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How does an older Veteran with a graduate degree market his skills, talents and degrees for a full time career with opportunities

Veteran

Stephen Kimball Cassopolis, MI

Been looking for a full time opportunity with career potential for over 10 months. Earned an MBA with an outstanding GPA (3.87). Was always told the more education one had, the better you would be in the work place. Seems not to be the case in today's job world. I see more and more basic degree with no experience or degree with lots of experience. I am now working part time earning a little more than minimum wage. It will never be more than that.

15 July 2015 41 replies Education & Training

Answers

Advisor

Krystal Yates Lewisville, TX

what steps are you taking in looking for a job? Where is the job hunt failing? Are you getting responses to your resumes but not getting past the resume stage or are you not even getting calls on the resume?

With not much information to work on, I can only give vague advice. Figure out where the breakdown in your process is and start there. Make sure you are networking and leveraging the network to find positions. Use LinkedIn - I didn't see you on there and it is a critical tool for most recruiters. If you are on there make sure your profile is public.

If you would like more specific advice, email me at krystal@ebrllp.com and let me know where you are in the process. Also send me a copy of your resume.

16 July 2015 Helpful answer

Veteran

Lyn Snyder Tempe, AZ

Example Resume:
• Improved logistic deployment of humanitarian emergency supplies thereby improved US global commitment to humanitarian needs during the Ebola crisis.
• Supervised IT specialists who implemented systemized defense contract data management and improved response time within contract requirements by 43%
• Action taken – Results demonstrated
• Use bullets of 19 words or less and keep it to within 10 years Relevant Experience. Human Resource only uses 7 seconds to read a resume so you might be getting sidelined without being read.
• Use Tag Crowd to decipher the keywords used by the company’s want ad. These need to be emphasized in your resume. Save that resume under company’s name for reference when they call.
• Your Summary of Qualifications should have the keywords in examples not “I am a multitask-oriented person”.

Good Luck

1 August 2015 Helpful answer

Advisor

Nathan Haffke Omaha, NE

Stephen, Just a thought you might consider... but will taking a job help you get to where you REALLY want to go personally and financially? Depending on your retirement and dream goals(if you have them), a $50k a year job offer might be the perfect thing to torpedo them all. You have certain skill sets, education, and leadership experience that may never be truly valued by employers, but that could be leveraged into building some kind of company of your own that might get you closer to targeted goals quicker. My best advice is to seriously consider (be specific) where you want to be financially and what kind of quality of life you want to be living on August 1, 2020. If it appears a job won't get you there in time... consider your own business. As a steward of your own talents, knowledge and experience, it might be a much better use.

30 July 2015 Helpful answer

Advisor

Gerald Mannikarote Houston, TX

Stephen,
Thanks for your service and congrats on your advanced education.
Everyone has provided really great advice, but I would like to highlight what Nathan has pointed out.
With your age, you bring in EXPERIENCE. This is something that most folks don't have. Use the time you have now as a part time employee to develop your own business. Tally your unique skill sets and market them heavily. You will see that you can be a consultant and own your own business.
I hope this helps.
Warm regards,
Jerry

7 August 2015 Helpful answer

Veteran

Tim Keefe Washington, DC

1. Age is less of a factor if you're in a "hot" field where your skills are in demand. You didn't say anything about what you bring to the table in that respect. If you don't bring much, then you can expect to start near the bottom.

2. Your location certainly doesn't help. For most professional work, you have to move closer to the urban centers to have a fighting chance. (This is elementary.) Staying in small towns won't work. This is a mistake I made in my 20s and I paid a heavy price for it. Fortunately, there are ways to live near the bigger cities instead of in them. You have to find this sweet spot, especially if living costs are a major concern.

