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3 Things You Should Do Before Leaving the Military

3 Things You Should Do Before Leaving the Military

The civilian world is upon you. Either through retirement or the desire for a new way of life, you’ve decided to leave your military service behind and move on to what you hope are greener pastures. Though every Veteran will encounter transition challenges, it IS possible to have a smooth military transition into civilian life. One way to ensure success is to prepare for your departure before you actually depart. By taking care of a few things beforehand, you’ll save yourself time, energy, and a whole lot of stress once you have that DD214 in hand.

As you make your way out of uniform, there are things you have to do (e.g. paperwork, briefings, classes, etc.) and then other things you should do. Here are three things you SHOULD do before leaving the military — preferably a year out.

1. Save Your Money
Yes, your military career came with stresses. It also came with incredible benefits that are hard to appreciate until they’re gone. One of those benefits was military discounts. As a civilian, things like medical care, rent, groceries, prescriptions, and even fuel are going to cost more than when you had access to military base pricing. To offset these costs, start saving money now. A good rule of thumb is to have enough money put away in savings to cover at least three months of living expenses, which includes rent, food, fuel, and other necessities.

2. Learn Your GI Benefits
Do you plan on going back to school post separation? If so, educate yourself on what GI Bill benefits you’re entitled to. It’s also important to note that if you wish to transfer benefits to a spouse or other dependent, this has to be done before you leave the military. Don’t be in such a hurry to get out that you miss this extremely crucial step to receiving — or transferring — educational assistance.

3. Search and Prepare for Potential Jobs
Well before you actually get out, you should be creating a plan for military separation. This entails searching for civilian jobs that either interest you or fit closest to your current skill set. To do this, find Veteran mentors to help you create a resume that translates your military experience into civilian speak. Build relationships with these Veterans as well as with professionals in careers you desire. One great way to grow your network and start looking for potential jobs is with a profile on LinkedIn, which offers military members a free premium account for a year. Join and engage with groups that interest you and follow companies you’d like to work for in the future. Check out our previous blog post on networking and growing Veteran connections.

Though far from a comprehensive list, these three items of business will make a huge difference in the success of your military-to-civilian transition. For more information on how to prepare for your departure out of the military, contact SAVI today.

6 Ways Your Veteran Mindset Plays a Role In Your Success Post-Separation

6 Ways Your Veteran Mindset Plays a Role In Your Success Post-Separation

Fixed or growth. These are the mindsets we hear about most frequently in the civilian business world. Having a fixed mindset means you believe your current level of ability cannot be changed, and having a growth mindset means your abilities can improve with hard work. Coming from a career that requires constant training and improving, it’s easy to see which of these stances the military stands on. Hint: It’s growth. By sticking with this Veteran mindset even after your military service, you can apply it to a new environment to aid you in growing your skill sets.

Here are six ways your Veteran mindset plays a role in your success post-separation.

Prepare and Practice
Most of your time spent in the military was in training courses that prepared you for the real thing: deployment. This same strategy should apply to your new life as a civilian. Do you have a big presentation at work coming up? Practice it the way you’d practice the assembly and disassembly of a weapon: over and over and over again. It’s all about confidence, and the more you do something the more confident you are in your ability.

Take Responsibility
When mistakes are made in the workplace, the best thing to do is admit them and take responsibility. Putting blame on others to save face isn’t how you gain respect from colleagues, even if the mistake wasn’t all your fault. As a Veteran, you know this lesson well. On the flip side of this, it’s just as important to not take all the credit when things go well. If you’re the leader on a collaborative project, give credit for its success to other team members. That IS how you gain respect from colleagues, which will make learning from them easier and more productive.

Show Adaptability
We could talk all day about how adaptable the military has made you in just about every aspect of life. Use this to your advantage. The civilian world is full of ambiguity and sometimes even rejection leads to new opportunities. If you hear “no” to a job, project, or business venture, find a new strategy instead of giving up. Persistence and a willingness to adapt to a different way of doing things is usually rewarded in the end.

