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Memo To New College Grads


It’s that time of year when college seniors are looking forward to receiving their diplomas after four or more years of time consuming and costly schooling. Parents, college professors and the media have told them that a college degree is the way to a job that will bring satisfaction, fulfillment and a fat paycheck. Get the diploma, send out a few “dynamite” resumes, and a job will follow. Believe that and you might as well look under your pillow for a check to pay off your student loan, compliments of the tooth fairy. Job hunting in the adult world of work is more than sending resumes to job boards. It is a multi-step process, one step of which is writing a resume.

To understand this thing called “work” I believe one needs to take a step back and ask what life itself is all about. Short circuit the philosophy and PC talk and it comes down to this. You are born. You die. And, in between you work in order to survive. Job satisfaction, fulfillment and life/work balance are secondary. We work. We get a paycheck. We buy the big three …food, shelter, clothing…in order to make it to the next day. We spend “left-over money” on technology gadgets, killer apps, insurance, transportation and recreation.  Our money-for-work model has served humankind well for several thousand years…or at least better than the previous model which had people spearing antelope and rabbits for food and clothing, and living in caves to avoid freezing to death.  So how does a newly minted college grad find work, socially meaningful work, that will pay money in order to survive and also bring some sort of job satisfaction and fulfillment?  Let’s explore some of the challenges, and solutions, that new college grads will encounter making their first giant step into the world of work.


  1. The “What’s Next” Challenge. Many college grads have no idea what they will do after receiving their diplomas. There are three choices: proceed to graduate school; join the military, or find a job with a company. Most will elect option three, finding a job in the corporate or government world, which is divided into various industries, companies within those industries and jobs in those companies.  For example, there is the Food industry with Kroger being a company within; in fact Kroger is the largest company in the Food Industry. It sells guns and ammo, too, in a subsidiary division. There are thousands of jobs at Kroger one of which is a corporate level sales representative. A new college grad could pursue that sales job and make good money. The same applies for sales jobs with beer producer, Miller Brewing Company. There will always be plenty of sales jobs with Miller. Also, there are sales jobs with Walmart in its gun and ammo department. And remember companies in the fast growing recreational marijuana business, one of which is The Farm located in Boulder Colorado.

However, will any job in any industry do it?  There are plenty of job with guns, pot and alcohol companies but is that the way you want to spend your working days?

The Solution. Alternatively, how about industries producing products that have social value, like educational publishing companies such as McGraw-Hill, or food distributors like Whole Foods, or home builders like Ryan Homes, or technology companies like Salesforce.com which has been ranked recently as one of the best places to work? With choices like this, why work in toss away industries like firearms, alcohol or pot? A better choice is working for a socially conscious company like Salesforce.com, the cloud computing company serving a useful function in business and education.

  1. The What Do I Want to Do” Challenge.” So many budding college grads ask what they can do to bring in a paycheck and some sort of job satisfaction. You do not need six weeks with a counselor to figure it out.

The Solution. Record three things for which you have an aptitude. Beside them record three things you like to do. Then match them with industries, and jobs in those industries, that meet your aptitude and interests. For a listing of hundreds of industries and thousands of jobs in them, consult the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the U.S. Department of Labor. It’s available in print or eBook from Amazon or other resellers.

  1. The “Right Company” Challenge. Knowing what kind of job you would like is one thing. Finding the right employer is quite another.

The Solution. Assuming you have found a job that you would like, the next step is to find companies that offer such jobs in socially conscious industries. Go online and google companies in those industries. For example, enter “Food Producers” and you will come up with many hits, all potential employers. Begin exploring job opportunities on their digital career pages.

Another fool proof way to find a job is to attend job fairs and trade shows that take place each day at major convention centers throughout the country. Some of them are: the Mascone Center in San Francisco; McCormick Place in Chicago; The Washington DC Convention Center in Washington; the Philadelphia Convention Center in Philly; and the Javits Center in New York City. Each large and medium size city has a convention center. Google the one closest to you to find a listing of trade shows and job fairs and attend those you find interesting. Visit the exhibit booths armed with your resume and ask to see the hiring manager for your area of interest, sales, marketing, finance, technology, human resources, etc. Develop a personal relationship with that person and a job interview will follow.

Government jobs are often overlooked. Jobs in the “government industry” are comparable to jobs in the private sector.  They pay well and are socially conscious jobs. Federal government jobs are located in all fifty states, not just Washington DC. For a listing of interesting jobs and how to apply for them go to the leading government job website: www.federaljobs.net.

  1. The “Writing a Resume” Challenge. In most colleges where students pay upwards of $25,000 for tuition per year, training for job hunting consists of a few weeks instruction about writing a “dynamite” resume. The instruction is primarily academic as most professors have never had a job outside of academia. And, there is more to job hunting than writing and submitting a resume.

The Solution. Craft a resume that highlights your education, your part time jobs and internships throughout your college years. Include a major heading, “Technology Skills” and bullet point your areas of expertise. Also include a major heading titled, “Community Outreach” and bullet point your community initiatives dating back to high school.

       Make sure that grammar and spelling are correct. One mistake will disqualify you. No second chances. Do not trust your spelling and grammar checker.  Proofread your resume aloud and have a trusted friend do the same. This advice might sound rudimentary for a college grad but trust me when I tell you that I have witnessed Vice President candidates disqualified because of one spelling error. AND, do not refer to your resume as a curriculum vitae (CV). That is academic talk. Outside of academia it is called a resume.

  1. The “Interview” Challenge. Interviewing is one of the most intimidating challenges in the job hunting process.

The Solution.  Prepare for the interview with a friend by playing question-answer. Practice until you can answer all questions using business vocabulary. Avoid words like “awesome” and “cool.” When a hiring manage asks” Why do want to work for us?” respond, “Because your company produces products and provides services that are socially worthwhile and because your company is profitable.”

Remember to dress appropriately because first impressions are lasting impressions. Do not dress ultra-casually as you see workers dressed in TV advertisements for Google or Microsoft. Dress on the job is one thing; dress for an interview is entirely different. Wear upscale business attire which you will find on websites for national clothing stores.


Google “Socially Responsible Employers.” I did just that and found numerous leads to companies of this kind. One site listed the five most socially responsible employers as: Microsoft (technology), Merck (Pharmaceuticals), The World Bank Group (finance and economic development), The Acumen Fund (global impact investing), and Yingli Green Energy (a solar energy producer).

For additional help finding socially conscious employers, explore companies held in the portfolio of mutual funds listed as “socially aware.” One such is the Vanguard Social Index Fund, whose symbol is VFTSX. Companies held in this fund by Vanguard are screened using social, human rights and environmental criteria. Some of these companies are: Home Depot, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, United Healthcare, Facebook, Apple and J.P Morgan Chase.

Using social media for job hunting has its limitations. Use these media for networking and information but do not believe they alone will lead you to the promised land of employment. The one exception is LinkedIn, a site designed exclusively for job hunting. Jobs offers will come only after you develop a personal relationship with the hiring manager or human resources director.   You will find them at trade shows and conferences at convention centers, and by making cold calls, that is, knocking on the doors of employers and asking to see the human resources director.


Frequently, new college grads have no role model to follow while embarking on a career straight out of college. However, they are out there. In fact, we’re surrounded by them. Let’s break them down into specific categories and take a look.  You may not recognize some of the names; others are well known throughout the world of work

Public Sector Workers. These are workers who chose careers in government. They serve in both elected and appointed positions.

  1. Joni Ernst,S. Senator for Iowa who served in the Military for 20 years before becoming the first female Senator from Iowa. Concurrently she serves as head of the Iowa National Guard.
  2. Nikki Haley, Ambassador to the United Nations and former Governor of South Carolina. She is a Business major from Clemson University. She served as Treasurer of the National Association of Women Business Owners.
  3. Tulsi Gabbard, U.S. Representative from Hawaii and Army veteran who went on several deployments to the Mideast.
  4. Patricia, “Pat” Schroeder, a lawyer and former U.S. Representative from Colorado who authored the Family Leave Program. She was the first woman to run for President of the United States. Many of the work benefits we enjoy resulted from her personal work in Congress.
  5. Condoleezza Rice, former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State. She now serves on the faculty of Stanford University. She is a talented classical pianist and one of the world’s foremost Russian History experts.
  6. The 2,500,000 (read, two million, five hundred thousand) female K-12 school teachers. Guiding the academic, social and moral development of K-12 students is one the most powerful jobs in America. Teachers make a reasonable wage and their careers bring job satisfaction every day.

 Private Sector Workers. These are workers in companies both large and small.

  1. Becky Quick, anchor for Squawk Box, the popular CNBC TV morning finance program. Follow her each morning at 8 AM. Learn about the world of finance from Becky.
  2. Erin Burnett, host of OutFront, a popular CNN evening program. Follow Erin each night at 7 PM. Erin broke into TV as a financial analyst on a CNN evening program.
  3. Marillyn Hewson, CEO and President of defense contractor, Lockheed Martin. Over the past five years Marillyn has created thousands of new jobs, brought wealth to shareholders, and incredible technology innovation to a company dedicated to preserving our national security.
  4. Irene Rosenfeld, Chairwoman and CEO of the second largest publically traded food producer, Kraft Foods.
  5. Angela Braly, Chairwoman, CEO and President of WellPoint, a leader in the healthcare industry. The company is commonly known as Blue Cross Blue Shield Insurance. She is the mother of three children and works hard to balance work and family.
  6. Kate Richard, Founder and CEO, Warwick Energy Group, an oil and gas producer located in Oklahoma City.


All of our STARS began their path to success in entry level jobs after graduating from college.   By applying their intelligence, energy and passion, they rose through the ranks to attain leadership positions in the socially responsible world of work. If they did it…so can you!

For more information about how to find your way after graduation, read my book titled, WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD. A Complete Guide to Job Hunting for the Recent College Grad. It is available in paperback and eBook from Skyhorse Publishing, Amazon and B&N.

Send comments to [email protected]

John Henry Weiss


Helpful Career Planning Tools

Visit our other informative site

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Insurance Matters For Fired and Laid Off Workers

COBRA. Medical. Dental. Home. Automobile. Life. Long Term Disability.

While insurance matters are important for all workers, they are critical for mid-career workers who have been fired or laid off. All let go workers must address insurance maters as soon as practicable. Life goes on after you lose your job, and so do the risks that you face every day. Adverse events never get laid off or take a vacation. Many workers think insurance matters are boring but when it comes to reducing risk, which is what insurance does, boring matters become important. In today’s world insurance has become a necessity along with food, shelter and clothing.

We live in a risky world. On any given day one could contract a life threatening disease like cancer, suffer a long-term debilitating and costly illness like Lyme’s Disease, or have a car accident resulting in serious personal injury and substantial property damage. Your living space, your house or apartment, is at risk, too. A hidden electrical malfunction could burn your dwelling to the ground and destroy all of your personal possessions in the process. Risk is omnipresent and insurance is the best way to hedge against it.

Every person, regardless of social status or employment status, needs the protection that insurance offers. The most important types of insurance are: medical, dental, life, long term disability, automobile and homeowners. Health problems rank at the top of our risk ladder, and every let go worker must hedge against them. We’ll examine each type of insurance beginning with the medical insurance option known as COBRA.


COBRA is a federal government program that enables workers to continue their medical insurance coverage after being let go. However, there are strict rules governing its implementation. For example, workers who are fired for gross misconduct are not eligible. Also, companies that employ fewer than twenty workers cannot participate in the plan.

While COBRA is a helpful risk-lowering federal government medical insurance plan, you must pay the entire cost of the plan plus an administrative fee when you are laid off. If your company group medical insurance premium was $5,000 and split between you and your employer, now you are responsible for paying the entire premium plus the 2 percent administrative fee. Generally, you must apply for COBRA benefits within sixty days after being separated. Benefits last for 18 months and will cover you, your spouse and children. However, as with all government programs, the rules and regulations are constantly changing so act immediately if you elect to choose COBRA benefits. For current rules and regulations regarding COBA, speak with your former employer’s human resources director and review the Department of Labor website, www.dol.gov.

Caution! Do not assume that you will find another job with medical insurance benefits and pass up the chance to use COBRA. Your period of unemployment could go on for six months or more and you cannot be without medical insurance for that long a period.


The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides an array of choices for individuals seeking medical insurance. Your options are contingent upon your income and state of residence. This controversial government program is highly political and subject to modification at any time.

