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Our Favorite Holidays for Veterans & How To Celebrate Them At Work

Our Favorite Holidays for Veterans & How To Celebrate Them At Work

Celebrating holidays at work boosts morale, encourages employee interaction, and shows your workers you care about their needs and desires. For your Veteran employees, it’s just as important to acknowledge not only the traditional holidays, but the ones important to them. Here we offer our favorite holidays honoring Veterans and how to celebrate them at work.

Memorial Day — May 27, 2019
Though some may mistake this holiday for another Veterans Day lookalike, Memorial Day is specifically to honor the fallen soldiers — not the living. Formally called Decoration Day, this holiday was borne out of the Civil War as a desire to honor our dead. his special celebration has continued to be a day in which our country holds dear. We hope you’ll take it as seriously as your Veteran employees likely will, as many of them will be paying tribute to their own fallen brothers and sisters. Here are a couple ways you can celebrate along with them in the week leading up to Memorial Day.

  • As an office, volunteer at your local Veterans cemetery; and place flags and flowers on gravestones of the fallen.
  • Make a corporate donation to provide financial support to Gold Star families. To get employees involved, set a deadline for donations and match the final donated amount with company funds.
  • Talk to your Veteran employees, and learn who they will be remembering this Memorial Day. With their help, recognize those individuals in a special newsletter that is distributed company wide. In addition, post a tribute to them on your company social media accounts, highlighting their service and relationship to your Veteran employee.

Flag Day — June 14, 2019
Flag Day has roots as far back as 1885, though it wasn’t officially recognized as a holiday until 1949 when President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th National Flag Day. The day, commemorates the adoption of the Stars and Stripes as the official flag of the United States. Common ways to celebrate include flying the American flag outside homes and holding celebratory ceremonies at schools. Here’s how you can follow suit at your office this year.

  • If you don’t already, consider flying the American Flag outside your business. Be sure to follow proper flag etiquette.
  • Hold a Flag Day Art Contest that encourages employees to create patriotic art across various mediums, including painted canvas, sketch, and photography. The winner, voted by your staff, receives an American Flag and Amazon gift card as their prize.
  • Specify a time in the work day to have all employees stop work and say the Pledge of Allegiance.

Independence Day — July 4, 2019
The Fourth of July is one of the most widely celebrated holidays in our country, and certainly the most patriotic. Commemorating the day the final draft of the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress in 1776, this important holiday is the backbone of our American nation. Though Veterans have no more claim to this holiday than any civilian, it is a day Veterans will expect to celebrate at work. Here are a few ideas to fuel the fun.

  • In the week leading up to the July 4th holiday, hold a Patriotic Costume Contest prompting employees to come to work in their best patriotic garb. The award should be something equally patriotic, such as tickets to a baseball game or a gift card to a local restaurant.
  • Pick a day before the holiday weekend to provide burgers and hot dogs at lunch for all employees. Go potluck style and ask staff members to bring in their favorite Fourth of July side or dessert.

Veterans Day — Nov. 11, 2019
Originating as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, celebrates the first anniversary of the end of World War I. In 1938, it became an official national holiday that pays tribute to all Veterans (alive or dead) who served their country in war or peacetime. More than any other day on this list, Veterans Day is when to your Veteran employees. Here’s how to give thanks to your Vets this November.

  • Plant mini flags all over the office, inside and out.
  • Highlight Veteran employees by putting their photos and military background around high-traffic areas in your building.
  • For each Veteran, surprise them with a “Salute Package” filled with goodies you know they’d enjoy. See our post on “5 Ways Your
  • Company Can Honor Veterans in The Workplace,” for more package ideas.

SAVI is always working on new ways to better support our business partners. Connect with us today to learn how we can help you ease Veterans into your civilian workplace.

Tips for Celebrating Your Military Experiences in Your Personal & Professional Life

Tips for Celebrating Your Military Experiences in Your Personal & Professional Life

Whether it’s a graduation, anniversary or retirement, there are plenty of milestones in life that are cause for celebration. These opportunities to pat ourselves on the back help to remind us why hard work is worth it. As the old cliche goes, “Hard work pays off,” and no one understands this better than the military Veteran. The ultimate payoff being: a safer, better and stronger country for all.

With such an accomplishment under your belt, why wouldn’t you want to celebrate? Your military career shouldn’t be swept under the rug once it’s over, as it is what got you to where you are today. So go ahead, celebrate you. We give you not only permission, but tips for celebrating your military experience in your personal and professional life.