3. In addition to the location, you have to target the companies that are looking for: experienced (not "old") professionals and veterans. Also, companies that are more flexible in terms of their makeup and hiring practices. Start-ups might work as well as non-profits, as Neil recommended. I used to work with nonprofits many years ago, and what they lack in terms of internal stability and competency, they make up in terms of better opportunities. No one says you have to work for them forever, but just enough to gain experience and make contacts.

4. And, with contacts, I see from your profile that you're a Mason. Best to make use of those contacts.

It's all about being flexible and thinking outside of the box. You have to go where the jobs and the people are.

And, see if you can start an online side business. That's another way to increase flexibility.

16 July 2015 Helpful answer

Advisor

Damin Kirk Hazelwood, MO

Hi Stephen -

I agree with both Krystal and Angela. Networking, finding the point of failure, and demonstrated skills are key.

Try teaming up with some military recruiters (Lucas Group) for some assistance, they can at least get you in front of potential employers. Having higher education is good, but's it's not the only thing. It's imperative that you can demonstrate skills and be able to effectively talk your accomplishments. Your resume alone will not land you a job.

I can connect you to specific recruiters if you'd like (pm me). Good Luck!

Damin

16 July 2015 Helpful answer

Advisor

Jeff Shoemaker Lake In The Hills, IL

Stephen,
You don;t say what industry or job you are intereted in. Once you determine that identify companies of interest and contact the manager of their military hiring program, also contact alumni from your school that are veterans and ask them for help

Advisor

Charles (Chuck) Postma Muskegon, MI

The best way I have found to get an offer from a top ranked company is to take a contract position with them. Get acquainted with a temporary job recruiter and land a temporary-to-direct position.

Good luck!

Chuck

Advisor

June R Massoud Burlington, VT

Sounds to me like you would be a good teacher of MBA courses if you had such a high GPA. Why don't you go back to that school and offer to teach for them? Then you'll make business contacts with your students and staff and other people will want to know you. You will have a status of respect and admiration.
Hope this helps.
Best,
June R Massoud

Advisor

michael convey Longboat Key, FL

Thank you for your service to our country.

Most major corporations would have an interest in retired military personnel because of the leadership skills that are developed while serving our country.. I would peruse the websites of Fortune 500 companies for job openings. Many are posted on the website. Subsequently to reviewing the websites, I would get a feel for what interests you, and start to develop a resume. A job objective is important, and if possible, I would try to customize the objective to correspond with the needs of the company. Next i would develop a list of your skills and accomplishments. Major corporations are interested in leadership skills, and they should be incorporated on the resume along with other experience you have achieved. Equally important is demonstrate success, by showing promotions, citations and awards you have earned.

I would then make a list of companies that you would enjoy working for and where you think you be most successful in using your education, skills and experience. As I said, check the websites of these companies, to see if any job posting exist, and contact the appropriate person. I would also mail resumes to companies with a fit for your needs. Don't get discouraged, getting the right job is a job, so I would mail as many resumes as possible.

I would also use Linkedin, which is a website that has different influential people along with their experience and contact information. Try to join some of the committees to gain experience and develop contacts. Executive search firms specializing in areas of your interest are good sources for jobs

Good luck, and thanks again for you commitment to our great country

Mike Convey

Advisor

michael convey Longboat Key, FL

Thanks for doing what you do.

Most major companies place a premium value on service personnel, especially those with leadership qualifications. As such Fortune 500 companies, hi-tech companies and other growth oriented companies are good places to look. Corporate websites, execeutive search firms specializing in your field along employment agencies is a another good source. Make sure your resume is a fresh, and if possible emphasize accomplishments. Customizing your resume and job objective is very helpful when seeking a high level position, such as that which you are seeking.

Best of luck

Mike

Advisor

michael convey Longboat Key, FL

Thanks for doing what you do.

Most major companies place a premium value on service personnel, especially those with leadership qualifications. As such Fortune 500 companies, hi-tech companies and other growth oriented companies are good places to look. Corporate websites, execeutive search firms specializing in your field along employment agencies is a another good source. Make sure your resume is a fresh, and if possible emphasize accomplishments. Customizing your resume and job objective is very helpful when seeking a high level position, such as that which you are seeking.

