MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program (MVP) Announces Veteran and Transitioning Military Re-careering Event

The MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program (www.mvpvets.org) is announcing the fifth Veteran and Transitioning Military Recareering event for 2014.  The program, which is free for veterans and those transitioning from the military, helps veterans find careers in life sciences companies, is partnering with Baxter Healthcare in Deerfield, Illinois to host 20 veterans in a daylong seminar which will provide insights into the Medical Device industry, partnering with mentors, a job skills workshop, and interaction with hiring managers and Human Resources professionals from the the company.  The company and the industry have many positions in areas such as supply chain, supervision, management, human resources, and other functional areas that they are eager to fill with veterans and those transitioning from the military.

A press release about the event follows:

CARLSBAD, CA, September 4 2014 /PRNewswire/ — On September 26th 2014, MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program (www.mvpvets.org) will conduct a free re-careering event for transitioning military and veterans in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin at the Baxter International Inc. campus in Deerfield, Ill.

Military personnel in transition from service and honorably discharged veterans are invited to apply for the opportunity to participate in this free one-day seminar that will include active one-on-one mentoring, resume building and personal engagement with hiring managers seeking to employ program participants.

The event brings veterans and transitioning military together with mentors from the medical technology industry while they participate in active sessions that include resume review and refinement, job interview training and rehearsals, creating a professional online presence in social media, and networking.

Space is limited and pre-registration is required to ensure that participants get a seat at the event.

Details:

Date    September 26, 2014

Time    7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Location       Baxter International Inc.: One Baxter Parkway, Deerfield, Illinois

Cost     There is no cost for veterans and transitioning military. All materials, breakfast, lunch, parking and pre-event overnight lodging will be provided free of charge.

Registration    Transitioning military and veterans interested in participating in the program can register at the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program website (http://www.mvpvets.org/mvpvets-event-interest-form).  Pre-registration is required, and space is limited.

Baxter International Inc. recognizes the valuable skills, experience and dedication that veterans bring to the workplace and actively recruits transitioning military personnel into a vast array of rewarding careers in healthcare. In addition to hosting the re-careering event at its headquarters, Baxter employees, including many veterans, will serve as mentors during and after the event.

The MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program is a nonprofit organization with the mission to bring 5,000 veterans and transitioning military into the Life Sciences industry by 2018. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity, MVP brings active training and mentorship together with an integrated collaborative online portal and eLearning from the Life Collaborative in a concerted effort to help those who have served the country in uniform re-career into meaningful and impactful careers in the MedTech, BioTech, Pharmaceutical, BioFuels, and Wireless Medical Technology sectors.

Op/Ed piece in the Union Tribune: Helping veterans transition into life sciences careers

I was fortunate to have an op/ed piece published in yesterday’s San Diego Union Tribune about helping veterans make the transition to life sciences careers, and I have reposted it below.  You can also read it here.

A healthy economy should provide opportunities for workers at all skill levels and at all stages of career development.

This includes the brave men and women of the military who have sacrificed so much for this country over more than a decade of war and global conflict.

American industry values workers who are at their best under pressure. These are the kind of people who can help a company grow and succeed.

And with the population of U.S. military veterans expected to rise by another 1 million over the next several years, we have a great asset before us ready to be unlocked to benefit the American economy.

This is particularly important in San Diego, one of the largest military cities in the United States — and the number one destination for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Unfortunately the transition back to civilian life can be difficult — particularly when it comes to re-entering the workforce, or in some cases entering it for the first time. Some veterans experience difficulty translating their military experience to civilian work. Others need guidance on job search skills like creating a resume and being prepared for interviews.

The good news: some of our fastest growing industries are in the best position to use the skills of returning military veterans. This includes the medical technology and biotechnology fields — both of which are experiencing spectacular growth and demand for new workers. One newly expanded initiative, called the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program (MVP), was created specifically to connect companies in these industries with the workforce of military veterans.

MVP provides returning veterans with the resources, skills and confidence they need to achieve fulfilling careers in these fields, while also ensuring that potential employers have a diverse pool of talented employees from which to hire. These jobs — such as project managers, supply chain experts and human resources managers — don’t require an advanced STEM degree. But they do require a strong work ethic. People who can be part of a team, or lead one. People who make good decisions, while also being flexible. And people who — under some of the most difficult conditions you could imagine — are effective in new and different environments.

