Melissa C. Martin

Bilingual Career & Interview Coaching

- Voted within the top 100 excellent, inspiring career coaches on Twitter by onlinedegree.net 

certified bilingual military to civilian transition coach

Melissa is a proud military spouse, who has a passion for supporting the military community.

For 17 years, including almost 10 years at two military bases in Kingston and Trenton, Melissa C. Martin has worked as a bilingual career coach and employment counsellor, delivering career transition presentations and workshops to outgoing military members. One of her greatest accomplishments is the highly acclaimed “How to Demilitarize Your Resume” workshops that were endorsed by officers at the Base Personnel Selection Office. She empowered military members, including non-commissioned members and military spouses. 

Now, she helps outgoing military members and veterans transition to the the civilian workforce.

Melissa has also worked in the past few years in the mental health field to serve adults recovering from mental illnesses. She still volunteers in the field as one of her social causes. Following a ten year broadcasting career, Melissa became certified in solution-focused interviewing and counselling. She diligently tracks cutting-edge trends for which she has held sway among colleagues and employment service providers.

Melissa already provided employment assistance to hundreds of military spouses

Melissa is a subject matter expert on social media job searching and has a strong affection for Twitter. Follow Melissa on Twitter @melissacmartin or @ravingredhead. In 2011, Melissa was rated among the top 100 inspiring career coaches on Twitter.

Melissa is requested frequently to speak on various topics and has delivered presentations at three international career conferences in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. As a former approved career expert on two major career sites, Melissa has written articles on www.careerealism.com and www.secretsofthejobhunt.com.

Contact her now for more information!

melissa c martin, career coach gta

Call Melissa TODAY to get expert career advice! 

613-532-9993

melissacynthiamartin@gmail.com

leave a message

Melissa's Articles

  • 23/10/2016 - Melissa C. Martin
    How to "de-militarize" Warrant Officer in civilian terms


    Around 2010, I  was the first to create a de-militarize resume workshop at Canadian Forces Base Kingston, and ultimately to CFB Trenton,, it was a feat to transition military skills into civilian terms. That was then. Earlier this year, Yvonne Rodney published Military to Civilian Employment: A Career Practitioner's Guide.   As a Career Professional, I  was a contributor, as one who deals with military and vets as clients. At long last, Yvonne managed to publish many military terms with the civilian equivalent in the last chapter. Horrah!  Now I want to elaborate on a concrete example for you-Warrant Officer.


    Let's break down a Warrant Officer's major skills and competencies:


    -applying high standards of conduct and behaviour in the workplace

    Civilian equivalent: Ethics Officer; Human Resources Officer; Harassment Prevention Advisor


    -displaying a high level of leadership to a large group making logical and quick decisions

    Civilian equivalent: Leadership Coach; Business Advisor; Change Management Consultant; Business Management Consultant


    -conducting effective training in group skills and theory

    Civilian Equivalent: Instructor; Team Leader


    -managing time and resources productively and efficiently to achieve a high level of quality control in all activities-

    Civilian equivalent: Quality Control Manager; Quality Assurance Manager


    -conduct investigations and prepare detailed written papers, reports and investigations

    Civilian equivalent: Private Investigator; Intelligence Officer; Commissionaire; Security Officer


    We go go on with other duties, but the point is to translate these titles and skills into language that civilian employers can understand! After that, it is up to you to communicate your value.

    Coming soon! My upcoming book, How to de-militarize your resume



    Need a credentialed career professional with experience in de-militarizing resumes? Contact me TODAY to start your civilian job search in the right direction!

    If you are leaving the Canadian Forces soon, my career transition services are reimbursable by up to $1000 dollars with Veterans Affairs!

    Check out my career strategy session page on this site. 


    Melissa Martin 

    Military to civilian career coach

    www.military2civilianemployment.com

    blog: webinarcareercoach.blogspot.ca

    Linkedin group, military to civilian employment





    Read More
  • 11/10/2016 - Melissa C. Martin
    Finding fullfillment after your military career


    Are you ready to make a change? Get some tips for getting started on a successful second career.

    For more than twenty-years, Carla’s primary focus was working her way
    up the chain of command in her career as a Log O (logistics officer).
    Day after day, Carla she worked hard to meet the demands of her
    superiors and colleagues, until one morning she woke up with a sickened,
    sinking feeling in her stomach.

    It was her career, Carla realized. Having spent nearly half of her
    life working in an unsatisfying job, with few genuine accomplishments
    and the goals of her youth long forgotten, Carla had hit mid life and
    she didn’t like it. To alleviate the feeling in her stomach, Carla began
    making a conscious effort to pay more attention to the gap between the
    reality of her life and the dreams and passions she once had. She was
    determined to pounce on her one last chance for a career that could make
    the second half of her life more meaningful and fulfilling.

    In 2004, Carla left her job on the base and decided to nourish her
    passion to serve the elderly and today, she is the owner and operator of
    an adult day care facility.

    Is Carla’s story unusual? According to a study reported in Prevention Magazine,
    not in the slightest; “79% of baby boomers will expect to work at least
    part-time well into their golden years,” the study has revealed. “A
    growing number of adults are looking at their 40s, 50s, and 60s as the
    right time to start fresh in an entirely new field.” What drives adults
    to change their careers? The answer, in a word, is midlife.

    In the military world, it can mean having had previous career or
    trade and then the twenty, twenty-five or thirty year mark looms…And
    then the decision making begins.

    What to do after your life in the military? A common observation I
    have seen from military clients is,”The military (life or lifestyle) is
    all I’ve known for XYZ years.” So true. So now what?

    Now comes the transition to the civilian work world.

    Craving a more fulfilling and meaningful career is just one area of
    focus during mid life adjustment. As adults reach mid life, at a time
    when parents and older relatives begin to die, the realization that
    their lives, too, will come to an end begins to hit home. Suddenly the
    importance of achieving goals and doing what makes us happy becomes much
    more important. This is the time closet authors, entrepreneurs,
    musicians or artists will begin thinking about careers to match their
    energy, vitality, and passion for life.

    The life cycle is, for most of us, fairly predictable. From
    adolescence to age 30, most of us are consumed with learning how to
    become who we think we want to be. We go from our 30’s to our 40’s
    working and living that role. But at age 40, mid life, after having
    reached this goal, many discover it wasn’t what we wanted to do after
    all. At this mid life point, after having worked so hard only to find
    ourselves wanting, many are willing to take on the challenge of more
    risk and freeing ourselves from the burden of other’s expectations.

    After proper self-assessments and self-assessments, more ex-military
    are starting businesses, gaining respect, and finding purpose in their
    civilian mid life careers.

    The lesson we can take for Carla’s story is that mid life should not
    be feared, and that the sinking feeling in your stomach should not be
    ignored. Both are an accepted call to action. Transitioning to a
    civilian job, career, or lifestyle does take work. But if you truly
    follow your passion, the effort will provide infinitely positive
    results.

    Are you ready to make a change? Here are a few tips for getting started on a successful second career.

    Make a list of the things missing in your life
    Do you long to revive a passion from your youth that you never found time to pursue?

    Is it music, a sport, writing, cooking, entrepreneurship?

    It doesn’t matter what, as long as it’s something you truly have a
    desire to do. If you’ve already got a clear picture of the passions
    you’d like to pursue, then identify small, achievable ways you can start
    incorporating them into your life.

    Imagine that you already have one million dollars in the bank
    How
    would you spend your time each day? Think of the environment you’d like
    to be in, the people you’d want to know, and how you would relate to
    them. What activities would you engage in?

    Chances are your passions come to the surface when you play-out your
    “winning the lottery” fantasies. Although we’re not all destined to be
    millionaires, that shouldn’t hold you back from following your desires
    and placing more value in yourself, regardless of your bank account
    balance.

    Tap into your wisdom and experience to re-evaluate your current career
    Ask
    yourself what’s not working and what you want to change. Use this time
    to reflect on your life. Are there any passions or dreams that you
    abandoned in your youth? If you don’t know what you want to do, try
    volunteering as a way to develop new interests. Find a way to live your
    passion everyday.

    Understand your passion, but also where your strengths lie.

    It’s critical to take an inventory of your life and to determine what
    is really important. Make a list of the things you are passionate
    about, and then narrow the list to items that present an opportunity to
    generate income. If you’re not pursuing your passion, what’s in the way?
    What do you need to do to move forward with pursuing your plan?

    Start right now


    Over the next 30 days; make a commitment to
    yourself to identify one thing you can do to begin pursuing your
    passion—and start doing it! Research ways to integrate your passion with
    your current obligations and take those first steps into your second
    career with achievable goals. You’ll soon discover that living and
    working your passion is being in control of your own life.

    I have worked with countless ex-military members and military spouses
    who were contemplating a job or career change. Contact me at
    melissacynthiamartin@gmail.com TODAY.

    Read More
  • 11/10/2016 - Melissa C. Martin
    How to overcome being overqualified-part I

    A common complaint I hear from clients I’ve coached in the military or corresponded with
    in my Linkedin group, military to civilian employment is: “They (civilian employer) told me I was overqualified.”

    Have you ever gone through the interview process, felt confident that you’d performed extremely well, and then heard those dreadful words?
    “I’m sorry, but we feel you’re overqualified for this position.”

    “Arrggh!!”

    Here’s how to prepare for and avoid the negative perception of being “overqualified” for a job. When I was told that after an interview, several thoughts went through my frustration-fogged mind… What kind of crazy excuse is that for not hiring me? So what if I’m ‘overqualified’ — don’t employers always want to hire the person with the best qualifications? (NO….you’d be surprised, it is something deeper than that!)

    If I’m willing to take this job, overqualified or not, why is that a problem? This isn’t fair! What’s the real reason they don’t want to hire
    me?

    When interviewers say you are “overqualified,” here’s what they are concerned about:
    (1) You’ll be bored in this position;
    (2) You won’t be satisfied with the salary they’re offering;
    (3) You’ll leave as soon as you get a better opportunity;
    (4) They’ll have to go through the time-consuming and expensive process of hiring and training someone all over again.


    The above reasons may or may not make you feel better about being “overqualified,” but admittedly, those are legitimate concerns from the
    civilian employer.

    If you get the “overqualified” excuse once, you’ll be wary about getting it again. So if you apply for other jobs that may be at a lower level than warranted by your military background, skills, education and experience, you may be tempted to “dumb down” your resume and omit things like college degrees or advanced training. But lying about your background is NOT recommended. 


    Here’s a better strategy: address it head-on. Be the first one to raise the “overqualified” issue with a potential employer. If you bring it up
    yourself, you can discuss it openly and convince the interviewer that it won’t be a problem.

    They key — as with every job interview issue — is to anticipate and prepare. Before you go to the interview, think about what you’ll say and
    how you will convince them that they should hire you, even if you are “overqualified.” This is a basic SALES principle called “overcoming
    objections.” 


    After explaining how you will be a great asset for their company, tell them why you are applying for a lower-level position. In my experience with coaching military members, a certain percentage who transition into the civilian workforce purposely select a“lower level” of responsibility or an “entry level job” if they are changing careers entirely.

    There is nothing wrong with being selective.