Best of luck

Mike

Advisor

GERRY KIRKLAND Fort Mill, SC

Thanks for your service and dedication.
What is your specialty in the military?

Advisor

Mark Johnson Beltsville, MD

Congratulations on the interview

Advisor

Sheila McCormick Oakland, CA

I would be happy to make comments on your resume if you send it to me. I've done that so far for 3 other people via ACP advisors and they have all said they appreciated my detailed critiques.
sheilamc@berkeley.edu

Advisor

Al Kuebler Indio, CA

Stephen,

Thank you for your service.

I would suggest that you begin to apply yourself to a kind of "business attraction strategy."

Saying it another way, you might try cross-walking what you enjoyed doing in the military (or elsewhere), what you were especially good at in your education and what you have an aptitude for into business value terms, i.e., where might you best help/solve problems for a business or enterprise?

Additionally, you might wish to consider which industry types would be especially attractive to you (where you would enjoy helping them accomplish their goals) given your strengths/aptitudes/education.

Finding businesses/enterprises in these areas would then narrow your field and allow your specific interests/aspirations to come through during your search.

I heard Lily Tomlin once say, "When I was a little girl, I made up my mind that someday I would grow up to be somebody. Later on, I realized I should have been more specific."

So, first comes a sense of your value proposition and then you might want to be specific regarding what industries/companies you would like to work in...

Hope this helps.

Veteran

Robert Vasquez San Antonio, TX

Hey Stephen, first and foremost never quit And stay powerful. I would definitely take a look at how you are branding yourself. For example, Is your headline the fact that you have an MBA with that awesome GPA (congrats BTW) or are you crafting a communication piece that says you are results driven. In my business world although we highly value education we want to see what are you capable of doing. Put your accomplishments in Situational, Behavior, and Outcome format. For your interview Have a 90 day plan on when you are hired as the operations manager I will statements---- Brand brand brand yourself this is one of the hardest things to do as a veteran. You have got to sell yourself.

Best regards,
Robert Vasquez

Veteran

Steve Smith Cedar Park, TX

Stephen,

Thank you for your service.

There is a lot of good advice above. We recently relocated to another metropolitan city. I've been looking for work for about a month. I can tell you that out of all of the jobs I have applied for, the interviews are starting to come from my networking contacts; not responding to job recs on the internet. I joined local chapters of PMI and the international institute of business analysis (IIBA), and have been meeting people at PD events. I also found and joined local networking meetings by searching for them on the internet. Several leads are coming from that effort.

If you start attending PD events, I recommend a small investment in a box of business cards with your top three skill sets (project management, accounting, business analysis, etc...), and list your MBA. Put your phone, e-mail address, and LinkedIn shortcut URL on them. I have been handing these out when meeting people, and I'm getting traction on these as well.
Consider putting your resume in Dropbox or an email folder. While you want to tailor your resume for each job, having a general one to show your experience is helpful when having a discussion with them.

I agree with looking for employers that hire vets - some have programs to move vets to the top of the queue for consideration. When I was at the state in California, I hired a retired Air Force LTC to work for me. He worked out great, and was willing to do whatever needed to be done. You just need to find the right employer and hiring manager. It can take a while.

Keep the faith and good luck!

Advisor

michael convey Longboat Key, FL

Thanks for doing what you do. i would develop a list of skills, accomplishments and interests. From there I would develop a strong result oriented resume, which shows success, accomplishments and citations earned, along with a customized job objective that parallels the position you are applying for. Corporate websites are a good start for jobs. Executive search firms and employment agencies are a good source of leads that should be pursued. Linkedin is a business website that is great to learn more about fields you are interested in working. It provides different committees you can work on, and simultaneously provides a good source of contacts. It is a great form of social media, and can be very helpful. Think of friends, people you do business with and acquaintenances that may be employed by industries and companies that are interest to you. These are great contacts. In many cases, it is not only what you know, but who you know. Good luck

Advisor

Louis Schwarz Somerville, NJ

All these responses are great.
Contact me if you want to discuss where you may fit best after the military. This is a very tough thing. You need to talk it out and pick a target.