These qualities describe the successful American veteran.

In San Diego more than 240,000 veterans make up 13 percent of the city’s population. Close to 30,000 of them served in either Iraq or Afghanistan.

Veterans in San Diego — compared to the national average — also generally attain a higher level of education. A full 35 percent of San Diego area veterans hold a bachelor’s degree or higher; and 43 percent have at least some college experience or an associate degree.

As a veteran who has served overseas in a number of conflicts — including multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan — I understand the unique challenges that accompany the transition back to civilian life. These challenges are even more pronounced for younger veterans, many who have served this country in uniform for their entire adult lives and are accustomed to the formal, hierarchical structure of the military.

I’ve been at the receiving end of opportunities that have made it easier to successfully transition back to the civilian workforce. MVP seeks to ensure that returning military veterans have those same opportunities.

In San Diego on Saturday, MVP and Illumina will conduct a daylong, free event that includes seminars, working groups, and networking for mentors and veterans.

Since its inception in 2010, MVP has grown to include more than 150 veterans and 80 mentors through a program of active mentorship, job search training, and industry specific education.

In 2013 MVP’s founders recognized that it had the potential to grow from a regional initiative to a much larger national effort. As a result, MVP has now become an independent nonprofit entity charged with bringing 5,000 veterans into the life sciences industry by 2018, and 1,000 veterans per year after that — all funded by participating companies in the industry and at no cost to veterans.

More companies need to join this initiative. And other industries need to follow suit and begin making similar connections with the veteran workforce.

Our economy will be stronger as we bring more veterans into the fold. Let’s give them that opportunity.

Mike Grice, chief operating officer of the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program (www.mvpvets.org)

First Lady of New Jersey, Mary Pat Christie, Joins with Excelsior Medical to help Recareer Veterans and Transitioning Military

On May 13th, Excelsior Medical will be hosting a recareering event with the First Lady of New Jersey, Mary Pat Christie, at their Neptune headquarters for transitioning military and veterans. Partnering with the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program (MPV) and several other medical device manufacturing companies, the workshop will include job skills training, engagement with mentors from the industry, and an opportunity to meet with hiring managers from participating companies that are looking to fill positions with participating veterans and transitioning military. You can read the press release about the event here: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/excelsior-medical-host-innovative-job-120000522.html

The May 13 event at Excelsior will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 1933 Heck Ave. in Neptune, NJ, and will include:

* An overview of Excelsior Medical

* An overview of the medical technology and biotechnology industries, including career opportunities

* Mentoring and small-group sessions with Kevin Callahan

* Panel on the medical device industry

* Working groups on resume writing, digital networking, in-person networking, and interview skills

* Information about how to stay connected with MVP

A quote from Excelsior CEO Steve Thornton:  “Veterans are people who want to make a difference. That doesn’t stop when they leave the military. Our gratitude to them shouldn’t stop then, either. We are very pleased to be part of this innovative effort to bring more veterans into the civilian workforce.”

The Excelsior Medical event follows the very successful first MVP Recareering event that was conducted at Ethicon in Somerville on April 29th. At that event, 15 veterans participated in the daylong seminar and within a week three were interviewing for positions and others are in the employment process. The CEO of Johnson and Johnson, Alex Gorsky, personally addressed the group and the day culminated with the J&J Talent Acquision Team mentoring participants about the careers available within the family of J&J companies. You can read about that event here: http://www.mycentraljersey.com/article/20140430/NJCARING/304300040/Career-program-Bridgewater-lets-veterans-realize-their-value-civilian-life

There are a total of 20 seats for veterans at the Excelsior Medical event on May 13th, and slots are still available. Preregistration is necessary to secure a seat in the recareering workshop. Honorably discharged veterans and those still serving are eligible to participate. To preregister, please follow this link: http://www.mvpvets.org/mvpvets-event-interest-form

 

 

 

Helping New Jersey’s Veterans Find Jobs: Recareering Event at Excelsior Medical on May 13th

New Jersey has over 463,000 veterans in the state, and unfortunately it has the dubious honor of having the highest unemployment rate for veterans in the country. According to information released by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the state had an unemployment rate for veterans of 10.8 percent in 2013.

Fortunately, there are some great companies that are eager to hire veterans.  Not because of a sense of pity, but instead because they recognize the remarkable value that someone who has served in uniform brings to their ranks; someone who will show up on time, knows how to lead and how to follow, how to effectively function in diverse and challenging environments, and the dozens of other traits that every veteran or transitioning military person has inculcated through their service.

