NMSN-Magazine Spring-2019

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CAREER CONNECTIONS May, 2019, Vol. 7, Issue 1




4 Converting Feedback into Action

6 How to Tailor Your Resume in Five Easy Steps

8 If You Don’t Ask the Answer Is Always No

10 Job Fair Flair

12 It is about Influence

13 6 Easy Ways to Perfect The Present & Instantly Increase Your Productivity at Work No part of this publication can be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the Publisher.

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MAY 2019

President’s Letter BY

Sue Hoppin

2019 arrived with a bang and at NMSN, we hit the ground running by releasing our very first white paper entitled, “5 Recommendations for Removing the Barriers to Military Spouse Entrepreneurship”. We could not have imagined how widely the paper would be shared and read. Since then, we have hosted two roundtable discussions sponsored by our friends at USAA, bringing together thought leaders and stakeholders to examine how we could all work together to tackle some of the issues. One of our recommendations was to expand the Work Opportunity Tax Credit to include military spouses as a target work group which would incentivize employers to hire us by providing a federal tax credit. After some initial meetings on the Hill, it became apparent that we would need to visit more offices and bring along more advocates. On May 10th (Military Spouse Appreciation Day), we brought a group of military spouses up to Capitol Hill to ask for the WOTC expansion. Many of you joined us by sending emails and calling. Happy to report that our voices were heard! A bipartisan group of congressional members joined together on May 22nd to introduce H.R. 2912, the Military Spouse Hiring Act. Thank you to Congressman Antonio Delgado, Congressman Don Beyer, Congressman Jimmy Panetta, Congressman Mike Kelly, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Congressman Don Bacon for your support. Together we can bring down that 24% military spouse unemployment rate. If you believe that it makes sense to incentivize employers to hire military spouses, consider calling your reps or drop them a line and ask them to sign on as a cosponsor. We need them all to understand how important this is to our community. We hope to have a companion bill in the Senate soon. Going into the second half of the year, things aren’t slowing down for us. We’ll convene two additional roundtables and keep pushing to find champions for the companion Senate WOTC legislation. We’ll also start counting down to our annual Military Spouse Career Summit in the metro DC area. Hope you can join us in October! We have a lot to share with you.

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Converting Feedback into Action BY RAY CROWELL


have had the pleasure of working with hundreds of startups (both military-led and civilian alike) over the last few years through my immersion in Patriot Boot Camp, Bunker Labs DC, and the East Coast entrepreneurial ecosystem. I’ve coached some that are very early stage, to those who are already hundreds of thousands dollars into their investment raises, to later stage companies try to scale in revenue by the tens of millions. Teams of two, teams of four, male, female, young, old, of every shape and size – I’ve seen them all. 4 | NMSN Magazine

But what sets apart an entrepreneur or founding team who will be successful from the rest of the chaff? Simply put – the ability to convert feedback into action. When you’re building a company, there are a thousand different problems that can kill your business. As a founder, you’re responsible for the vision and execution of all aspects – from things as fun and inspiring as brand management and product development, to the very unsexy parts of running a business like cash flow, payroll, and taxes. It’s nationalmilitaryspousenetwork.org

just too hard to avoid all of the pitfalls on your own – mentorship is a must. There exists a myriad of organizations that are devoted to helping entrepreneurs and small business owners from the military community build scalable and sustainable businesses (such as Boots to Business, Capitol Post, and Bunker Labs, to name a few). Getting involved with these organizations is just the first step in the process. Through them, you’ll have access to top tier presenters, speakers, workshops, MAY 2019

and a great network. Even then though, that’s not enough. You can sit through as many classes and workshops and one-on-one sessions as you could possibly fit into a week. However, participation in class does not guarantee success in the real world. As I mentioned – converting feedback (whether learned in a group setting or through a dedicated mentor) “for real” will be the true testament as to whether you’ve adequately absorbed the information. There’s a difference between hearing and listening; likewise, listening and acting.

Ray Crowell unleashed his entrepreneurial spirit while on active duty (USAF), accelerating chapterdriven non-profits. Following a stretch as a Department of Air Force executive and government contractor, he joined the Patriot Boot Camp team as advisor and devoted roadie. Ray recently launched Ascent 7 Ventures, which will be debuting its first App

(managing carpool pick-up for charter schools) very very soon. He has a BA, MA, a stack of executive development program certs in business and public policy, and was a Harvard Kennedy School Fellow at the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy. Ray lives in Savannah with his activeduty (USAF) wife and their almostthoroughbred rescue puppy.