Share Your Skills
What did your time in the military teach you? How to navigate, hike across treacherous terrain, run long distances, lead a team? There are so many skills you could share with your new civilian coworkers, many of whom are curious to learn what it’s like to be a soldier. In fact, there are military-style “boot camps” popping up all over the country that fuel that curiosity. Hold a free course for your colleagues on navigation and map reading or start an early-morning running group that meets every week before work. By using, and sharing the skills of your past, you’re also commemorating your valuable experiences.

Revisit Old Duty Stations
Maybe it’s where your first child was born. Maybe it’s where you met your spouse. Or maybe it’s where you spent months in miserable training conditions that taught you valuable life lessons. Whatever the personal meaning, take a trip down memory lane with a visit to an old duty station. Even if your memories aren’t all fond, revisiting a place of once great importance can do a lot to restore your soul — and your memory.

Take Advantage of Discounts
Veterans Day includes deals for Vets everywhere you turn. Take advantage of these discounts and treat yourself and your family. Websites like Thrillest.com are great at rounding up where to get free or discounted items on Veterans Day each year. In addition, don’t be shy about asking for Veteran discounts on non-holiday outings. Movie theaters, restaurants, hotels and many retail stores offer everyday military discounts for both active and non-active duty Veterans. Also, if you’re a Veteran and haven’t heard of GovX, look it up! GovX gives military and government employees free access to heavily discounted items, from sports tickets, to theme park memberships to concerts.

Celebrate Others
In the same way you want to celebrate your military experience, it’s just as important to celebrate others’ experiences too. In fact, by recognizing fellow Veteran colleagues, neighbors, or friends, you can actually improve your health. According to SUCCESS, celebrating others’ success can increase our feelings of positivity and joy. This leads to greater optimism, which a Harvard study says can protect against health issues like cardiovascular disease, cancer, stroke, respiratory disease and infection. How exactly can you celebrate other Veterans? Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Arrange a lunch outing for you and your fellow Veteran coworkers
  • Ask your company to highlight Veteran workers in the company newsletter
  • Write hand-written letters of gratitude to Veteran friends you haven’t seen in awhile
  • Volunteer at Veteran-specific nonprofits

There are many other ways to celebrate your military experience. Contact SAVI today to learn more.

5 Ways Your Company Can Honor Veterans in The Workplace

5 Ways Your Company Can Honor Veterans in The Workplace

Adorned in insignia, ribbons, rank, and medals, the military soldier can be likened to a walking resume. Every major milestone — promotions, awards and number of combat tours — is neatly displayed across the soldier’s uniform as a marker of achievement for all to see. The military holds formal recognition as a sacred rite of passage. Such a culture of honor is unrivaled upon leaving the service. Though not a single Veteran would expect such fanfare in the civilian sector, there are still plenty of ways your company can honor Veterans in the workplace. Here are five ways to honor them in your workplace:

  • Give a “Salute Package” — A package of goodies that says “Thank you” to your former service-members will go a long way in making them feel appreciated. Package contents can be anything you want, but here are some suggestions to get you brainstorming:
    • One healthy food item plus one sweet treat
    • A gift certificate to the local movie theatre
    • Company swag such as a branded T-Shirt, hat, or a high-quality mug
    • A handwritten note from their manager or the CEO

  • Organize a Morning Coffee Hour — Organize a morning get-together to honor Veterans in the workplace with a good cup of joe, donuts, and a chance to interact with coworkers and fellow veterans in a relaxed setting. Be sure to put up signs that make it clear for what, and whom, you’re celebrating.

  • Wave the Flag — For Veteran-specific holidays, put small flags all around the exterior sidewalks of your office building, along with flags throughout the inside. If your company has a Veteran’s club or a group of Vets, get them involved with this. It’s a great way to give them a break from the daily grind while getting them excited for upcoming Veteran celebrations.

  • Letters of Appreciation — Encourage your staff to write letters of appreciation to their Veteran coworkers. A note coming from a manager and CEO is great, but coming from a coworker can be even more meaningful. This unexpected act of kindness can go a long way in making the Veteran feel appreciated for both his past service and his current position.  

Publication Highlight — Does your company have a newsletter? This could be a way to share the military background of your Veteran employees with the rest of your company. If there’s no newsletter, ask your CEO to send a company-wide email spotlighting the Vets and addressing each by name.