    I myself have had the opportunity to advance or be a “manager” of some sort, but I like to work FRONT LINE in the “trenches” to coach
    clients. Do not say, “I can’t find anything else and I really need a job.” Though that may be the case, this approach is a little too honest and will
    reinforce the employer’s fear that you will leave at the first opportunity.

    Say something like, “You can tell that I’ve worked at a higher level before, but this position is exactly what I’m looking for.”
    Then, depending on the job and your circumstances, explain why. For example:

    * “I’ve always wanted to work for your company [or in this industry], and I’m willing to take a lower-level position to get that
    opportunity.”
    * “It (the job opportunity) will allow me to use my skills and expand my experience in a new field.”
    * “I’m looking for something a little less stressful, with fewer responsibilities, so I can spend more time with my family.”
    * “This position provides the stability and long-term growth potential I’m looking for.”
    * “The salary is not my top priority. I’d have no problem with earning less than I’ve earned in the past.”


    Be very enthusiastic about the job. Explain how you can meet the employer’s needs now and in the future as the company grows. And most important of all, convince them that you will not quit as soon as something better comes along.

    If you are convinced that this job would be worth it, you might even try this: offer to sign an agreement stating that you will stay on the job for a minimum of 12 months. Whether the hiring manager actually takes you up on that offer or not, it will definitely make a very positive impression!

    Right now, I am helping a former military member (signals operator) transition into the workforce and he wants a simple job at a supermarket or stocking shelves at night at Walmart. For my military client, is a personal choice; he realizes that he must plan for the possibility of being viewed as “overqualified” after twenty-five years in the military.


    If you anticipate the “overqualified” issue and address it up front, it will not be a drawback to your success!


    Need a credentialed career coach to help you transition to a new civilian career? Call me TODAY at 613-532-9993 or email me melissacynthiamartin@gmail.com.



    Melissa C. Martin

    www.military2civilianemployment.com


    Read More
  • Linkedin invitations
    11/10/2016 - Melissa C. Martin
    How to customize Linkedin invitations to create more impact

    You’ve heard the adage, ” you only have one chance to make a positive impression,” or something to that effect! No exception when it comes
    to doing a makeover on the #1 job search marketing tool, Linkedin.Has this happened to you lately?


    You receive a Linkedin invitation from goodness knows who, from goodness knows where? 


    It happens all the time…at least with me. And my career professional colleagues have shared it in their posts, so it CAN’T be my imagination!
    So HOW do you turn a generic, blasé Linkedin invitation into something that will entice the recipient to click “accept Linkedin invitation?”


    1. Focus on the features and benefits of connecting with you. In previous posts, I have emphasized that you as a job seeker have to market yourself as a winning brand or a marketable product, especially when you are trying to attract hiring managers and recruiters, who would like nothing less than to find some qualified candidates land on their computer screen. 


    As a former military member or vet, “modesty goes out the window” when it comes to attracting employers (for more details, see my article on this site).
    Once you have convinced yourself that being modest with potential employers doesn’t work, then it’s time to dive in deeply to craft a winning Linkedin profile!


    To make your Linkedin profile make the cut, you must have four elements, otherwise, you’ll be passed over:
    Credibility– You can easily achieve this because of your military career. More often than not, employers see the Canadian Forces as representative of a credible employer. So let’s incorporate that into your Linkedin profile. 


    As an example: ” Expertise in managing 50+ government personnel….I have completed a distinguished career in the Canadian Forces…I have overseen everything from (skill set or competency) to. Seeking new career opportunities and job offers…(mention desired field) AHA moment! Now you’ve just gained credibility in your Linkedin profile by telling potential employers or recruiters that you have worked for a major/big employer-the Canadian Forces!


    2. Optimization for Linkedin searches


    Here’s where the research comes into play. Once you decide your job target, embed relevant keywords into
    your profile. Google LOVES keywords and this will be instrumental in being “found” in your desired field. If you are unsure about industry
    keywords, search job postings or if applicable, search your “competitors” in the field and see what they have chosen as keywords. And another thing that Google LOVES is Linkedin recommendations-they will show up too! Ask former supervisors and colleagues to write a short paragraph in the form of a recommendation.


    3. Impact
    Your Linkedin profile is not meant to repeat your conventional resume.
    Similar to point #1, it is meant to sell you as a viable candidate and
    arouse enough from companies to contact you. So the impact will depend
    on how you write your profile. Tell a story about yourself and make the
    content punchy and readable. Going one step further, add sizzle to your
    “digital footprint” by including a personal web page, Twitter profile or
    short video. Altogether, these digital elements create an impact, which
    should translate into more views and more Linkedin invitations. 


    4. Connection to your target market-If you wish to stay in a similar role that you had in the military, go to
    your email contacts and invite them to join LInkedin. Find out who are
    “key players” in your target market and build your Linkedin connections.
    In a previous webinar, I learned that having at least 120 Linkedin
    connections will start the ball rolling for you. 


    If you are changing careers entirely, create a customized (NOT generic) Linkedin invitation, so that you can be part of the “who’s who” in your
    target market. 


    Some tips for customizing a Linkedin invitation:

    Use the recipient’s NAME and ask a unique question about their career or life.
    Explain how you know each other or what you have in common and the reason you
    want to connect. Just as in Twitter, not every connection will accept your Linkedin invitation, so give them a reason why you should connect.
    Make your invitation brief. Aim for three to four sentences maximum.


    Compliment the connection you want to invite by saying that you follow their blog, Facebook post or Twitter page. 


    Connect with past colleagues as Laurie Berenson suggests: “Update on your current role and/or offer to meet or speak to catch up. Suggest how your
    connections or network could benefit them and/or why you’d like to connect.” Brilliant advice Laurie! Stay tuned for more Linkedin tips to wow employers!

    As a certified career professional, I offer 45-minute Linkedin MAKEOVER consultation calls to help my clients.


    Work with me to do a personal Linkedin MAKEOVER and learn action steps to turn your profile into a job-attracting magnet fast!
    Email me TODAY at melissacynthiamartin@gmail.com tmail.com to get a Linkedin Profile Makeover.


    Melissa C. Martin B.A., B.Ed.
    Military to civilian career coach
    www.military2civilianemployment.com

    Read More
  • 04/10/2016 - Melissa C. Martin
    How to diagnose two interview questions

    A job interview is stressful. And probably even more so if you have never attended a civilian job interview because of your military career. Preparing for the interview de-stresses the situation considerably.

    Yet, 78% of all candidates, regardless of the level for which they are interviewing actually” wing it!” This is completely avoidable and frequently causes job candidates added STRESS…


    I asked my military husband about how different interview are in the service, compared to civilian ones-“not much,” my partner responded.

    In this article, we are going to de-mystify two common interview questions. The key is to be prepared and to know as much as possible about position.
    Sounds simple enough, right? But remember the statistic I just gave you.

    No matter how you roll the dice, you must end up selling yourself to the interviewers, otherwise you will be rejected immediately. A fantastic idea is to articulate what that you are able to bring to the position, essentially value, not just the KSA (knowledge, skills and abilities). Be ready for hypothetical questions. Once again, I asked my partner to recall one of his questions for a previous role for which he was interviewing. The example was” “You have twenty minutes to get to an appointment and you realize you are not going to make it. What do
    you do?” Seemingly, this is a benign question.

    But wait, the interviewers will examine HOW you arrive at the answer
    and what is your formula for responding to the question. Be prepared to
    give a detailed answer, but within the appropriate time frame (more on
    that later).

    Like so much of the interview, seemingly innocent questions can trip
    you up. You think you are answering them in a way that puts you in the
    best light, but you’d be surprised at how many people completely miss
    the boat. If you hope merely that an interview will generate a positive
    result, it is not enough. That’s basically forfeiting your ability to
    drive up the percentage of a positive outcome.

    For instance, in response to the question, “Why do you want to work here?” some people will say things such as:
    “I’veworked in this industry for 15 years and been very successful. I feel I can make a difference in your organization. I have a proven track 


    record of leadership. I’ve read in the paper that your company is having some problems, and with my experience as a Director of XXXXX, I can
    help straighten those out.”


    That answer may sound good and appear to suffice, but on a scale of 1 – 10, it ranks about a 4!
    Why?


    The answer demonstrates no detailed research, no forethought, and no consideration about the company’s problems (pain points). . ,


    Overall, unimpressive.


    According to one recruiter whom I researched, she found that while mid -level management (think of your rank in the military to draw a comparison),
    tends to “UNDER answer” the question, upper level management (for example, senior NCO’s or officers) will often “OVER answer” the
    question.
    One group doesn’t provide enough information because of a limited lack of experience. The other group has been around, worked their way up the ladder in more than one company, and in their attempt to sound thoughtful, intelligent, and wise, they end up saying very little at all, according to the recruiter.

    Let’s look closer at a common interview question.


    WHY DO YOU WANT TO WORK HERE?
    Here’s where you get to show off your research. Tell the interviewer what you’ve learned about the company, and why it’s appealing to you. SPECIFICS are the key here. 


    Relate those specific examples from your experience to what you’ve learned about the company, their focus, and their market. Look to your personality and what motivates you and how that relates to any details you learned from the job posting, the civilian recruiter, or the friend who referred you to the position.

    For instance, perhaps the ad stated that they were looking to establish a marketing department from the ground up. If you thrive on growth, challenges, and making things happen – there’s your answer – along with examples of how you have grown, established, or done market research in a parallel situation. An example in the military may be public relations or recruitment.


    And you might ask, “What if it’s not a high profile company? What if it’s on the small side and local?”
    Right. Not every company is the size of General Electric or even a regional public powerhouse that you can look up in Dunn &
    Bradstreet. In North America, the “chain that drives the economy” is small and medium sized businesses.

    Share what you can do and why you feel you can make a contribution and benefit the company. This question is about how YOU can benefit the company, not how the company can benefit YOU.

    TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF
    Some interviews are lost right at this point. This is not an invitation to go on ad nauseum about everything that has happened to you since you were five years old or since your first job in the military or out of college. Nor is it the time to shrug your shoulders and give an unplanned, one-sentence answer.

    Some people, especially those who haven’t prepared and have a tendency to talk when they get nervous, find themselves rambling. That reminds me of a story when I was on an interview panel at a military base. I was the least experienced interviewer at the time, in the company of military personnel. The panel was interviewing for a Mess Manager position and one of the candidates spent TWENTY minutes in answering the above question.

    Strive for NO more than TWO minutes. Why? Adults’ attention spans fade after 45 seconds in listening to someone respond to a question.

    Put together a 2 minute verbal bio about your career, your qualifications, and why you are interested. Know what you’re going to
    say in advance.

    A FEW POINTS TO REMEMBER
    Knowing who who are, what you want, what you have to offer and what you’ve accomplished – and having it all on the tip of your tongue – can make or break you for a job offer – not just for your perfect job, but sometimes for even finding ANY job.

    Being able to sell yourself, your skills, how you can benefit a potential company and then losing the deal, justifies the time to research and learn the company. It means knowing yourself well enough that you can apply aspects of your capabilities to the INDIVIDUAL company – and that you can do it smoothly without grappling for words or just “winging it.”

    And last, but not least, the words of Peter Handal of Dale Carnegie Training, echo the importance of interview preparation, including what strikes most people as silly – role playing. But as he said, “you only have one chance to make a really good impression,” and if you don’t take it seriously enough to study and thoroughly prepare, someone else will, and that’s the person who will get the job!