Excelsior Medical is one such company.  On May 13th they will be hosting a daylong recareering workshop for transitioning military and veterans.  There is no cost to veterans and meals and parking are included.  The event will include one-on-0ne mentoring with veterans who already work at the hosting company as well as human resources experts and hiring managers who will work with the veterans to improve their resumes, refine job-seeking skills like interviewing and effective social networking, and to interview qualified veterans for jobs. Space is limited to 20 veterans at Excelsior Medical on May 13th.

To register and reserve a seat at the event, follow this link  http://www.mvpvets.org/mvpvets-event-interest-form or go to the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program website at www.mvpvets.org and follow the “Mentor and Veteran Workshop” link under “events”.

How Ethicon and Johnson and Johnson are helping veterans find new careers

I spent yesterday in New Jersey, where Ethicon (a Johnson and Johnson company) partnered with the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program (MVP) hosted 15 veterans in their Somerville headquarters. The veterans were paired with mentors from a half dozen supporting companies, and were able to participate in a full day of industry familiarization, job seeking skill building, resume review, social media branding, and networking.

The CEO of Johnson and Johnson, Alex Gorsky, and the President of Ethicon, Dan Wildman, both took time from their incredibly busy schedules to address the participants.  As if that were not enough commitment from the organization to help veterans, the day culminated with the J&J Talent Acquisition team opening showing how participants could access the thousands of job openings across the J&J family of companies.  It was a testament to how the company is a leader in the veteran employment space, and it is the first of what will become an annual event.

The event is one of six that MVP will be conducting with Life Science companies this year.  The next event is scheduled for May 13th, where Excelsior Medical will be hosting up to 20 veterans at their headquarters in Neptune, New Jersey.  Other events will be held in Chicago, San Diego, Minneapolis, and Boston, so if you are in any of these areas please consider attending!  The events are free for veterans, and each company will be sharing job opportunities as a part of the event.

For more information about upcoming events and the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program, go to http://www.mvpvets.org and scroll down to the upcoming events section of the landing page.

If you would like to participate, sign up!  We are looking for veterans to participate in every event, and the opportunity to learn about the life science industry and how companies operate is an opportunity that is very different from a job fair or career seminar.

I hope to see you at one of the events!

Jobs for New Jersey Veterans

New Jersey has been identified as having the highest unemployment rate for veterans in the country.  According to information released by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the state had an unemployment rate for veterans of 10.8 percent in 2013.  There are a lot of unemployed veterans in New Jersey, and companies like Ethicon (a Johnson and Johnson company located in Somerville) and Excelsior Medical (a medical device manufacturer located in Neptune) are doing something about it.  They are both opening their doors to host recareering and hiring seminars for transitioning military and veterans in the New Jersey area.

The one-day seminars are completely free for veterans to attend, and they will include one-on-0ne mentoring with veterans who already work at the hosting companies as well as human resources experts and hiring managers who will work with the veterans to improve their resumes, refine job-seeking skills like interviewing and effective social networking, and to interview qualified veterans for jobs.  Space is limited to 30 veterans at Ethicon on April 29th and 20 veterans at Excelsior Medical on May 13th.

To register and reserve a seat at either event, follow this link (www.mvpvets.org/mvpvets-event-interest-form) or go to the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program website at http://www.mvpvets.org and follow the “Mentor and Veteran Workshop” link under “events”.

Here is more information about the events from yesterday’s press release:

Seats added to help New Jersey’s Veterans find new careers at the inaugural Veteran and Transitioning Military Re-careering Seminar

 SOMERVILLE, N.J., April 15, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — On April 29th, the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program (www.mvpvets.com) will host its inaugural re-careering event for transitioning military and veterans in New Jersey.  Military personnel in transition from service and honorably discharged veterans are invited to apply for the opportunity to participate in this free one day seminar that will include active one-on-one mentoring, industry specific training, eLearning enrollment, and personal engagement with hiring managers seeking to employ program participants.  Enrollment has been increased to 30 participants in order to help veterans in New Jersey and the surrounding area find new careers in areas such fields as project management, supply chain, quality control, human resources, and many others.