Serve Others
There’s a reason it’s called military service, as service to others is the cornerstone of a military career. Though it may not seem as obvious as it did in the military, there are plenty of ways to continue serving your fellow man post-separation. Make coworkers feel appreciated through random acts of recognition or pay for a lunch out with a team member who works under you. In your personal life, volunteer in your community and become more involved in your loved ones’ lives. Service to others can take so many shapes, and finding your shapes can make a huge difference in your overall happiness after the military.

Be a Servant Leader
One of the most obvious skills military Veterans bring to the table is leadership. But there are so many experiences — from public speaking to leading troops — that make Vets experts in this area. One way Veterans can demonstrate their expertise in the civilian workplace is by being humble, patient, and honest. These qualities are required by any true servant leader, and that is the perfect way to sum up a military Veteran’s leadership style.

Have Attention to Detail
In the military, the mishap of glossing over minor details could sometimes be the difference between life and death. Though your civilian job will likely not have as much on the line, giving this same attention to detail will serve you well with any project you find yourself working on. Since success often comes from the effort of several small things that add up to a big one, taking extra time to do the little things correctly will set you on a much clearer and more successful career path.

As you begin your transition into civilian life, SAVI can help you translate skills and a Veteran mindset into real-world victories. Contact us today to get started on your success story.

3 Highly Effective Ways To Recruit & Retain Veterans This Spring

3 Highly Effective Ways To Recruit & Retain Veterans This Spring

As more business leaders become aware of the invaluable talent the military produces, many of them are looking for recruitment strategies geared directly toward the Veteran population. If you’re a company who values the skill sets often associated with senior military personnel, here are three effective ways to recruit and retain Veterans as you head into the spring quarter.

Go Where They Are
If you’re serious about hiring more qualified Veterans, find out where they are and put your efforts there. For example, there are countless Veteran-specific job fairs and conferences that bring thousands of Vets to a single place each year. This is a highly effective way to recruit and retain Veterans because the pool of candidates has already been vetted. Special recruiting and conference events bring out a very narrowed population, meaning most of the Vets you’ll meet are looking for professional career opportunities to apply their leadership and advanced skills toward. The more serious they are about the job hunt, the more serious you can expect them to be about your company once they get the job. It’s also important to familiarize yourself with online job boards used by Veterans. Yello has a great resource for finding Veteran-focused events and boards.

Sell Yourself
Veterans are mission-driven. They’re coming from a career with great purpose and are looking for that in the civilian world as well. As a company wanting to hire them, you have to sell your brand and vision. Language is your friend when it comes to marketing jobs to Vets. Positions that call for leadership skills, promote diverse teams, and encourage collaboration are enticing to Veterans. Make sure the recruiters you’re sending to Veteran-focused events, as mentioned above, are well-versed in your company’s vision and the purpose it serves.

Advertise You’re Hiring Vets
If hiring Veterans is your goal, talk about it everywhere you can. Your company website, social accounts, and marketing materials should all promote that you’re hiring Veterans. One important aspect of this is to make sure you’re using appropriate terminology to draw in Veteran applicants. Not all branches of the military use the same language, rankings, etc., so it’s wise to keep your ads general to the military as a whole. Walmart does a great job of promoting their commitment to supporting Vets in the workplace.

Of course, there are more than just three ways to successfully recruit and retain top military talent. SAVI’s expert career advisors and business partners are ready to guide you through a more extensive strategy to improve your military reach. Contact us today to learn more.

How Veterans Can Find Purpose Post-Military

How Veterans Can Find Purpose Post-Military

Service in any branch of the military comes with clear purpose and high reward. That’s why finding a career with meaning is a top priority for most Veterans entering the civilian workforce. With a little effort, life after military can be a rewarding one.

If you’re a Veteran, here’s how you can find purpose post-military.

Build and Leverage Your Veteran network
The Veteran network is vast and growing. It’s also a powerful tool when searching for your next career move. As we’ve discussed in a prior blog post, 85 percent of jobs are filled through networking. It would be a shame to miss out on your potential dream job because you failed to build professional relationships. Putting your initial energy into the Veteran network is the perfect place to start. To do this, we recommend becoming active on LinkedIn and attending Veteran-focused conferences to meet like-minded professionals. In addition, if you are a Vet thinking about starting your own business, check out our blog on 15 Veterans We Admire & What They’re Doing Post-Separation.