    Do your homework before EVERY interview! There’s no chance to make a second good impression! I am living proof. Years ago, I interviewed for a counsellor position at a local college and BOMBED it. I think because I came across as overconfident.Don’t let that happen to you!

    Need one-on-one interview coaching with a certified coach? Contact me at melissacynthiamartin@gmail.com or book a career strategy session on
    this site.

    Read More
  • 04/10/2016 - Melissa C. Martin
    Blow your leadership horn

    I had a new client who is ex-navy, from my former unit, by coincidence. “Melissa” he said,” I am not comfortable with “blowing my own horn.” I’ve encountered that sentiment often, after having coached clients over the years, particularly ex-military.

    My response to not wanting to self-promote is that “modesty goes out the window.” You must come to terms with having to “blow your own horn” if you want to advance in your new civilian career. Whether you’re still in your current job or preparing for an interview, the skill of self-marketing (and it is a skill that can be developed) is vital. Afterall, this is the most competitive workforce EVER.

    Because of your military career, you’ve already been groomed as a leader from day one. Once you’re preparing to launch your military
    career (see my article on this site,if you’re unsure of how exactly to do this, ) being skilled in self-promomtion may “make or break you” while facing competition. The proverbial phrase that my colleagues use, such as “the one is the most qualified is not the one who necessarily gets hired” is valid.


     Why? Because it relates to how you “sell yourself” to a civilian employer. 


    You may have enjoyed a direct leadership role, but you have tobreak it down into civilian terms and then “sell it” to the employer. Civilian employers don’t care (or understand) whether you were a Petty Officer, a senior NCM (non-commissioned member) or Aviation Systems Technician, they actually want to see you “blow your horn” in an interview (but not be cocky or arrogant) to beat out your competition.

    Let’s look at this from another angle. Brent Filson of actionleadership.com wrote an article,” Blowing your own leadership horn.” Filson stated that there are “two streams of competitiveness running through every organization.” Filson identified the first as “outward.” Filson defined outward as “the organization’s competitive activities toward its competitors.


    As a credentialed career coach, I can show you how to position your leadership skills in an interview and WOW employers!

    Call me today at 613-532-9993.

    Melissa C. Martin

    www.military2civilianemployment.com



     ” Now this is relevant if you want to stand apart from the competition in your marketing documents (resume, cover letter, etc). A clever interview strategy is to bring in “competitive intelligence” to tell the employer that you know his/her existing challenges in the industry. Read more about this in my article, “Want to wow the employer? Use competitive intelligence,”http://bit.ly/1EDYJT5[xyz-ihs

    The second kind of competitiveness in the civilian workforce, says Filson, is inward: “It’s the competitiveness of leaders inside the organization who are vying against one another for power, recognition, privilege and promotion. ” Every organization has a funnel of power somewhere in the hierarchy of the organization. 


    In the military, you have faced this with the rank and promotion structures. From the civilian perspective, you must show the inward leadership by demonstrating to your potential boss or supervisor that you will deliver value to the company. The “biggies” are saving/making money, solving major problems and improving something. Take these points into consideration when you’re interviewing.

    So what’s in it for you as ex-military or a vet, vying for a civilian job?


    You must be able to self-market, without crossing the fine line of “bragging.” This will immediately turn off employers and be counterproductive. Though it is necessary to blow one’s own horn while you climb your career ladder, there is a caveat.

    Referring back to Filson’s article, one of his steps make sense: 


    “Identify an area in your organization that needs better results.” I suggest that you reserach the employer’s “hidden agenda” (rationale for
    the job being open) and then present a “90 day success plan” DURING the interview. Another way to do it is to identify the company’s “pain
    points” and then talk about how you would achieve better results in the new job. These tactics will be sure to catch the employer’s attention!

    Read More
  • 04/10/2016 - Melissa C. Martin
    The Dark Secret to Getting Recommendations

    Doesn’t it drive you nuts when less qualified people get the opportunities that you deserve more? It doesn’t have to be that way…if you know the secret to getting the kind of recommendation letter that really opens doors.

    Most of us know one or two people who aren’t particularly good at what they do, and yet they always seem to be the ones who get ahead in life or receive a promotion. Wouldn’t you say? They advance, while everyone else has to sit and watch.

    It wouldn’t be so infuriating if they were the most deserving, the most intelligent, the most skilled, or the most hard-working. But it rarely seems to work out that way. The simple fact of the matter is that it takes at least two types of skills to get ahead in the world today: the ability to do a good job and – what is becoming increasingly important – the ability to land a good opportunity in the first place.

    Unfortunately for most of us, our teachers only taught us how to perform well; they didn’t spend a whole lot of time showing us how to stake our claims – how to make sure we get the credit, rewards, and opportunities we deserve. That was supposed to be automatic.
    Well, it’s not! It’s a jungle in the civilian world sometimes!

    Throughout your life, you can expect that you will be out there too –over and over again – fighting for your place in the world. It’s not enough to be another skilled candidate; successful candidates know they must stand out in a crowded field. They must get noticed before they can ever hope to get offers.

    That’s why letters of recommendation are more important now in the job search process than ever before – often more important than your resume. If you’ve ever been involved in hiring, then you know it doesn’t take long before all those resumes start sounding alike. Resume after resume – the whole pile starts to become a blur. And I often tell my coaching clients that employers don’t like to hire “generic employees.” They would rather hire a candidate based on a referral, reputation or RECOMMENDATION from someone.

    Letters of recommendation are unique. Hard-hitting, objective opinions from real-life professionals that have actually worked with you can communicate more about what you offer than you could ever get across in a resume… that is, if you can get the right letter.

    PROBLEM: Getting good recommendation letters isn’t easy – even when you deserve them! People are often reluctant to write letters of recommendation – even when you are more than deserving. Why? Well, a typical excuse is that they are too busy. After all, doing a letter of recommendation can take some time
    – especially if you don’t do them often.

    Even so, often lack of time is just an excuse; it isn’t the real reason why most people don’t like writing recommendation letters. A more common reason and more embarrassing, is that managers are reluctant to write reference letters because THEY don’t think they can do a good job. In fact, they fear that the letter they write will be so bad that it will make them look unprofessional. What’s the consequence? You and the recipient of the letter will lose respect for the letter writer and the
    organization he/she represents.

    Of course, they won’t tell you that; you just won’t ever get your letter. Clearly, though, some people have figured this out. They are able to secure the kinds of letters that opportunities that people can only dream of. 


    How do they do it?
    – Are they just better than everyone else?
    – Do they work harder?
    – Are they smarter or better educated?
    In the vast majority of cases, the answers to these questions are no, no, and no!
    They’re not better or smarter; they just know the secret.

    Their approach is as simple as it is effective: They write their letters of recommendation themselves!

    You’ve probably seen glowing letters of recommendation that…
    – get people to stand up and take notice
    – impress recruiters and colleagues
    – provide the most effective competitive edge available in the war for fast-track opportunities! 


    Am I saying that these letters are essentially just advertising – as biased as anything else – written by the candidates themselves?
    Yes!


    That’s exactly what I am saying, and for a very good reason… it’s absolutely true! It’s the dirty little secret that all the most successful candidates already know.

    Now think about this:
    How can you possibly compete without doing the same thing yourself?
    The answer is: you can’t!
    If you are serious about landing the kind of opportunities you really deserve in today’s competitive environment, then you have no option… you
    must take the initiative. It takes real nerve to write your own letter of recommendation for someone else to sign, but it’s the way the real
    movers and shakers make things happen.

    Two quick solutions:

    1. Contact someone on Linkedin (preferably a first level contact) who can write you a recommendation in a paragraph. Tell your contact what contact you would like to include (such as your reputation; past performance reviews; major projects on which you worked, etc). Send the paragraph to your contact.


    2. Once your recommendation is done, make sure you get at least two others per role you had. So that adds up to three in total. If three recommendations are impossible to get, try to get two and then start asking for “endorsements,” a relatively new feature on Linkedin. Once you have completed your recommendations, write something like “Please see my recommendations on my Linkedin account.”

    Employers will take notice!



    Read More
  • 04/10/2016 - Melissa C. Martin
    How to overcome being overqualified

    Have you ever gone through the interview process, felt confident that you’d performed extremely well, and then heard these dreadful words: “I’m sorry, but we feel you’re overqualified for this position.”

    “Arrggh!!”

    You’re not alone.


    When interviewers say you are “overqualified,” here’s what they are concerned about:

    (1) You’ll be bored in this position;

    (2) You won’t be satisfied with the salary they’re offering;

    (3) You’ll leave as soon as you get a better opportunity;

    (4) They’ll have to go through the time-consuming and expensive process of hiring and training someone all over again.

    If you’ve been called “overqualified” during or after an interview, several negative thoughts can go through your mind…What kind of crazy excuse is that for not
    hiring me? So what if I’m ‘overqualified’ — don’t employers always want to hire the person with the best qualifications?

    If I’m willing to take this job, overqualified or not, why is that a problem? This isn’t fair!
    What’s the real reason they don’t want to hire me?

    They may or may not make you feel better about being “overqualified,” but you must admit that the civilian employer has legitimate concerns. Here are some scenarios:

    Overqualified? If you look at my resume, you will see that I may have more experience than your other candidates. However, I’m excited to take this job because it would allow me to maintain my expertise in the field and I’m willing to make at least an 18 month commitment to help you with your contract. With due respect, could you explain the problem with someone doing the job better than expected?


    I hope you’re not concerned that hiring someone with my solid experience and competencies would look like age bias if once on the job you decided you’d made a mistake and I had to go. Can I present a creative idea? Why don’t I work on a trial basis for a month — no strings — which would give you a chance to view me up close? This immediately solves your staffing problem at no risk to you. I can hit the floor running and require less supervision than a less experienced worker. When can I start?


    I was a Medical Officer in the military and my role was to lead a clinical team, provide primary health care and promote health education. You may be concerned that I am overqualified because I led a team and this position is not the same level, however, I’d really like to get back to working patients.

    Here are some answers to behavioural questions:

    I can appreciate that you feel that way, however, I’m here because this company has earned a reputation for exemplary customer service and cutting edge technology; want to move up with you. My ______years in the have qualified me or this job and I offer immediate returns on your investment. Wouldn’t you like a winner on your team with the skills and positive attitude to fill your position? My family’s grown. And I am no longer concerned with title and salary — I like to keep busy. Teamworkis in my blood. Here’s my last performance evaluation. You’ll see that I exceed the performance ratings in teamwork and reliability. ‘m sure we can agree on a salary that fits your budget. When can we negotiate that at a mutual time? 


    Salary is not my top priority. I’m retired from the military and am healthy and energetic enough to make a contribrution to your company. Rest assured that I will
    work for less money and take direction from managers of any age. My military career has taught me to ” adaptable to change and dependable
    when the “going gets tough.” The “freedom 55 factor” neither interests me, nor calls me at this time. Does this alleviate your concerns?

    As a former Supply Technician in the Air Force, my training covered things like inventory control, warehousing techniques, shipping procedures and some aspects of budget and financial considerations. My skills and experience in the military are directly transferable to your position as a shipper and receiver?
    Wouldn’t my experience be valuable to this position, especially since that I am a mature worker?