Cost is critical when assessing what to do about medical insurance after leaving the company. Learn what a medical insurance policy offered through the ACA insurance exchanges would cost and compare it with the cost of the insurance policy offered by COBRA. For information and updates on the Affordable Care Act in your State go to this website: www.healthcare.gov.


I speak from personal experience on this matter. One fine day I was talking an early morning bike ride when I unexpectedly hit a patch of damp road. Down I went striking my face on the pavement. The result? Two front teeth were cracked beyond repair and had to be replaced with dental implants. The cost? $5,000….and I had no dental insurance.

Dental problems can arise without notice on any given day. We are always at risk for infections that require costly root canals, and for teeth damaged by accidents. For a realistic account of what can happen unexpectedly, talk with your dentist.

If you had dental coverage in your last job, by all means try to extend coverage while you are out of work. If you did not have it, go online and look for reasonably priced dental insurance. Most dental plans are limited to group coverage through an employer, but there are a handful of dental insurance companies offering individual plans. Delta Dental is one of them. It offers individual plans and is noted for its generous coverage at modest cost. Check it out at www.deltadental.com. Another reputable insurer offering individual dental insurance is MetLife, a multiline insurer that has been in business since 1868. Their website is www.metlife.com.


When out of work, many workers try to minimize expenses by cutting insurance coverage on their homes or apartments. They say, “It will never happen to me. I’ll cut my coverage while unemployed and pick it up after I get another job.” Don’t buy into that narrative. Homeowners carrying a mortgage do not have a choice because the mortgager requires coverage and in most cases it is factored into the monthly mortgage payment. However, if you own property outright or live in an apartment, coverage is optional. Do not eliminate this coverage. On any given day your residence could burn to the ground and take all of your belongings with it. On another given day, someone could trip over a rug in your apartment, fall, and incur serious personal injury. You will be responsible for payment of all medical expenses and possibly be sued for negligence. Homeowners insurance may seem to be an option when you are out of work but it is not. It is a necessity in today’s world.


Automobile insurance is required if your car is financed and the premium is usually built into your monthly payment. In all States, proof of financial responsibility, i.e. automobile insurance, is required. You must present proof of coverage when you apply for or renew your license plates every year. Do not even think about skirting the rules and discontinuing premium payments after you receive your state license believing that you will never get into an accident if you drive extra carefully. Once again, risk is with you 24/7. Automobile insurance is a necessity.

Many workers try to reduce their premiums by signing on for the minimum required coverage but this is a grave mistake. Your personal injury liability coverage should be nothing less than one million dollars per accident, and property damage should be five hundred thousand dollars for each accident. In addition, coverage should include medical payments which will pay for medical bills for all passengers riding in your car who might be injured in a collision. For an extra ounce of protection, include uninsured motorist coverage because there are drivers on the road with no coverage whatsoever. Listen to the advice of your auto insurance agent and proceed accordingly.


“Why life insurance?” you might ask. “I’m in the prime of my life and I’m not going to die in the foreseeable future.” Think again. Your life could end at any time during the day or night, regardless of your age, leaving your dependents or extended family with expenses that could reach beyond their means. Burial expenses come to mind. Today, the average cost of your funeral, including the cemetery grave plot and head stone, is $13,000, sometimes more depending on location. Add some upgrades like a fancy coffin and elaborate headstone and the cost of your good- bye will run over $15,000. The following story illustrates how risky life is.

Sandra’s Story

I recruited Sandra for a job as a Reading Consultant with an educational publisher where I was Regional Sales Manager for the Midwestern United States. Sandra excelled in her job and was sought after by school districts implementing their new Reading programs.

She belonged to a number of fine and preforming arts organizations in Chicago. She was an officer in the Junior League and performed volunteer work for the Art Institute. Her teen age daughter was the pride and joy of her life and attended only the best schools.

As Sandra entered mid-career, she and her husband frequently took skiing trips to Aspen and Vail in addition to vacations in Europe and the Caribbean. Life was good for Sandra. In February 2015, they went on a five day ski trip to Vail Colorado and returned home tired and happy. However, Sandra seemed more tired than usual after five days on the slopes and scheduled an appointment with her doctor to see is she needed a dose of vitamins to keep up her energy level. As a precaution, her doctor ordered lab tests and an abdominal CT scan. He called them, “routine.” However, the “routine” tests indicated that Sandra had pancreatic cancer. Surgery followed and so did death, seven weeks after diagnosis. Sandra possessed intelligence, energy and passion beyond the ordinary, but death does not play favorites. To this day, she is missed by her family, husband, daughter, friends and former coworkers. They still ask, “How could she have died in the prime of her life…without forewarning?” Rest in peace, Sandra.

There are several types of life insurance. The most common, and the lowest in price, is called “term life insurance,” which is what most employers provide for their employees. It terminates as soon as you are fired or laid off. When you walk out the door after being let go, you are no longer insured. Purchasing term life insurance should be a priority for all let go workers. It is readily available from any number of life insurance companies at reasonable cost. Conduct an online search for low cost term life insurance and purchase it immediately. Dying is not cheap. Death never takes a vacation. Plan accordingly. Buy life insurance….now.


The story goes something like this. “I don’t need LTD insurance because a disabling accident will never happen to me.” Most of us delude ourselves into thinking that accidents resulting in long term or permanent disability always happen to the other guy. I fell into this trap in mid-career, too, and but for the guidance of an extraordinary insurance saleswoman I would not have survived financially. Here’s my story.

Chicken Man

It was a beautiful early autumn morning and I was riding my bike through a rural area in suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The area was dotted with small farms, some of which raised chickens. While riding past a farmhouse with chicken coops nearly reaching the road, a chicken darted from weeds growing along the shoulder of the road and ran into the front wheel of my bike. I had no time to outmaneuver this fast moving beast and down I went. I suffered a fractured pelvis, a torn rotator cuff, a concussion (despite wearing a helmet), and multiple lacerations, contusions and abrasions. I was disabled for six months following fourteen days in the hospital, surgery, and intensive physical therapy. During that time, I had no income or disability payments from my employer. The expenses, however, continued as usual. I was responsible for home mortgage payments, car payments, insurance payments, food, clothing, medicine, college tuition bills for three children and so on.

I would have defaulted on the mortgage, car loan and tuition payments but for a long-term disability insurance policy that I had purchased from Northwestern Mutual Insurance Co. and which had become effective only three days before the accident. That policy covered almost one hundred percent of my expenses during my disability. Without it, I could not have survived financially. Here’s the rest of the story.

Joanne, my insurance agent who sold me life insurance and homeowners insurance, had been after me for months to buy a long-term disability insurance policy because my employer did not provide one. I told her that I was in good health and that I did not participate in risky pursuits like mountain climbing or sky diving so my needing long-term disability insurance was minimal. “Wrong.” she said. “On any given day, you could be hit by a truck and become incapacitated for the rest of your life. Long-term disability is more important than life insurance for individuals with family responsibilities. Chances of incurring long term disability for a middle age person are much greater than dying.” I refused to listen to Joanne but she kept after me until in a moment of frustration I said, “Okay, Joanne. Get off my case! Write up the policy and don’t bug me anymore.” She did just that and three days later, I was hit, not by the proverbial truck, but by the chicken. Thanks, Joanne, for taking time to educate me about the risks we face every day.

Many insurers provide LTD coverage but most are for group plans through employers. Two reputable companies that provide individual LTD insurance are Northwestern Mutual, www.northwesternmutual.com and Unum, www.unum.com. Go online and check out their LTD options and prices.


Most people consider insurance a boring topic, one to be relegated to last place in the broad scheme of things. The unexpected illness or accident always happens to someone else. Don’t fool yourself. Consider the insurances detailed above as much a necessity as food, shelter and clothing. In today’s world you cannot live without it. Reduce your risk and implement these action items regarding insurance.

  • Apply for COBRA medical insurance immediately after being separated from your employer.
  • Consider an Affordable Care Act (ACA) policy or a private medical insurance policy as an alternative to COBRA.
  • Purchase LTD, auto, homeowners and life insurance….now. All are equally important for mid-career workers. According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, an automobile accident occurs every 60 seconds. And, reliable sources tell us that most accidents resulting in personal injury occur in or near your home.


For detailed information on COBRA. www.COBRAinsurance.com
For information about the costs associated with your funeral. www.Parting.com
For information about funeral insurance. www.funeralwise.com/plan/costs
For information about disability insurance policies. www.insure.com/disability-insurance
For information and updates about the Affordable Care Act. www.healthcare.gov.

For more information about managing your personal finances after being fired or laid off, read my book, Moving Forward in Mid-Career, A Guide to Rebuilding Your Career after Being Fired or Laid Off, c2018, Skyhorse Publishing Inc. Enter this link for purchasing sources. http://skyhorsepublishing.com/titles/12831-9781510722019-moving-forward-in-mid-career.

John Henry Weiss

Helpful Career Planning Tools

Visit our other informative site

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Where to Find Help after Being Fired or Laid Off

There are times when workers find themselves walking in a dark cloud of anxiety or even depression after being fired or laid off. They look for slivers of daylight but find nothing but more darkness. The universe seems unresponsive. They do not want much, maybe just someone who says, “I understand where you are. Just take my hand and I’ll help you out of this mess.” That person may be a career coach, career counselor, or an outplacement service, all career care providers.

Reaching out to a career care provider takes courage, understanding, and a good deal of common sense. Where do you find them? What do their services cost? What are their qualifications? And what do these outplacement services really do? All are valid questions. Let’s deal with career coaches and counselors first.


Go online and enter “career coach and career counselor,” and you will find an array of hits naming specific individuals, with or without titles. Some are named Joe Smith, Life Coach, or Mary Jones, Executive Career Counselor, or Robert Brown, PhD. Who are the successful ones? Who are the pretenders? Let’s look for answers to help you see daylight, to find a break in the dark cloud.

Career coaches are providers who are solution oriented. They focus on helping clients define career objectives, like finding an industry that includes nonprofit companies where passion for the mission is as important as bottom line. They exude a spirit of optimism, educate you about the job market, and show you how to navigate your way through the world of work. Most will help you craft a resume and provide job-hunting rubrics. Some are former human resources directors or executive recruiters. Almost all have experience working in the corporate world.

Career counselors perform many of the same services as career coaches but extend their efforts to uncovering any emotional, behavioral, or psychological barriers that might impede your search for the meaning of work and a new career. Some are certified psychologists or former human resources directors or both. Many hold a master’s degree in counseling and are certified by the National Board of Certified Counselors. They can help you work through complex issues, like why it is that you always have problems with authority figures like your former boss.

All career coaches and career counselors charge a fee for their services, which are delivered by phone, Skype, email, or in face-to-face meetings. The fees can range from $75 to $500 for a forty-five- or sixty-minute session. Some career coaches and counselors offer package deals that contain a certain number of sessions spread out over a certain amount of time. Others offer their services on an as-needed basis. Personal sessions will cost more than phone sessions. Specialized sessions will cost more than general sessions. For example, some providers work only with executive-level clients, like former presidents, CIOs, CFOs, or CEOs, whose career searches target positions of like kind. Fees for such clients will be considerably higher.

Few coaches and counselors will advertise their fees online, which means that everything is negotiable. Do not hesitate to negotiate a mutually acceptable fee with a provider. Do not be intimidated by a fancy shingle like “Dr. Aldus Geronimo, Certified Career Counselor.” Everyone is open to negotiating fees . . . even PhDs.

Career counseling services provided by a certified psychologist or psychiatrist may be covered by your medical insurance. Check with your career care provider and insurance company.

Assessing Provider Credentials

The background and experience of coaches and counselors vary widely. Some have no formal training while others have had training at bricks-and-mortar institutions. Many have completed online certification programs. The most reputable coaches and counselors have written certifications for successfully completing coaching and counseling programs. Here are some of the more reputable training organizations for career coaches and counselors. All award written certifications for successful completion of training courses. Use the information provided by these resources to assess the credentials of career coaches and counselors.

International Coach Federation (ICF), www.coachfederation.org. This is a highly regarded coaching organization that provides online certification courses for coaches. Access this site for information about the coaching business generally and about suggestions for finding the right coach or counselor that will suit your needs.

National Career Development Association, www.NCDA.org. This respected organization dates back to 1913 and provides not only credentialed programs for coaches, but also assistance for those seeking help in a particular location. For example, go to the website and enter your home zip code in the box beneath the section titled “Need Career Help?” and you will find the names and contact information for coaches and counselors within a fifty-mile radius of your home.

