By Jerry Chautin
Published: Monday, May 2, 2011 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, April 29, 2011 at 9:33 p.m.
'VETERANS ARE CONcerned that companies might not be interested in them because they are damaged in some way," said Mark Lyden, an employment recruiter and author of "Veterans: DO THIS! GET HIRED!"
"Two thirds of the vets get automatically counted out because they simply do not know how to write a résumé and apply online," Lyden, a part-time Bradenton resident, told me.
Alan Chamberlin, executive director of The Beneva Group, a Sarasota-based human resources firm, agreed.
"Vets need a different set of skills to be hired," Chamberlin said. They need "guidance in the proper packaging and presentation of their experience, and coaching, on who will be receiving their message."
Matching the terminology used in the military to the skills sought in civilian life may be difficult for nonmilitary-trained prospective employers to understand, Chamberlin said.
"They often do not understand the parallels between job responsibilities in military service and those of the civilian world," he said, noting that a bad decision on the battlefield can result in loss of life. "Talk about added pressure."
Chamberlin advises veterans to cite their decision-making experience under pressure "during an interview so that it can be viewed as a real value-add by potential hiring authorities."
Lyden wrote his book at the behest of HonorVet.org, an organization founded by Sen. John McCain's son, Jim McCain, and his Marine Corps buddy, Jesse Canella. According to the organization's website, 60 percent of soldiers returning from Iraq or Afghanistan require mental-health services. Veterans average 18 suicides per day, and young soldiers transitioning to civilian life had an unemployment rate of 21.1 percent last year.
HonorVet.org "asked me to help by writing a book for veterans," Lyden said.
Many of the book's tips offer specific instructions to transitioning military people.
"Count your hours" on your résumé, the book advises. It tells a prospective employer that an average military work week is 60 hours, showcasing your "experience, stamina and a can-do-spirit."
"Employers love to see experience with numbers attached to it," Lyden writes. So veterans should include the time and money saved by their innovations, the percent that they increased production and the number of soldiers reporting to them.
Lyden coaches veterans to prominently list their security clearances. Even if the job does not require a security clearance, it shows the recruiter that they are "trustworthy and honest."
According to the book, "There are more people being hired off the Internet than through all recruiting events and all the professional recruiters combined."
The trick is to learn the keywords that get a résumé selected among the hoards of others seeking the same position. A company's website often can be a source for keywords. Keywords should be listed in a job-opening announcement.
"The screening process is actually very primitive," Lyden said. A keyword search is applied to the clutter of applications, and whoever does not have it in their résumé, "is simply counted out.
On a related item, Hire Disability Solutions will present its 2011 Veterans Career Expo in New York on May 24. You also can attend virtually online. Check it out and register at beahero-hireahero.com/registration.
Jerry Chautin is a local volunteer business counselor with Manasota SCORE, Counselors to America's Small Business. Send business questions and stories to him at email@example.com follow him on Twitter.com/JerryChautin.