Understanding How Your Military Skills Can Work in Business


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What skills do you bring to the table as a veteran? In this workshop, Commander Izzy Abbass will show you how to put your best foot forward to make a favorable impression. You will learn common misperceptions of veterans, what skills veterans can bring to the table, and how to translate those skills into the business world. Finally, you will receive tips on how to use LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to sell your abilities!

By: Izzy Abbass, VFW Post 1

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Understanding How Your Military Skills Can Work in Business

  1. 1. UnderstandingHow Your Military Skills Can Work in Business Izzy Abbass Commander Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1
  2. 2. Agenda1. VETERAN SNAPSHOT: Today’s Veteran & Transition Issues2. VALUE OF A VETERAN: What Skills do today’s Veterans Possess3. LOST IN TRANSLATION: Going from Milspeak to Civspeak4. SELL YOURSELF: Digital/social media to sell yourself and your skills Izzy Abbass • Army Veteran - Infantry • Commander of VFW Post 1 • 20 year Experience in Telecommunications • Board of Project Sanctuary, Fisher House Denver • Co-Chair of Colorado Veterans in Higher Education 10/24/2012 VFW Post 1 - "The First Post" 2
  3. 3. SnapShot of today’S Veteran• Total military personnel – 2.9 Million or .928% of the US population & 1.6 Million have deployed to OEF/OIF.• Women are approaching 15% of our total active forces and 20% of our reserves• Over 800,000 men and women have used the Post 9-11 GI Bill since it was signed and in Colorado 24,000+ enrolled• National unemployment rate is 7.8%; – Overall for Veterans the rate is 6.7% – Post 9/11 Vets it is 9.7% and for 18-24 Vets 14.5%• 19% of those who have deployed have PTSD and 20% have TBI10/24/2012 VFW Post 1 - "The First Post" 3
  4. 4. How large parts ofSociety View Veterans10/24/2012 VFW Post 1 - "The First Post" 4
  5. 5. In reality, vast majority are successfully making the transition to civilian life What veterans want to do is to continue being constructive members of society.10/24/2012 VFW Post 1 - "The First Post" 5
  6. 6. What StrengthS doeS today’S Veteran Bring? Accelerated Learning Curve – Pressured Adaptation Leadership – Focus at all levels of the service Teamwork – Dependable and Depending-On mentality Loyalty – Show them you have their back, they’ll have yours Procedural – Systems Exist for a Reason Technology and Globalization – Not just buzz words Conscious of Health & Safety – Another Focus Triumph Over Adversity!10/24/2012 VFW Post 1 - "The First Post" 6
  7. 7. Building your own The evidence suggests a strong association between military service and successful entrepreneurship, and veterans tend to be more likely than non-veterans to start businesses. Oklahoma State University Employees of Veteran-owned Veterans Veteran-owned firms firms 21.2 million 2.4 million 5.8 million $1.2 trillion in sales10/24/2012 VFW Post 1 - "The First Post" 7
  8. 8. How do you do it?Business Concepts — how do I know if my idea is a viable one and what do I need to consider? • Business Plan • Funding • Marketing • Accounting • Operations • Human Resources • Legal Issues Key to effectiveness in all of these is being able to communicate your strengths and knowledge in a coherent manner.10/24/2012 VFW Post 1 - "The First Post" 8
  9. 9. Translating your experience1. Capture everything you have been tasked with doing – experience & results on one document – same as a resume – Military and Civilian experience – Volunteer Activities – Associations and Volunteer work.2. Assume those you are talking to – banks, investors, lawyers, customers - know nothing about the military – Avoid acronyms and military technical specs3. Focus on key leadership principals – Management/Supervision – Monetary management – Project based results10/24/2012 VFW Post 1 - "The First Post" 9
  10. 10. Translating your experience Use the STAR method for presenting the information.Situation – What was happening – who, what, when, whereTask – What was the problem or expectationAction – What did you doResult – What was the outcome
  11. 11. examples Infantry Squad Leader • Responsible for the accountability, supervision and training of 5 soldiers of varying skill levels; responsible for the operational readiness, maintenance and accountability of 4 Bradley Fighting Vehicles • Weapons Trainer, NBC NCO • found two weapons caches, eliminated 55 rounds of UXO from enemy use, patrolled over 100km of hostile territory United States Army – Team Manager • Responsible for the operation and maintaining of equipment worth in excess of $12.5 Million • Managed team of 5 and provided tactical and technical guidance under adverse conditions to meet objectives. • Managed security over a large geographic area (100 km) and successfully completed tasks in support of this mission.10/24/2012 VFW Post 1 - "The First Post" 11
  12. 12. Create a digital profile Applies to both you and eventually your business Personal Profile • Starts with LinkedIn – Applies to lawyers, surveyors, artists, students – Everyone! • This is NOT Facebook • Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are part of your digital profile • You may decide to have two accounts – one for family and friends and one for business but be careful. Business Profile • Nature of your business will determine amount of focus between LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. etc. • Use all forms but monitor each for effectivenesss • Don’t put out information just to put it out - make it meaningful and relevant • You can have fun but be fun in a smart way with a tie to a goal10/24/2012 VFW Post 1 - "The First Post" 12
  13. 13. Personal digital profile LinkedIn – Dos • Connect with former managers, co-workers, classmates and service buddies • Look at colleagues’ LinkedIn profiles. • Get recommendations from past bosses and co-workers who have insight • Get lots of recommendations • Use LinkedIn Answers to demonstrate your experience and knowledge LinkedIN - Don’ts • An incomplete profile • Bad Photo – no face or unprofessional • Private Profiles • No Recommendations • No Connections • Obvious lack of interactivity on LinkedIn • No LinkedIn groups or use of LinkedIn Applications • No Contact Settings or Personal Information • No website, blog, or Twitter links10/24/2012 VFW Post 1 - "The First Post" 13
  14. 14. examples10/24/2012 VFW Post 1 - "The First Post" 14
  15. 15. examples10/24/2012 VFW Post 1 - "The First Post" 15
  16. 16. examples10/24/2012 VFW Post 1 - "The First Post" 16
  17. 17. Business digital profileLinkedIn• Build a profile for your company – no matter how small or big• Look at other companies for ideas• Once you launch, participate in discussions• Use LinkedIn Answers to demonstrate your experience and knowledgeFacebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc• Keep reminding people in your network what you are up to as a business - “Just finished a beautiful kitchen remodel that really opened up the space.” - “Wow – managed to save three years of photos on a crashed computer for a client. Made his day and reinforced why I love doing this.”• Send out relevant updates – not just for the sake of sending• You can and typically should have a business and personal profile 10/24/2012 VFW Post 1 - "The First Post" 17
  18. 18. examples10/24/2012 VFW Post 1 - "The First Post" 18
  19. 19. examples10/24/2012 VFW Post 1 - "The First Post" 19
  20. 20. Questions & Discussion Izzy Abbass Commander, VFW Post 1 izzy@vfwpost1.org 303-522-394310/24/2012 VFW Post 1 - "The First Post" 20