There is no cost for veterans and transitioning military, and hiring managers with positions to fill will be participating.  All materials, breakfast, lunch, and parking are provided free of charge.  Transitioning military and veterans interested in participating in the program can apply at the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program website (http://www.mvpvets.org/mvpvets-event-interest-form).

The event brings veterans and transitioning military together with mentors from the medical technology industry while they participate in active sessions that include resume review and refinement, job interview training and rehearsals, creating a professional online presence in social media, and networking. Hiring managers from companies strongly desiring to hire transitioning military and veterans participate in the program as mentors, trainers, and interviewers.
The event will be hosted by Ethicon, Inc., a global leader in the medical device industry, at their Somerville facility.

Participants will be able to submit their resumes for review and editing the week prior to the event so that they can be thoroughly prepared for submission to hiring managers.

About the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program (MVP):
The MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program is a nonprofit organization with the mission to bring 5,000 veterans and transitioning military into the Life Sciences by 2018.  Co-founded by  Abiomed (www.abiomed.com) and Zero Boundaries Global (www.zbglobal.com), MVP brings active mentorship together with an integrated collaborative online portal and eLearning from the Life Collaborative in a concerted effort to help those who have served the country in uniform re-career into meaningful and impactful careers in the MedTech, MedDevice, BioTech, Pharmaceutical, BioFuels, and Wireless Medical Technology sectors.

For more information, please go to www.mvpvets.org or contact mgrice@mvpvets.org.

 

A few thoughts on job and career fairs, part 3: Industry sponsored events

Job and career fairs are not all the same, and this is the third in a string of posts about the different types of transitioning military and veteran job and career fairs.  In the last post we explored fairs that focus on open events held on military bases, and in this post we will shift from military bases to industry sponsored events in which a specific company, group of companies, or an industry hosts an event that focuses on their specific area.

Industry specific opportunities are usually centered around providing insights for veterans and transitioning military into what businesses within the industry specialize in, such as manufacturing, oil and gas production, financial services, and healthcare.  They are usually held outside the realm of military bases at either a hosting company’s facility or a hotel or conference center.  There is usually no cost for transitioning military or veterans to attend, and often there are industry-centered orientation an training seminars offered during the event.  Since the seminars are hosted by companies or groups of companies, there are usually hiring managers present with job opportunities in hand that they want to fill with the veterans who participate in the seminar.

One example is the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program (MVP), which conducts recareering seminars for veterans and transitioning military that are sponsored and supported by companies within the life sciences industry.  These events are held at sponsoring company headquarters or training centers, and offer an inside view of the hosting business and the larger industry, along with skills building training and mentorship.  MVP will be conducting two such events in New Jersey during the next two months, the first of which will be held at Ethicon, a Johnson and Johnson company on April 29th, 2014.  For more information, follow this link to the press release for the event, and it is republished below as well:

MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program Announces New Jersey’s First Veteran and Transitioning Military Re-careering Seminar

SOMERVILLE, N.J.April 2, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — On April 29th, the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program(www.mvpvets.org) will host its inaugural re-careering event for transitioning military and veterans in New Jersey.  Military personnel in transition from service and honorably discharged veterans are invited to apply for the opportunity to participate in this free one day seminar that will include active one-on-one mentoring, industry specific training, eLearning enrollment, and personal engagement with hiring managers seeking to employ program participants.

The event brings veterans and transitioning military together with mentors from the medical technology industry while they participate in active sessions that include resume review and refinement, job interview training and rehearsals, creating a professional online presence in social media, and networking. Hiring managers from companies strongly desiring to hire transitioning military and veterans participate in the program as mentors, trainers, and interviewers.

The event on April 29 will be hosted by Ethicon, Inc., a global leader in the medical device industry, at their Somerville facility.

Participants will be able to submit their resumes for review and editing the week prior to the event so that they can be thoroughly prepared for submission to hiring managers. Additionally, each participant will be provided with personal business cards for use in networking and job-seeking.  Capacity for this event is 30 people maximum.