5 Ways to Support Disabled Veterans in The Workplace

5 Ways to Support Disabled Veterans in The Workplace

From missing limbs and traumatic brain injuries to hearing loss and post-traumatic stress disorder, Veterans can enter the civilian world with a host of disabilities. Despite these challenges, most disabled Veterans are more than capable of working post-military. As we’ve discussed previously, Veterans easily adapt to a variety of workplaces despite any limitations. If you’re a business looking to hire — and retain — former soldiers, making accommodations to support disabled Veterans is key to all-around success.

Here are five of SAVI’s best tips to support disabled Veterans in the workplace.

1. Train Your Managers

Successful support of disabled Veterans in your workspace starts at the top. It’s important that you know how to manage the various readjustments that any Veteran, disabled or not, may have in his new civilian work environment. The VA has plenty of resources and information devoted specifically to this topic. Find the training that works for your business and equip your managers with the knowledge they need to better serve your Veteran employees.

2. Encourage Flexibility

Veteran workplace preferences will differ depending on the disability. If suffering a brain injury, a Vet may require quiet workplaces with minimal distractions. For them, a good set of sound-proof headphones could go a long way to encourage productivity. Those with PTSD, however, may view silence as a distraction. Playing low background music or sitting them near a window may be beneficial for these individuals. Regardless of preferences, it’s important to encourage your Veteran employees to find what works best for them and then be flexible.

3. Provide Resources

Many Veteran-accommodating businesses have found that mentoring programs thrive in the workplace. By creating these mentorship programs between employees, you’re able to support your team and facilitate a much smoother transition for Veterans new to the civilian sector. Mentors are typically seasoned employees who are able to answer questions, provide insight and serve as a friendly face around the office.

In addition to this mentor program, provide additional resources to disabled Veterans with more severe needs, whether they be medical or emotional. Connect them with local community groups and ensure they are informed about the counseling options in your area that specifically support disabled Veterans.

4. Create a Culture of Inclusiveness

One of the most important ways to support disabled Veterans in the workplace is by creating a culture of inclusiveness. First and foremost, make sure your business can easily accommodate those Veterans with physical disabilities. This includes handicap accessible entrances, exits, and bathrooms as well as keeping hallways devoid of clutter and office furniture spaced appropriately. Ask your employees, Veteran or otherwise, what they need to feel supported in their job. By making such accommodations, your employees will feel thought of and included.

5. Acknowledge Military Service

If you’re already making adjustments for your Veteran employees, you clearly care about their success at your company. Why not take it a step further and acknowledge their prior service through special honors or rewards? This could mean giving all Veterans the day off for holidays like Veterans Day, recognizing them in your company newsletter or providing free lunch to all Veteran employees on specified days.

Veterans have sacrificed greatly for our country. Many have put their mental and physical health at risk and spent significant amounts of time away from their families. Creating workplace accommodations for our disabled Veterans is one small way to truly thank them for their service. When including Veterans in your workplace, keep in mind that all needs differ and that some disabilities are more severe than others. If you’re flexible, resourceful, and inclusive, you will reap the many benefits that come with hiring Veterans.

Are you an employer of Veterans?

Check out our employer programs and certificates. Visit www.savivets.org/organization to learn how we can help you serve and support Veterans in your workplace. We can even connect you with transitioning Veterans looking for employment!

Are you a Veteran?

SAVI loves to connect with and support Veterans transitioning into the civilian workplace. Reach out today or visit www.savivets.org/veteran to learn more about the free help our SAVI experts can provide to transitioning Veterans.

Everything you need to know about Dental, Vision and Dependents healthcare through the VA

Everything you need to know about Dental, Vision and Dependents healthcare through the VA

There are a variety of VA healthcare opportunities available to Veterans and their families, many of which remain unknown and under-utilized. At SAVI, we want to ensure that you are taking advantage of the privileges and benefits that you qualify for as a Veteran or dependent. There are different ways to secure comprehensive or low-cost healthcare plans through the US Department of Veterans Affairs, and the first step is being informed on the options.

Here’s everything you need to know about dental, vision and dependent VA healthcare options available to you in 2019.

Dental
When thinking of your VA healthcare options, it’s easy to direct your focus to medical coverage. However, you may qualify for an all-encompassing dental plan through the VA. When determining whether you qualify, many factors are taken into consideration, including details of your prior military service, your current living situation and your current medical state. Input your information into this site to find out what plan you’re eligible for.