Educate Yourself on Options and Benefits
“Opportunities to apply their skills and abilities; adequate benefits and pay; and meaningfulness of the work.” According to a 2014 survey by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families and VetAdvisor, these are the top three factors that drive Vets to, or away, from a job. The answer to fulfilling these requirements is in the upfront work you do to learn about your career options and benefits. First, educate yourself on the GI Bill benefits you may be entitled to. Will it pay for you to go back to school? Then, begin narrowing down the various industries you’re interested in and learn as much as you can about each. This is also where your Veteran network will be extremely helpful. Find mentors in Vets who have gone before you to learn whether or not specific career paths are right for you and your family. If you don’t put the time into learning about your various options, then you likely won’t find the ideal employment match. Just like the military taught you: Plan, learn, execute.

Healthy Living
Though the job you hold post-separation is important, it isn’t everything. It’s arguably more vital to your overall happiness to pursue a healthy lifestyle. Healthy Veterans make choices and pursue healthy living habits that can reduce stress and anxiety during times of uncertainty. One way to do this is to prioritize your self-care routine, which could be as simple as a daily exercise regimen, getting outside, or regularly socializing with friends and family. Coming from a structured military lifestyle, it’s also good to establish routines early with the help of planners, goal setting, to-do lists, and daily meditation practice. And don’t forget to make connections within your family and community. Eat dinner as a family each evening or find a nonprofit to volunteer at together. In fact, research shows that people who stay connected or re-establish connections with loved ones tend to live longer, healthier lives.

SAVI is dedicated to making sure Veterans not only find purpose after the military, but excel at it. Contact us today to learn how we can support your post-separation dreams.

Are You Networking To Grow Your Veteran Connections & Build Your Personal Brand?

Are You Networking To Grow Your Veteran Connections & Build Your Personal Brand?

Though you’ve heard it before, it’s not what you know but who you know when looking for employment. The countless job sites inhabiting all corners of the Internet make it seem like cold applications are an acceptable form of job hunting, but they rarely end in even a call-back. In fact, 85 percent of jobs are filled through networking, meaning you need to know someone before you’re going to be taken seriously for most positions. Even our SAVI business partners agree that they’re more likely to hire candidates who come recommended by other employees.

If you’re a Veteran new to the job scene, here are three ways to grow your Veteran connections and build your personal brand through networking.

Online Networking
Much of what attracts employers to employees is determining whether or not they would make a good culture fit within their company. One way they do this is through the personal brand you’ve cultivated. And one of the first places they’ll look for that brand is on a little site called LinkedIn. Oh, you’ve heard of it? LinkedIn started in 2003 as a job search tool and has grown to become the largest online professional networking platform in the world. According to research, 50 percent of LinkedIn members have found a job through a mutual connection on the site, and 87 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn to evaluate candidates. So if you’re a Veteran entering into the civilian job market, networking via LinkedIn is a good place to start finding connections. LinkedIn is also military-friendly, as it offers military community members one year of free access to LinkedIn Premium and LinkedIn Learning. Go here to see if you’re eligible.

Veteran Networking Conferences
Despite the power of online networking resources, there isn’t anything that can replace a good old- fashioned, face-to-face meeting. That’s why networking conferences are another important aspect of getting your brand and name out there to potential employers. For Vets, it’s especially helpful to attend Veteran-exclusive conferences. Each of these events bring companies who are looking to hire Vets specifically. By just being a Veteran, you’ve already passed the first round. If you come with a solid personal brand intact, this is a great place for Vets to connect with business professionals who value candidates with military backgrounds and skill sets.

Connect and Build
Once you connect, whether online or off, the next step is to cultivate a relationship from that connection. Luckily for you, there’s a formula to building professional relationships and it’s pretty simple. First, reach out to that connection and set up a time for a quick informational interview. This is you showing you’re interested in the company and want to learn more. The key thing here is to NOT ask for a job. You’re simply showing interest and asking questions. Once you’ve had your meeting, send a thank you email and ask if there’s anyone else you can talk with to learn even more about the company’s culture. This is a great way to make sure the company knows you’re highly interested. Since most job openings aren’t advertised, this is also a technique to keep your name relevant if a position does become available. Put the time in and you may just reap the rewards.