I’ve seen countless founders come to ‘aha!’ moments in a workshop, hands covered in whiteboard marker and little beads of sweat on their brow. It’s always exhilarating, but I’ve become hardened by the toomany experiences I’ve had when, a week later, my team and I have to start back at square one. Part of the challenge at times can be when egos are at play. It’s a classic stereotype of the arrogant and naive entrepreneur, and it takes a long time to work through someone who feels that his or her way is the best and only way. Be humble and open to new ideas – it will propel your business and career in ways unimaginable. If you’ve found a revelation that will lead to a business breakthrough, take the initiative to start the change, preserve through the uncertainty, reach out for help if it’s new territory for you, and be resilient! It’s not easy, but ultimately, taking lessons learned and acting in a way to prevent making the same mistake twice is the signature characteristic of a successful entrepreneur. MAY 2019


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How to Tailor Your Resume in Five Easy Steps BY AMY SCHOFIELD


ailoring your resume is the best way for you to get your resume passed an applicant tracking system, into the hands of a hiring manager, and receive a call for an interview. It is better to send out ten customized resumes than 100 of the same, generic resume. You should tailor your resume for each position you apply to; even an Office Manager position for one company may require slightly different skills and experiences than an Office Manager position at another company.

1. Change Your Personal Branding Statement: If you still have an objective statement on your resume, remove that! Instead, use a personal branding statement. Your personal branding statement should summarize who you are and what you bring to the table in a succinct sentence or two. It should clearly match the overall tone of each job posting that you apply to. Change your personal branding statement with each resume that you send out.

Does the phrase “tailor your resume� confuse you? If so, here are five easy steps you can take to tailor your resume:

2. Insert Industry Keywords and Phrases: Read through the job posting. Does it repeat certain words or phrases throughout

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the posting? For example, if a job posting for a Digital Marketing Specialist has industry lingo written in the posting, such as social media management, uploading blog content, social media trends, SEO, and copywriting, and you have experience in any of those areas, make sure those industry keywords and phrases appear throughout your resume showing your experience with each. 3. Sort by Relevancy: It isn’t enough to solely add industry keywords and phrases; place them in order of significance. If you are an accounting professional and you are applying to an Accounting Manager position, sort your bullet point list of accomplishments for each position based on their relevancy to the particular job you are applying to. If the job posting lists duties such as invoicing, vendor relations, or bank reconciliation, re-order your bullet points to place emphasis on your experience with those responsibilities. If, instead, you are applying to a Financial Analyst position, and the job posting places greater emphasis on financial reporting, cost data, and estimates, reorder your bullet points to place emphasis on those responsibilities instead. MAY 2019

4. Remove Too Much Extraneous Information: Hiring Managers sort through hundreds of resumes. If your resume contains too much unrelated information for a specific position or you condense your resume to one page with size 8 font, a hiring manager may not take the time to read through your entire resume. If you list your hobbies of skiing and snowboarding on your resume for a position at an outdoor sports company, make sure to remove them on your resume for a position at an electronics company. 5. Add Computer Skills: Are specific computer programs or software listed in the job posting you are applying to? If so, add a section within MAY 2019

your resume that lists your computer skills. This part is often overlooked by job seekers who may think everybody is proficient in Microsoft Word. But if you are proficient in Microsoft Word, it is listed as a requirement of the job you are applying to, and you forego listing Microsoft Word on your resume, then your resume may have a lower chance of getting passed the electronic applicant tracking system. The same rule applies to your cover letter too; a hiring manager will be able to notice if you are using a generic cover letter or if you take the time to tailor your cover letter to that particular position. Don’t overlook doing this either!


Amy Schofield is an Academy Certified Resume Writer and an Academy Certified Profile Writer with 10+ years of experience in the recruiting, career coaching, and resume writing fields. She is the founder of Schofield Strategies, LLC TM, an organization that provides resume development and job search strategies to job seekers of various backgrounds and experience levels from around the world. As an activeduty military spouse, she is passionate about helping transitioning veterans and military spouses reach their career goals. Her work is featured in numerous online and print media, including GI Jobs, Reserve and National Guard Magazine, Army Wife Talk Radio, NextGen Milspouse, and Blue Star Families. She is a contributor to Modernize Your Job Search Letters: Get Noticed‌ Get Hired. Schofield Strategies was the recipient of the 2013 Military Family Member Community Heartbeat Award. NMSN Magazine