Veteran

Nathan Kerr Fort George G Meade, MD

Unfortunately, it seems your profile on LinkedIn is not very visible. That would be the first start. My question, keeping in mind that I am a transitioning veteran as well is based on the type of MBA you have. Was it from a public or nom-profit college with additional business accreditation such as the coveted AACSB accreditation or did you fall prey to the myriad of for-profit (many- like Grantham not even regionally accredited) "colleges" for your MBA? I know they invest heavily in advertising easy degrees based on life or military experience but hold little weight in the civilian job market.

Advisor

John Gunter Riverton, UT

Always looking for top talent, and you should qualify!! Send me an email so we can discuss, John

Advisor

Mark Johnson Beltsville, MD

Marketing yourself is very challenging compared to cross country skiing its like 10 miles
If you have paid for any advice outside of school I would first analyze what affect s its db made to you changes and results.
Marketing is done in campaign like elections they really do not have a finish
But you want results a job or interviews, so if you paid you can make the connection pay more if you are basing your strategy on school and your finished pick one class similar to marketing and try different fundelmentals.
Marketing is the exchange of goods or services

Advisor

David Fister Frankfort, IL

Thank you for your service. Consider Linkedin as a networking tool if you are computer savvy or have family or friends who can set you up a profile.

Veteran

Stephen Kimball Cassopolis, MI

Thank you all for the responses. I live in a rural part of Illinois that receives little in new businesses and revolve around the agriculture industry. Many businesses in this part of the state are still down sizing or shutting down due to the anti-business climate found within the state. I have started looking for opportunities outside of the state. I do have a LinkedIn.com account and have it on my resume.

Advisor

Laurence Schnabel Templeton, CA

Does the school where you earned your MBA have a placement center? Or has it any advice on which corporations favor vets in hiring?

Advisor

Marlene Boychak Newark, DE

First of all don't lead with your age, lead with what your knowledge and skills are and what you can do for any company. Have several resumes and modify them for each position. Eliminate any working experience that is over 10 years old. And for periods when you were not working, include the time spent pursuing your MBA.

Join and actively participate in social networking sites like LinkedIn. Reach out to recruiters on LinkedIn and make them work for you. Remember they make a profit by placing you in a position. Connect with like minded professionals and utilize their network.

Get an application like Microsoft Project Management and study it inside out. Join the Project Management Institute (PMI) and keep up on the hot management skills companies are looking for. You should also have working knowledge of different project management methodologies (Waterfall, Agile,..). You can learn about these online and be ready discuss them from an application standpoint in an interview.

I don't know if you have any certifications but getting a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is a competitive advantage on any job application.

Thanks.

Advisor

Randy Kahn Los Angeles, CA

Network, network, network. Join organizations like the American Legion, Kiwanis, Lions, etc. Always have business cards on you. Make sure your resume looks appealing. Comb through job sites, making a minor change in your posted resume every week or two to keep in up top when employers search for key words that are in your resume. Take a quick, 5-to-10-second look at the top of your resume and see if you'd gain enough interested to spend more time on it if you were an employer who has hundreds of resumes to go through. Then, network more and more. Look for career fairs aimed at veterans. Make sure you highlight your most marketable skills. My cousin lost her job in her late 50's and made a complete switch taking a government job as a receptionist (she has a PhD). She rose rapidly from one opportunity to another in government to become a legislative analyst. She's 65 and still working full time. And then network some more. Good luck!