Those who successfully complete the NCDA career coaching program receive the Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF) certificate. When you are interviewing prospective coaches, always ask if they have this certification.

Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (PARW C/C), www.parw.com. This organization provides intensive career coaching training and awards those who successfully complete the course with the Certified Professional Career Coach (CPCC) credential. In addition, PARW C/C offers credentials to coaches who complete training for interviewing techniques and for resume writing, and it offers help for those starting their own businesses.

The Academies, www.theacademies.com. The founder and CEO of this organization is Susan Whitcomb, an author and expert trainer for career coaches. Her work is frequently quoted in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Coaches who are trained at the Academies are well versed in all facets of career building. Earmark coaches with the Academies certifications.

AARP, www.aarp.org. For a low membership fee of $16 per year, workers age fifty and over can access their many benefits. One of them is career counseling for unemployed workers or for workers making a career change.


Select a career coach using the same common-sense rules that you would apply in making any serious business decision. They are:

  1. Make a plan that defines your needs and expectations from a coach or counselor.
  2. Contact your network for referrals to professionals specializing in your field of interest and expertise.
  3. Go online to find providers in your local area.
  4. Interview each person on your list, personally or by phone.
  5. Learn the coach’s fee structure and how payments are structured.
  6. Ask for referrals to their previous or present clients.
  7. Ask for a written statement describing their experience in coaching including how many assignments they have completed.
  8. Learn their education background including career coaching certification.
  9. Learn if they provide a trial counseling session.
  10. Review the extent of their business experience.

Coach Selection Resources

There are online resources that provide information about career coaching generally and about criteria for selecting the right person. Here are three reliable sources.

International Coach Federation (ICF), www.coachfederation.org, is the premier global organization for training life and career coaches

NOOMII. The Professional Coach Directory, www.NOOMII.com. This online service   recommends coaches based on your stated goals.

Kathy Caprino, Women’s Career Coach and Leadership Trainer, http://kathycaprino.com.

Kathy is one of the most celebrated career coaches in the world. She was laid off in mid-career and after much soul searching started her own business focusing on career training and coaching. She offers a free subscription to her weekly newsletter and valuable rubrics for moving forward in your career. Be sure to read her article “The Top Five Regrets of Midlife Professionals.”

Career coaches and counselors are typically caring individuals who are passionate about lending support and direction to laid-off or fired workers. Many have had that experience and understand your predicament. When it seems that you are nearing the end of your own self-help resources, reaching out to a coach or counselor is a wise decision.


Outplacement is not a mom-and-pop business; rather, it is a large industry with national or multinational companies in its fold. Employers frequently provide bricks-and-mortar or virtual outplacement services for mid-level and above workers they let go. This service is expensive and costs the employer upwards of $5,000 per each let-go employee. For high-level executives, outplacement services could cost the employer as much as $25,000 per executive. If your employer did not include outplacement in your severance package, you can purchase it as an individual.

The traditional outplacement service consists of group sessions in an office setting. Weekly or semi-monthly group sessions held at an office location and spearheaded by an experienced leader/teacher, offer much-needed support for laid-off or fired workers. A spirit of mutual support and assistance are invaluable aids to the let-go person still working through the grieving period or in job hunting mode. It is reassuring to know that you are not alone in this battle. I myself can attest to the effectiveness of this model, having attended group outplacement on-location in Philadelphia after having been laid off from a technology consulting firm that was purchased by a competitor. For example, when I reported to the group leader, he took me into his office for a private counseling session. That was followed by a half-day group meeting with other laid-off workers where we exchanged experiences and offered each other support and direction. Six weekly meetings followed. Our leader provided excellent rubrics for crafting a resume and tips for interviewing. We devoted part of our weekly meetings to reviewing a wide array of companies in the area who were potential employers. Also, we had access to computers and could immediately go to the Internet to access potential employers using the rules we had just learned in class. Most helpful in my experience was the group interaction. I learned that I was not the only one in a tough spot. The entire experience hastened my trip through the grieving process. Try to find an outplacement service that still offers that kind of personal service.

Today some outplacement services are rendered online, by email, phone, Skype, or a combination of these options. Individual attention is what the current model advertises. Services included in most packages are general career counseling, resume preparation, interviewing techniques, industry and company evaluations, cover and follow-up letter writing, and referrals to recruiters or human resources directors. Most outplacement companies advertise one-on-one sessions focused on the items you select.

Outplacement Resources

To find an outplacement provider, use the same techniques suggested for finding a career coach. When you go online, make sure to localize your search. If you live in New York, try to find a service in the NY Metro area, not in San Diego. Here are several references to get you started:

  • Top Outplacement Firm Sites, top20sites.com/top-outplacement-firms-sites. This service ranks outplacement firms located in a specified geographical location, a valuable feature because working with a company close to home renders effective outcomes.
  • Quest Outplacement, questoutplacement.com. Quest offers a variety of one-on-one outplacement packages to individual let-go workers. The cost varies between $850 and $2,950, depending on the length of time and the support items offered. Their support is through phone and online tools. They do not provide an office location.
  • Lee Hecht Harrison, lhh.com. LHH is a multinational recruiting and outplacement firm with three hundred offices scattered throughout the United States and abroad. Home offices are in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey. The company has been in business for fifty years and has a sterling reputation for quality service.

Always review the reputation of any outplacement firm using the following two sources, which provide references, recommendations, and evaluations that will help you make the right decision:

  1. Glassdoor, glassdoor.com
  2. Com, www.outplacing.com


Employing a career coach/counselor or an outplacement firm is a serious business decision. Finding the right provider, one with whom you connect personally and professionally, is key to a successful outcome. However, help does not stop here. There are additional services providers that tackle the career rebuilding process from a different perspective. These are faith based organizations, which are located in every community.

Being fired or laid off, especially when in mid-career, can be one’s worst nightmare. Political correctness refers to being let go as a challenge, but a fired or laid-off worker realistically calls it a problem, a huge problem, one that needs multiple resources to resolve. When the paycheck stops and you have bills to pay, like a home mortgage or apartment rent, property taxes, car payments, utility bills, insurance premiums, childcare, school or college tuition for the kids, and the unforeseen mega-bill for replacement of a heating system that quits in the middle of the winter, you have more than a “challenge.” You have a very serious problem.

Added to the monetary problem is the angst that accompanies being fired or laid off and the tension generated in the job-hunting process. What’s left is a worker who needs a comforting hand and down-to-earth friendship in order to move forward and out of the cloud of uncertainty.                                                                     Finding your way to a new career that offers a paycheck to keep the wolf from the door, plus job satisfaction, plus a sense of purpose, is a multifaceted problem requiring help from multiple sources. Career coaches, counselors, and outplacement services can help fix the multiple problems, but there are other resources as well.

      So where does one find support, the kind of support that not only offers practical solutions, but also addresses the various stages of the grieving process? Many work through it on their own. Others reach out to friends and family. And some workers, who can’t find their way out of the cloud on their own or with help from friends, turn to faith based resources such as:

  1. Career workshops offered by a local church or place of worship of any denomination.
  2. Discussion groups led by a staff member of the theology department of a college or university.
  3. Counseling sessions with members of the clergy.

Each option has merit. Knowing which to use will save time and result in a better outcome. Here’s a succinct review of each.

Local Church Counseling Services

Places of worship are noted for providing courses of every kind after Saturday or Sunday services and throughout the week. One does not have to be a member of a particular church to attend, but using the services of your own faith can be reassuring. All are welcome at all churches, at any time.

To learn what is being offered at a local church simply Google its name and look at the website. For example, I entered “Old St. Patrick’s Church in Chicago.” What I found was an impressive list of services provided by the church staff, including personal counseling from a parish member whose credentials included an MBA from Northwestern and a master’s degree in counseling.

Workers living in medium and large cities throughout the country will find a host of career-related services provided by Jewish career services. For example, in Louisville, Kentucky, you will find a very active center, The Jewish Family and Career Services (JFCS). Its services include career counseling, job-hunting advice and leads for jobs in the local area and nationwide as well.

College and University Spiritual Resources

Some colleges and universities throughout the country have departments of divinity whose reach goes beyond academics. Staff members not only work with students in a traditional academic environment, but also reach out to the community. Outreach includes workshops on traditional theological topics and secular issues such as career planning and counseling for workers seeking support while unemployed.

Everyone who lives within reach of a college or university will find career-related initiatives that come in different flavors. Some are informal discussion groups; others are formal classes held on a regular schedule. For example, one such group is the Princeton Faith and Work Initiative, www.princeton.edu/faithandwork. It meets monthly on a pre-announced Saturday morning at Nassau Presbyterian Church, located on the Princeton New Jersey campus of Princeton University. It is led by Dr. David Miller, who earned his PhD in social ethics from Yale University after working in the private sector for sixteen years in business and finance with multinational companies in the UK and the US.

The group accomplishes its mission through a mixture of teaching, lectures, conferences, discussion groups, and research. Attendees include workers of all rank from companies representing multiple industries.

This is just one example of a spiritual resource from a college that sheds light on the relationship between work and faith, and offers support for workers seeking a new beginning in the workplace. Check online for a college or university near you that offers career related discussion groups or workshops.

Counseling from a Clergy Member

Advice and guidance are always available from clergy members of your local place of worship. Some clerics will hold one-on-one sessions for general counseling regarding the problems related to your unemployment status. Others will lead group discussions on career-related topics. These are caring, compassionate, and resourceful women and men whose mission is helping people connect faith, work, and family on life’s journey.

Some clergy members have broad and deep experience in the secular workplace acquired before they entered the ministry. Many have had teaching and counseling experience. Their networks include hiring managers from companies representing diverse industries. All are sympathetic listeners who offer not only sound advice, but also the hand of friendship to those in need.


When all else seems to have failed, laid off workers have another option, seeking help from the God of their faith.

Throughout my career in the staffing business, I have witnessed events that have no logical explanation. After applying the rules for solving problems and coming up dry, I believe there must be something else working behind the scene that goes beyond the temporal into a realm that includes the supernatural, like a God, a Force, or the Universe. For our purposes let’s call that Supreme Being, God.

There Are No Atheists in Foxholes

So what does all of this have to do with job hunting? You may have heard the proverb “There are no atheists in foxholes.” The origin of this proverb is attributed to a World War II correspondent, Ernie Pyle, who reported what was happening on the front line of battle, a very unfriendly place.

For those not familiar with war jargon, here is what it means. When soldiers are on the battlefield and see bombs dropping and bullets flying, and witness their buddies to the left and right being blown to smithereens, these soldiers instinctively call on God to save their lives. Their prayers to God are ones of supplication: “God, please spare my life!”

Job hunting is much like fighting in the trenches as you may have experienced. Following that traumatic experience, being let go from your job in the middle of a career that you thought was forever, life has not been easy, especially the job-hunting part.  If you have been fighting on the battlefield of the workplace for six months or more with no success, you will get the analogy. Job hunting is not easy. It is not for the timid. It is not for the faint of heart. The competition is fierce. You never know when and where the next defeat will occur.

The proverb “There are no atheists in foxholes,” could easily read, “There are no atheists among job hunters fighting in the workplace for a few bucks to buy food, shelter, and clothing.”

God at Work

My experience as an executive recruiter is replete with examples that point to a Force working with workers who have made every conceivable effort on their own and with help from career counselors to find solutions to their unemployment challenges. I have named that Force working in the background The Job God.

Some might say “Oh my Lord, this is nuts, plain nuts, to posit that God has any interest in how we find work to provide food, shelter and clothing for our existence here on Earth.” Well, everyone has a theory about why things happen as they do, and our theory seems to be as plausible as those of counselors, economists, and others like Malcolm Gladwell.


How do you reach out to your God? What do you say? How do you petition God for a favor such as success in finding a job? You might recall prayers learned in childhood religious training; you memorized them and recited them back to your parents or teacher. They meant little because they did not come from you. Even today, prayers we hear during religious services may sound contrived and hold little meaning. A meaningful prayer must come from you, from your inner core.

