did on the front end to get yourself into that room, the better. But, once you’re in there, again, we may not have learned this throughout our military career or our transition courses and classes, but it’s something that our private sector peers and the people we’re competing against for jobs, it’s something they know. They already know that you can negotiate. You can ask what’s negotiable. And that pay scale. We know about pay scales, you know, for what we’ve done in the past. They know about what’s negotiable and what the pay scales are for right now. Ask those questions. There’s nothing wrong with it. It is completely acceptable to do that.
JS: Once you get in there, you’re, and you’re working on that and you’ve got the job and you’ve closed the deal and you’re starting at this new place, just like we did in the military, get a mentor, find a mentor. Figure out who is similar to you and may be on the path that you want to be on. Maybe they’re a veteran as well but find that mentor. Make sure you can trust that person, lean in on them, ask them the questions. They don’t necessarily even have to be the organization that you’re with. It could be somebody outside of that organization. And that might be better for you with regards to who do you trust. But find a mentor, find many mentors, reach out to some of the folks that are on these videos that many of them are willing to work with you and have those conversations with you. Lastly, work / life balance is something that we didn’t necessarily get while we were in the military. We, you know, some were better than others at that. But at the end of the day, many of us got out for a better work life balance. But at the same time, in our private in our private sector jobs, work is work. It’s not called vacation for a reason. So just like everything else we did in the military, the harder you work, the better you do. It’s going to be seen. So don’t short yourself, get out there and get it and enjoy yourself in your new role. And we hope you’ve learned that and a couple of things along the way. It’s not over yet. So, you’re going to find some information in your email. There may be networking events and things like that in your region that come about where you can get face to face and kneecap to kneecap with H.R. professionals where you’re at. But that information will be forthcoming from your local chapter of the Society of Human Resource Managers. And we hope you’ve enjoyed this. And for all of us here, thank you and enjoy.
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