    Want to share your experience of being told you were overqualified? Please email me at melissacynthiamartin@gmail.com

    Need a certified coach to help you with 1:1 interview coaching? Contact me today!

    Read More
  • 04/10/2016 - Melissa C. Martin
    Don't skip the FOLLOW UP after the interview

    How to write a thank you letter to use after an interview, a phone interview, or even to someone who passed your name on to a hiring manager is an art; it is not taught often as it should be to job seekers like yourself.

    Doing a follow up is CRITICAL to increasing your employability in this fiercely competitive job market. Even more so if you are leaving the military and embarking on a civilian job search. Essentially, you’re entering the unknown. All the more reason to know what to expect when navigating the civilian workplace. So following up will not only makes you appear to be thoughtful and intelligent, but also put you above the crowd. Doesn’t this make sense?

    Hiring managers are so swamped with resumes and cover letters after a job is posted that they actually look for reasons to discard resumes.

    Here’s what I tell clients when they are in my office. 


    To assess how much they may or may not know about job searching in the civilian world, I will ask them how much time HR or hiring managers spend on SCANNING resumes. Clients give me different answers: two minutes, one minute, forty-five seconds to two minutes…I’ve heard all kinds of responses. Then I show them three piles or resumes: the maybe’s, the yes’s and the no’s.

    HR Managers SCAN resumes for 10-30 seconds. Point blank.

    So imagine yourself as following up after a job interview. By doing so, you’ve automatically boosted your odds of being considered seriously
    as the successful hire.

    Having five hundred resumes in your email in box can be quite intimidating. Some hiring managers have been known to send out an automated response to all applicants letting them know that the resume was received. They will then sit back and wait for further communication. If an applicant knows how to write a thank you letter, he/she will have a jump on the competition immediately.

    How can you do this? As in all formal correspondence it should be block formatted with proper spelling, addresses and salutations. Keep it short—two or three paragraphs.

    In the first paragraph express your primary purpose by thanking the person for their time and consideration. Business people are busy and time is a valuable commodity. Make sure that you include the time of your interview. In the past, I was on many panel interviews at my local military base and we had scheduled many interviews throughout the day. Giving a reminder of when you attended your interview will trigger the interviewers’ memories.

    In the second paragraph restate one or two key job skills you can bring to the position. Remind the interviewer as to why you are a valued-added (return on investment) candidate for the job. You can do this by including NEW information that you did not provide in the interview.

    Everyone is (or should have) some level of nervousness during an interview. Chances are that you have forgotten vital information about your qualifications and credentials that may sway the interviewers’ opinions about you as the possible hire.

    Going one step further, think of creative ways to include additional information:

    -a link to your blog or social media account such as Linkedin or Twitter, that positions you as a SME (subject matter expert)

    -a link to a quick sound bite (for example, Vine, which allows to you make a 6 second video)

    -testimonials about your professional history, as in former PER’s (performance evaluation ratings) to “seal the deal” about hiring you. For example, you can include two powerful sentences from your PER’s in the last two years.

    Now THAT is being creative and imaginative!

    In the third paragraph, thank the reader again, and reiterate that you are available by phone, email or in person should they have further questions.

    An example of how a follow up occurred with one job seeker a few years ago at a business brokerage. She was competing for a full-time
    office manager position against two other candidates. One of the men had a bachelors degree and the other was about to receive her bachelors.
    Both men had several more years experience in office administration. Obviously the other candidates were more qualified than the first
    applicant, but she knew how to write a thank you letter, and proved it.

    After her interview with the company owner, the managing broker and the old office manager (who was retiring and helping choose her own
    replacement), the first candidate composed a thank you letter. She then printed individualized copies for each person she interviewed with mailed them that evening. When the interviewers received them the next day they were impressed with her thoughtfulness. Despite the fact that the other two applicants were more qualified, she was hired.

    The female applicant made a full effort and had the most impact…she was the successful hire!

    Many hiring managers will interview multiple candidates and only hire from those who send thank you letters. Some studies have shown that only one in ten applicants see the importance of thank you letters.

    Can you share a story about following up and getting the job? I’d
    love to hear from you. Please email me at melissacynthiamartin@gmail.com

    Move forward with your civilian job search by downloading my FREE
    report, 16+ sizzing tips to be irresistible to employers on this site.

    Read More
  • 04/10/2016 - Melissa C. Martin
    Warm contacts: How to create a list to maximize your networking plan

    While you leave the military, networking is vital to transitioning to the civilian workforce. The GOOD news is that you already have
    established a network of contacts from your military career. These contacts can include not only colleagues, but also underlings
    (subordinates) and even higher ranks (superiors), if you enjoyed a good rapport with them already.

      
    Now comes the first step, making a list of “warm contacts.” A  warm contact list is a list of people that you contact when you are
    looking for a job. These people are willing to help you in your search by offering information about current job openings, business
    opportunities, or just to give you tips on looking for a job. So who belongs on your warm contact list?


    Here are some people who might be willing to help:

    Your primary level of contacts 



    Family and friends should always be first on your list of warm contacts. They are always willing to help or to give advice. They may be
    able to give you information on job openings, or refer you to trustworthy people who might be able to help you. They can introduce you
    to people who could help with your search, and provide honest information about the people you are associating with. 


    Secondary level of contacts.

    As I mentioned earlier, former employers, co workers and even career managers are also instrumental to building your warm contact list.

    It is important to keep a good relationship with former employers because a potential employer will most likely call past employers to see
    what kind of a worker you were and why you no longer have that job anymore. Past employers can also give you information on that field and that could help in your job search. When you ask family and friends about information it can very well be second hand or rumours.

    Third level of contacts People who share the same beliefs and hobbies as you are often willing to help you with your job search.

    Members of your faith/worship community, political party, fraternity, or alumni group usually will help you with your job search. They may give you information or they could also think twice about giving it to you. Their opinion of the people they can connect you with could help you build a strategy on how to approach them and ask them for their help.


    Other individuals you want to have on your warm contacts list are people who sell you tangible or intangible products or services.

    Who comes to mind?

    Bankers, mortgage advisors, insurance agents, doctor, dentist, specialist, barber (they know everything!), mechanic, renovator, children’s sports coach…..the list goes on.

    Don’t discount what we call the “weak ties” or the people YOU think are least likely to help. 


    You may think that your relationship doesn’t extend past the retail and business you have together, but more than likely they will be willing to help you your chosen civilian career. These people know that maintaining a stable relationship is crucial to the business that you conduct together. They may be a good source because they know a lot of different people and associate with them on a daily basis. They could be able to refer you to someone they know in the same you are targeting.

    A professional organization related to the field you are looking to go into can give you unbiased information on job openings with their members. These organizations can also give you information on a business or company that interests you.



    Linkedin- Consistently, the research bears out that hiring managers and recruiters are using LI to search for passive and active job seekers.
    They check your online presence, reputation and professional circles Since Linked in in is a professional networking site, join for free TODAY and
    start sending out invitations. You will soon build a valuable list of contacts, based on the six degrees of separation.


    Twitter-This is a powerful job search tool, often undermined and overlooked for networking,positioning yourself as a subject matter expert and branding. 


    If you don’t know how to tap into the social media to network, go to the home page of this site and click on the link for
    my Twitter webinar. The webinar is also on You Tube, with a link to www.careerealism.com where I was a former career expert.


    Facebook-I often ask clients, “Who are the most willing people to help you?”
    Family and friends! Go on Facebook and ask for their help.

    For more on using social media, go to my “articles” section and check out “best social media practices” on this site.

    Do you need a credentialed coach help you with transitioning to civvy street? Need  Linkedin makeover to attract employers and land job offers?

    Please email me at melissacynthiamartin@gmail.com


    Melissa C. Martin 

    www.military2civilianemployment.com

    blog: webinarcareercoach@blogspot.ca



    Twitter: @melissacmartin

    FB: melissacynthiamartin

    Read More
  • 04/10/2016 - Melissa C. Martin
    Job market myths and realities for ex-military and veterans seeking jobs

    Before you conduct your job search (see my article on “how to create a military to civilian timeline” ), you need to be aware of
    the realities about the current civilian job market.


    MYTH # 1: You’ll be able to make more money in the civilian world.
    Don’t be fooled!

    Reality: For most service members leaving the military, entry or starting corporate salaries are often less than their active duty pay.

    MYTH# 2: Mass posting (otherwise known as “shot gunning,” “blasting” or “broadcasting” your resume is the most effective way to attract
    employers.

    REALITY: A traditional resume only yields a 1% success rate in landing an interview. Meantime, sending your resume indiscriminately to
    an online job board without contacting the hiring manager (NOT necessarily the HR Manager) will end up in the “black hole.” 


    Here are typical scenarios: Either your resume will be swallowed up by an optical scanner, used to track and screen resumes, or it will vanish in
    the vast sea of your competitors.

    Avoid the urge of “blasting” your resume. Be selective and choose your employment target.


    MYTH # 3: Because I was in the middle ranks in the military (ex: senior
    non-commissioned member, Petty Officer, etc), I should be hired as a
    mid-level manager in the corporate world.

    REALITY: Most civilians do not entirely understand military ranks, much less the equivalent and value of your military experience. You may
    have to “pay your dues” and/or prove yourself to fill a leadership position.

    (I know what you’re thinking. You’ve been trained as a leader from day one in your military career).

    MYTH # 4: There aren’t many jobs in this highly competitive market.

    REALITY: Yes, it may seem that there aren’t many jobs, BUT there is WORK. And work exists in the hidden job market.


    MYTH #5: I should take the highest paying job offer to me. 


    REALITY:
    Accepting a job offer involves many decision making factors. Often they relate to your values, such as autonomy, variety, opportunities for
    career advancement and stability of the employer. Don’t make salary your only decision factor.

    MYTH # 6: I don’t have to write a cover letter to employers. A resume is good enough. 


    REALITY: Be prepared to write SEVERAL kinds of marketing documents to set you apart from your competitors. The list includes:

     networking letter
    For example, the opening of your letter may
    start with, “Doug Jones from XYZ department told me about your upcoming
    job opportunity in ….”
     value proposition letter (alternative to a cover letter)
    This is a 300 world letter which communicates the value of your “Increased retention rate by 16% after focusing on training, team building and recognition programmes.” 


     marketing letter (to “create” a job opportunity and penetrate the hidden job market) “After researching your company’s products and services, I noticed that your market is transitioning to global positioning. My cross-training in working with multicultural populations….”


     follow up letter


    “I am following up after my panel interview on March 15….”). 


    And be sure to mention the TIME you interviewed. I have served on many interview panels, including Canadian Forces Base Kingston, where we used to interview about to six people in one day! 

     
     thank you letter

    I wish to thank (names of each interviewer) for offering my an interview for your Senior Management Consultant position on March 15 at
    10:00 a.m. I did not have the opportunity to share that (mention new information about how you are a fit for the employer)….”

    Debunk these myths and move forward in your job search.

    Need a career strategy with a credentialed coach? Please email me at melissacynthiamartin@gmail.com to get started TODAY!