So how do you begin the prayer journey? By hastily fabricating one on your smart phone or iPad? Handwriting it on a sheet of paper in flowery prose? Anything will work, but we suggest composing your prayer in the vernacular of your faith. It does not have to be eloquent or put in writing. Make it conversational. Ask God’s help in the same way you would ask one of your friends for a favor. For example, immediately after the attacks on the World Trade Towers on 9/11, two Air Force fighter jets hurriedly took off from their base in Arizona and headed toward New York City and New Jersey to intercept any other attacks. The importance of getting there quickly was more important than fully arming the planes, so they took off semi-prepared. It was a dangerous mission. In a CNN interview with the pilots after the mission was completed, one of them told the interviewer they realized the extreme danger heading into combat without being fully armed, and as they were flying toward the action they prayed the pilot’s prayer, “God, don’t let me screw this up.” A prayer does not have to be eloquent, only sincere.

If you need examples that go beyond your own prayer, we offer these resources:

This article is an excerpt from my book, Moving Forward in Mid-Career. A Guide to Rebuilding Your Career after Being Fired or Laid Off.  It will be available January 9, 2018, in paperback or eBook from Skyhorse Publishing Inc., Amazon, Barnes & Noble and independent book stores.

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

Visit our other informative site

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.


Rebuilding Your Persona and Character After Being Fired or Laid Off

It comes when you least expect it. It comes when you can least afford it. It comes when you thought your “safe” job was forever. Usually the event takes place at about 3 PM on an ordinary work day when your boss calls you in for a “friendly” chat. It can happen anywhere: in an office setting, on a construction site, or in a retail store.  Where and when it happens does not matter. The results are the same for every worker; a president, a retail clerk, an editor, a truck driver, a sales representative, or an IT director.

This event is being fired or laid off by your employer and it has many different names; fired, laid off, downsized, reorged out, rightsized, riffed, whacked, kicked out, canned or just plain “let go.”  How often does it happen? Each day 50,000 American workers lose their jobs. That’s over 20 million workers per year!


The ramifications of job loss are staggering, particularly for mid-career workers who have serious family and financial obligations like a home mortgage, car payments, insurance, child care, and high school or college tuition. When your boss says, “this is your last day on the job” your world seems to be coming apart at the seams. You are no longer Mary Jones, Marketing Director for General Electric, or Joe Smith, Sales Manager for Metlife Insurance; now you are just plain Mary and Joe. No job title or company name to define who you are. No salary and benefits to render you a self-sufficient human being. No money for food, shelter, clothing and other modern day necessities. Next to divorce or death of a loved one, being fired or laid off is the most traumatic event a worker can experience.

This event has no favorites. When you are fired or laid off you might think, “Wait a minute. It can’t happen to me. I’m sixty years old and letting me go would be age discrimination.”


“I’m African American.  Downsize me and that’s racial discrimination.”


“I’m a woman. Fire me and that’s gender discrimination.”

Dream on. There is no mercy when your employer decides to shrink the payroll. You are going, no matter what you are or who you are. You are finished. Done. Kaput. Wiped out. Welcome to the real world!


When you are escorted from the job site to your car or public transportation, the grieving process sets in and it is not pretty. It usually begins with humiliation, followed by anger, resentment, depression and finally acceptance.


Humiliation affects workers in many different ways. To some it means losing face, degradation, confusion, and shame. To others it means indignity, disgrace and dishonor. Whatever it means personally, your ego is crushed like nothing else.  “How could this be happening to me? I’ve played by the rules, met job objectives and my reward is being let go.”  You just can’t believe you are the target of a blood-letting at your employer.

And what about the talk from former coworkers? “What are they thinking and saying about me? Do they believe that I did something seriously wrong? And how about my family? Walking in the door and saying I’ve been fired will be extremely painful.” This loss of dignity, this utter humiliation, sets you up for the next stages in the grieving process, anger and resentment.

Anger and Resentment

Anger and resentment are usually directed at the boss and/or the human resources director, but it could reach as far as the president or CEO. “How could ‘they’ do such a thing to me, an honest and dedicated worker?” To shortcut the anger stage, remember that your being let go was in all probability not personal. It was most likely the result of a general company initiative to save money. Employers do not lay off workers without serious forethought because hiring another worker is very costly. When you trace the chain of events that led to your being let go, it most frequently comes back to the numbers. Most workers move past the anger stage by hurling some juicy epithets at their former employer, ones that you would not want to see in print. If you are still in this stage, try it. Tell your former boss and the HR director in no uncertain terms how you feel.  Get it off your chest, in private, and then move on.


Most workers enter a state of self-pity after suffering a serious misfortune that has multiple ramifications, like losing a job along with a paycheck and benefits. You can short circuit this phase of the grieving process by remaining positive about the future. In America, a country that employs 155,000 million workers, there is always something out there for those who know how to hunt for a job.

The best solution to head off depression is to remain active. Devise a job hunting plan as soon as possible making your number one priority personal networking by attending conferences and job fairs where you will meet potential hiring managers. Sitting at home and texting your friends and acquaintances a tale of woe could lead to depression and sessions with a psychologist or psychiatrist. If you find yourself in such a state, do seek professional counseling.


After being out of work for a month or more, you will meet others who suffered the same fate.  This did not happen only to you. Statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor, www.bls.gov, reveal that: each day 50,000 workers are laid off or fired in the United States; and, that today’s workers will change jobs six times during their working years.

This is not the end of the world. In America, jobs are always available for workers who know what they want and know how to implement a job hunting plan.

There are some positives after suffering job loss. First, you will have time to examine your career goals, and second, you will have time to examine and possibly rebuild your persona and character. This is important because a character flaw could have been responsible for your being let go.


Being fired or laid off is traumatic, but it does have two specific benefits.

  1. It opens the door to examining and possibly reshaping your persona.
  2. It provides an opportunity to rebuild your character.

Redefining Your Persona

The word persona derives from the Latin where it originally meant a theatrical mask. In theatrical terms, it translates into an assumed personality. In today’s world it refers to that part of your personality exposed to the public. It is the apparent you that people see and it may be different from your character, the real you. It is you who created your persona, either consciously or subconsciously.

People in the public eye such as TV personalities, actors, and politicians frequently assume a certain persona that appeals to their target audience. Take politicians, for example. They want to be viewed by constituents as caring for their welfare and the needs of the country as a whole, but in reality, some politicians use public office for personal gain.

Persona in the private sector is similar. Look at your own persona in the workplace. If you were in a leadership position, i.e. the boss, what was your persona? Was it in conflict with the real you? Did you portray yourself as the good, compassionate, helpful, caring boss dedicated to making the company great? However, did you assume this persona, this mask, to hide your real motivation; to oust your boss and move up in rank and compensation?  Could it have been the reason why you were let go from your job as Regional Sales Manager in a staged “reorganization” while your friend Mary, another Regional Sales Manager was kept on the payroll?   Only you can answer that after a private, honest meeting with yourself.

Before implementing your job hunting plan discover who you really are. Were you the one who used every chance to derail your boss while playing Mister Good Guy? If your introspection reveals a difference between your persona and the real you, take measures to make these two competing entities one and the same. How do you begin? With honesty. If you have any doubts about how you are seen, ask your former boss and coworkers what they thought of you, no holds barred.

Rebuilding Your Character

For our purposes, we define character as the aggregate of traits and features that form and identify the real you. Your character is the set of values and ethics that you hold dear. They determine not only what you say, but also how you act.

This period of downtime provides an excellent opportunity to learn who you really are. Looking back, you might find that the real you became lost in the corporate culture, maybe disguised by a preoccupation with political correctness.  In the course of your previous job, you may have forgotten what you truly believe or how you feel. It’s time for a homecoming with yourself to find out who you really are.

To begin the process of rebuilding character, you need a foundation upon which everything else rests. We like the foundation stones posited by Character Counts!, a nonprofit organization dedicated to character education. One of their constructs is the Six Pillars of Character, which act as the foundation for building character. They are: trustworthiness, fairness, respect, caring, citizenship, and responsibility. You can review this material at:  www.charactercounts.org.


The rebuilding process may be filled with fear, doubts, maybes, should haves, would haves, and could haves.  However, it is not these burdens that will drive you to distraction. Rather, it’s the regrets over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Learn from the past but do not accept the past as prologue. Get rid of the two demons, regret and fear, that will inhibit your growth. Move forward with confidence. Using your intelligence, energy, passion, and your revised persona and character, you will succeed. The world is yours for the taking!


  • Persona is the face you present to the public at large.
  • Character is who you really are.
  • Persona and character must work in harmony for growth in your career.
  • Regrets about the past and fear of the future are two demons that will inhibit your growth. Let go the regrets. Face the future with confidence and hope.
  • Integrity and trust form the foundation for your character.
  • Having good character means being who you are even when nobody is watching.

For additional information about rebuilding your character after being fired of laid off, please refer to my book, Moving Forward in Mid-Career: A Guide to Rebuilding Your Career after Being Fired or Laid Off. It will be available in paperback or eBook In December 2017 from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Skyhorse Publishing Inc.

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

Visit our other informative site

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

How to Evaluate and Respond to a Job Description

A job search is a process, not something that you invent every morning after a cup of coffee. Evaluating, interpreting and responding to a job description are integral parts of that process. All job descriptions are not created equal.  They vary in format and content and job candidates who learn how this part of the process works will save time and improve their chances of finding that elusive “right” job. Federal job announcements include detailed job descriptions and are often more comprehensive than those found in the private sector.


Job descriptions are simply a concise rendering of the job title, job responsibilities and qualifications. They go by different names: job ads, classified ads for employment, career opportunities and the like.  Sometimes they include a description of the company. They rarely include compensation and benefits, or names and titles of the hiring manager.

Interpreting a Job Description

A candidate’s gut reaction after reading what appears to be an inter­esting job description is to respond with a resume and other requested information without a second thought. This is unfortu­nate because job descriptions exist for a number of reasons, and what you read is subject to misinterpretation. To begin, where do these job descriptions originate?

Job descriptions are written by one of three individuals: the hiring manager, the human resources director, or a recruiter working collaboratively with both. In the federal sector the Office of Personnel Management develops a general description using federal qualification standards for each occupational title and then allows the hiring agency to modify them with specific skills sets needed for that position. Hiring managers write the most reliable job descriptions. They are realistic and portray the position and requirements honestly. It is in their best interests to fill an open position as soon as possible. For them, time is of the essence. Human resources directors write credible job descriptions, too, but many times they lack details known only by hiring manager, the person to whom the job reports. Recruiters sometimes write job descriptions at the request of the hiring manager or human resources director. Usually they are credible documents because the recruiter works closely with the hiring manager and the human resources director.

Are Job Descriptions Realistic?

The job description is written with the ideal candidate in mind, and rarely, if ever, does that person exist. In all of my years recruiting for positions from entry-level to CEO, I have never found a job candidate who met every one of the requirements and qualifications on the job description. Employers always make compromises and experienced candidates know this. If the hiring manager or human resources director did not make compromises, nobody would ever be hired. For example, when you read a job description that says, “four to six years’ experience required” do not disregard it if you have only two years’ experience.

Why Job Descriptions Exist

Job descriptions are written to attract candidates for a job opening for one particular position, or for multiple positions with identical requirements but in different locations. For example, one job description will serve for three sales representatives who will work in different parts of the country.

Also, job descriptions are written because the company needs to avoid the appearance of discrimination, or to meet OEO require­ments, even though the company hiring manager may have already selected an internal candidate. (The Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) is a federal government agency that oversees fair employment hiring practices. All companies doing business with the federal government must sign an OEO doc­ument agreeing to meet rigid recruiting and hiring practices.)

Beating the Internal Candidate 

When a job comes open for any reason, the first place a company looks for a replacement is within its internal workforce. Frequently, a company knows the internal candidate who will get the open spot, but writes and posts the job description just the same to meet the OEO and/or other state and federal regulations. After a rea­sonable amount of time during which the company gathers resumes from both internal and external applicants, the pre-selected internal candidate wins the job. All of the candidates who applied for this position unknowingly submitted their candidacy in vain. The company will never admit to it, but rest assured that this happens every day. To avoid the internal candidate trap, one of the first questions to ask in a phone or personal interview is, “How many internal candidates are you considering? If you already have your selection and are interviewing me for other purposes, I’d rather not waste your time and mine by proceeding through the interview.” If nothing else, it will let the interviewer know that you have the experience and maturity to play the game.

What do Job Descriptions Really Say?

The typical job description will state the title of the position and where it is located. It will list the job responsibilities either in bullet point format or in a text paragraph. Usually these are broadly stated items. The job requirements and/or qualifications specify educa­tional background, years of experience, and fields of expertise. The requirements are usually overstated and nobody on Earth or Mars will ever possess all of them. For example, some job descriptions may state, “ten years’ experience in web design” but the company will hire someone with three to five years’ experience. It happens all the time.  There are always exceptions and compromises companies will make for certain positions. However, some jobs require strict adherence to the specs in the job description because of legally required certifications and licenses.