SAVI works with businesses across various industries to offer relevant knowledge to Vets transitioning out of the military and into the civilian workforce. Contact us today to learn more about these business partners and how they’re serving the military community.

EDUCATION TRACK

Academic advising, walkthroughs of your VA education benefits … and everything in between.

All transitioning Veterans in SAVI’s programs gain access to our carefully developed tools for post-military students, including the SAVI Student Transition Incubator℠, Student Track Transition Program℠, and Student Benefit Assessment Service℠, as well as our personalized career path determination assistance.

These SAVI instructors and mentors, along with the entire SAVI team, understand that each of our services is vital to a whole life approach to the military-to-civilian transition. We take your unique goals, circumstances, and vision into account as we craft personalized assistance throughout your twelve-month journey with SAVI.  

EMPLOYMENT TRACK

Civilian workplace etiquette, the hiring process, job searches, performance evaluations...and everything in between.

SAVI’s Employment Track delivers start-to-finish support to help Veterans navigate a new career. From skills assessments to professional networking strategies, SAVI offers custom-built tools — including the SAVI Employment Transition Incubator℠, Job Networking & Search Service℠, and Employment Benefit Assessment Service℠ — as well as job retention and mentoring services to help you every step of the way.

These SAVI mentors have been in your shoes and have experience in the unique challenges Veterans may face as they seek employment after service. They are with you every step of the way throughout your twelve-month program, and provide ongoing professional guidance and mentorship throughout your career.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP TRACK

Value propositions, initial funding, branding, launch strategies… and everything in between.

All transitioning Veterans on this track receive our comprehensive tools for personal business success: the SAVI Entrepreneur Transition Incubator℠ and Entrepreneur Benefit Assessment Service℠, as well as our opportunity consulting and our funding exploration support.

Through your twelve month journey with SAVI, your mentors will guide you through the Entrepreneurship track while providing unique insight and guidance based on their own experience. Whether you are just starting a new venture, or expanding a passion project you created while in the military, our Entrepreneurship team is here for you every step of the way.

RETIREMENT TRACK

VA compensation and benefits, healthcare, financial planning… and everything in between.

All transitioning Veterans on this track receive comprehensive tools for a successful retirement: the SAVI Retirement Transition Incubator℠ and Retirement Benefit Assessment Service℠, as well as our one-on-one ongoing assistance and assessment services. We’re here to ensure you don’t have to muddle through the financial, personal, and emotional aspects of retirement on your own.

Our Retirement mentors know what it’s like to transition from a steady career to retirement, and want to use their personal and professional experience to help you have a smooth transition. Whether you have questions on finances or healthcare, or the more personal aspects of upkeeping emotional health, we are here for you every step of the way.


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Getting Connected with Your Local Veterans Organizations

If you’re a military Veteran, then you’re a part of a very niche group. Active military personnel make up less than 1 percent of the total U.S. population today, so it’s not surprising that so many Veterans feel isolated as they start their transitions into civilian life.

Yet this issue isn’t a new one. Since 1899, organizations like the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and The American Legion were created to offer Veterans a place for camaraderie, to feel empowered, and to help boost troop morale for those still in the service.

Fast-forward to today and Veterans groups have emerged in nearly every community in the country and boast a wide variety of scope and missions — such as the career program by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and the suicide prevention work by The Military Veteran Project. The benefits to getting involved with one of these local groups include much more than just gaining buddies to swap war-stories with. Veterans can also get assistance with job placements, career counseling, emotional support, and finding resources for disabled Vets.

Not sure where to begin to find your local Veteran connections? Here’s a list of a few national Veteran groups with various local chapters across the nation.

The American Legion ​
AMVETS
Disabled American Veterans
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
Korean War Veterans Association
The Military Veteran Project
Paralyzed Veterans of America
Veterans of Foreign Wars
• Student Veterans of America
• Vietnam Veterans of America

For a more comprehensive list of military charities, organizations, and government contacts, click here.