    Melissa C. Martin

    www.military2civilianemployment.com


    Read More
  • 04/10/2016
    How to impress your interviewers and land the job

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    To impress an interviewer, you must distinguish yourself from other candidates and be prepared to ‘sell’ your qualifications to the interviewer. In my sixteen years’ experience with coaching military members,many have told me, “Melissa, I’m not comfortable with selling myself.” Or, “I don’t like to boast about myself.” My response to them is “modesty goes out the window.” (See my article on being modest in an interview on this site). You don’t have to necessarily brag-there’s a fine line between selling your value and bragging.

    How can you do this?

    Candidates’ experience and credentials, as detailed in the resume, are most often the frequently used criteria for determining which job
    candidates are deserving of a personal interview. Ultimately though, the hiring decision is going to be heavily based upon the candidate’s
    performance in the interview and his/her value to the organization.


    Present a polished professional image

    Remember that professional companies are looking to hire professional individuals. Dress conservatively in a well-fitting suit and keep
    jewellery, makeup, and fragrances to a minimum. For men, empty your pockets of change (playing with change is a common turn-off about male
    candidates). Female candidates should show some modesty by not exposing cleavage of low-cut blouses.

    Spend some time to research the organization prior to the interview

    Doing outside research on your own time to prepare for the interview demonstrates your commitment to hard work and your sincere interest in
    the organization. Study the company’s products and services, industry, target market, annual sales, structure, mission statement and any other
    key information. Go one step further and gather competitive intelligence (see my article on this site).

    Managers will be impressed by your research.

    Prepare specific examples of how your skills and experience make you a strong fit for the organization’s needs. One technique is to develop STAR stories.

    STAR stories stand for:

    -a situation you encountered in your military career that is relevant to the job for which you are interviewing

    -a task you accomplished

    -the action you took to resolve a majob problem

    -the result and positive outcome of the problem or situation that you experienced

    Practise answering tough, directed questions about your experience and be prepared to draw parallels between your experience and the needs
    of the organization. For example, if the position requires strong analytical skills, you should have example of a story that clearly
    demonstrates your strong analytical skills. Have you faced any challenges that forced you to think quickly on your feet? How did you
    evaluate alternatives when you had to justify a decision on a project?

    Prepare and ask intelligent questions about the company and position Your research on the organization will also come in handy when it
    comes time to formulate a series of intelligent questions you want answered. Since the interviewing process is an evaluation tool for both
    the individual and the organization, it is in your best interest to gather as much information about the potential opportunity as possible.
    Asking well thought-out questions shows that you are serious about the opportunity at hand and indicates the level of your knowledge about the
    company to the interviewer.

    Pay attention to your body language. Different studies show that 87-90% of our communication is non-verbal.

    You want to exude self-confidence and poise during an interview. 


    Maintain eye contact, smile pleasantly, and keep your body attentive but relaxed throughout the meeting. Avoid fidgeting, clearing your throat,
    and breaking eye contacts-these are all signs of an anxious person.

    Conclude the meeting by thanking the interviewer for his/her time and shaking his hand.

    End the interview on a strong positive note by thanking and acknowledging the time the interviewer spent meeting with you. It’s
    important that interviewer knows that you value his time.

    Write a quick “Thank You” message to the individual(s) who interviewed you. (SHOCKING fact: only less than 5 % of job seekers write a thank you letter after an interview!)

    It only takes a few minutes to pen a “Thank You” note to an interviewer; this gesture speaks volumes about your professionalism and the importance you place on good customer service. If you treat the interviewer with gratitude and respect, you are likely to treat your co-workers and customers equally well. This concept is what as known as “behavioural interviewing.” In other words, interviewers will often look at your previous professional behaviour to assess your future performance in the job.

    Need a credentialed coach to help you prepare for interviews and develop powerful hiring strategies? Email me at
    melissacynthiamartin@gmail.com or book a career strategy session on this site.


    Melissa C. Martin 

    Bilingual military to civilian career coach 

    www.military2civilianemployment.com

    blog: webinarcareercoach@blogspot.ca

    Linkedin group: military to civilian employment

    Follow me on Twitter @melissacmartin











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  • 04/10/2016 - Melissa C. Martin
    ​Quiz: How do you maintain balance before transitioning to civilian employment?


    Making the transition from leaving military to civilian employment is no easy feat, but it does not HAVE to be difficult! If you
    have a plan, everything will fall into place.

    Most of us have so many demands on our time and energy, especially if you have been dealing with the aftermath of one or more deployments and
    preparing to leave the military and adjust to civilian life after your distinguished military career.

    Take this quiz to see how well you are meeting responsibilities, while also recognizing and fulfilling personal needs and wants.

    True or False

      1. The only way I can successfully manage my life is to take care of myself physically and emotionally.

      2. Nurturing myself enlarges my capacity to help others.

      3. I eat healthfully and exercise regularly.

      4. I get check-ups, go to the dentist, and take preventative precautions.

      5. I set aside personal, quiet time for myself, whether I’m
    meditating or dedicating myself to mindfulness (often recommended as a
    means to deal with PTSD, according to research).

      6. I experience the gifts of each season: ice skating, sledding,
    beach walks; gardening, hiking, camping, swimming, barbeques; harvesting
    the bounty, gathering wood, and spending more time inside.

      7. Creativity nurtures me, too. I do what I love, whether that’s
    cooking, drawing, painting, writing, dancing, singing or another
    creative pursuit.

      8. Reaching out to others enriches my life. I spend quality time with family and friends.

      9. Contributing to the world provides connection and purpose, so I
    give my time, energy and experience where it is most useful.

      10. I notice and heed the emotional signals that tell me I’m out of balance: irritability, overwhelm, and resentment.

      11. If I feel that I’m catching a cold, I realize I may have
    stressed my immune system with overactivity, so I stop and take care of
    myself.

      12. When I need or want to, I say no to requests for my time.

      13. I listen to and honour the requests my body makes for such things as a nap, a walk, or precious time with my pets.

      14. If I have something planned for myself, I don’t just toss that aside when someone makes a request of me.

      15. I’m busy, I find time to do the things I want to do.

      16. I’m happy. I regularly experience well-being, contentment, and even joy.

    If you answered false more often than true, you may want to take a
    look at the questions to which you answered false; see if you can
    incorporate something of its message into your life.

    While having worked in mental health as a vocational rehabilitation  counsellor, I often coached clients to develop a 4 point self-care plan.

    Need a credential career coach to move forward? Please email me at melissacynthiamartin@gmail.com TODAY.

    Melissa C. Martin
    Bilingual Military to civilian coach

    military2civilianemployment.com
    Twitter: @melissacmartin

    Author’s content used with permission, © Claire Communications











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  • 04/10/2016 - Melissa C. Martin
    Want a job? Use a job developer's technique

    When I was working in mental health as a vocational rehabilitation counsellor at www.fcmhas.ca (now www.amhs-kfla.ca), , a colleague of mine passed on information on how he lands jobs for clients. (And dare I say that these clients have barriers that others in the competitive workforce may not have).


    “D’s” title is “Job developer,” which means that he would meet with employers regularly, nurtures his network of contacts and then matches available jobs to
    assist clients. In effect, my colleague “developed” jobs for people with many barriers to employment. This last point about networking is a moot point for your job search. (Ironically, employment specialists do not always practise what they preach; some confess that they do neither network actively, nor nurture their existing contacts. This is imperative, no matter if you are unemployed or not).


    Research indicates that you stand an 80% chance of landing your next job from someone you have met or contacted. Those are formidable odds. And something should be said about the so-called “weak links,” which are people who appear to be irrelevant to your job search.


    Once, when I was laid off by surprise at a military base, I immediately turned to my circle of contacts, and fortunately, I received two job offers in a week and ultimately accepted a satisfying  position.

    Just as Job Developers aim to attract employers to assist their clients, job seekers need to attract employers to demonstrate their value. Enter the “exchange theory.” This theory, is designed to build a bridge between a need and a solution. In short, you give something and you get something. How does this help you as a job seeker? Read on….

    Employers, on the whole, are motivated by 2 factors: their needs must be addressed (for example, improve customer service, boost productivity levels or reduce costs). Secondly, employers must perceive value in hiring you. Translation?


    Each party in the “exchange” must perceive that the benefits of hiring you must outweigh the employer’s costs. For example, convince the employer that you can help him/her with a high turnover (hiring is expensive) or being a reliable employee.

    As a matter of fact, an employer told me earlier this year that she was disenchanted with job placements from college students because they were NOT reliable. In spite of a shaky economy, employers have consistently told me that the number one thing that attracts them is loyal employees. (Yes, I realize that contract work is very prevalent), but job seekers need to be mindful of this.

    Job developers also use another technique which relates to the market theory. What’s the gist of the market theory if you are unemployed? 


    Features and benefits. 


    In other words, if you are preparing yourself for an upcoming interview, what would you identify as your “features?” 


    Perhaps your unique talents or credentials?


    Your new blog that holds sway with those in your chosen field? 


    Bilingualism? Diverse experience? Now think about what benefits that can you present in an interview. Perhaps your stellar performance ratings


    Be prepared to incorporate the exchange and market theories into your active job search. Obviously, it works for job developers to create employment. Why wouldn’t it work to propel your job search? You don’t have to be a marketing specialist to embrace these techniques.

    Incidentally, my colleague asked me to assist him with short-term placements. I “hit the streets” and espoused the exchange theory
    for the benefit of those disadvantaged clients. 


    It worked! I landed job placements for him, using the principles of job development. You can
    too!

    Speak to the employer’s values and goals. Assure the employer that by
    hiring YOU, the company will enjoy short-term and long-term benefits.

    Melissa Martin, bilingual military to civilian coach
    blog: http://www.webinarcareercoach.blogspot.ca


    twitter: @melissacmartin

    Linkedin group: military to civilian employment

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  • modesty in interviews
    04/10/2016 - Melissa C. Martin
    Military modesty goes out the window

    In my 17 years’ experience as a career expert, including work with military members and veterans (I am
    ex-navy and a proud military spouse), “modesty goes out the window.”  Plain and simple. 


    Yet, I have had clients tell me:


    (....role, task, responsibility),  “It’s part of my job.”
    “It’s what I do….” (role, task, accomplishment), 

    “It is what I do everyday.”

    Some of the most accomplished military members I have encountered-from privates to commanders in the navy give themselves
    short shrift. What a pity!

    While I worked at two military bases in Kingston and in Trenton, I had many military members, officers and non-commissioned members seek my
    services.

    Let’s do a reality check.

    Employers are constantly looking for VALUE and an ROI (return on investment). They only care about their investment (potentially hiring
    you), IF you communicate that the amount of what they are prepared to compensate you (salary, training costs, benefits package), outweighs the
    COST of hiring you. 


    I know, you may be thinking, “But my salary increases are based on promotion, rank and years of service.” Provided that your performance evaluation recommends a promotion ….


    While transitioning to the civilian world, stop being modest! Know your value.


    Once you have identified a clear job or career goal, research the equivalent of what you did in the military and replace modesty with VALUE and past
    ACCOMPLISHMENTS and ACHIEVEMENTS that would attract a civilian employer and give you a justifiable reason for being hired over someone else
    (your competitor). In the same vein, don’t assume that a civilian employer will necessarily understand the scope of responsibility while you were in the military. 


    Here is the puzzling factor. 