Advisor

Cindy Faria Pensacola, FL

Don't give up. You may consider accepting a lower-level full-time position with an organization that can provide potential for advancement once you show your potential in the lower-level position. If the advancement does not come, you can move on and use that as experience. I am a child of veterans but not a veteran myself. I experienced difficulty with finding a management position and thought my newly-minted B.S. in Business Management would be my ticket. It wasn't. I had to work my way up after proving myself.

Also, join a local and national organization of your industry if one exists. Serving leadership roles in the local organization and attending meetings are great opportunities to network and build relationships that can lead to employment opportunities.

Michael Belcher's advice was good.

Also, make sure to change your language to civilian industry-speak. Avoid military jargon because it doesn't resonate in the civilian world. Find a civilian you can trust to help you translate military jargon. I would be willing to help by email - cfaria@uwf.edu.

If your university has a veterans' resource office, I'm sure they would help. Also, contact the career center of your university for assistance.

Good luck! Stay positive! Make sure the words you speak are positive and forward thinking and results oriented!

Jim Peck gave good advice.

Advisor

Jeanne Perdue Houston, TX

Dear Stephen:
If you want the best job in the world for an experienced person with a master's degree, my friends tell me it's teaching in a community college. You can share all that knowledge and experience with young people or even older people who want to make a change for the better. It's very rewarding and satisfying, and the students are those who WANT to be there and learn, as opposed to K-12 public schools, so they are well-behaved. There are lots of community colleges that are looking to hire instructors, especially here in Houston, with Houston Community College and Lone Star College, two of the biggest community college systems in the country. If you do come to Houston, look me up and we'll do lunch. Meanwhile, check out the websites at lonestar.edu and hccs.edu.
- Jeanne Perdue, Houston

Advisor

Patricia Sanderlin Hempstead, TX

Stephen, thank you for your service!
A lot of folks who have served for a long time are not used to the unstructured way the civilian life works. A MBA is a great start and a good thing to show on your resume, but you cannot count on it and you already realized that. The hiring process works more on instinct.

Companies will hire you when they have a need and see that you can help them fill that need. A great leader, a change agent, someone who can pull teams together and make them productive, etc. If you get to an interview, ask what keeps them up at night, what their challenges are and answer how you and your attitude coupled with experience can help them!

In your status, it is not so much tactical, but more operational and that is determined by the attitudes and behaviors of someone more than what he can do. A company can always train you to perform certain tasks, how to use software to run a report, but with an MBA level type job, being driven, being analytical, being able to drive solid conclusions, having a goal and following it through with it overcoming difficult challenges with diplomacy and urgency, being great at building networks and supporters, being able to see line of sight - translating company strategies into team goals to achieve,... these are all skills that will get you a job.

In the resume and in your interview, you must convey that! I am sure you have many examples where you can demonstrate these kinds of behaviors, don't be shy to list them and demonstrate them in your interview. In the operational business world, this will open up many opportunities for you.

Good luck!

Patricia

Advisor

Joshua Dumont Cedar Park, TX

Target a different shot group of employment. Instead of management there is business analyst. There are a whole slew of analyst positions to choose. An MBA puts you in good standing. What do you want to be?

Advisor

Michael Belcher Maryville, TN

I agree with the advise to get on linkden. Tailor your resume to be able to achieve specific, measurable, results driven items for example: Reduced Downtime XX%, Increased effieciency XX%, Increased uptime XX%, Reduced Inventory XX%, Developed Standard Work for XX proxess, Problem Solver (is a good one), Developed audit process that achieved XX results. Make these items 1 liners with 5-8 words each line.

Look at some examples on linkden, and this might help. I have worked at ALCOA INC past 32 years as hourly, now salary. They are always posting jobs worldwide:
www.alcoa.com-then search careers.

