When I was out of work, I began reading a column in the local paper by a career coach named Eli Amdur. I have actually had the privilege of speaking with Mr. Amdur either on the phone or via email and he is always willing to help, especially Veterans. One of his articles, which I have used to instruct in my resume writing class, was the top 20 resume mistakes to avoid when applying for a job. Below is a list of those 20 mistakes, of which, Mr. Amdur has found 19 on one resume. This is because one of these mistakes cannot exist with the presence of the other.

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I joined the Army in 2006 with the goal of getting out. That might sound strange, but in 2004, while living in my car in San Diego I’d made a 10-year plan. I had a pathway in mind to where I wanted to be at the end of my service. Part of my plan was to be strategic about using my GI-Bill. I wanted to maximize how I used it in conjunction with tuition assistance.

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Many veterans have the financial resources for higher education with benefits ranging from Tuition Assistance to the variations of the GI Bill. Where they need assistance is finding the right colleges and universities that truly deliver successful outcomes for their students. 

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Transition is defined as a process or period of changing from one state or condition to another. There may be no greater challenge than transitioning from a life in the military to a life in corporate America. While many of us relish the opportunity and look forward to the change in lifestyle, there are many challenges. There are multiple avenues to take in your transition aside from utilizing a recruiting firm. A solid, simple, and structured strategy will help a Junior Military Officer navigate the complicated and stressful path to a new career. I have read numerous helpful plans on LinkedIn and other publications that have helped me in my transition. Using the knowledge I have obtained from my experiences. I think that these five steps of self discovery, building your corporate knowledge, connecting your knowledge to your unique skills, networking, and targeted job hunting are a blueprint for a successful transition. I hope this article helps simplify the approach a Junior Military Officer (JMO) takes to transitioning and enable veterans to have a smooth, efficient, and enjoyable transition to a new life in corporate America.

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Following up with a mentor seems simple– send an email, schedule a call. But too often hear “I lost touch with my mentor, I wish I had followed up but then 2 months passed and I felt awkward reaching back out.” First, don’t feel awkward about messaging 2 months later. Your mentors are there when you need them, even if it’s been a while since you spoke. But when you find the right mentor (personality, knowledge, skills-match), don’t leave things to chance. Schedule up a follow-up in the next 2 or 4 weeks. Here are 3 hidden benefits of following-up (that you don’t get in conversation #1):

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If you’re working with a mentor for the first time, you might be unsure about how to evaluate and apply all the advice that you receive. What I want to tell you here is that it is all up to you.

When I mentor someone, I say up front, “This is not about me. You should ignore anything I say or recommend that doesn’t fit your personality or focus. You should not worry about hurting my feelings.” Here are a few ways to figure out how you can use the advice that a mentor gives you.

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As a disabled veteran myself, I understand that many veterans have their reasons for not taking the time to research filing for benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). You’ve heard all the horror stories of backlogs and denials. And you may think, why apply for a handout when so many others have it so much worse?

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Reading should be a significant component of your military transition and there are many reasons why. It’s imperative to build and sustain daily or weekly habits of improving oneself through reading and introspection. Those that stop learning will become stagnant in other areas of their lives. How do you expect to push your limits past your uncomfortable boundaries into success without persistence, discipline, and determination?

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I spent five months unemployed before I started my first civilian job and I wasn’t prepared for it at all. My plan was always to roll right into my next job, and I would have never believed that it would take me that long to start working again. I started planning my career transition a full year in advance to avoid this exact situation. How could this have happened to me?

 

No one ever told me that I should plan for this. Why would they? Up to that point, my career had been playing out perfectly. My peers who left the military before me were able to get on their feet quickly, or so I thought. The truth is, most service members experience a period of unemployment. It’s not ideal but it’s also not the end of the world. Here are a few things that surprised me about unemployment:

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As an HR Director for a growing retail grocery company, I interviewed, hired and worked with lots of people, including several veterans. Each time, I was excited about bringing our shared, time-honored and battle-tested values into my company to help accomplish my company’s mission.  When that happened, it was great. However, there were times when it didn’t always work out.

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