Don’t qualify for dental benefits? You still may be able to reduce costs of dental insurance through the VA Dental Insurance Program (VADIP), which you can read more about here. Keep in mind that in order to enroll in VADIP, you must be a Veteran already enrolled in the VA healthcare system or a dependent enrolled in the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the VA (CHAMPVA).

Vision
Vision coverage is also an area often overlooked by service-members once they transition to civilian. But if you’re already qualified for VA healthcare benefits, you certainly qualify for at least some vision care through the VA as well. According to the VA website, the VA will cover your routine annual eye exams and preventative testing if you already have VA healthcare benefits. To qualify for additional vision coverage, however, you’ll have to fall under a specific set of criteria. For example: in order to get your eyeglasses paid for, you must meet one or more of the below requirements:

  • Have a service-connected disability for which you’re receiving disability payments
  • Are a former Prisoner of War (POW)
  • Were awarded a Purple Heart
  • Receive benefits under Title 38 United States Code (U.S.C.) 1151
  • Receive an increased pension due to being permanently housebound
  • Have vision problems caused by an illness — or the treatment of an illness — for which you’re receiving VA care. Examples include stroke, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, vascular disease, geriatric chronic illnesses, etc.
  • Vision problems caused by an injury — or the treatment of an injury — for which you’re receiving VA care. Examples include reactions to prescribed medicines, cataract surgery, traumatic brain injury or polytrauma
  • Functional or cognitive impairment severe enough to make everyday tasks hard
  • Vision and/or hearing loss severe enough you need assistance in caring for yourself
  • For blind Veterans, the VA also offers various advanced care options, including inpatient rehabilitation centers and vision-enhancing devices.

Learn more about vision coverage and apply online here.

Dependents
VA healthcare privileges are not just for Veterans, but for their dependents as well. If you’re a Veteran spouse, child or primary caregiver, you may qualify for the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA). This program, a comprehensive healthcare program in which the VA shares the cost of covered health care services with eligible beneficiaries, is the only way non-Tricare qualifying dependents can receive VA healthcare. Still, not every dependent will qualify. One or more of the following descriptions must be true for you to receive CHAMPVA:

  • The spouse or child of a Veteran who’s been rated permanently and totally disabled for a service-connected disability by a VA regional benefit office
  • The surviving spouse or child of a Veteran who died from a VA-rated service-connected disability
  • The surviving spouse or child of a Veteran who was at the time of death rated permanently and totally disabled from a service-connected disability
  • The surviving spouse or child of a service-member who died in the line of duty

Learn more about applying for CHAMPVA here.

Additionally, the VA offers The Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers, which provides enhanced support to caregivers of Veterans who were injured in the line of duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001. Through this program, caregivers can receive counseling, respite care, education, monetary support and more. Find out if you’re eligible.

Still Have Questions About VA Healthcare?
Researching and applying for healthcare as a Veteran can be a daunting task. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, please reach out to SAVI for free support and to learn more about our free Veteran services!

Is Healthy Living The Key to Veteran Success Post-Transition?

Is Healthy Living The Key to Veteran Success Post-Transition?

Transitioning out of the military can be an exciting and challenging time. Choosing where to live, what your next career might be and what the next chapter of your life will look like can be overwhelming.

As you transition out of the military, staying mentally and emotionally healthy is important. Healthy Veterans make choices and pursue healthy living habits that can reduce stress and anxiety during times of uncertainty.

If you haven’t taken steps to pursue healthy living, now is the perfect time to look for ways to improve your health. Here are a few of our best suggestions from healthy habits that will help prepare and protect you for transitioning to civilian life.

Practice Self-Care

Coming out of the military, many Veterans struggle with the lack of routine and structure in the civilian world. You may not have built-in time for exercise or downtime. This lack of structure may even leave you feeling unproductive and anxious.

One healthy habit that you as a Veteran must build is prioritizing your self-care routine. Building a self-care routine can be as simple as focusing on the activities that are restorative for you. Some suggestions of healthy living self-care practices include daily exercise, getting out in nature and socializing with friends and family.

In addition to some of these basic self-care routines, you should also look into pursuing new and healthy hobbies. If you didn’t have time to develop hobbies while in the service, now is the perfect time to discover some. Daily walks, hiking, biking, gardening, reading, and woodworking are just a few examples of activities that can be enjoyable. If you’re not sure where to start with a hobby, try taking a class in something that interests you. Many organizations from art studios to gyms offer free trial classes.