If the job description or online application requests your age, driv­er’s license number, or social security number, do not apply. This is your personal and confidential information. Share it with the employer only if you win the job because such personal information is required for tax and identification purposes.


A job description is posted in various places, not just on a company website. The same job description on the website could be on various job boards like Monster, on social media sites like Linke­dIn, and on websites of recruiters. It could easily find its way to a dozen or more places, which is one reason why companies receive so many resumes in response to a posting. When you see the same job posted in multiple locations, it is a sign that the employer may be looking for many resumes to satisfy OEO or other requirements.

When  you see the same job posted on multiple sites, always respond to the job description posted on the employer’s website. If the selected candidate is hired directly by the employer instead of an outside source, the company saves money because it does not have to pay a fee to a job board or recruiter. That saved money could result in a more lucrative salary offer or better benefits for the selected candidate.


Job descriptions for positions requiring certification and licensure leave little room for compromise by the company. Examples are jobs for medical personnel, educators, lawyers and certain government personnel, that by law require licensure and cer­tification.


Frequently, postings on job boards, or even on LinkedIn, are tricky to say the least. I have identified the big red flags of job descriptions. Note them well.

Red Flag #1. The job description does not disclose the name of the company or its location. The company could be a back alley operation or a prominent company on Wall Street or in Silicon Valley. You just don’t know. The reason for this non-disclosure is known only to the entity writing and posting the job description, and you do not have time to play games. Do not send a resume or click the “Apply” button if there is no company name.   Doing so is equivalent to sending your resume into space and a waste of your precious job searching time.

Red Flag #2. The job description does not state the name of the com­pany contact or job title. It might say, “Send your resume to Position # 256, or Job #897.” Sending your resume to a job number is equivalent to sending your candidacy to the third moon of the planet Jupiter.  If there is no contact name and title on the job description, but it looks interesting, call the com­pany customer service department and ask for the name and contact information for the human resources director and hiring manager. Then you can submit your candidacy to a living person by email or ground services like UPS or FedEx.

Red Flag #3. Some job descriptions are nothing more than a general statement about a particular kind of job. Recently, I saw one of these on the LinkedIn site called “Recent College Grads.” The job title was “Virtual Executive Assistant to the CEO.” There were no bullet points about responsibilities and qualifications and did not include the name of the company, the hiring manager, or location of the company. In addition, it had a deceptive major heading titled “Professional Chemistry” under which were three bullet points: “upbeat demeanor”

“adaptable attitude” and “composure under pressure.” This could have been a bogus job description. It gave you nothing but asked for much personal information after you hit the “Apply” button. Handing out your personal information to an unknown entity is a recipe for potential disaster. Never submit your resume or appli­cation for what appears to be a bogus job description, even if it comes from a reputable source such as LinkedIn.


Job descriptions come in all sizes and shapes and are written by any number of sources. They are not all created equal. Some are bare bones and others are encyclopedic. There is a natural tendency for all candidates to respond to every job description that seems to match their vision for employment.  However, you can spend useless hours responding to job descriptions that have no merit and will not yield even a thank you from the employer.  Your reward will be utter frustration to the point where you cry out in desperation, “THERE’S NOTHING OUT THERE!”  Learning which job description to disregard and which to address is just another part of the search process. Here is a list of elements that credible job descriptions should have, and a brief example of each.

  1. The name, location and description of the company. Example: “Facebook, a social media company located at 127 Smith Rd., San Jose, California.”
  2. The job title, and the title of the person to whom it reports. Example: “IT Assistant reporting to the IT department head, Mary Smith.”
  3. The job location. Example: “The job location is the corporate regional sales office in Seattle Washington.”
  4. A list of responsibilities and expectations. Example: “Selling product line to hospitals; meeting sales goals; reporting customer concerns to marketing; written quarterly sales plans; daily expense accounting.”
  5. Background qualifications. Example: “Experience in residential HVAC installation and repair. HVAC certification”
  6. Desired level of education. Example: “BS in biology.”
  7. Required certification or licenses. Example: “State of New Jersey. Certified Nurse Midwife certification and license.”
  8. A general description of the compensation and benefits package. Example: Base salary; bonus based on performance; life insurance; medical/dental insurance; IRA; paid annual vacation; paid holidays; paid sick days; long term disability insurance.

Do not expect every detail of the job to be on the job description. As you read it, make notes for discussing the particulars with the hiring manager during the interview.


If you decide to pursue a position you found through any source and it does not contain any red flags, what do you do next? Conven­tional wisdom says that you should submit your resume to a person with a name, a title, and company affiliation. However, is that all one should do? Send just a resume?

Consider this. Hundreds or maybe thousands of other can­didates probably saw the same job description that you saw on a company website. What happens next? Hundreds or thousands of candidates will, like sheep, send only their resumes. Why? Because that is what the job, descriptions requested. Just submitting a resume and maybe a cover letter means that you will be one of hundreds or thousands applying for that same position. For example, Southwest Airlines receives over 100,000 resumes each year. To distinguish yourself from the rest of the crowd submit a Career Profile, which consists of the following:

  • Cover letter
  • Resume
  • College transcript
  • Letters of reference
  • Certifications and licenses
  • Any articles or blogs you have authored as an example of your written communication skills

Submitting the Career Profile is one of the tools in your job-hunting repertoire that will give you a distinct advantage over the competition and enhance your prospects of landing a job.

For an expanded version of this material, read Chapter 32 in my book titled, OPERATION JOB SEARCH, A Guide for Military Veterans Transitioning to Civilian Careers, Skyhorse Publishing Inc. c 2016. It is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble in paperback and eBook.

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

Visit our other informative site

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Careers For Recent College Grads

It is the season when thousands of students march to the stage to receive their AA, BA or MA degrees from colleges and universities across the country. It’s a happy time for all, especially for parents who proudly witnessed their children receive that coveted diploma that only 40% of the citizens of the USA possess. But along with that diploma, 68% of recent college grads received an invoice for a student loan averaging $37,000, an unwelcome burden not only for the graduates but also for their parents. So now that our recent college grads have a diploma and a student loan to repay, what’s next?


What’s Next!

The good news is that this is the best time in the past ten years for college grads entering the job market. Our economy is virtually at full employment and employers are looking high and low for additional workers to maintain and grow their businesses. A recent survey by Career Builder reveals that 74 percent of employers contacted stated that they plan to hire recent college grads. And, a recent Forbes survey indicated that the starting salary range for recent college grads is $45,000-$53,000. Good times are here again….for those college grads who know what kind of work they want to do and how to find job opportunities that will provide a paycheck to enable them to become self-sufficient.

Some of our recent college grads have decided on a career path that will take them to graduate school or to a specific job niche in the private or public sector. However, most others do not have a clue about what happens after the applause, handshakes, and the trip back home to live with Mom and Dad. The conventional, but erroneous, wisdom says that the way to a job after graduation is to sit down and write a “killer” resume and send it to multiple jobs boards. Then, like magic, a job will appear that pays well and provides satisfaction for the rest of your working years. That is just not the way it works.

To make that job appear sooner rather than later, the recent college grad must look at job hunting as a process that includes: learning ones aptitude and abilities; targeting a specific job in a specific company; developing a personal relationship with the hiring manager and human resources director; preparing a creditable resume; learning the basic rules and protocols for interviewing; attending conferences and trade shows at local convention centers; learning how to network with established workers; making cold calls on companies located in office and industrial centers; learning how to negotiate a job offer; and finally establishing an office at home to make it all happen. Each step in the process is a learned skill for all workers but especially for the recent college grad entering the adult world of full time work. Sadly these skills are not taught in colleges which sends the learning process back in the lap of the recent college grads and their parents who still have the primary responsibility for educating their children, college degree notwithstanding.  All steps of the process are important but at the top of the list is leaving the house to find hiring managers in the flesh. You do that by making unscheduled calls at company offices and attending conferences and trade shows.

Learning what kinds of jobs are available is an important start in the job hunting process. According to recent surveys here are the best industry sectors for 2017 college grads.

  • Business and scientific services
  • Educational Services
  • Finance
  • Insurance
  • Healthcare
  • Government

Functionally, the job categories most in demand are:

  • Information technology
  • Customer service
  • Business development
  • Finance/accounting
  • Production

So where does a recent college grad begin to look for a job?  It’s more than just throwing darts at a board and hoping one will stick. Finding companies that offer cutting edge products and services is a good way to start. But, who are these companies?  To get you moving in the right direction, here are twenty companies recommended in The Muse Newsletter, www.themuse.com.

  1. Caesars Entertainment…casino gaming resorts in the USA and abroad
  2. World First…financial services focusing on cross country payments
  3. Polaris…. consulting and compliance services for healthcare and life sciences
  4. Taboola…helping publishers monetize their content
  5. Good Apple Digital…digital planning media services
  6. Bonobos…contemporary custom made men’s clothing
  7. CreditCards.com…partners with banks to provide credit cards for consumers
  8. Synapse…developer of transformative digital products
  9. BackCountry.com…online supplier of high quality outdoor gear worldwide
  10. Redfin…real estate brokerage services for buyers and sellers
  11. Vanguard….worldwide financial investment services
  12. Revcontent…delivers content recommendations using widget technology
  13. 540…provides cutting-edge technology solutions for government agencies
  14. Black Mountain Systems… IT workflow management for financial companies
  15. Hirevue…provides solutions to recruit, train and retain workers
  16. Bridgestone Americas…global supplier of products for manufacturing and mining
  17. Fluxx…digital grant management for philanthropy initiatives
  18. PrintFleet…provides data driven remote print management solutions
  19. Agile…information technology staffing, recruiting and personnel management
  20. Tillster…provides software to manage mobile payments to restaurants

These companies are noted for their employee friendly culture and for providing a work environment where workers will find life/work balance…..and a little fun. Their web pages provide images of their recent college grad workers and the company work environment.  Go to the Internet and research each company for job opportunities in your location.

For those not interested in private sector corporate jobs here are two viable alternatives.

  1. Joining the military…..Army, Marines, Air Force, Navy or Coast Guard. This is an option rarely considered by recent college grads because of a general misunderstanding about what happens in the military. The most common misperception is that joining the military means that you will be deployed immediately to fight in the trenches in some god forsaken place like Afghanistan. The reality is that for each active combat job, there are hundreds of jobs behind the scenes similar to jobs in the civilian world. The big plus for spending time in the military is that one learns lifelong leadership skills, discipline and focus. And, what could be a better way to begin your working life than to serve our country, to give back for all the blessings we have inherited for being born in America? In addition, serving in the military provides substantial benefits to all veterans, like tuition reimbursement to continue ones education, lifelong healthcare and a pension.
  2. Pursuing a federal government job. The federal government, the nation’s largest employer with over 2.5 million employees, offers interesting jobs that pay as much as or more than comparable jobs in the private sector. The majority of federal government jobs are not political jobs and most are located away from Washington DC. The focus of these jobs could be anything from law enforcement, environmental conservation to finance to cybersecurity… and everything in between. In addition, there is a federal government program titled, The Recent Graduates Program. Explore the many federal jobs that are available stateside and overseas.

To begin the process of finding a job straight out of college we recommend that all recent grads and their parents read the following books:

WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD; A Complete Guide to Job Hunting for the Recent College Grad. John Henry Weiss.  Skyhorse Publishing Inc. This book is available in paperback and eBook from Amazon, B&N and the publisher.

The Book of U.S. Government Jobs. Dennis Damp. Bookhaven Press. This book is available in paperback and eBook from Amazon, B&N and the publisher

Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Department of Labor. Jist Publishing Company. This book is available in paperback and eBook from Amazon, B&N and the publisher.

Moving Forward

There has never been a better time for recent college grads to look for a job because employers are seeking additional workers as our economy expands. Those who take the time to learn how the adult world of work really works and who follow the rules in this article and in the above cited books should have no trouble connecting with employers seeking intelligent, energetic and passionate recent college grads.

Copyright 2017 by John Henry Weiss Author of WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD.