Get Squared Away: A Comprehensive Checklist for Transitioning Service-Members

18 Months Before Your Discharge
• Review GI Bill and tuition assistance benefits
• Review GI Bill transferability requirements (Transferring your benefits may require re-enlisting or incurring an additional service obligation.)
• Use the DoD Online Academic Skills course to prepare for the SAT, ACT, GRE, or GMAT Exams
• Take a skills/interest assessment through your local ESO or career counselor
• Consider taking CLEP exams to complete your general education requirements
• Reach out to your SAVI mentor for tips from someone who has lived through the transition experience -Start developing your personal and professional networks
• Review your post-separation budget, and start planning for your financial transition
• Register on LinkedIn to get ready for networking opportunities
• Research the job potential, affordability, and community where you plan to live

12 Months Before Your Discharge
• Start developing an Individual Transition Plan
• Review your Pre-Separation Checklist (DD 2648)
• Get your Verification of Military Experience and Training (VMET) document (DD 2586)
• Research the cost of living where you plan to live as a civilian-Learn about your VA home benefits -Make an appointment with your local Transition Counselor
• Attend a Transition GPS five-day workshop -Check job boards, and start exploring the right career options for you
• Start exploring the right degree and college for you -Request “house hunting orders”
• Enroll in a SAVI Transition Incubator℠
• Use a skills translator to begin developing a civilian resume

9 Months Before Your Discharge
• Continue building your networks through LinkedIn and elsewhere
• Consider an employment assistance program
• Start writing your resume
• Search for jobs in your field and area to see what’s out there
• Arrange for HHG transportation counseling -Research your healthcare options, including Employer-Provided Civilian Care, CHCBP, Transitional Health Care Benefits, and CHAMP
• Make a budget, and prepare to pay for health insurance coverage

6 Months Before Your Discharge
• Start applying for jobs -Start building a wardrobe for the civilian workplace
• Continue to expand your career networks
• Attend career fairs
• Review and update your will and financial documents
• Consider whether to take terminal leave or sell back your balance
• Schedule appointments for household goods (HHG) shipment and storage
• Schedule final medical checkups for all family members
• Visit the Legal Assistance Office for help updating your documents
• Determine if you’re eligible for separation pay or early retirement
•Begin your PCS and housing checkout procedures -Begin looking for VSOs to join

3 Months Before Your Discharge
• Consider job placement services
• Use the VA Pre-discharge program to determine your eligibility for VA Disability Compensation
• Review your finances to ensure your budget will work in civilian life
• Compare SGLI to VGLI and other life insurance options
• Get to know more about where you plan to live
• Contact your Military Treatment Facility, and get copies of all of your health records
• Complete a physical with your MTF or a VA Medical Center
• Take advantage of the two-day TAP GPS program for education and entrepreneurship support

1 Month Before Your Discharge
• Finalize your relocation appointments, and review your benefits
• Arrange for inspection of any government housing
• Choose your transitional healthcare plan

Enrolling in VA Healthcare

1. Make it easier on yourself: Start with support from VA’s Concierge of Care. Enrolling in VA care isn’t as tough a process as it used to be. In October 2017, VA launched its Concierge for Care (C4C) program to enhance its support for transitioning Veterans in getting VA healthcare. The C4C initiative educates and empowers Veterans while simplifying the healthcare application and enrollment process. This means that, shortly after you separate, you’ll get a phone call from a representative who can answer questions, process your VA healthcare enrollment application, and schedule your first VA medical appointment.

2. Get notified of your application status. After your application is submitted, you’ll receive another phone call from VA to let you know whether your enrollment is approved. VA will also send you a Veterans Health Benefits Handbook with information on your healthcare benefits, Enrollment Priority Group, copay status, and other information you’ll need as a new enrollee. Handbooks also include information for appealing a decision if your initial application is rejected.

3. Get your Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC). Only Veterans enrolled in the VA healthcare system can receive a VHIC. Once your application is verified, contact the enrollment coordinator at your local VA medical center to arrange to get your picture taken for the your card either in advance or at your next VA healthcare appointment.