Establish Routines

The military lifestyle offers regular routines for service-members and their families. Therefore, once you have successfully transitioned out of the military, establishing new routines and practices is critical. One key practice is getting organized by adding structure to your day. Structure can be added through things like using a planner, setting goals, making to-do lists and setting short and long-term goals.

Daily meditation or prayer can also help reduce stress and anxiety during times of change. Journaling or writing about your experiences in the military can help you make sense of your past. It can also help you better cope with what you’re experiencing during the transition.

Make Connections

Your first year post-transition is a critical time to reconnect with immediate and extended family. Although it may seem awkward at first, it’s important to find things in common with your family if some connections have been lost.

For starters, try sitting down to dinner together. Plan some activities you can do together in advance. Take advantage of a more predictable schedule by scheduling times to reconnect. These routines can benefit both transitioning military members and their families.

If you find it difficult to reconnect, consider reaching out to a counselor or mental health professional who can help you establish healthy habits and ways of coping with stress. Research shows that people who stay connected or re-establish connections with loved ones tend to live longer, healthier lives.

Separating from the military is an important time in the lives of all Veterans. Seize the change as an opportunity to build a life that you love and are proud of. Visit our website for free resources for Veterans and more tips on living a healthy life post-transition.

5 Ways to Align Your Company Goals with Hiring Veterans

5 Ways to Align Your Company Goals with Hiring Veterans

Keyword: Hiring Veterans

Hiring Veterans is smart for companies looking to add employees with diverse skill sets and unique strengths. Because they have been challenged physically, mentally, and emotionally during their time of service, Veterans easily adapt to a variety of workplaces and environments.

In order to attract the right individuals, companies should align their goals with Veterans’ skills and strengths they see as a fit. Here are five ways companies can match their goals to the skills and strengths of Veterans.

1. Create Leadership Opportunities
Veterans are used to leading and following orders depending on their rank and the situation they find themselves in. A company that wants to hire and retain Veterans would be wise to establish leadership opportunities and an organized hierarchy that Veterans can easily adapt to. Veterans will thrive in companies that give them clear boundaries, but also creative leadership opportunities and room for them to grow.

2. Establish a Collaborative Environment
Organizational culture means a great deal to Veterans. They are familiar with working environments where their input and ideas are valued. There is also little separation between home and work life in the military, so many Veterans may expect to find a family-like environment in the civilian workplace. Companies hiring Veterans should create opportunities for collaborative growth and input and avoid micromanaging. Having a company culture that offers opportunities for development, socializing, and gives Veterans a sense of being part of something larger than them is also key.

3. Provide Opportunities To Work Independently
Many Veterans separate or retire from the military in a position of command. They are often used to calling the shots and working fairly independently while heading up a well-trained and diverse team. If your company wants to hire Veterans, it would be wise to create an environment that promotes trust and respect. Give Veterans an opportunity to work independently and they will outperform most civilians. They are hard-working, independent individuals who love to be part of the solution in any workplace.

4. Embrace Challenges
Veterans are both highly skilled and motivated workers who love to analyze and solve complex problems. They are used to thinking on their feet, adjusting plans under tremendous stress and pressure, and motivating others. You would be wise to embrace everyday challenges and make sure that the Veterans who work for you are challenged. Boredom and a lack of challenges is a quick way for Veterans to lose motivation, so make sure you offer an environment where their natural motivation and curiosity is utilized.

5. Prioritize Technology
While in the service, Veterans became accustomed to having access to the latest tools and technology. Since the military is often given the first and best technological advances, Veterans are used to systems and processes that work quickly and efficiently. One of your main company goals before hiring Veterans should be to make sure that your technology is up-to-date and that you are progressive enough for today’s retiring and separating service-members.

Smart companies who are looking to hire Veterans will align their company goals with the unique talents and skills that Veterans bring to the table. If you seek to hire top-quality Veterans, SAVI would love to guide you. Contact us today to find out exactly what resources we can offer to you and your business.

Top 3 Benefits of Veterans Working As Government Contractors

Top 3 Benefits of Veterans Working As Government Contractors

Are you transitioning out of the military? You probably have former battle buddies who left the service and became government contractors. Known for their similar culture to the military (and lucrative salaries), Veterans are drawn to government contractor positions as a first-line choice for a civilian career.