    Both civilian  employers and outgoing military members, who have been in the service,
    don’t necessarily understand each others’ culture, values and equivalencies.

    So I repeat: do not let your MODEST nature preclude you from landing a rewarding, enjoyable civilian job or career. It will do you no favours
    and only hinder your next career. 


    HOT TIP: Look up your performance evaluations and review your ratings.

    Please email me your comments : melissacynthiamartin@gmail.com

    Melissa C.  Martin
    Bilingual military to civilian career coach
    www.military2civilianemployment.com

    Follow Melissa on Twitter @melissacmartin
    Join her Linkedin group, military to civilian employment

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  • 04/10/2016 - Melissa C. Martin
    How your secondary duties in the military can impress civilian employers

    I just glanced at my partner’s “secondary duties” list from his unit and gave me pause….


    Since I have been working with military members, it is inevitable that they have SECONDARY duties . Some are assigned, and some are chosen. No
    matter what, these secondary duties will help you with impressing civilian employers in many ways:


    -communicate your BRAND-they go the extra mile for their employer -demonstrate to civilian employers that they actually have transferable skills that are comprehensible (more later)
    -during an interview, identifying secondary duties shows initiative (a highly prized thing, from an employer’s perspective)


    What’s the takeaway?

    Because employers have a ONE TRACK MIND!


    They are always thinking: how can we save or make money (bottom line) Reduce costs (it’s always the bottom line)
    Improve something or increase efficiency This is especially true for non-profit employers or charitable organizations (I have worked for 4 non-profits, from a military family resource centre to a mental health agency, so I know what I speak!)

    Let me give you an example of how you can leverage your SECONDARY duties to your advantage and parlay them into “civilian language” so
    that employers will take notice of you:

    Unit Information Systems Security Officer
    -security is ever a growing field in the post-911 world....obviously!
    -companies are eager to protect their reputation, with the increasing number of identity thefts abound

    Unit webmaster
    -similar to the above point. Add to that how much we all depend on online sites to access information, products and services

    Unit First Aid Rep
    -more job postings are requesting (not necessarily demanding) someone on staff how is certified in first aid.
    This is more apparent in social service-oriented jobs.

    Unit Health Promotion Rep
    -more than ever before, we are health conscious and this influences how we purchases things. A “healthy” company in mind, body and spirit can be values that help you decide whether to apply to a company or business-employers are beginning to understand this.

    Unit Coordinator of Official Languages
    The social media age has put on imprint on the global village. Knowing more than one language is NEVER a deficit-only an advantage! I speak from
    personal experience as a bilingual career professional, certified language educator and one who studied five languages. Read my article on how learning a second language can propel your career on my blog, http://www.webinarcareercoach.blogspot.ca

    Unit Harassment Advisor
    -thankfully, more provinces and states are taking a stand on harassment in the workplace. Having training or experience in this area is a godsend, especially if you are aspiring for a government job. One of the best courses I took at CFB Kingston
    (voluntarily) was the harassment prevention advisor course.

    Workplace Relations Advisors
    -every work place has conflict. An extremely desirable skill is mediation.
    This is not exhaustive list by any means, however, all of these examples impress employers.
    So what are YOUR secondary duties that you can convey to attract employers?

    Make a list.

    Then include them in your self-marketing documents (resume, cover letter, social media profiles, portfolio).

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  • 04/10/2016 - Melissa C. Martin
    9 ways to transition into military retirement

    This article is timely, because next week, I am to speak at a SCAN  (second career assistance network) seminar for outgoing military
    members later this month in Kingston, Ontario. 


    For some, retiring from the military may be a viable option.


    Let’s be completely honest. Everyone has his/her own dreams and expectations about retirement. Upon retirement, some folks plan to  travel around the world while others simply plan to take excursions to their local beach. Whatever the retirement plan you choose, the ability to implement your goals takes a certain degree of financial security. 


    The problem however is that financial security does not just happen but requires careful planning, commitment and yes, money.

    In previous posts, I have suggested an eighteen month timeline is ideal when planning to leave the military
    site for details).

    To be a successful retiree, you must successfully transition yourself
    into retirement to meet your retirement objectives. In addition, you
    have to plan the amount of money you need and what you want to
    accomplish with your savings. This article will discuss 9 ways that you
    can successfully transition yourself into retirement. 


    They are as follows:

    1. Debt Reduction – Make sure that you do not carry your debts into retirement. If necessary, speak to a certified fianancial planner or counsellor to manage your existing debt load. Another option is to access SISIP at military bases across Canada.

    Therefore, commit yourself to paying off as much of your debts as you possibly can. Eliminate car payments, credit card debts, personal loans, etc. Do what you have to do now to squash debt and make sure that you don’t obtain any new debts either.

    2. Have a Nest Egg of Emergency Funds – Have enough liquid funds in hand to cover at least a few months of expenses, without eating into your investments. Be prepared for unexpected expenses while you transition into retirement. After all, emergencies will certainly come up but if you have a certain amount of savings, you won’t have to worry about them.

    3. Adequate Insurance Coverage – Make sure that you have adequate insurance to cover your life, health, homeowner and auto insurance policies. Reassess your insurance needs yearly, to ensure that they suit your retirement needs. Be open to making changes as needed and check out your unit’s retirement coverage. Some retiring or releasing military members have been unpleasantly surprised to learn that their employers will no longer cover their medical expenses after
    they retire. So, if you find out now, you can take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your family.

    4. Retirement Income Plan – To ensure that you don’t outlive your assets, develop a retirement income plan that includes
    your income and expenses. Keep track of your current expenses and cut back as needed.

    5. Social Security Benefits – The rules for benefits are rather complex, so talk to a Social Security representative a year
    before you plan to retire. By doing this, you’ll be able to understand your benefits and how much you’re covered. In addition, you should apply for social security three months before you want to start collecting your benefits or three months before your 65th birthday. Speak to a representative at CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) or the IRS in the U.S. about your unique situation.

    6. Contribute to a Savings Plan – If your employer offers a tax-sheltered savings plan (such as a 401KSge difference in your financial security
    due to the magic of compounded interest.

    7. Review Wills and Trusts – Make sure that you have a valid will and/or trust. Not only will this protect your assets but will give you peace of mind.

    8. Invest in IRA – By putting money in an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), you’ll cleverly delay paying taxes on investment earnings.

    9. Follow Basic Investment Principles – Just remember that how much you have for retirement depends on the type of
    investments you make now. Learn how to multiply your savings using mutual funds, stocks, bonds, etc. Consult a financial advisor for
    additional information.


    Melissa Martin

    Bilingual Military to Civilian Transition Coach


    www.military2civilianemployment.com

    blog: webinarcareercoach.blogspot.ca

    Linkedin group:  military to civilian employment


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  • telephone interviews
    04/10/2016 - Melissa C. Martin
    4 common sense tips for your telephone interview

    Increasingly, I am getting more clients who are being  scheduled for a telephone interview. Actually, just the other day, I was coaching a client and Kathy (not her real name) received a call from an employer and did a brief telephone interview right before my eyes!


    Yes, it is becoming common to have a telephone interview as a “pre-screening tool” for hiring managers and HR personnel alike.

    Here’s a phone interview tip worth considering: smile.


    A smile is a magic thing, and in addition to being seen in person it can be felt from a distance. When doing a phone interview, don’t think
    that because the person on the other end of the phone can’t see you that smiling and other positive body gestures are not important. The best
    interview tip that anyone has ever given was to smile and make positive gestures. In fact, many people talk with their hands. If you do,
    consider a hands-free telephone head set.

    Another tip that will be worth its weight in gold is to have a good quality telephone. It may seem silly to even mention it, but the better
    quality phone you use, the better your voice will sound. These days, people own their own phones or have cancelled a landline in favour of
    one, universal phone. For those who do own a land line, these phones are fine for talking to your spouse perhaps, but for business use, make a good business impression, and use a good phone. 


    Even better? Use a landline with a cord, and not a cell phone or cordless phone. Dead batteries, crackling sounds, bad cell sites, and
    weather interference can make you sound bad at the other end, and you may not even know it. When doing your phone interview you want to be
    clear and make a good impression. Take this tip to heart and use a good quality land line.

    I once received a tip from a headhunter who specialized in finding people jobs. While it seemed like common sense, I realized that it was a tip of value, and recommend it to people to this day.

    Do your homework on the company before your phone interview. Do a search on the Internet using Yahoo, Google, Google plus, Linkedin and
    Twitter (for more details on using Twitter, check out my webinar on this site). Research company information and updates to identify their “pain
    points,” and rationale for the job posting.

    The last tip to keep in mind is to be yourself, and be comfortable. 


    One of the best ways to be yourself, and maintain comfort during your phone interview is to practice the interview. Ask a friend to play the part of the boss. Call a friend on the phone and go through a mock interview, answering all of the questions that you think the interviewer is likely to ask. Mock
    trials help lawyers, and rehearsals help musicians. It only makes sense that a practice interview will help an interviewer. While it may seem
    silly, this is a phone interview tip you should take to heart.





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  • 8 career myths
    04/10/2016 - Melissa C. Martin
    Military transitioning: 8 career myths you need to know

    So you have left active military service? Whew! No small feat! As a former military member, you may be 30 or 40, still young these days to
    embark on a new, civilian career. Frightening? Maybe, however, I am here to support you with your next career choice. 


    If you dream about having a different career, but don’t act on that dream, you may be operating under the assumption of a career myth. In this article, I expose 8 myths, sayings you’ve heard before that simply are not true. 


    Let’s explore them.

    Career Myth #1: You can’t make a living doing something you really, truly love.
    This is the ultimate career myth, the belief that you can’t have a “practical” career doing something that you were passionate about. It
    has to be one or the other. This myth is rooted in fear. Fear that we have to sacrifice our happiness to make a living. Don’t buy the myth
    that you can’t earn a living by doing what you love.  There is still time!


    When I first started career coaching, I heard from plenty of people that it would be very difficult to make a living doing this work. I just decided to find coaches who were successful, and to learn from them- simple!. If  you find yourself buying into this myth, consider this question – As you look back on your life, what will you regret more? Following your passion or following your fears?

    Myth #2: Changing careers is risky. 


    Not necessarily. What’s riskier than leaving what you know (the military culture and the military life) to pursue the unknown? Changing careers means leaving behind a piece of your identity. During a Christmas party, my military partner’s friend said, “You have to be ready to take off your uniform (psychologically) before you transition to civvie street.” I completely agree!

    During your military career, you’ve been used to presenting yourself as “Captain ____,” “Sgt ____”, “PO____” Corporal___ …” you get
    the idea. 


    Your identity was closely entwined with your rank. The potential “identity crisis” of leaving the military to pursue a civilian career or job can be daunting. It might mean admitting to yourself that you made a mistake with an initial career choice. Or it might mean acknowledging that you’re unsure of what’s next. And smart people always know what’s next, right? Not exactly.

    Successful career changers often don’t have a plan. They rely on two underestimated factors: 

    serendipity and intuition. In Working Identity: How Successful Career Changers Turn Fantasy into Reality, Herminia Ibarra provided evidence: waiting until you have a plan is actually riskier than just doing and experimenting. 


    Nothing, absolutely nothing, is riskier than not changing careers if you’re longing to do so. Here’s why: The longing won’t go away. It will always
    be there, under the surface, waiting for you to do something about it.