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

Visit our other informative site

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Why Workers Lose Their Jobs. It’s All about the Numbers

Learning why workers are laid off is important not only for those out of work now, but also for those still working because one never knows when the axe will fall. Going forward you will be looking for good job opportunities, not just any job. This requires information about how employers operate, like laying off 10,000 workers at a crack. The last thing you need is to jump into another job that will disappear in six months. To avoid that potential tragedy, you need to do your homework.

One could argue night and day about why workers are laid off or fired. You hear one story from the academics, another from business executives, another from the talking heads on the financial channels, and still another from politicians. And, do not forget the mindless chatter on social media. To cut through the hype let’s go to the numbers.  When it comes to figuring out what is happening in the workplace, the numbers usually tell it all.

Examining the Numbers

Workers are constantly being downsized, reorganized or rightsized. In fact, approximately 55,000 workers lose their jobs each day. That’s over 20 million per year. Because of this constant churning in the workplace workers will change jobs an average of 6.5 times during their working years.

The American workplace employs over 155 million workers, making our workforce alone the world’s eighth largest “country. There are many moving parts in the workplace, some working in sync and others fighting against each other. Employers are constantly revising plans, merging, acquiring competitors, going into bankruptcy, and going out of business. When that happens, workers lose their jobs.


The Unemployment Rate

Daily we hear the pundits, talking heads and media gurus screaming about one of their favorite topics, the unemployment rate. To hear them talk, one would think that America is heading for financial disaster with unemployment taking a leading role. The numbers help us sort fact from fiction.

The rate of unemployment in the U.S. since the Great Depression has been approximately 6 percent. Many economists interpret that to mean that an employment rate of 94 percent is truly full employment.  Since 1970 our lowest rate of unemployment was 4 percent in 2000, and the highest was 10 percent in 2009. Looking at these numbers in “modern” times
(the past fifty years) we note that the average rate of unemployment over the past 50 years has remained 6 percent.

The three main causes of unemployment are: seasonal unemployment, when workers are laid off because of bad weather; structural unemployment, when workers are laid off because their jobs are replaced by technology; and, cyclical unemployment, when workers are laid off because of changes in the economy such as a recession which weakens consumer demand for products and services. These three causes of unemployment will always be present. There will never be such a thing as a 0 percent unemployment rate.

The numbers tell us that America has an average employment rate of 94 percent making it the best place in the world to find a job. If workers in American claim they can’t find work, it is not the fault of the President, elected officials, their teachers, or their mothers and fathers. The fault lies with them alone. If you really want a job in America, it is there for the taking…if you know where to look.

The Private Sector Workplace 

We can divide the workplace into any number of parts but for now let’s consider just three: small businesses, large companies, and entrepreneurial businesses.  Let’s see how they operate.

 Small Businesses

The Small Business Administration, www.sba.gov, states that approximately 540,000 small businesses will close each year. This is an important number because over 65 percent of all workers are employed by small businesses, which are defined by SBA as those businesses having less than 500 employees.

When a business closes, workers lose their jobs. Fortunately, the American workplace is so robust that approximately 550,000 businesses open each year. When businesses open workers are hired. All of this action makes for a constantly changing workplace, one where workers are hired, fired, laid off….and hired again. Many workers in small business become trapped in this never ending cycle.

Frequently, we think of small businesses as store front shops employing only a dozen or less workers and generating “break even” numbers. However, many small businesses employ hundreds of workers and generate millions in annual revenue. For example, the Consortium for International Education Exchange (CIEE), a company in Portland Maine, employs over 300 workers and generates in excess of $160 million annually. (CIEE is a nonprofit that works with colleges, universities and high schools administering study-abroad programs. Review their website, www.CIEE.org, to learn more about the company and job opportunities.)

Large Companies

Large companies employ over 500 workers and are privately held or publically traded on the stock exchange. The failure of large businesses raises the unemployment rate for workers in all age groups, but especially for mid-career workers. For example, large retailers have been closing thousands of stores, primarily because of the trend toward online purchasing. The result?  Job loss for millions of workers. A look at the following numbers tells why workers are constantly being laid off in just one sector of the economy, retailing, which is undergoing massive change as consumers purchase online instead of at bricks and mortar stores.

2015-2017 Store Closings

  • Barnes and Noble…223
  • McDonalds…500
  • Gap…175
  • Office Depot…400
  • JC Penny…400
  • Staples…55
  • Macy’s…100
  • Walmart…154

Entrepreneurial Businesses

Over 70 percent of businesses in the U.S. are owned by sole proprietors or partnerships. The owners are personally responsible for all profits, losses, debts and taxes. Such businesses have a   much higher failure rate than do small businesses or large corporations.

The main reason why such businesses fail is that they are under-capitalized. Entrepreneurs frequently believe that if you create a great new product that fills a market need it will automatically sell. What they forget is that in order to generate income a business needs professional marketing and sales initiatives, which cost money to implement.  This highlights the reason why most entrepreneurial business fail, undercapitalization. In order to make money, a business must spend money.

If you are considering a job with an entrepreneurial business, ask to see the business plan, the estimated capital requirements, and the written commitment for capital from lenders such as a local bank. If the entrepreneur hesitates to disclose the plan, especially the part which tells where the money is coming from, walk away from the opportunity.

Factors That Cause Job Loss

Workers are fired or laid off every day. A person who does not meet the job requirements or engages in inappropriate behavior is fired. Being let go is strictly their own fault. However, most workers who lose their jobs are laid off even though they met the job specs and obeyed the rules.  Seven major factors are responsible for the large number of workers who are laid off each year.

  1. Reduction in Force. Businesses exist to make money. If they make money, they remain in business and grow, which results in more hiring. This applies to both for profit and nonprofit businesses alike. If a business does not make money after deducting expenses and taxes it will go out of business and workers will lose their jobs. To maintain profitability companies are constantly adjusting the size of their staff. For example, when a fast food company like McDonald’s experiences a downturn in profits over a period of two or more quarters, it will downsize its staff. The result? Massive layoffs. This process is frequently called a reduction in force, a RIF. Those laid off in this process are referred to as riffed.
  2. Mergers. Tens of thousands of companies combine forces each year for a variety of reasons. When two companies merge their operations, workers are laid off. For example, when Company A merges with Company B, the new Company C will need only one Vice President for Sales. The result? One of the VP’s from A or B will be laid off.
  3. You hear it every day. “Company X buys Company Y” Again, when two companies are combined into one, workers are laid off to prevent duplication of services. For example, when the purchase of Yahoo by Verizon is completed later this year, thousands of Yahoo workers will lose their jobs. Also, businesses sometimes sell only their products or services. The result? Massive layoffs occur because the acquiring company does not take the employees, only the products. It is called an asset acquisition.
  4. Trade Deals That Send Jobs Overseas. Staff employees are usually the last to hear that their American employer cut a deal to have their products manufactured in a foreign country. It is only after the layoffs that workers learn that their jobs were lost because the company’s products can be made more cheaply outside of the USA. The same applies to services. For example, when was the last time you spoke to an America-based customer service worker? And, what is the name of the country of origin on your new pair of Nike shoes?
  5. High American Business Tax Rates. Another reason why companies move out of the USA causing workers to lose their jobs is our high Federal tax rate for businesses. America has the highest business tax rate of any developed country. Companies are in business to make as much money as possible and our high tax rate takes much away from the bottom line. Hopefully, Congress will pass a tax reform bill in the near future.
  6. Bankruptcies. When a company is consistently unprofitable, it uses the business tactic called bankruptcy to pay off creditors. When a company files for bankruptcy it can go out of  business entirely and everyone loses their job
  7. Reorganizations. Periodically, companies reorganize to improve day to day operations or emerge from bankruptcy. For example, General Electric is moving its corporate home office from Connecticut to Massachusetts. GE offered to relocate workers with key positions but this was not acceptable for those firmly grounded to the Connecticut location. Those who do not accept that offer will be laid off along with workers in support positions. The same thing happened to workers employed by Merck in some of its New Jersey offices. When the company decided to relocate some operations to others states, many workers were laid off. Frequently, it is less costly for companies to lay off workers and hire new talent in the new location. When you are seeking a new job, it is prudent to learn as much as you can about company plans to reorganize.

Moving Forward

Many readers of this article have already been fired or laid off so what’s the point of including material about why layoffs occur? It’s after the fact. The reason is this. When you are seeking another job, this information will help you assess prospective employers. Your company evaluation should include an examination of company profitability, and a network search to learn if your potential employer is talking merger or acquisition. If you find that a prospective employer has been talking with a competitor about merging, reorganizing, moving to a foreign country or has not been profitable, walk away from that opportunity, no matter how good the company reputation is.  Military veterans are particularly susceptible to being laid off because they are not familiar with how civilian companies work. In the military, one does not lose a job because of a reorganization.

The bottom line for all workers seeking employment is this; when assessing any job opportunity, look at the numbers. Use resources such as company financial reports, the Small Business Administration (www.SBA.gov), the US Chamber of Commerce (www.commerce.gov) ) and Hoovers financial reports (www.hoovers.com). In addition read this enlightening book by  Karen Berman and Joe Knight:  Financial Intelligence. A Manager’s Guide to Knowing What the Numbers Really Mean.  Harvard Business Review Press, 2013

Copyright 2017, John Henry Weiss

The content of this article is an excerpt from a forthcoming book by the author. The title is MOVING FORWARD IN MID CAREER: A Guide to Rebuilding Your Career after Being Fired or Laid Off. It is available for pre-ordering in paperback or eBook from Amazon.

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

Visit our other informative site

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Continuing Education Programs and Certifications

In today’s world it is imperative for all workers to continue updating their skills and expanding their job knowledge and expertise. Technology is responsible for the rapid pace at which our jobs evolve making continuing education a lifelong process.


The workforce expects all workers to continue their education. It makes no difference if you have a high school diploma or a PhD. All workers in every conceivable job must continually update their knowledge and skills in order to remain productive…and employed. Those who think they have arrived because they hold a college degree and no longer need to continue their education are living in a dream world. Job requirements change and workers must grow with this change.

Where do you start? The short answer is to continue where you left off in the military or in your pre-military civilian life. If you have a high school degree, aim for the next level, an AA degree from a community college or a BA from a four-year college or university. If you have a BA, consider moving on towards a MA. If you have a MA consider working on a PhD or professional degree. All the data indicate that the higher your level of education, the more money you will make, and the greater your job security will be.

What if you are not inclined to pursue formal college level education? That is understandable because college courses are not for everyone. If that is where you are, pursue training programs for jobs in a market niche that offers continual opportunities.  Many veterans will find these opportunities in the skilled trades.

Working in the Skilled Trades

Jobs in the skilled trades are plentiful in the three major survival industries; food, shelter, clothing. Let’s focus on the shelter industry. If you want to pursue a career in one of the home/commercial trades, one option is to focus on heating and air conditioning systems by taking a HVACR certified training program. You will find HVACR training schools by going on line and Googling, “HVACR training.” Your chances of finding employment in this field with a reputable contractor will be greatly enhanced if you have training and certification.

The Construction Trades. The same applies for those seeking employment in other building trades: plumber, electrician, painter, bricklayer, mason, boilermaker, plasterer, carpenter, roofer, ironworker, wood flooring/carpet installer, etc. All are noble career paths and if this is where your interest lies, go for it. Even veterans who have military experience in one of these trades should seek civilian training and certification because it will increase your chances of finding work with a reputable employer.

You will find brick and mortar trade schools and online courses in every area across the country. Just Google “trade and training schools”, and add your area of interest. The trades offer incredible opportunities for satisfying lifetime employment. Ask any carpenter who worked on a $2 million home what the rewards are in addition to money and the response will be something like this, “Pride in creating something functional and beautiful and knowing there’s a little piece of me standing there.”

Transportation Jobs. These jobs are in demand by companies both large and small  and veterans with military transportation experience have an advantage. For example, I noted a Walmart posting for truck drivers that carried a base salary of $75,000 plus excellent benefits. Other  large corporations, like Lowes are also military friendly, they pay similar wages to their transportation workers. However, you do not just walk into a company and expect to find a job with an ordinary driver’s license.

Working in the commercial transportation business requires completion of tests for certification and a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation, is a useful destination for learning about the various types of certification required for driving commercial vehicles of all types. Check out the website, www.FMCSA.gov, to learn about all of the rules and regs governing this line of work.

Apprenticeship Programs

Another approach to finding the right training program is to contact trade unions in your area to explore apprenticeship programs. Several years in an apprenticeship program taking classroom courses and working with a master-level worker almost guarantees a full time, high paying job in a particular skilled trade. Make no mistake about it, though. You must put in your time to reap the reward you are seeking, a career job that will make you self-sufficient.

