Sunday, December 12, 2004

Selling Yourself: Door to Door

My first job interview was quite an experience. The Washington Post advertisement claimed entry level marketing professionals needed. This seemed like an opportunity that I could not miss. I called the firm and later faxed my resume. Two days later, I received a call from the firm inviting me to interview for the position, I was ecstatic. I went to the interview and gave a stellar performance. The interviewer assured me that they would contact me, once a decision was made. Later that week, the firm called me and was interested in setting up a second interview, and I agreed. I was amazed to arrive at this interview, and be among ten others, also present for second interviews. We were all professionals and the room was filled with young ambition. At this point, the fishy aroma of this organization became quite strong. I almost walked out, but something pushed me to provide the benefit of the doubt to the legitimacy of this firm. I should have trusted my instincts. By two's we joined a current employee, tasked with providing us with information and showing us the ropes. However, we had to agree to remain with them for the day. Ultimately, it turned out that such work was selling memberships and coupon books, business to business. I was distraught and could only handle an hour or so of the eager salesman claiming huge amounts of revenue he has earned. My fellow interviewee and I were fed up, and asked to be dropped at our cars. Uh oh, we agreed to a day-long commitment. The kind salesman dropped us at the train, which we then took to our cars.

One great thing emerged from this day - business to business sales. I thought, why not sell myself, business to business. The next day, I printed a great deal of resumes and hit the street. This was an amazing surprise for me, as employers were loving the concept. On many occasions, I was given interviews with President's, VP's and CEO's, on the spot. While I did not get a job through these efforts, it was a valuable experience, and enlightened me to the fact that hard work and innovation are respected traits. I brought a friend out with me to do the same, and he actually did receive a position in this manner. So, it can work.

Finally, if you are looking for a job, grab some applications and throw a suit on. Find some buildings with hundreds of offices and get your name out there. Also, please learn from my mistakes, and don't try to become an entry-level marketer. Unless that's your cup of tea.

Wishing you the most beneficial of job searches.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Military Job Fairs

The following link is to some upcoming job fairs specifically targeted to military personnel. Additionally, you can check the sites of those sponsoring the fairs for other possible opportunities.

http://www.taonline.com/careerpages/careerfairs.asp

Again, I will be posting more shortly, so stay tuned.

Response from GovernmentJob Page

This post is from my other site but should assist readers of this publication, as well. Click on the title to view the GovernmentJob site. Enjoy.

At 6:51 PM, Anonymous said...What can be done to make resumes larger and/or more attractive to prospective employers and recruiters?

Great question. It is important to not be misled, my intention is not that the resume necessarily be larger, but to not attempt to keep it within a certain size, ie. one page, as is often the idea. The idea is to ensure that you have completely captured everything about you. When you apply for a government or private position, you do not necessarily know the full spectrum of items the employer is looking for. For government jobs you will know the basic qualifications and the factors used to determine who are the best qualified candidates. You will not know what type of preferences that the employer or manager might have, that aren't documented, but might play a key role in their determination. The same premise can apply to private positions, but is even more prevalent because you will most likely not know the factors used to determine the best qualified candidates.

Finally, I think it is extremely important to note that resumes should read well. You should utilize at least an 11 pitch font. Additionally, if possible, it is a good idea to use bulleted statements rather than one paragraph for each position. I would rather read a ten-page resume that is broken up and attractive than a two-page resume with 8 pitch font bunched together. Make it an easy read and include as much information as possible to allow them to know all of your qualifications. Experience gets jobs.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Monster

If you do nothing else in your job search, you must post your resume to monster. Employers often search this website, and others, for potential applicants. Ironically, my first job subsequent to my military service, I received because my employer found my resume on Monster.com

Upcoming Job Fair for Those with Active Clearances

Click on the title which is to a site containing information on an upcoming job fair for those with active secret clearances. If you do not have an active clearance, fear not, as I will soon publish as many job fairs as possible and other helpful tools. Stay tuned for some hot, new information

Monday, September 06, 2004

Military Searches

Not sure where to find the military information you are looking for? Use the following link to the Google Government Search page. This search will only locate pages which are found on .gov and .mil sites. Just type the information you are looking for as you would with the primary google search. To limit to .mil searches, simply perform your search like this:


"transition assistance" + .mil


http://www.google.com/unclesam

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Understanding Your Military Pay and What You need to Make When You Separate

Determining what you need to make in a position after your military service is probably the largest issue that you need to address when leaving the military. The consequences of an uninformed decision in this area can and will affect your earnings for the remainder of your life. In order to make an informed decision, you must fully understand your military pay and what civilian compensation package is necessary to equal that pay.

Military Pay:

Understanding your military compensation is pretty complex, so I will try to break it down first by the amount of money that you actually receive. A good site on general military pay can be found at: http://www.defenselink.mil/militarypay/. Military members receive basic pay, housing allowances, subsistence (food) allowances, clothing allowances (yearly). If you are a single member and reside in government quarters and eat in government messing facilities, you can substitute housing and subsistence allowances for those services. But, whichever is the case, you should calculate the full allowances into your pay to determine what you will need to maintain at least the same compensation. You must realize that at that point you will no longer be entitled to those services and will need the same as those that reside and eat at their own expense while in the military.

Regardless of your situation account for the full allowances that one would be entitled to if they lived and ate off-base. These numbers should only change in terms of single or married status for housing allowances. Everything else will be the same for everyone at the same grade and years of service.

Military members do pay taxes, but not as much as public or private employees. Any entitlement with the word "pay" in it is subject to tax while all others are not. In regular employment almost all pay is subject to taxation.

Some other items to consider regarding your military pay and benefits package are: Health insurance (which have no premiums taken and no copays), unlimited sick days and no retirement contributions from pay.

As you can see the tax advantages and avoidance of benefit contributions are immense and definitely need to be considered when determining what salary you should accept from civil employment.

Regular Compensation:

Normal compensation packages are more simple. Almost everything is taxed, less the following items: some retirement contributions, possibly health premiums and other health related expenses, 401K equivalent contributions up to certain percentages and other miscellaneous items (parking fees, mass transit benefits, etc.). These items can often be deducted from your pay prior to taxes being deducted.

In looking at regular compensation packages, you can see how many more items need to be deducted from your pay. In particular, you will deduct more taxes, health premiums and retirement contributions.

Additionally, you may now have to pay some out-of-pocket health expenses and if your obligated service has expired you will no longer have on-base privileges.

Calculations:

There is no simple formula to calculate exactly what you need to make to equate to your military pay and benefits, but you can get a good idea. The Department of Defense has developed a calculator which can give you a rough idea of what you will need to make. You can find this at: http://www.defenselink.mil/cgi-bin/rmc.pl . I am not sure how up to date it is, but it is a valuable tool. Unfortunately if you look for the amount that will calculate for you, you will come up short on payday because you will now be paying health premiums, retirement contributions, etc. So, simply take the number provided and add an estimate of what you think these costs might be. Simple web searches of these types of costs will most likely find you an average of such costs. The calculator will at least account for the military tax advantages.

Just remember, your W-2 and LES are not good sources in determining what you need to make when you separate, or you will most definitely come up short. Leave a comment if you need some personal assistance in this matter. Don't sell yourself short.