    I think of one of the ancient Romans, poet Virgil, who said, “Fortune favours the bold.”

    Career Myth #3: Always have a back-up plan.
    Career change is NOT linear. Sometimes there is NO plan!

    Sometimes having a back-up plan is the smart and prudent course of action. Yet, aren’t back-up plans so grown-up and responsible? You’ve been trained to
    have a back-up or contingency plan in military service. But what happens when you’re standing with one foot in and one foot out?

    In my experience as a counsellor at two military bases, we usually close the door and retreat. We are reluctant to commit to ourselves, and we end up denying ourselves the satisfaction of playing full-out, getting dirty and sweaty. We end up with feelings of regret and the nagging “What if?” question. Back-up plans sometimes (not always) diffuse our energy. Diffused energy equals diffused results. Give all that you’ve got to your dream/passion/risk and you’ve
    got a better chance of being successful.

    Myth #4: Asking “What’s the best thing for me to do?” is the right question. 


    This is one of the most common questions asked when considering a career change. It seems like a logical analysis – weigh the pros and cons and
    evaluate the balance.

    Do not ask yourself this question!! It rarely leads you to the answers you’re seeking. It will lead you to feeling overwhelmed with options (sound familiar?), or feeling like you have to choose what’s practical over what seems to be impractical.

    The question that will lead you to answers is simple (but not easy!!) It is “What do I really want to do?” This is a very different question
    than “what’s best?” Even more powerful is a question I learned from a prominent career coach, “What would you do if you knew you could not
    fail?”

    Myth #5: If you don’t like your job, you’re probably in the wrong career.

    Cause and effect, right? One way to tell if you’re in the right career is whether or not you like your job. If you’re dissatisfied with your job,
    it’s probably a sign that you need to re-examine your whole career choice. This is frequently what I hear from new clients who have decided
    to work with a career coach. They know something isn’t right because they don’t like their jobs. Their natural assumption is that their
    dissatisfaction is a symptom of a larger underlying issue – their career choice.

    This is an example of false logic. Not liking your job might be telling you you’re in the wrong job. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re
    in the wrong career. It doesn’t even mean you’re in the wrong job. You could just be working for the wrong person, the wrong company or wrong
    work environment. It takes a skillful approach to discern the source of discontent, and I think it’s very hard to do it on your own (shameless
    plug for career coaches here!)

    Career Myth #6: Everyone needs a mission statement. A brand? Yes!

    In the military, you have had your fair share of completing a mission. In  the civilian world, mission statements are supposed to guide companies,
    particularly non-profits. But what if you don’t have a personal mission statement (essentially your values)? Does that mean you’re destined to
    never fulfill your potential career-wise?

    A client who was a successful professional contacted me because she was at a career crossroads. This client felt that if only she could find her
    mission in life, she would know which career path to take. The client had a clear goal for coaching – find her mission! Instead, the most amazing thing happened. she decided that she didn’t need a mission. She chose to trust that she was already fulfilling her mission statement, even though she didn’t know what it was. After the client shifted her focus from finding her mission to living her life, an amazing opportunity came her way and she pursued it.

    Here’s a tip: If your mission statement is elusive, stop chasing it. Be still and let it find you. And in the meantime, keep living your life
    and see what happens.

    Career Myth #7: Expecting a career epiphany.


    When you see a link to “Find Your Dream Job,” do you immediately click on it to see what’s
    there?


    Do you look at every “Top Ten Career” list out there to see if anything catches your interest? Do you know your MBTI (Myers Briggs) type? If you do, you might be falling prey to the career epiphany myth.

    I’d love, love, love it if most of my clients had a career epiphany that indicated to them, in crystal-clear terms, their next step. Instead, I see career “unfoldings” or a journey of discovery much more regularly. That is, being willing to not ignore the obvious, the pokes, the prods, and listen carefully to the whisper within. Yes, for most of us, the career epiphany is a quiet whisper.

    Career Myth #8: Ignoring your career dissatisfaction will make it go away.

    Oh, if only this worked in the long run!! Granted, it does work at first.  When you find yourself beginning to question your career, you’ll find
    it’s rather easy to push the thoughts aside and pretend they aren’t there. 


    You know what I’m talking about: the “what ifs” and the list of regrets.


    Over time, the random thoughts become nagging thoughts. You spend more and more time daydreaming about options. You build your list
    of reasons to ignore your growing career dissatisfaction: You’re too old.
    You don’t want to take a pay cut (I DID in the last five years!)
    You don’t want to go back to school. You missed your opportunity 5, 10, 15 years ago, when you were rising amongst the ranks in the military.

    With clients in this situation, namely, vets and former military members, we work on identifying and challenging these fears. Sometimes the fear of change remains, but there becomes a greater commitment to living than to feeling the fear. So now that you know that one or all of these myths have been holding you back, what are you waiting for?

    Need a career strategy from a certified career coach?

    Head to my career strategy page on this site


    Melissa C. Martin
    Bilingual military to civilian career coach
    Twitter: @melissacmartin
    Blog: webinarcareercoach.blogspot.ca

    melissacynthiamartin@gmail.com

    Read More
  • 04/10/2016 - Leah Eichler. Globe and Mail
    Many veterans turn to counselling to move from battlefield to boardroom

    Think your language skills are top notch? Try speaking “corporate” – a
    language so specialized and full of jargon that most industries and
    large companies possess their own, specific dialects.

    For those making the transition into a new career or industry, mastering corporate-speak can feel be daunting, as
    they sweat to express how your previous life prepared you to “navigate
    matrixes,” “ramp up productivity” and successfully “ideate” on complex
    issues. It’s enough to drive a language lover mad.

    Veterans who want to make the move into corporate roles face an additional challenge: that of translating into
    corporate language the business value of their experience. Compounding that obstacle are the many misconceptions that abound in the corporate
    world about the value of military experience.

    This is not a new challenge. Every year, more than 5,000 Canadian Armed Forces members are released by the
    military and 25 per cent report having difficulty adjusting to civilian life,  a big part of which includes landing new work opportunities. 


    Unfortunately, many Canadian companies make little effort to recruit or accommodate veterans. According to a 2013 study by the Veterans
    Transition Advisory Council, 35 per cent of Canadian employers don’t seek out military veterans and the majority have no plans to make hiring veterans a priority.

    To help with translating military training into corporate experience, the Canadian Education and Research
    Institute for Counselling, along with Canada Company, a military employment support group, launched a guide in late January called Military to Civilian Employment: A Career Practitioner’s Guide.

    While unlikely to make it on any management book bestseller list, the guide dispels many misconceptions
    hiring managers may have about the military, while providing veterans with the appropriate language to convey their experiences. To that end,
    it demonstrates how specific military roles draw on similar skills as those outside the military. An artillery soldier and a computer network
    operator, for instance, must each work as part of a team to integrate information for a specific objective.

    Angela Mondou, president of Canada Company, said that in many ways, not much has changed since she moved
    from a war zone to the front lines of Corporate Canada about 20 years ago.

    While in the military, Ms. Mondou was responsible for coming up with a plan to move troops from Germany into
    the former Yugoslavia. That meant leading a multinational team that included Croatians, Norwegians and Swedes. Yet, taking that global
    experience to the business world and finding employment – especially before widespread Internet usage – felt daunting, she said.

    It took a lot of work before Ms. Mondou was able to translate her experience to global supply change management.
    While she managed to find a lateral role relatively quickly, the onus was on her to explain exactly how her skills could be applied in the
    business world.

    “We still have a lot of work to do in terms of working with the business world to better communicate to their
    hiring mangers what this talent pool is all about,” Ms. Mondou said. “Transition programming is still a very new space in Canada. The
    Americans have been at this a lot longer than us,” she added.

    Dwayne Cormier, director of transition services at Canada Company, said the new guide is vital to clearing up
    misconceptions or stereotypes about men and women in the military. Veterans, he explained, have completed “the most collaborative
    leadership training program” available and possess skills that are highly transferable.


    “They are adaptable, flexible, incredible leaders, planners and strategic thinkers,” Mr. Cormier said. Contrary to
    popular opinion, they do not possess a “top-down, drop-and-give-me-20” mentality.

    Melissa Martin, a military-to-civilian career coach in Kingston, hopes the guide will clear up the disconnect she sees
    between the traits companies say are looking for and those people they
    hire. She said that veterans often demonstrate loyalty, leadership and a
    strong work ethic – traits that most companies say they want.

    Military members are groomed for leadership roles throughout their military career, often faster than
    civilians,” Ms. Martin observed, explaining that it is common for a Canadian Forces member to have managed personnel as well as a sizeable
    Department of National Defence budget, giving them an advantage over their civ ilian peers.

    She hopes the guide will “demystify” military lingo by providing a military-to-civilian job
    translator. This in turn will help to alleviate what she terms “credentialism,” where civilian employers refuse or are unable to
    recognize the credentials or professional development of Canadian  Forces members.

    Guides such as this are vital, since there are already so many obstacles that veterans encounter when
    they seek to assimilate into civilian life, said Ms. Martin, who is also a military spouse and former Officer Cadet in the navy. Some of these
    obstacles include the process of psychologically “removing their uniform” and adapting to what is essentially a completely new culture.

    “They are a modest lot and are not innately equipped with the tools to boost their brand or self worth to a
    potential employer,” she observed.

    Special to The Globe and Mail

    Published Friday, Feb. 19, 2016 5:00PM EST

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/...





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    Think your language skills are top notch?
    Try speaking “corporate” – a language so specialized and full of jargon
    that most industries and large companies possess their own, specific
    dialects.

    For those making the transition into a new
    career or industry, mastering corporate-speak can feel be daunting, as
    they sweat to express how your previous life prepared you to “navigate
    matrixes,” “ramp up productivity” and successfully “ideate” on complex
    issues. It’s enough to drive a language lover mad.

    Veterans who want to make the move into
    corporate roles face an additional challenge: that of translating into
    corporate language the business value of their experience. Compounding
    that obstacle are the many misconceptions that abound in the corporate
    world about the value of military experience.

    This is not a new challenge. Every year,
    more than 5,000 Canadian Armed Forces members are released by the
    military and 25 per cent report having difficulty adjusting to civilian life,
    a big part of which includes landing new work opportunities.
    Unfortunately, many Canadian companies make little effort to recruit or
    accommodate veterans. According to a 2013 study by the Veterans
    Transition Advisory Council, 35 per cent of Canadian employers don’t seek out military veterans and the majority have no plans to make hiring veterans a priority.

    To help with translating military training
    into corporate experience, the Canadian Education and Research
    Institute for Counselling, along with Canada Company, a military
    employment support group, launched a guide in late January called Military to Civilian Employment: A Career Practitioner’s Guide.

    While unlikely to make it on any
    management book bestseller list, the guide dispels many misconceptions
    hiring managers may have about the military, while providing veterans
    with the appropriate language to convey their experiences. To that end,
    it demonstrates how specific military roles draw on similar skills as
    those outside the military. An artillery soldier and a computer network
    operator, for instance, must each work as part of a team to integrate
    information for a specific objective.

    Angela Mondou, president of Canada
    Company, said that in many ways, not much has changed since she moved
    from a war zone to the front lines of Corporate Canada about 20 years
    ago.

