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Stand Above Your Competition

By Barbara Adams, CPRW, CEIP, CMRC, CFRW
www.militaryresumewriters.com and www.careerproplus.com

Job Situation Normal – All Fouled Up
The old saying goes, "The only constant is change"—and that's especially true in today's workforce. Where some jobs used to go begging for applicants or had few takers, these days... Read More

VA Eases Claims Process for Veterans with PTSD

By Elaine Wilson, American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, 7/12/2010 -- "This nation has a solemn obligation to the men and women who have honorably served this country and suffer from the often-devastating emotional wounds of war," said Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki. Read How

Helping Veterans Transition to Engineering Careers

By Marlene Cimons, National Science Foundation

WASHINGTON, July 12, 2010 – The original post-World War II GI Bill helped produce 14 future Nobel Prize winners, three Supreme Court justices, three presidents, a dozen U.S. senators, hundreds of thousands of scientists, doctors, and dentists, 240,000 accountants, and countless other career success stories. Read More

Reflections on the water: Outward Bound veteran expeditions

by Capt. Rebecca A. Garcia 459th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

7/1/2010 - JOINT BASE ANDREWS, MD (AFNS) -- Through a joint effort between various foundations, service members who are veterans of operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom can receive a free Outward Bound expedition. Outward Bound offers white water... Read More

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Stand Above Your Competition

By Barbara Adams, CPRW, CEIP, CMRC, CFRW
www.militaryresumewriters.com and www.careerproplus.com

Job Situation Normal – All Fouled Up -
The old saying goes, "The only constant is change"—and that's especially true in today's workforce. Where some jobs used to go begging for applicants or had few takers, these days it's not unusual for federal and civilian job vacancies to have 100, 200, 300 or more applicants for one opening. Many companies employ automated or computerized screening methods that search your resume and online application for matching keywords, education, experience, and related factors before any human even sees it. Then, your resume and application has only precious seconds of the human resources manager's time to be selected for the follow-up pile. On the first go-round, your resume will not be read in its entirety, and may never be fully read by anyone other than yourself and your professional writer (if you choose to use one).

Time to Pass Muster -
So, assume that your application and resume must first pass the automated screening. There are techniques for that. Then, if the resume actually does get looked at, it needs to be compelling and grab the reader's attention in the first few seconds. There are techniques for that as well. If your resume makes it to the follow-up pile, then you at least should get a phone call—a screening call, of course. Before you even get a phone interview, you'll be screened on this initial call, so be alert, be positive, and know your resume backwards and forwards.

Get Past the Computer -
The technique for passing automated screening is to mine the application posting, looking for the keywords and phrases that indicate what the employer is looking for. It's safe to assume that the earlier a particular function or experience is mentioned, the more important it is to the employer. Look for action words that describe the duties and core competencies of the job and applicant. Write them down and work them into your resume wherever possible. Don't fabricate experience or skills that you don't have just to match a keyword. That will ultimately disqualify you when it's discovered that you weren't totally forthright in your application. In some cases, education may qualify for a lack of experience; check the listing for specifics. Demilitarize your experience and jobs, and think like a civilian when stating your background.

Wow the HR Manager -
The technique for captivating the HR manager is to always point to value, and wherever possible, show how you overcame challenges. Talk about the actions you took, and especially the results you achieved. Show numbers, time saved, expenses reduced, new processes developed. Weave your value as a potential employee into every sentence of the resume. The employer wants to visualize you in the position they need to fill. Make it easy for them to do so.

Have an Interview Plan -
Finally, practice interviewing with a professional coach or trusted colleague. Look at online resources showing the "top 100" interview questions and have credible answers ready for the ones that make the most sense in your situation. Be direct, be positive. There are "trick" questions some employers use to unveil an inner view of your makeup, such as, "If you were an animal, what animal would you be?" It sounds like a ridiculous question, but the answer tells a lot about your traits, such as aggressiveness, passiveness, energy level, and so forth. One of the "correct" answers, by the way, is "dolphin" — a helpful, innovative, and social creature that gets along well with others of its kind and other species. Another popular question is to ask you to describe your greatest weakness. Always turn potentially negative responses into positive ones—this takes practice. Use video recordings to watch your own body language and demeanor. Learn from it, and keep practicing.

If this all seems too much to absorb, find a trusted career coaching company to help you dissect all of these steps—a modest investment of perhaps one month’s salary or less is well spent on maximizing your next career move.