There is no cost for participating veterans and transitioning military.  All materials, breakfast, lunch, and parking are provided free of charge.  Transitioning military and veterans interested in participating in the program can apply at the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program website (http://www.mvpvets.org/public-events/mentor-and-veteran-workshop-new-jersey/registration.html)

About the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program (MVP):
The MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program is a nonprofit organization with the mission to bring 5,000 veterans and transitioning military into the Life Sciences by 2018.  Co-founded by  Abiomed (www.abiomed.com) and Zero Boundaries Global (www.zbglobal.com), MVP brings active mentorship together with an integrated collaborative online portal and eLearning from the Life Collaborative in a concerted effort to help those who have served the country in uniform re-career into meaningful and impactful careers in the MedTech, MedDevice, BioTech, Pharmaceutical, BioFuels, and Wireless Medical Technology sectors across a variety of corporate functional areas such as project management, supply chain, quality, and many others. http://www.mvpvets.org

 SOURCE MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program

(In the interest of full disclosure, I serve as the Chief Operating Officer for the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program, which is a 501(c)3 fiscally sponsored nonprofit organization that aims to recareer 5,000 veterans and transitioning military into the life sciences by 2018)

A recareering opportunity for transitioning military and veterans

I have been fortunate to be able to help transitioning military and veterans since I made the jump from active duty back to the civilian world both through writing and in person.  It has been tremendously rewarding to help make the confusing and challenging journey that is transition less daunting, and now I am thrilled to be in a position to help literally thousands more find rewarding and meaningful career opportunities in the Life Sciences industry as was announced this week:

Medical Technology Veterans Program is renamed the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program (MVP) and Expands Nationwide

– Offers Advanced Educational Resources and Training for Veteran Recruits

– New Web Portal Address: http://www.mvpvets.org

CARLSBAD, Calif., Feb. 5, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Medical Technology Veterans Program, renamed the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program (MVP), has expanded nationwide and to industries across the life sciences. MVP is a career-training and mentorship program, designed to help veterans transition into jobs in the medical technology (medtech), biotechnology (biotech), life sciences and diagnostic industries. This successful program has expanded nationwide to offer customized educational programs aimed at preparing veterans for impactful and meaningful employment as professionals in the life sciences. As part of this expansion, the new MVP web portal will now be located at http://www.mvpvets.org.

Foundational partners of MVP, including heart pump manufacturer, Abiomed, Inc., and medical device trade association AdvaMed, will also welcome a new partner, BioCollaborative, to assist in reaching additional veterans from around the country and providing cutting edge industry-focused training. With its expertise in developing and administering customized eLearning platforms, BioCollaborative is an ideal partner to assist in equipping job-seeking veterans with pragmatic learning solutions necessary to succeed in the job market.

“This expansion and new partnership will enable us to reach more veterans and mentors from all over the country and provide quality training and mentorship for our service men and women who are looking to build a career in the life sciences and medical technology industries,” said Michael Minogue, Chief Executive Officer of Abiomed and MVP Chairman. “I am also excited to introduce MVP’s new President, Mike Grice, a veteran with a 27-year career in the United States Marine Corps. and a former professor at National University, a great fit for the program.”

MVP, which launched in 2012, recognizes the strong correlation between the mission of the medtech and biotech industries and those veterans who wish to pursue careers in the life sciences. The program applies to all military veterans, with special recognition to those who have served since 9/11 and those wounded overseas.

Participants interact with mentors, who are industry professionals and veterans that have already transitioned into successful civilian roles at medtech or biotech companies. Mentors represent job functions ranging from sales and customer support to operations, human resources, manufacturing and R&D, as well as C-level executives at leading medical device and life sciences companies who will provide advice and guidance throughout the transition process. The United States is a global leader in both the medical device and biotech industries, which directly and indirectly supports millions of jobs across the United States and overseas.

“We look forward to increasing the number of veterans and mentors registered on the MVP web portal, with the goal of reaching 5,000 veterans by 2018,” said Mike Grice. “The program’s increased sophistication and customized training will enable more touch points and hands-on training for MVP veterans to learn real-world skills in our industries, including the implementation of regional and state-based training programs.”

In addition to the web portal and online educational programs, which result in industry-recognized certifications, MVP will also host regional events for veterans and mentors to connect, mentor training and networking. Members will also gain access to the online learning and collaboration community for jobseekers known as JobFastPass. The new web portal (www.mvpvets.org) includes a database of veterans’ resumes that are exclusive to partnering companies, as well as a series of webinars which are free to veterans and mentors. The webinar topics include careers in the medtech and biotech industries, social media networking, personal branding, as well as creating high-impact resumes.

To register for the MVP program as either a mentor or veteran jobseeker, please go to http://www.mvpvets.org. If you are already a member of the MVP program and have questions about this new expansion, please contact Mike Grice at mgrice@mvpvets.org.