4. Keep your information current after you enroll. Enrolled Veterans can update your personal information (such as income, address, and insurance information) by completing VA Form 10-10EZR online, by visiting a local VA facility, or by calling 1-877-222-VETS between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.

Project You: Top Self-Development Courses to Take

Create a Perfect Morning Routine
You will learn how to create a morning routine filled with purpose, presence, and peace. You’ll be more energized, productive, and content — all before the start of your workday. Start your morning by doing things that feed your soul and make you happy.

Finding Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
If you’ve been searching for your true purpose in life, Eckhart Tolle has some straightforward advice: Stop struggling. This is because the primary purpose of every human being is simply to be: Be fully engaged in this moment, and be aligned with the natural flow of reality itself.

Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential
This course is designed to show you how to look at what you’re learning, and your place in what’s unfolding in the society around you, so that you can be what you want to be. You’ll see that by using certain mental tools and insights, you can learn and do more than you might have ever dreamed.

Achieving Personal and Professional Success
You'll learn how to find your passion and core values, how to apply these values to your own life, how to work well with others, how to communicate effectively, how to set goals, how to use influence to achieve these goals, and even how to say you are sorry. Through exercises, self-diagnostic surveys, quizzes, and many case studies, you'll discover how to define not only what you want, but also the best way to get it. These courses provide key insights into successful personal practices, whether you are in the office or in your home. We all bring ourselves to work every day, and these courses will help you be your best self wherever you are.


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Adrianne Phillips is a service-disabled veteran, who founded Strategic Alliance for Veteran Integration (SAVI) as a reaction to the immense need for support of veterans transitioning to civilian life. After serving in the U.S. Air Force as a combat service-member and Security Forces, Adrianne transitioned out of the military and into civilian life. During this time, she realized that veterans often make the transition with little or no structural support or guidance. This prompted her to spend over 11 years working in the veterans benefit sector, including working in development, adjudication, training, presenting, quality assurance, and division management. In 2011, she started a corporation focusing on event travel management and corporate business travel. In 2017, she harnessed her experience as a veteran, benefits manager, and entrepreneur to found the Strategic Alliance for Veteran Integration with the goal of supporting every service-member’s transition.

Eddy Hansen

Eddy is a retired Marine and a service-disabled veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He currently manages the development of emerging technologies in the Mission Systems division of General Atomics - Aeronautical Systems Inc.

Having experienced first hand the challenges of transitioning from the military, Eddy is passionate about supporting others through the process. He has spent time volunteering with several veterans support organizations and mentoring veterans individually. He was drawn to SAVI through a deep belief in the mission and to focus his efforts toward a larger impact on the community.

In addition to the SAVI board, he sits on the Board of Directors of BIANCA (non-profit supporting autistic children). Eddy holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Minnesota and an MBA from the University of Michigan, Ross School of Business. He lives in San Diego with his wife, two teenagers and a Bullmastiff.

Adrianne Phillips

Adrianne Phillips is a service-disabled veteran, who founded Strategic Alliance for Veteran Integration (SAVI) as a reaction to the immense need for support of veterans transitioning to civilian life. After serving in the U.S. Air Force as a combat service-member and Security Forces, Adrianne transitioned out of the military and into civilian life. During this time, she realized that veterans often make the transition with little or no structural support or guidance. This prompted her to spend over 11 years working in the veterans benefit sector, including working in development, adjudication, training, presenting, quality assurance, and division management. In 2011, she started a corporation focusing on event travel management and corporate business travel. In 2017, she harnessed her experience as a veteran, benefits manager, and entrepreneur to found the Strategic Alliance for Veteran Integration with the goal of supporting every service-member’s transition.

Aloysius Teo

Aloysius is an advisor, project manager, mentor & consultant in business & technology strategy. He works with early-stage startups to develop their Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and guiding ideas and concepts into commercially viable solutions. His partnerships with established businesses result in the creation of new verticals and opportunities.

Creative strategist/technologist across multiple industries - healthcare, entertainment & music, MMR, travel, print production, blockchain, crypto-currencies, Big Data & AI. 20yrs technology industry experience and certified AWS APN & mobile technology.

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