I’ve worked with HR departments for years (think of where employee newsletters often come from), but this is the first time I’m talking about hiring veterans—and their families—in one of my spring postings.
After all, why wait 'til Memorial Day, still a few weeks away? (Or Veterans Day for that matter.) Vets need our help all year, right? So why not consider them NOW in marketing, sales, IT, and other departments?
If you’re already involved in hiring vets, then a big thank you! But just in case you need new ideas for luring them, I checked out some great resources. They gave me info that shows great skills vets and families bring. Maybe you want to tap into ways to bring these skills in-house.
BTW...maybe you're not in HR but know vets and/or families. Read on, then feel free to forward this great advice to them.
Start a new trend
A while ago, my colleague Laura Briggs (also a military spouse and “the Freelance Coach”), interviewed another military spouse, Dr. Circe Olson Woessner, who founded the Museum of the American Military Family & Learning Center in 2011 and is the Executive Director. As a wife and then a mother of a military hubby, she initially didn’t take a staff job. She had a major (and often not unusual) challenge: moving 18 times in 20 years!
Yes, it can be hard to build a network with all the transitions, but it’s not as impossible as it was just over a decade ago, thanks to the ‘net and social media. Woessner told Laura: “I didn’t think about a [career]. I had to cobble together jobs, [so] I did a lot of volunteer work.” She said these opportunities built a solid resumé.
“I realized I had quite a portfolio, especially [teaching] recreation...and that was kind of cool.”
For example, Woessner found that thanks to “planning spouses’ events,” she could put “Project Planner” in her credentials. Other learned and used skills included freelance writing, artist...even a chaplain because of her degree. She enrolled on USAJOBs.com and saw a special place to add all this under Volunteer Work.
Besides telling others about the USAJobs site, this info reminds you and/or other employers to be very broadminded. Look at areas like Volunteer skills, not just actual Careers or Employment. Together they can indicate an ability to get retrained regularly, and to take on different projects and guidelines at the drop of a hat--things that mean you could have a heck of an employee!
Veterans: Learn to “schmooze”
If you don’t know this word, it essentially means learning to mingle and chat. I know how hard this can be, especially if you’re a writer, artist, editor, or someone else on the creative side. Many of us are naturally shy and would rather be alone with our “muse.”
But you can’t get a job, or build a business, without this skill. I personally think that vid events have made this easier and I’ve never heard a question or comment belittled as “stupid” or any other negative.
For example, to get fit in the New Year, I attended a 45-minute online tai chi class. I didn’t think I'd make it through, but I did. Still, in the after-chat, I unmuted and asked about properly breathing in and out with different motions; how would I know when to do which?
Teacher’s answer? Essentially it was, “Don’t fret. Just breathe regularly. Whatever works to keep you going.”
Most in class knew this already--and she had students in from England!--so no one pooh-poohed me. Of course if you get any belittling (not criticism)...never come back to your "networking" group!
And leaders...try to do more mingling, especially when it's a live event you've planned. You might even want to consider creating a specific attendance limit, to make sure you can meet as many as possible. And if it's online, get some basic info and follow-up, perhaps even offering a quick one-on-one chat.
Start checking out LinkedIn groups. I just taught "Learning More About LinkedIn" and I always recommend being in at least one that mirrors your own career goal (e.g., Director of Sales, or even ghostwriting) and one where you think you might find employees--including vets. Don’t just read stuff, post...but never be totally self-promoting. Find and post (with links) advice that helps others, special news that educates them, etc.
For learning new skills—including the aforementioned “schmoozing,” there are tons of free classes and events. Watch out for those I hold for the Editorial Freelancers Association. I’m chair of the Maryland chapter and getting to meetings used to mean traveling. Of course now we've been on Zoom for quite a while...and this type of gathering has indeed boosted attendance. Especially since we’re open to folks anywhere--not just in Maryland...for free. I had a great leader late last year chat about "Fighting Procrastination," something that can help anyone!
EFA HQ also arranges tons of classes. It’s where I first taught “Succeeding as a Magazine Writer,” which has of course has since expanded to also getting work with newsletters, blogs, and social media.
Again, if YOU are a vet or a loved one who can provide training--be it onsite or online--let others know. Check out the USO for insights on skill retraining. If you're the HR person, also look at that, but then remember: find out what training other divisions--like Sales or Marketing--would like to see, especially to lure vets.
Thanks for reading through, and of course many thanks for any help you give to our veterans and loved ones. And for those of you who've served, blessings to you all!###
Wendy Meyeroff--aka the Ghostwriter Who Grabs Attention©--has offered a variety of personal and online training courses for those in B2B and B2C marketing and sales for much of her 20+ years. Among her collaborators are Apple, Oscar de la Renta, CBS, Merck, Pirelli Engineering, NIH, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and Erickson Living.
For info on Wendy's training,, see Classes here. Or just email her via the Contacts page. Please put TRAINING Q in the Subject line.