BTW thanks for you service to our country,

Mike Belcher

Advisor

Jim Schreier Milwaukee, WI

You've gotten some excellent advice here, particularly the examples of making sure your resume is focused on accomplishments. There's a strong thread in these comments that's critical. Your "skills" and your "education" are things that you "HAVE" -- and having is not doing. As veteran recruiter Lou Adler teaches, "it's what you DO with what you HAVE, not what you HAVE that counts!" As mentioned in several posts, you must focus on what you can DO -- which ultimately is based on what you've DONE!

Advisor

Emanuel Carpenter Alpharetta, GA

Stephen:

In today's world, the degree is important but not as important as experience. If you have the experience in accounting, I highly recommend you highlight that on your resume. If you don't have much experience, consider working for a startup. One resource is AngelList: https://angel.co/.

Also, consider looking for companies that specifically look to hire veterans like the one below:

http://careers.hireahero.org/jobs/search

Finally, know that it's all about networking these days. Finding a new position should be about 90% networking, 10% job boards. The people you know and kind of know will be able to refer you to positions BEFORE they're advertised. Many employers love to hire through referral because they trust the judgement of their current employees.

You can do this by sending your resume to every family member, friend, and colleague you know. Let them know that finding a job in accounting is imperative. I once had a friend take my resume to the CEO of a company using this method. Two weeks later, I had a job.

If you're not on LinkedIn already, be sure to join. Connect with recruiters and executives at companies where you want to work. As a veteran, you get a free, one-year Premium account. This should help you even more with your job search.

One final thought: Consider volunteering. Although the pay is non-existent, the experience can carry over into a bonafide, full-time position.

Advisor

Rocio Briones Austin, TX

I see a number of individuals that have provided valid points and recommendations. However, I would state that although education is always a plus, it will not always get you in the door. Networking has been a key success for quite a number of people and is the most common method that most people I know use. This could also translate to working with your school's job placement service staff for pointers or traversing through the college's/university's job bank for opportunities. Please note that such offerings usually do not end just because your education has. Also, do not forget that the VA office should provide some assistance with employment opportunities as well. Moreover, I would keep in mind that you have to tailor your resume to focus towards the company your submitting your resume to. As an extension to James' comment and to emphasize Angela's response, this would translate to what skills/talents do you have that fit with the company your applying to in order to help them improve their operations and profitability?

Good luck.

Veteran

James L (Jim) Peck Huntington Beach, CA

Industry and the military are very different. The military has a standard deffinition for every position, and a defined path to attain the position. Industry has a unique deffinition for each task in each company / division of each company, and no defined path to attain the position. Your goal is to present your qualifications to the company in the unique language of the company, and to show that you will be a asset to the company. The company's bottom line is to produce a product at a profit. Your task to to show the company that you will be an asset supporting their goal.

Advisor

Jim Obenshain Blanchard, OK

Stephen, all good points here. As a hiring manager I am always amazed at the number of folks that don't actually ask for the position. Ask for the job (assuming you want to be hired), as for brushing up on interview skills, don't be afraid to go to interviews that may not necessarily fit what you are looking for.
Very much agree with networking, and would add, find some target companies and network into them. Look for companies that have hiring targets for Veterans, GE, Wal-Mart...there are many out there.

Advisor

Robert Jung Houston, TX

I think Krystal has outlined very praclical advices for Stephen's further efforts, Best wishes and good luck,

Robert

Advisor

Mary Stern Santa Barbara, CA

Stephen,

There is a lot of age discrimination - unfortunate fact of life. Smaller companies value experience - they don't have time to train. I would first figure out the type of industry that you are interested in. Then start to target companies in that space. ARe you on LinkedIn? Can employers find you? You may need to brush up on your interviewing skills - phone, video and face-to-face interviews. Phone interviews are intended to screen people out. Ask if there is anything else they would like to know about you - then ask for the job.

Advisor

Neil Serafin Sequim, WA

Age is not a help...you are being interviewed by people who remember 911 when they were in after school daycare. Try a non-profit...they need business managers...they are full of M S W's who are unable to look at the big picture....try sheltered workshops...aka pre-employment training groups.

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