You can access the press release here.

If this looks like something that you would be interested in, please check out the website: www.mvpvets.org or shoot me an email!


What employers are really looking for

I have been fortunate to participate in no small number of veteran employment panels in which human resources professionals and corporate recruiters share their insights with veterans.  Time and again the same question invariably is posed to the panel:

“What are employers really looking for?”

That really is the million dollar question, and it is invariably answered with a single word:

“Skills.”

It sounds simplistic, but it’s true.  Employers are seeking to fill holes in their organizational chart, and those holes must be filled by people who are qualified to perform the tasks and assume the responsibilities that come with the job.  Those who have served in the military are certainly ready to assume the responsibility that comes with a position within a company; after all, responsibility is what wearing a uniform is all about.  Responsibility to protect and defend the nation and its citizens, responsibility to  comrades in arms, and the responsibility to effectively lead others with both compassion and professionalism.

A sense of responsibility and commitment is part of being in the military, and it doesn’t vanish once they hang up their uniforms.  It is a part of their character.

What veterans and transitioning military lack, however, are skills.

Let me back up a moment to explain what I mean.  In the military each and every man and woman is expected to master not just one, but two sets of skills: those skills that define their Military Occupational Specialty (MOS – such as artillery, administration, maintenance, etc.) and those skills that define their military service.  They can learn everything from how to drive a tank to how to fly a stealth bomber through their technical training regimen, but before they get the keys to an M-1 Abrams Main Battle Tank those who sign up must first begin the acculturation and training process that brings them into the martial fold.

They get to go to bootcamp.  Or OCS.

Whether as a recruit or an officer candidate, the privilege of wearing the uniform must be earned through the successful completion of an intense entry level training program.  Regardless of which service a person joins, he or she must go through the crucible of acculturation that forever changes them from a civilian to a Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine.  Once the right to wear the uniform is earned the newly minted graduate ships out to their MOS school, which is where they learn how to perform their specific job.

It doesn’t end there.  Throughout  a person’s military career (whether it be three years or thirty), he or she is continually learning about leadership, reinforcing a committed work ethic, and being a member or leader of ever growing teams in addition to increasing their technical expertise.  In short, military professionals are developing their skills continually from the day they join until the day they leave.  The skill sets of those in uniform don’t stop expanding until they get out.

It is the skills that come from being in the military that employers are looking for.  In the words of an army veteran and CEO of a multimillion dollar medical technology company:

“I want to hire people who were just like I was when I left the military.  Eager to learn, eager to work, and eager to be part of a team that is out to accomplish something.  I want to hire veterans because I know they will work hard and I don’t need to teach them how to work with other people.”

In short, the business world is looking to hire people with the skills that come with being a military professional.

The problem is that so many veterans only identify themselves by their MOS skills and as a result they sell themselves short.  They only see themselves as an infantryman, an truck driver, or a bulk fuel delivery specialist, and they present themselves as such.  I don’t know how many times I have heard “I’m just a dumb grunt.  Nobody is hiring grunts in the civilian world!”, but it’s somewhere in the thousands.  And that is the problem.

Veterans need to present themselves to employers as solutions to their manpower problems, and a big part of being the solution are the “soft skills” that those in uniform possess.  Things like commitment, sense of responsibility, work ethic, and leadership.  The corporate executives and hiring managers I speak with are unanimous in their desire to hire people with those qualities, and those are qualities that all veterans (except for the knuckleheaded few) possess.

Veterans and those transitioning out of the military will be more successful in their search for a new career if they can present both the soft skill set that the acquired while in uniform and the skills that meet the needs of the company. The rub, however, is how to learn the specific skills that the employer is looking for.

Those are the skills that I referred to earlier.  Job- or industry-specific skills.

There are many ways that veterans can build their specific skills set, and a great many of those ways are completely free.  Veterans can research the requirements for a job or industry that they like through websites like careerbuilder.com and monster.com.  They can meet with people already in the industry through networking events such as the Marine Executive Association, NavNet, or social networking groups such as meetup.com.  They can participate in local company and industry sponsored programs such as the Business 101  or nationwide programs like the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program (MVP).  By conducting research, networking with others, and taking advantage of free industry sponsored training a veteran can tangibly begin to fill the gap in their skills and make themselves more competitive for the great jobs and careers that are out there.

There are a lot of ways to build the skills that employers are seeking.  All you need to do is get started.