    While in the military, Ms. Mondou was
    responsible for coming up with a plan to move troops from Germany into
    the former Yugoslavia. That meant leading a multinational team that
    included Croatians, Norwegians and Swedes. Yet, taking that global
    experience to the business world and finding employment – especially
    before widespread Internet usage – felt daunting, she said.

    It took a lot of work before Ms. Mondou
    was able to translate her experience to global supply change management.
    While she managed to find a lateral role relatively quickly, the onus
    was on her to explain exactly how her skills could be applied in the
    business world.

    “We still have a lot of work to do in
    terms of working with the business world to better communicate to their
    hiring mangers what this talent pool is all about,” Ms. Mondou said.
    “Transition programming is still a very new space in Canada. The
    Americans have been at this a lot longer than us,” she added.

    Dwayne Cormier, director of transition
    services at Canada Company, said the new guide is vital to clearing up
    misconceptions or stereotypes about men and women in the military.
    Veterans, he explained, have completed “the most collaborative
    leadership training program” available and possess skills that are
    highly transferable.

    “They are adaptable, flexible, incredible
    leaders, planners and strategic thinkers,” Mr. Cormier said. Contrary to
    popular opinion, they do not possess a “top-down, drop-and-give-me-20”
    mentality.

    Melissa Martin, a military-to-civilian career coach
    in Kingston, hopes the guide will clear up the disconnect she sees
    between the traits companies say are looking for and those people they
    hire. She said that veterans often demonstrate loyalty, leadership and a
    strong work ethic – traits that most companies say they want.

    “Military members are groomed for
    leadership roles throughout their military career, often faster than
    civilians,” Ms. Martin observed, explaining that it is common for a
    Canadian Forces member to have managed personnel as well as a sizeable
    Department of National Defence budget, giving them an advantage over
    their civilian peers.

    She hopes the guide will “demystify”
    military lingo by providing a military-to-civilian job translator. This
    in turn will help to alleviate what she terms “credentialism,” where
    civilian employers refuse or are unable to recognize the credentials or
    professional development of Canadian Forces members.

    Guides such as this are vital, since there
    are already so many obstacles that veterans encounter when they seek to
    assimilate into civilian life, said Ms. Martin, who is also a military
    spouse and former Officer Cadet in the navy. Some of these obstacles
    include the process of psychologically “removing their uniform” and
    adapting to what is essentially a completely new culture.

    “They are a modest lot and are not
    innately equipped with the tools to boost their brand or self worth to a
    potential employer,” she observed.

    Leah Eichler is founder and CEO of r/ally, a machine-learning, human capital search engine for enterprises.









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  • 04/10/2016 - Melissa C. Martin
    5 interview questions you should always ask

    So you’ve left the military, removed the uniform (psychologically speaking) and ready to go forward with your civilian job search?

    Time to set the reset button (as TVpersonality/ psychologist Dr. Phil McGrawwould say).

    These five questions go beyond the obvious ones. ting, and other such basic questions. With your military
    career behind you, it’s time to become familiar with a new culture….the civilian work culture. And part of that plan is to prepare effectively
    for civilian interviews.

    With some preparation and thought, youshould be able to easily come up with 15 – 20 first-interview questions
    to ask. But these five – in some form – should always be asked.

    With some preparation and thought, youshould be able to easily come up with 15 – 20 first-interview questions
    to ask. But these five – in some form – should always be asked.

    Not only will they help you to ascertain if the job for which you are interviewing meets the criteria
    of your ideal, but the answers will give you a fairly accurate picture
    of what’s really going on behind the interview.

    1. WHAT ARE THE PRIORITIES THAT WILL NEED TO BE ADDRESSED IMMEDIATELY IN THIS POSITION?:

    A title alone tells you nothing. The job description won’t reveal much either, except whether or not you’re
    capable of doing what’s required functionally on a daily basis.

    For the same reason that you put your accomplishments on your resume – and not just the job description –
    here, too, you want to get a sense of the individuality of this job in this company.

    Was everything left running smoothly? Is it pretty much picking up and continuing daily functions as normal?
    Or is there damage control that needs to be done? If so, is there a timeline for the repair, and is it an achievable one considering your
    capabilities? Is it realistic regardless of who holds the position?

    If you don’t have any information already, this will begin to clue you in about both the supervisor and
    the previous employee. If you have been provided with some detail
    already, then the answer should track with what you’ve already learned.

    2. HOW LONG WAS THE PREVIOUS PERSON HERE? WHY DID THEY LEAVE?

    Generally, in answering the first part, the interviewer will answer the second part as well. But if they
    don’t, then ask. And if that person was there an oddly short time, you also want to know how long the previous person before that was there.

    See where I’m going with this? If the job is in disarray, and the last two people were there a short period of
    time and were fired, you don’t need to ask any of the other questions
    here.

    Exit gracefully and then run! Because before long, you, too, will be terminated for not achieving whatever it
    is they want done – regardless of if the stated time frame sounded realistic or not.

    3. TELL ME ABOUT YOUR MANAGEMENT STYLE. HOW DO YOU BRING OUT THE BEST IN YOUR EMPLOYEES?:

    Is he a micro manager? Is he an information hound that needs to be kept informed of everything? Does he
    leave people alone to do what he hired them for and simply keep on top of what’s going on? Does he help you if you have trouble? Do any
    mentoring? Or is he a berating, derogatory, jerk?

    Obviously he’s not going to come rightout and tell you he’s a micro manager! Instead he might say, “I like to
    keep a very close watch on what’s going on in my department,” or “I visit with each member of my department on a daily basis to make sure
    they’re staying on track,” or something similar.

    You’ll find that the person will be fairly straight forward in sharing their management style with you. What
    you want to pay attention to is how they word it.

    4. WHAT TYPES OF PEOPLE TEND TO EXCEL HERE?

    Workaholics? Ones who are self-motivated and manage themselves well? People who work well in teams
    or committees? Employees who keep their supervisor informed of “where they are with things” on a daily basis?

    This tells you something about the pervasive culture in the company or department. Generally speaking, companies – or departments – tend to be made up of similar types of people that are in harmony with the company culture and philosophy.

    An entrepreneurial person won’t function well in a committee environment. While sales personalities can
    vary greatly, the top achievers are goal driven and motivated to achieve, rather than be complacent.

    People who are accustomed to thinking for themselves will invariably chafe in a company that has a more
    dictatorial style, while those who perform better when they’re told what to do will find themselves adrift in a company that requires its
    employees to think for themselves.

    5. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN HERE? WHY DO YOU STAY?

    The answer to this question will give you an indication as to the feeling or health of the department or company. The way in which he answers the question will also give you additional insight into your potential boss, his management style, and what type of people excel in the department or company.

    These are informational questions, not challenges. Be genuinely interested in the answer, because you’re gaining valuable information that has to do with your future. When you leave the interview and process it within yourself, you’ll be matching what you learned with what you are looking for.

    Pay attention to the interviewer’s body language and facial expressions. Is he relaxed? Does he fill in
    some of the spaces? Does he speak to you – or AT you? Does he answer the question briefly and then quickly fire off another one?

    These, too, are valuable cues, and after the interview, you’ll need to piece them together with the verbal
    information you received.

    Need a credentialed career coach to
    help you prepare for interviews? I will coach you with POWERFUL interview strategies to gain the job offer and beat out the competition. 

    Book an interview coaching session today and receive my FREE ebook, Interview Inspiration.


    Email me at
    melissacynthiamartin@gmail.com or sign up for a career strategy session on this site.










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  • 26/07/2016
    Top 10 Ways to Cope with Military to Civilian Job Position
    Transitioning to the civilian job world can be stressful—whether they’re due to a medical or voluntary release or retirement from a distinguished career in the military. If you’re facing one, consider the following.
    Read More
  • 08/06/2016
    Linkedin profile makeover: how to customize invitations
    You’ve heard the adage, ” you only have one chance to make a positive impression,” or something to that effect! No exception when it comes to doing a makeover on the #1 job search marketing tool, Linkedin.
    Read More
  • 03/05/2016
    What I told a navy vet about mental health and finding a civilian job

    I was so glad to have a coaching session with a navy vet. It gave me so much insight into what clouds a vet’s mind when faced with the proposition of finding a civilian job. Here’s his story:

    Doug served in the navy for four years and was “forced out.” I did not probe about the exact details because he seemed to be in a fragile state when we had our coaching session by phone. Doug said he had grown “suspicious” about transitioning to civvie street because he was on a leave of absence (LOA) due to work performance issues. While I collected information, Doug disclosed that it was “difficult to re-amalgamate, social relationships were strained” and he was “forced to talk with crazy civilians.”

    Doug’s situation is all too familiar. He is dealing with a few issues: estrangement from the military; mental health issues and impaired work performance. Let’s deal with them one at a time:

    As one who currently works in the mental health field part-time, the stigma about mental health is eroding. There are more mental health resources available to the military, compared to when I worked as a counsellor at Canadian Forces Base Kingston six years ago. Doug could avail himself with mental health resources that are confidential, such as 1-800 hotlines, the centre for rehab on base (IPSC) or possible Veterans Affairs. The attitude toward a military member or vet who is experiencing a mental health issue has changed for the better.

    Estrangement from the military is very common, especially within the first year of leaving or being released. Serving in the military is very familial, and once the professional umbilical cord is detached, the military member feels estranged. It’s up to the military member to “remove the uniform psychologically” and then craft a transition plan.

    Past performance issues. These can be dealt with a career coach, who can help military articulate their strengths, identify their weaknesses and identify previous accomplishments and achievements, that will be the focus of all self-marketing resources, such as resumes, cover letters, Linkedin profiles and interview preparation designed for behavioural questions.

    What did I recommend to Doug so he could move forward? A transition plan. Here it is in a nutshell:

    Phase I: Do as many self-assessments as possible to really identify work that will align with your values, motivators, talents and interests. Check out the home page of this site, and you will see a FREE career decision making tool, called “What matters most.” Click on the link and dive in. It is an investment.

    I’ve seen TOO many clients panic and take the first offer after leaving the military. DON’T be tempted. The self-assessment phase is crucial to figure out your next direction.

    In this phase, you should be work on eliminating FEARS (you will have them after leaving the military) and eradicate self-limiting, negative beliefs and self-talk. I spend time with clients on doing this during coaching sessions.

    Phase II- In consultation with a career coach, ensure that your resume, cover letter and Linkedin are stellar-enough to entice recruiters and employers to contact you for an interview. Review your performance evaluations and Bravo Zulu’s from the last three years and embed positive aspects of those as testimonials. Also develop strategic interviewing strategies.

    Phase III- Develop online and offline relationships. Develop consistent social media accounts that communicate your brand and value to employers. Your job search strategy should be 60% on networking, 20% on targeted resumes and Linkedin profiles and ONLY 20% applying online.

    Phase IV-To quote a client, know your “risk appetite.” Decide in advance what you are willing to accept or not accept in the next job. Prepare negotiate the salary with confidence.

    Keep gathering recommendations and referrals on and offline.

    Take a proactive, not PASSIVE approach to your transition.

    Ready to book a career strategy session? Go to my strategy session page on this site.

    Melissa Martin, B.A., B.Ed.

    Military to civilian career coach

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