If You Don’t Ask the Answer Is Always No BY JULIE WATERS


here are many reasons for the existing gender pay gap. What is even worse is that one of the reasons that it is not getting better, is because the majority of women do not negotiate salary when they are offered a job. In my experience, this is even worse in the military spouse community. I’ve been in the position where I was just so happy to have the job offer that I don’t even think about negotiating. Big mistake. At the recent NMSN Capitol Summit, I surveyed the room about how much it cost the average attendee to work outside the home in the DC Metro area. Factoring in transportation and parking, child care, a few lunches out, work clothes, dry cleaning, picking

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up takeout for dinner, all added up to about $30K a year!!!! That doesn’t even take in to account the time you spend commuting. Apart from the normal household expenses and car loans and student loans, you need to take a close look at the actual money that you need to earn to make it worth taking a job. Women need to re-focus our thinking when it comes to negotiation. Your time is valuable. Your expertise is valuable. You will be spending time and energy and emotion at this job. Negotiating is not some ugly thing where we are begging for money! You deserve to be compensated for your expertise.


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Are you scared of negotiating? I bet you have negotiated big things before. Have you bought or sold a house? Have you talked a boss into giving you a project rather than giving it to someone else? Have you advocated on behalf of someone or something you care about? Have you hired or fired anyone? You’ve probably spent thousands of dollars on a car. I bet you negotiated that. The point is you have done this before, it is not new, and it is not something to be ashamed of or afraid of. If you have a job offer in hand, it is because the employer decided they wanted YOU!!! They have gone through a process to filter out a bunch of other people and they picked you. They don’t want to have to go back and start over, and since they have their mind set on you, you have the leverage to negotiate about money. You are getting the offer for a reason. It is time to be confident! Aside from straight salary, you should know that many benefit packages can up to 30% more to your compensation package. There are things here that can be used in the negotiation discussions. Vacation days are a big one. Your service member spouse likely gets 10 federal holidays a year. Most employers only offer 6 holidays. Ask for those extra days off. Extra vacation is always a good thing to use for bargaining. Parking or transportation costs, flexible schedules, tuition reimbursement should all be considered when discussing any compensation package. One of the employer’s biggest expenses is health insurance. Since you are likely covered under your spouse’s military medical plan you can ask your employer if there is a cash-in-lieu of health care option. If there isn’t a formal policy, then a change in your salary can easily be made. As with any bargaining discussion, you need to do your research before you begin. You should be able to find comparable salaries on line for your profession in your location. Once you have a ballpark figure, and you have factored in your extra expenses like lunches and dry cleaning, you know what your floor is. The lowest salary that you need to make to be able to live. Don’t even think about going below this. Even if it is seemingly THE dream job, not getting paid what you are worth will bother you over the long term and possibly affect your performance. Get excited about the job offer! And make the question of money part of the initial conversation. MAY 2019

Just get it out on to the table. You can be confident in negotiating because they want you and you know you are good. You know you are going to work hard and do your best and you deserve to get paid what you are worth. Remember, you won’t get it if you don’t ask!

Julie Waters was born and raised in Washington State. She graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in English and earned an MS in Human Resources Management from Troy University. She is also a certified Professional in Human Resources. Julie currently resides in Spokane, Washington where she is the Human Resources and Operations Manager for a law firm. She was lucky enough to choose a career that easily transfers between employers as her husband’s assignments moved them from city to city. She holds a special interest in career building for military spouses as she feels it is important to have something personal outside of our military lifestyle.

SAVE THE DATE Join us for our 9th Annual

Military Spouse Career Summit October 17th - 19th

Northern Virginia


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f there’s a job fair penciled in on your calendar, then be ready to make the magic happen. A little pre-event planning, day of know how and after the fact follow up can make a huge difference in whether or not it was worth your time at all. •

Figure out the job fair logistics in advance. Do you know where the event will be held? Is parking available? Do you need to register for the event? Is it free or fee-based?

Have your industry-specific resume printed out multiple times, ready to hand it out to all those employers you’ll be chatting up at the job fair.

Find out who is scheduled to be in attendance and what jobs they might be recruiting for. If you identify one that appeals to you, go ahead and create a targeted resume and apply for it in advance. Take a copy of that carefully crafted resume with you to the event and help employers connect the dots in person.

Dress to impress not distress. You’re essentially speedinterviewing so look like someone employers would like to hire.

Leave your significant other, best friend, parent or child at home. You’re not a package deal in this instance. You can fill in your support system later.