Sources of Information for the Skilled Trades

Where do you go to learn more? Here are some online sources to get you started.

  • AFL-CIO,www.aflcio.org. On the home page, enter “training and apprenticeships” which will take you to a number of locations to explore your area of interest. I did just that and found the following articles: “Helping Women Veterans Find Sheet Metal Apprenticeships” and “Meet the Veterans Who Rebuilt the World Trade Center”
  • Union Apprenticeship, www.jobsgalore.com. This site will direct you to many nationwide apprenticeship programs in different trades. Plan to spend a few hours here to explore all of the information.
  • Women and Apprenticeship. The International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) (www.iuoe.org/jobs/women-and-apprenticeship), offers programs incorporating both classroom instruction and hands-on learning in a variety of settings for both women and men.Successful completion of an IUOE apprenticeship program virtually guarantees a job paying excellent wages and offering comprehensive benefits.
  • Federal Wage Grade (WG) Trades Jobs:  The federal government employs just under 200,000 workers in a broad cross section of  blue-collar trades occupations.
  • The United States Department of Labor (DOL)www.dol.gov. The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) of the DOL operates the Registered Apprenticeship program to help veterans in transition to the civilian workforce. The ETA works in conjunction with all states so you will always be training in your local area. Here is a description of the program from the DOL website.

The Registered Apprenticeship Program

The Registered Apprenticeship system has been utilized to meet the needs of America’s skilled workforce for over 75 years. It is a unique, flexible training system that combines job related technical instruction with structured on-the-job learning experiences. Registered Apprenticeship is a leader in preparing American workers to compete in a global 21st Century economy because the system keeps pace with advancing technologies and innovations in training and human resource development.

The Registered Apprenticeship system is designed for workers seeking high-skilled, high- paying jobs, and for employers seeking to build a qualified workforce. In this regard, the Registered Apprenticeship system effectively meets the needs of both employers and workers.

Registered Apprenticeship is active not only in traditional industries such as construction and manufacturing, but also it is instrumental in the development of fast growing industries such as healthcare, energy, and security. The program has trained more than 130,000 apprentices each year. It is an effective program and veterans so-inclined should review this site for exciting job opportunities. It is there for the asking. Don’t pass it up.

In addition, this program offers special opportunities for veterans under the Post Nine-Eleven GI Bill Apprenticeship Program, which offers many attractive benefits like allowances for housing.


Veterans who chose to work toward a BA, MA or PhD will find much support from military friendly colleges and universities and from professional schools like Fordham Law School in New York City and The Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, OH.

There is an interesting body of data regarding college graduates. For example, only 35 percent of the US population of 320 million men and women has a college degree. The unemployment rate for those holding a BA or higher is always lower than it is for those without a college degree. In addition, over a lifetime of work, college grads generate total income that is higher than the non-degreed population.

However, it is not all good news for those with a college degree, particularly recent college grads. During the past five years, over 65% of recent college graduates have not found a job nine months after receiving their diplomas.  The reason is that most college grads have no experience with the adult world of work and have no idea about how the job hunting process works.

Strategies for Pursuing a College Degree

Here are a number of strategies to insure that your college experience will be a productive venture and lead to a productive job opportunity.

  1. Pursue a college major aligned with your interests and abilities. If your interest is teaching, pursue a degree in education. If business is your thing, major in business administration or finance. If you wish to pursue a degree in science or technology select one of the STEM majors; science, technology, engineering, mathematics.
  1. If you are not yet sure where your true interests lie, pursue an Associate’s degree at a community college. Here you will learn about many academic disciplines. Surely, one of them will appeal to your interests.
  1. Avoid going into debt. Going to college with financial help from a student loan or veteran’s loan has an inevitable consequence; you will be obligated to repay all or some of that loan after graduating. There are many government tuition reimbursement plans available for veterans. Take advantage of all of them before tapping into the student loan program.
  1. Begin your job search as soon as you enroll in a college degree program. Many students wait until they graduate to begin job hunting. However, job hunting is a continuing operation, which should begin immediately. You cannot expect to walk away with your diploma one fine day and have a job the next. It does not work that way. I suggest that the first resource to explore in your beginning year is my book titled, WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD, A Complete to Job Hunting for the Recent College Grad. The book provides career education and job hunting rubrics.
  1. State colleges and universities offer academic programs on par with private institutions. The value of attending an undergraduate Ivy League school (or similar) has been greatly exaggerated.  For a ranking of the colleges and universities across the country, consult US News and World Report, www.usnews.com/best-colleges. The annual rankings include tuition costs and other useful data.
  1.  Explore the Military Friendly list of colleges and universities, which you can find online at www.militaryfriendly.com/school-list.  These colleges and professional schools offer preferential terms for veterans.


Written certifications frequently are required to work in the skilled trades and in corporate jobs. Whatever your specialty is, or whatever you are aspiring to become, go online and Google that specialty and add “certifications.” For example, enter “bus driver certifications,” or “physical therapy certifications.” You will find nonprofit and for profit organizations that offer various certification for your field of interest.

Many corporate level management positions now require Project Management Professional Certification (PMP). This important certification is offered through the Project Management Institute (PMI). For details go to the PMI website: www.PMI.org.

Also, the VA offers reimbursement for certifications tests and licensing for veterans. Check it out at www.benefits.VA.gov.  In addition Google “certifications for military veterans” and you will find many online and bricks-and-mortar facilities offering free or low cost certification programs.


The security industry is growing exponentially and welcomes military veteran candidates. The range of jobs seems to have no end as security firms and government agencies struggle to meet the demand, particularly in cyber security. Some security jobs are highly visible, like TSA workers at airports, but most others work behind the scene. Here are several of our favorites.

Raytheon,www.raytheon.com. This American icon is noted for development and manufacture of weapons like the Tomahawk Cruise Missile and other defensive systems. However, it has a division know as Raytheon Cyber, www.raytheoncyber.com. When you go to the website click on “Working with Us” and then click on “Veterans.”  It has no less than twenty-one separate engineering and business divisions offering entry level and highly specialized positions for veterans. The firm is located in the Boston area but has facilities throughout the U.S. and abroad. Raytheon is noted for its veteran friendly culture.

Caveonwww.caveon.com. This company, headquartered in Midvale Utah, specializes in preventing cheating on academic and corporate examinations. Among its many clients are: College Board; Atlanta Public Schools; HP, IBM, Microsoft and a host of others. Caveon does not advertise its open positions so you must complete and submit a form to get on their list for notification of openings. However, I know from my recruiting experience that there are jobs available there, frequently. I suggest that you send your resume and a cover letter directly to the founder, CEO and Chairman, Dr. David Foster. For best results, send these items by FedEx or UPS rather than by email.

National Security Agency (NSA),www.nsa.gov. NSA is a part of the U.S. Department of Defense and as such offers a wealth of job opportunities spanning a multitude of operations. Needless to say, NSA welcomes military veterans.  This is a comprehensive website with much to explore.  Begin, by going to the website and clicking on Careers and Programs. Then click on the link, www.IntelligenceCareers.gov/nsa , where you will find a wealth of information. On that site, click on Careers and go from there. Note, too, the virtual job fair listings.

National Law Enforcement Jobs with the Federal Government.  The federal government employs several hundred thousand in law enforcement and security jobs. Homeland Security is the third largest federal department, employing over 154,000 federal workers. Federal law enforcement jobs are abundant and available nationwide.

There is a protocol that must be followed exactly when applying for government jobs. The best resource to keep you on track is a book by Dennis Damp, The Book of U.S. Government Jobs, listed below. Be sure to review Chapter Seven, Veterans and Military Dependent Hiring.


  • Continuing education is required to remain competitive in today’s workplace.
  • Certifications are required for most jobs in the skilled trades.
  • PMP certification is fast becoming a requirement for corporate level management jobs.
  • Employers in the security business value the training and experience of military veterans.

Veteran’s Resources

Dennis V. Damp. The Book of U.S. Government Jobs. Bookhaven Press. 2011.
John Henry Weiss. OPERATION JOB SEARCH; A Guide for Military Veterans Transitioning to Civilian Careers. Skyhorse Publishing Inc., 2016.
John Henry Weiss. WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD; A Complete Guide to Job Hunting for the Recent College Grad. Skyhorse Publishing Inc., 2014.
Federal Government Jobs. www.federaljobs.net. This is your most comprehensive site for information about jobs with the federal government.
University of Maryland and University College,  www.umuc.edu/cybersecurity.  Review this site for information about online certifications and BA degrees in cyber security.


Helpful Career Planning Tools 

Visit our other informative site

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Personal Interviewing Guidelines and Transportation Industry Spotlight

The personal interview is an important step in the job hunting process, one that could lead to a job offer or result in a rejection. It really is a make or break situation. With guidance and preparation you will ace the interview and become a happy new recruit when you hear the hiring manager say, “You’re hired!”


Every successful outcome presupposes preparation. Interviewing is no exception. It is not merely an event that takes place on a moment’s notice. Thoughtful preparation includes a thorough review of the job in question and the company, which will enable you to convey to the interviewer that you really want that specific job with that specific company. There is nothing that will kill an opportunity quicker than having the hiring manager conclude that you want just any job as long as it provides a paycheck. Companies hire candidates who show a passion for a specific job with that particular company.

While learning about the company, remember that it exists to make money or for the federal government to provided services. With companies, when they make more  money its business grows and more workers are hired. Learning about the employer’s finances is key or for federal government what services are provided. You can find this information on company or federal agency websites, in its annual report, and thorough a variety of online reports. Items you need to learn are: annual revenues for the past three to five years; the increase or decrease in the quarterly revenue for this particular quarter; and the increase or decrease in the price of the company’s stock if it is publicly traded. In addition, learn the number of company employees and the number of main competitors for the company’s products or services. For the federal sector determine the number employed, the largest employers, and the location of their facilities in your area. You can find this government information online. Having this information will help you through the interview process.

Proper Attire for an Interview

What to wear for an interview is something that troubles every female and male job candidate, military veterans and non-veterans, experienced workers or entry level workers. In fact, just today, I was prepping a candidate for a National Sales Director position and he asked what he should wear for an upcoming personal interview. This was an experienced worker in mid-career who had held several managerial positions. He had learned that the company was populated primarily with millennial-aged employees and that the culture was casual. I directed him to wear nothing less than upscale business-casual attire, which includes creased dress trousers, a blazer, a conservative shirt and tie, and leather shoes. If this had been an established conservative company I would have suggested a business suit.

You will never go wrong wearing business attire to an interview. This rule applies to both men and women. However, women have to put more thought into the process because there are more clothing choices for them. If in doubt about what to wear, google. “Attire for a personal job interview” and you will find all the information and pictures you will need to dress appropriately.  For more on attire, please review Chapter 27 of my book, Operation Job Search; A Guide for Military Veterans Transitioning to Civilian Careers. Female applicants can find helpful information on page 333 under the heading: Fail-Safe Dress for Female Veterans; Listen to Linda.

Using Civilian-Speak during Interviews

You may have heard this many times over, even in your TAP classes, but it is worth mentioning again. Speak using civilian language and avoid using military or local acronyms.  Research this beforehand and translate your military occupation specialty (MOS) if you are a veteran into civilian language. If you use military-speak, the majority of company interviewers will not understand because they lack military experience.

Controlling the Interview. Interrogation or Conversation?

Many interviews deteriorate into a Q-A session because the candidate believes the interviewer is holding all the aces. That is an erroneous assumption. The company is interviewing you because it needs workers to be productive, and you are interviewing because you need their job to make money to become self-sufficient.  Both the candidate and the interviewer are holding the aces.  Both have a critical need that needs to be resolved.

After the introductory pleasantries, most interviewers will throw this question at you. “Could you tell me something about yourself?” Answer that question in business terms, not personal terms. The interviewer is really not interested in knowing where you attended elementary school, where you took basic training or whether you like a cappuccino better than a latte. Your answer should go something like this. “I’m the kind of person who takes complete responsibility for my life. My career plan includes working in a position like the one stated in your job description and with a company in the transportation industry, like yours. By the way, I’m impressed with your job title and rank and would appreciate your telling me how you worked your way into your present position. Could you tell me something about your background and experience?”