MilitaryResumeWriters.com offers more than 20-years experience in creating resumes for military transition. Certified Professional Federal Writers and Expert Military Resume writers, including retired and disabled vets, as well as top corporate, human resource, technical and business professionals are there to assist you.


VA Eases Claims Process for Veterans with PTSD

By Elaine Wilson, American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 12, 2010 – "This nation has a solemn obligation to the men and women who have honorably served this country and suffer from the often-devastating emotional wounds of war," said Veterans Affairs Secretary, Eric K. Shinseki. And, new regulations intended to ease the claims process and improve access to health care for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder will go into effect this month.

The new rule, to be published in the Federal Register, will relax the evidence requirement if the PTSD stressor claimed by a veteran is linked to "fear of hostile military or terrorist activity and is consistent with the places, types and circumstances of the veteran’s service," a VA news release said.

Currently, VA decision makers are required to confirm that a noncombat veteran actually experienced a stressor related to hostile military activity, the release said.

Under the new rule, VA no longer will require substantiation of a stressor tied to fear of hostile military or terrorist activity if a VA psychiatrist or psychologist can confirm that the experience recalled by a veteran supports a PTSD diagnosis and the veteran's symptoms are related to the stressor, a VA release said.

The regulation will eliminate the need to search for records to verify veterans' accounts, "often a very involved and protracted process," Michael Walcoff, VA's acting undersecretary for benefits said, and enable VA officials "to move more quickly to award more benefits to veterans suffering from PTSD."

Walcoff said he hopes the new regulation will encourage more veterans with PTSD to come forward, particularly those who have been deterred by a seemingly time-consuming and sometimes frustrating process.

More than 400,000 veterans currently are receiving compensation benefits for PTSD, VA officials said. And of the nearly 400,000 veterans treated at VA facilities for PTSD in fiscal 2009, nearly 70,000, or 19 percent, were veterans of operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

However, the new regulation has the potential to benefit all veterans regardless of their period of service, Walcoff noted.


Helping Veterans Transition to Engineering Careers

By Marlene Cimons, National Science Foundation

WASHINGTON, July 12, 2010 – The original post-World War II GI Bill helped produce 14 future Nobel Prize winners, three Supreme Court justices, three presidents, a dozen U.S. senators, hundreds of thousands of scientists, doctors, and dentists, 240,000 accountants, and countless other career success stories.

Mary Kasarda enjoys citing those numbers (her source: Over Here, a book by Edward Humes about how the GI Bill transformed America). Her favorite statistic, however, "the one nearest and dearest to my heart," is that of the 450,000 future engineers who emerged from wartime to take advantage of the first GI Bill to further their education and go on to productive and competitive engineering jobs in civilian life.

Kasarda, associate professor in Virginia Tech's department of mechanical engineering, hopes that Virginia Tech can enhance the newest GI Bill--the Post-911 legislation--to produce a new crop of talented engineers for industry, government and academia. With this in mind, the school plans to provide educational and other adjunct programs that will supplement the benefits available under the newest legislation drafted by Congress in the aftermath of the 2001 attacks, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The federal legislation covers tuition and provides a stipend, but Virginia Tech wants to do more.
"We are focusing on transitioning graduate students into new careers," says Kasarda, who is working with Mark Pierson, also a mechanical engineering associate professor, Eugene Brown, professor of mechanical engineering and Karen DePauw, dean of the graduate school in designing "Veterans@ VT: A Program for Recruiting, Transitioning and Supporting Veterans to Graduate Programs in Engineering and Beyond to Civilian Careers."

"We want to encourage them to apply to our program, but we also want to help them with their unique needs as veterans," she adds.

The program is supported by a $203,977 National Science Foundation grant as part of its American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding. The money will be used to develop a special education program for veterans, as well as support for their families, so veterans can easily move into academic, government or industry careers in engineering and science.

"We prepare a lot of our engineering students for jobs with defense contractors--Northrop Grumman hires a lot, as does Boeing and General Electric," Kasarda says. "Our graduates are in demand."

Virginia Tech has always had a special interest in veterans; it holds a strong relationship with all of the branches of the U.S. armed services through its Corps of Cadets Program, which has both a military track and a civilian track.

The school also runs a special program for graduate students, Transformative Graduate Education, which aims to provide opportunities for graduate students that complement their academic. The idea is to prepare them for real-life situations in the workplace and in academia.

For veterans, this also means easing the way for them from the military into school, and then into industrial, government or academic jobs.

The program plans to identify and try to address the special concerns of returning veterans, such as helping their spouses find work, and providing information on housing, health needs, counseling services, schools and child care, Kasarda says.