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Arrive early to the event to avoid parking fiascos and long entrance lines. You’ll also benefit by being among the first of many to speak with company representatives whose attentive commitment to the process, being human as they are, could potentially fade by day’s end. When you first arrive on the scene, take a few minutes to review the seating chart and get a feel where your primary objectives are sitting. Before you approach them directly, warm up your hire me chops


by practicing your pitch with a couple not so targeted employers first. •

It’s perfectly acceptable to help yourself to company freebies but avoid being “that jobseeker” whose swag bag is positively bulging with an excess stash of pencils, pens, stress balls, oversized colorful paperclips, single serving packets of Starbucks coffee and company crested lanyards. Just don’t.

• Instead, collect information and business cards. After

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having a meaningful, albeit brief convo with company recruiters, take the time to make a few notes on the back of their business card. This will help you remember whom you talked to you later when you meaningfully follow upon your job fair leads.

• Remember that the job fair is a great opportunity to grow your network. It will only grow, however, if you nurture it and that means you need to follow up on your leads after the fact. You can follow up via email or telephone, referencing your meeting at the recent job fair.

• While you’re waiting for your private audience with the company rep, eavesdrop on the guy in front of you. You might be able to learn some basic details in advance (that you didn’t already know from your pre-job fair research). That way, when it’s your turn to chat, you can spend minimal time on those points and move on to more focused details instead.

• Finally, apply for those jobs you learned about from the job fair.

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Happy job hunting!

Janet Farley, Ed.M. is the proud spouse of an Army veteran and a dedicated advocate for all those who have served in uniform and for those who have given their hearts to them. nationalmilitaryspousenetwork.org

She offers service members, veterans and their families straightforward career management and job search advice based on more than twenty years of experience working in employment services within and outside the DoD. She is author of ten career/life advice guides, most recently Mission Transition: Managing Your Career and Your Retirement (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018) and Military Life 101: Basic Training for New Military Families (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016). She holds a Master’s Degree in Human Services and Human Resource Education from Boston University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from the University of Maryland. She currently works as a job coach and internship program facilitator at Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. NMSN Magazine

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It is about Influence BY CAROL BOWSER


he saying goes “I want a seat at the table.” What the saying means, however, is not so clear. Is it about simply being noticed? Is it about being rewarded? Is it about merely participating in decision making? Or is it really about having influence? For some “having a seat at the table” is something we want. Something we aspire to. Something that, at times, seems totally out of reach. “Having a seat at the table” involves recognition. Recognition is a powerful human motivator closely tied to appreciation. We all want to be appreciated for our work and our intellect. An invitation to be part of a group were your talents and insights are sought after can be a great validation. The absence of invitations or even opportunities can be demoralizing. How often have you thought “if

someone would just give me a chance, I know that I can add value!” It is your challenge to show to others that you can add value. The first steps are to expand your networking. Meet people. Share with them what you are talented at and what opportunities you are looking for. Please, avoid vague and overly general answers. You have talents and experiences that no one else has. You have interests and things that you are passionate about unlike anyone else. Find that voice. Share it - often. Articulating your point of view makes you memorable. For example “I have a passion for photography. Right now I am exploring providing portraits for families with special needs kids.” Is a much more powerful and memorable statement than “I have a love for photography.” “Having a seat at the table” ultimately is about being influential. Being part of conversations that influence decisions. This means that you ask questions, you make relationships with the others who are at the table with you so that you can speak up and share your perspective.

Carol Bowser is the president of Conflict Management Strategies Inc. and is an expert in workplace conflict --what creates it and how to resolve it. While she HATES arguments, she loves maintaining sanity and increasing production by jumping into conflict to fully resolve it. “…What I really like is listening to people’s stories and working outside the legal system to repair workplace relationships…” She received her law degree from Seattle University School of Law and her Mediation Training through Pierce County Center for Dispute Resolution. Carol is a speaker, trainer, and consultant for employers on how to avoid workplace conflict. 12 | NMSN Magazine


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6 Easy Ways to Perfect The Present & Instantly Increase Your Productivity at Work BY KRISTA WELLS, PH.D.

Have you ever felt overwhelmed at work and felt that the answer was to try some new productivity tool?

You search for books and articles on how to delegate more, send shorter emails, and increase your productivity?