What this response does is level the playing field. It lets the interviewer know that this will be a conversation, not an interrogation. Follow up by handing the interviewer a list of questions you have about the job and the company. Handle it this way. “I’ve prepared a list of questions for you indicating my interest in the job and company. My first question is: What do you consider the most important attribute for this job?”

Once the interviewer realizes that you have a plan and are not intimidated by the formal interview setting, you will be able to converse as equals. Above all, remember that the company is interviewing you because it has a critical need; to find a worker to fill an important job.

When the interview comes to an end, do not just say “thank you” and leave the premises. Ask for the job saying, “I’ve really enjoyed learning about the job, the company, and your personal background and experience. I would like to move forward to the next step in your process, which I hope will be a job offer. Can we schedule a follow up meeting to discuss compensation and a starting date?”


The broadly defined transportation industry includes employers involved in moving people and things from one place to another. Included in this industry are companies like FedEx, UPS, General Motors, Delta Airlines, Uber and United Van Lines. The industry employs millions of workers in the USA and abroad and offers many attractive, necessary and well-paying jobs. Contrary to the popular stereotype that transportation jobs are limited to driving a truck or piloting an airplane, this industry offers everything from hands-on jobs to IT management to President. It offers a variety of jobs for every worker. For example, truck driver jobs with Walmart command a starting salary of approximately $80,000 plus comprehensive benefits.

The interesting thing about transportation is that is ranks up there with the three basic survival industries; food, shelter and clothing. Every day the majority of workers need and use something from the transportation industry. Stop for a minute and ask yourself how you got to work today or how you plan to reach a company for an interview. Yes, the transportation industry will be one of the basic needs for as long as we live. So who are some of the best players in this industry? We have three favorites. Fed Ex, Southwest Airlines, and Union Pacific Railroad, all military friendly companies.


Federal Express Corporation, now referred to as FedEx, has become a household word. It is divided into three separate divisions each serving a specific need: FedEx Ground, FedEx Express and FedEx Freight. It is the world’ largest delivery service and 2016 revenue will be over $50 billion.  It is based in Memphis and has offices around the globe. It is a military friendly company and is noted for initiatives relating to diversity and inclusion in its workforce. FedEx was founded in 1971 by Fred Smith an Army veteran. When he separated and was looking for a job, he decided that someone needed to move packages from one place to another more quickly than the US Postal Service. He started an overnight delivery service in Memphis and the rest is history.

FedEx has something for everyone regardless of MOS or level of education. Check out the website now as I just did. I found jobs in different cities for dockworkers, technicians, drivers, arrival and departures clerks, and senior operations managers.  Remember to review the career pages dealing with military veterans.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest continues to be one of the most profitable airline companies. It is noted for its customer friendly service and a unique company culture. Employees like working there and customers like traveling Southwest, an unbeatable combination for sustained growth. The company is based in Dallas but has offices throughout the country and provides every imaginable type of job for workers at every level, entry through senior. Southwest is noted for its charitable giving and community outreach. When I checked the website, I found a wide array of jobs in airport operations and call centers, and for flight attendants, aircraft maintenance technicians, and pilots.

Union Pacific Railroad

Railroad companies are often overlooked by workers seeking long term careers in the transportation industry. One of the best is Union Pacific Railroad, which employs over 43,000 workers and generates annual revenue in excess of $20 billion. At Union Pacific you will find job opportunities that go well beyond those with high visibility like train conductors and ticket sellers. Behind the scene, Union Pacific employs workers in sales, marketing, technology, maintenance, engineering and human resources just to mention a few. UP offers special training for transitioning veterans and over 20% of its workers are military veterans. In addition, it has donated over $200,000 to Wounded Warriors over the past two years. Its recruiters sponsor job fairs and are in contact with all military transition and education offices.  Union Pacific is hard to beat when you are looking for a military friendly employer.

Association of American Railroads (AAR)


Interviewing is an important part of the job hunting process. There is much to learn beyond our abbreviated discussion and I suggest that you review Chapters 27-31 in my book OPERATION JOB SEARCH, listed below. In addition we suggest that you read all of Part Four, The Interview Process, in the The Book of U.S Government Jobs by Dennis Damp.

In our November article we will discuss continuing education at bricks and mortar schools and online schools. Our INDUSTRY SPOLIGHT will focus on the robust security industry.


  • Control the interview.  Do not let it become a Q-A session.
  • You and the company need each other to be successful.
  • Present a written list of questions and concerns to the interviewer.
  • Use civilian language during the interview and avoid military acronyms.
  • Always wear business attire for personal interviews.


Helpful Career Planning Tools 

Visit our other informative site

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Methods For finding A Job

This article applies to anyone seeking employment even though it is written to assist veterans. The process of finding a job will be an exciting venture for veterans because the marketplace is overflowing with jobs. However, it takes more than crafting a dynamite resume to accomplish the mission. It is a matter of knowing how and where to find potential employers which is part of the job hunting operation.

It all begins with a plan. First, you define the objective and then devise strategies to complete the mission. All veterans know how that works. First, decide what you really like to do and assess what you are good at doing, your aptitude. This is an essential first step that will save you time and focus your efforts.

Hunting for just any job could be discouraging and a waste of time. Based on my experience working in the executive recruiting business, I have learned firsthand how workers find jobs. The three best methods are:

  1. Networking.
  2. Cold calling on potential employers.
  3. Attending conventions and job fairs.


This tried and true strategy yields results not only for the immediate job search, but also for staying employed throughout your working life. The process is simple; contact your friends and acquaintances in person (best) or by phone, email, or social media. Tell them that you are seeking a certain kind of job in a certain industry and ask for their guidance and referrals. Your approach could go something like this. “Hi, Bob. I just want to let you know that I’m looking for a job in sales with a life insurance company. I’m focused on securing a long-term job in insurance sales because of my interests and abilities. I would appreciate your guidance and any referrals you might have to hiring authorities in that business.”

Cold Calling

A cold call is contacting a potential employer without an appointment. Some call it knocking on doors. This method of finding employers is sometimes considered “so yesterday” but do not believe it. The most productive way to use this method is to focus on companies in industrial parks or office centers, which are located in and around all metropolitan areas. Usually these centers focus on one industry. One might house only medical offices. Another could focus on technology companies. And, others might cater to insurance companies.

The process is easy. Go to the company receptionist and identify yourself as a veteran seeking a sales job in insurance, and ask to speak with the sales manager. This method really does work. Here is an example. Recently, I went to see my doctor for an annual checkup. His office is located in an office park that houses twenty-five doctor’s offices. My doctor’s nurse was new and I asked how she found the job. She said that she was looking for a nurse’s position and went to the office park and knocked on doors. When she cold called at my doctor’s office, she learned that his nurse had resigned just a few days ago. She was hired the next day.

Attending Conventions and Job Fairs

When you attend a major conference or job fair at a convention center like the Javits Center in New York City or McCormick Place in Chicago, you will find hundreds of companies displaying their products. For example, in February 2016, I attended the New York Times Travel Show at the Javits Center in New York City. Six hundred companies were on the exhibit floor displaying their products. Many of the workers staffing the various exhibit booths were managers, directors, and vice presidents, just the people you need to know to land a job. I met the owner/president of a cruise company based in Florida, who told me that being a Marine veteran, he recruits military veterans for his company and gives them a twenty percent discount on the purchase of a franchise. Attending conventions and job fairs is the most productive use of your time for job hunting. Circle the exhibit floor, introduce yourself to the representatives on call, and state your business. Always take a dozen resumes and one hundred business cards to each convention or job fair. You will make numerous contacts.


The job market continues favorable for veterans seeking civilian jobs. According to the most recent survey of executive recruiters by ExecuNet, www.execunet.com, here are five industries showing the greatest potential for growth:

  1. Healthcare
  2. Technology
  3. Pharmaceuticals and medical devices
  4. Business Services
  5. Manufacturing

The top five jobs ticketed for growth by the same ExecuNet survey are:

  1. Business Development
  2. Sales
  3. IT
  4. Operations Management/Supply Chain Management
  5. Engineering

Our industry spotlight for September falls on the healthcare and education industries. Both are fertile avenues to explore for entry level and advanced level jobs.


The healthcare industry includes a wide variety of sectors but here we will concentrate on hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and medical device companies. Our favorites, all military friendly are: Cleveland Clinic; Johnson and Johnson, Pharmaceutical Co.; and Medtronic.

Cleveland Clinic,www.my.clevelandclinic.org, is a military friendly medical treatment center located in Cleveland, Ohio. The Clinic is one of the top ranked hospitals in the country for cardiac care. For job opportunities, check out the special category titled Hero Experience Veteran Program JIC.

John and Johnson Pharmaceutical Co., www.jnj.com, is a military friendly employer, whose CEO, Alex Gorsky, is an Army veteran and a West Point graduate. He completed his military service with the rank of Captain and earned the Ranger Tab and Airborne Wings. J & J has a reputation for helping veterans transition to the civilian workplace. When you go to the website, enter Honoring Veterans in the search box to learn more.

Medtronic, www.medtronic.com, is the world’s largest medical device company and employs over 50,000 workers. It produces life saving devices like heart stents and defibrillators. Medtronic is based in Minneapolis and has regional offices across the USA and abroad.

The education industry has two parts: 1. Public and private K-12 schools, colleges and universities; 2. Companies that produce products and provide services for K-12 and higher education. These companies produce textbooks, technology products (both hardware and apps) and provide services such as professional development courses at bricks and mortar facilities and online.
Online Colleges and Universities

Many accredited online universities provide a wide range of job opportunities such as Administrative Assistant, Financial Counselor, Admissions Counselor, Student Recruiter and Professor. These jobs are location specific because most online universities have only one central location. For example, Phoenix University is located in Phoenix AZ and all of their jobs are based there. Drexel Online University is located in Philadelphia, PA and that is where job opportunities are located. (Incidentally, Drexel is one of the best military friendly online universities. Check out the website for job and learning opportunities. www.online.drexel.edu )

Public and Private K-12 Schools, College and Universities

Jobs in this sector are primarily academic…teachers, administrators, professors, and researchers. If you are certified, look for academic jobs on your local school district website and on your State Department of Education (DOE) website. There are, however, non-academic jobs available as well. For example, at the K-12, college and university levels there are jobs in transportation, maintenance, administrative support, finance and marketing that do not require teaching certification.

Educational Testing Service (ETS),www.ets.org

ETS produces testing and assessment products for the K-12 and higher education market. It is noted for developing the SAT exam. It is based in Princeton, New Jersey, and has regional offices throughout the country. This $1 billion company offers many jobs in sales, marketing, product development, human resources, finance and information technology.


This is a K-12 publisher of instructional materials and library books. The company publishes worldwide best sellers like the Harry Potter series of books. Scholastic is based in New York City and has regional offices throughout the country.

Consortium for International Education Exchange (CIEE) www.ciee.org

This is one of the most interesting companies in the education business. It administers study-abroad programs for college and high school students. It is based in Portland Maine and has an energetic staff of youthful employees who are mission driven and who love coming to work each day. Many employees have bilingual skills and have studied abroad.

Moving Forward

Read Chapters 17 – 22 in my book Operation Job Search, listed below, to learn more about how and where to find jobs. As you move forward to put into practice all that you have learned about job hunting, remember that jobs do not come to those who sit at a computer and send our resumes by the hundreds to job sites and company career pages. The best methods to find a job are to leave the house to attend conferences, andto make cold calls on prospective employers. Veterans who hit the street to build personal relationships will find jobs. Guaranteed!

Our October article will focus on a topic that is critically important for job hunters; interviewing techniques. In our Industry Spotlight, we will discuss two robust industries; transportation and security.

Veterans who wish to comment or seek visit the guest writers page for my bio and email address.


  • Job Hunting goes beyond crafting a resume.
  • The best place to look for a job is at major convention centers, which host national and regional conferences and job fairs.
  • Cold calling is still alive and well…and very productive.
  • Networking is not a one-time initiative. It is a career long practice to ensure continued employment.

Visit our job openings directory for more information on current federal employment opportunities.

Veteran’s Resources

Operation Job Search, A Guide for Military Veterans Transitioning to Civilian Careers. John Henry Weiss. c 2016. Skyhorse Publishing Inc.

Federal Government Jobs,www.federaljobs.net . Check this site frequently for federal job listings in healthcare and education…and many other occupations as well.

LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com, is the best online networking site for all workers. Be sure to check out the veteran’s user group, which will help you connect with colleagues making the transition to the civilian workplace.

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

Visit our other informative site

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.