The school also will try to make it easier for out-of-state vets to attend Virginia Tech under the new GI Bill at in-state tuition costs, which are considerably less for Virginia residents,- and to provide course credit for selected parts of their military experience. For example, for those have worked on nuclear submarines and have taken courses in nuclear Navy school

"We're not looking just at the vet, but at the entire family unit,” she says. “Part of our goal is to coordinate all of this into one stop shopping for the veteran. We're identifying these issues and looking at strategies to address them. The bottom line is creating a more veteran-friendly community experience."

The program, slated for the mechanical engineering department, can be adapted to other departments in the college, as well as to other academic institutions, she says.

"Vets have given us a lot," Kasarda says. "It's time for us to serve them. They have a lot to contribute. We're looking to advance our graduate program by having these talented people come in and help increase the competitiveness of the United States in engineering and science. It's a win-win situation."


Reflections on the water: Outward Bound veteran expeditions

by Capt. Rebecca A. Garcia, 459th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

7/1/2010 - JOINT BASE ANDREWS, MD (AFNS) -- Through a joint effort between various foundations, servicemembers who are veterans of operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom can receive a free Outward Bound expedition.

Outward Bound offers white water rafting trips, cliff diving and group fitness, hikes and teambuilding exercises. Life on these expeditions is somewhat primitive as well: showers and shampoo are not authorized, students sleep under a tarp supported by oars or sleep under the stars, and food is prepared by students in a field kitchen that the team assembles.

Nine students and four instructors recently set out by raft on the Lower Deschutes River for the beginning of a five-day expedition June 6. The expedition included lessons in geology, hydrology, flora and fauna, raft captaining, field craft and time for reflection.

Outward Bound students not only raft, but take an active role in the survival of their group. There are daily roles assigned to ensure the group prospers, such as: cook, navigator/ groover, rigger and leader. There are other responsibilities on the trip as well, like, "clean up after yourself. Wash your own dishes. Help out your crew. No one is done until everyone is done," as stated in the Outward Bound Journal that was distributed at the beginning of the course.

"Although there is some challenge involved in participating in this program, we are all here because we want to be," said Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Scott A. Fessenden, Marine Exercise Boat Det. 813, Groton Submarine Base, Conn. "It gives perspective. One guy took a bullet to the head; another has been hit twice by improvised explosive devices. It's good to have a chance to share experiences with other veterans in a non-military and informal environment. We're here with a group that has all shared in the war and we're here knowing we are all part of the same team."

Outward Bound courses not only provide skill building, but they are also designed to help veterans get back on track after returning home from a combat zone. There are daily activities designed to build confidence and help individuals strengthen or regain trust in others. Students form frequent circles during the day to discuss plans, review lessons and conduct group activities

Maj. Lori Renwick from the 369th Sustainment Brigade, Harlem, N.Y., was another veteran and student on the expedition. She said the program helped her make life changes.

"I would tell all veterans considering an Outward Bound trip to come when they are ready to take a mental trip outside of their comfort zone and when they are ready to potentially make a change. It changed me," Major Renwick said. "It helped me along my journey and helped me with perspective on life's necessities and desires. I now feel I need to 'pay it forward,' not just to nature, but to mankind. The river has a lot to teach."

On night four, in the fashion of native cultures, these nine veterans from varied backgrounds and different services gathered in a circle by the river and poured out their grief. Each veteran took their turn telling the group about pivotal moments in their life and what they had learned on the river.

The program gives back to the veterans who have given so much to their country. It gives them an opportunity to regain their camaraderie, teaches them technical skills that will allow them to come back to a river and travel safely and gives them an opportunity to enjoy the wilderness and the country that they served to protect," said Doug Mahon, a course director/instructor who has been with Outward Bound for 26 years.

To learn more about Outward Bound Expeditions for military veterans, you can call 866.669.2362 or go to the Outward Bound Website


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We are currently looking for Engineers, Logistics Analyst, Technicians, Aircraft Mechanics, Program Managers, Acquisition Analyst and more! We have opportunities in the US as well as overseas!

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You can make a world of difference.

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For more information and to apply, visit: www.cia.gov


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Connect to Something Amazing



WellPoint as an organization is highly focused on living our mission and honoring our commitments. From innovative products that help reduce the ranks of the uninsured and underinsured, to the comprehensive benefits we offer our associates, everything we do is aimed at creating positive outcomes for the people and communities we serve.

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TAOnline.com Education Hint of the Month

Looking to improve your job prospects with more education? Post-9/11 GI Bill