You take notes at your company’s training du jour, download a new app, and begin researching online, but then as you click on the author’s bio and find all that you are left with is a screen shot of a cherry pie recipe and more discouragement?

to work, it can help you regain a sense of hope. You can invest some time in making small outward tweaks that will yield some meaningful inward returns. Have you slowed your pace enough to consider what a productive day would look like so that you have a vision to work toward? Do you have some work goals in writing? What skills, if mastered, would yield more productive results? When you start each day deciding you deserve respect, you deflect attracting people that derail

your progress. When you make time to plan and prioritize at the start of each day, you let your artificial adrenaline rushes know they no longer serve your best self. And as you invest time in creating boundaries, decluttering your workspace, and improving your current systems, you will find that more time and energy begin magically showing up. While you may attract some wonderful new opportunities, you are comforted in knowing that wherever you go, there you are. You wake up accepting that even when demands are increasing on your time and energy, you are empowered to design a day that considers all your priorities and leaves you feeling productive and accomplished.


Decluttering Your Work Spaces

Yes, filing physical papers, watering the plant on our desk, and dusting off our bookshelves can spark motivation, but in addition to a clean desk, you want to create a

When you wake up from your social media coma and full day of meetings that keep you from actually working, know that you are not alone. So many of us are feeling disorganized, overworked, and overwhelmed. Many new career coaching clients come to me fed up with this feeling of overwhelm and assume the answer is a new career, or at least a new job. But sometimes, the answer is to consider some small changes prior to big leaps. And my initial solution is often what our coaching industry has coined “perfecting the present.” When you apply this principle MAY 2019


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clean mind. What would it look like to clear the virtual clutter you face at work? Organize passwords, properly labeled files, printed copies of systems that keep you on track. The benefits of decluttering can feel too vague to add cleaning tasks to your master list, but the rewards are promising, so consider scheduling a little time in your day to accept LinkedIn invites, delete photos that don’t make the favorite list, and rename your project file so you get into the habit of setting yourself up for success.


Remind People How To Treat You

If other people are upsetting you at work, it’s not usually based on different personalities; it’s usually a lack of role and task clarity. You may need to remind your colleagues of your expectations. In addition, if you are feeling micromanaged or unsupported at work, you can subtly teach your boss the management style that will make you most productive. If you have people working for you, have you invested time into how to best communicate and motivate each other? Many clients have noticed that as they exercise better boundaries and establish clearer expectations, everyone is more productive.


Commit to One Master Task List

Think about a twist on Franklin Covey’s popular 4 quadrant chart with the top two horizontal columns labeled important and the perpendicular columns labeled urgent and non-urgent. Think of a way to distinguish personal and professional tasks; maybe use two different pen colors. Important urgent projects will be on your morning calendar and less 14 | NMSN Magazine

urgent decluttering tasks might be things you wrap up at the end of the day. One client shared that she likes having her master task list handy when she checks emails, attends meetings, or even when she is working on a project, because it helps her quickly get ideas out of her mind and onto paper so she can focus back on the more pressing project, thereby increasing her productivity.


Tackle Your Email System

Deleting emails requires quick decisions. Pretend you are an assistant organizing, rather than feeling you must dive in (unless it is a 30-second response) and start doing everything that is being asked of you before you have prioritized what you need to do. She said the secret to getting to zero is to take some initial time and invest in an overall observation of your current system and brainstorm ways to make it go faster. She set up email rules that now sends certain types of emails to certain saved folders that she needs to access later and now flags incoming emails from her key team members and manager so she can handle those requests first. Excavating emails can feel healthier than a prior archiving habit.


Theme Potential Pockets of Time

It is hard to grow your business and also keep up with current client demands, but entrepreneurs and corporate positions often require a balance between working on our job and in our job. It can feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get it all done. Theming your nationalmilitaryspousenetwork.org

days can help you become extra efficient. One client shared that as she began to direct her down time through themes such as Marketing Monday, Task Master Tuesday, Writing Wednesday, Technology Thursday, and Friendly Friday, she noticed people were asking her out to lunch on Fridays. She would inevitably accept the offer and her “goal” of internal networking happened effortlessly.


Invest In More Automation

Create simple systems for posting on social media, checking social media messages, or even connecting with people on Linked In, etc. Look for times when you are repeating similar tasks and a more automated system would free your time and energy. This might be an auto-responder email for similar responses or changing your voicemail to direct potential customers in more efficiently ways. Set up an automated delivery of office supplies or have pre-printed labels ready that require a small investment of time to set up yet become a gift for your future self.

Dr. Krista Wells is a certified professional coach dedicated to empowering military spouses. In her private practice, she focuses on improving her clients’ health, increasing their wealth, and strengthening their relationships. In addition to her private clients, Krista offers keynote speeches, workshops for organizations and military bases, and writes for various military publications. She recently launched The Military Spouse Show podcast in an effort to expand her reach and connect with the broader military spouse community. MAY 2019


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