There are several benefits of working as a government contractor, several of which are outlined below.

Financial Security

There’s no doubt that during your time in the military you’ve heard about the lucrative salaries of government contractor positions. While rumors are often exaggerated, it is true that companies contracted by the government provide appealing salaries. If you have a security clearance, you will earn significantly more than your federal employee co-workers in similar positions. This provides even greater financial security in a government contracting position. Furthermore, your financial security is supplemented by competitive benefits packages that include paid time off, health insurance, and retirement benefits to supplement any benefits you may be eligible to receive as a Veteran.

Top Government Contracts To Work For:

  1. Lockheed Martin Corp.
    2. Boeing Co.
    3. General Dynamics Corp.
    4. Raytheon
    5. Northrop Grumman
    6. McKesson Corp.
    7. United Technologies Corp.
    8. L-3 Communications Holdings Inc.
    9. Bechtel Group Inc.
    10. BAE Systems Plc

Fast-Paced Hiring

If you are nearing your ETS date, or have already ETS’d and do not have a job lined up, a government contractor position could be your ticket to employment. If you worked in a specialty sector within the military, chances are that many defense contractors will hire you on the spot without a waiting period if they are in high need of your skills. Unsure of what companies could use your talent? While the demand for government jobs is higher than the supply, the supply of government contract jobs is higher than the demand of Veterans with the required skill sets. Don’t let that opportunity go to waste!

Check Clearance Jobs (https://www.clearancejobs.com/q-government-contractor) to view current openings and the skill sets companies are searching for.

A Stepping Stone to a Government Position

There’s demand for government jobs right now that is higher than their availability. Working as a government contractor can provide an alternative route to that government job you are gunning for after ETSing. When working as a government contractor, you can earn on-the-job experience with co-workers who are government employees themselves.  Many government contractors are eventually offered positions as federal employees in the area they work in, and if they are not, they at least have name recognition when they apply. Furthermore, it’s easier to transition from contracting to federal employee positions compared to a traditional civilian role to a government role.

Did you make the transition from the military to a government contractor? We’d love for you to share your story with us!

3 Keys to Finding Your Ideal Veteran Candidate

3 Keys to Finding Your Ideal Veteran Candidate

3 Keys to Finding Your Ideal Veteran Candidate

Are you unsure how to evaluate the experience and skills of Veterans? When considering a Veteran applicant, it is essential to treat them just like any other hire. Every candidate who walks through your door should be evaluated based on their skills and fit with your company. This evaluation can, however, be guided by assessing Veterans more specifically based on achievement, attitude, and ambition.

What Are Their Past Achievements?

Achievement can be the most difficult aspect of a Veteran’s resume for a hiring manager to evaluate. This is especially the case when you’re not familiar with military rank structure and culture. Just as civilian applicants can be reviewed based on their past performance, a Veteran’s past performance should be based on their achievements as well. This review is multi-faceted and should include any major aspects of Veteran achievement while in service. This may vary from a civilian’s past achievements, so we’ve created this table to assist you with the process:

Rank Advancement

Recognition & Awards

Professional Education

Civilian Achievements

Questions to Ask

What did your official evaluation reports say about your performance?

Tell me about your promotion history in the service. Were you promoted on track or ahead of your peers?

Things to Know

Most veterans are very honest about the relative importance of certain awards and will honestly share with you their true meaning. If you’d like more information, do online research if they list awards on their resume.

Questions to Ask

What was the most rigorous training you went through while in the military?

What did it teach you, and what did you learn about yourself during the training?

Things to Know

You shouldn’t assume that a Veteran candidate has no exposure to the civilian workforce. Asking about their development and biggest accomplishment outside the military can give insight into their other experiences.

How Much Does Attitude Matter?

Attitude is another quality that’s difficult to assess in civilian candidates. It can be even more challenging with Veterans. The culture of the military workplace will force you to look hard to identify the differences between confidence and hubris, humility and self-effacement, and gratefulness and entitlement.  Veterans will undoubtedly shine in the areas of teamwork, leadership, and mission orientation, which will be an undeniable asset to your organization.

Here are some skills that Veterans showcase more of in the workplace and may align with your goals as an organization:

The Role Their Ambition Plays

Ambition will often be more up-front in Veterans than their civilian counterparts. Veterans are used to advancement as a function of leadership and may not fully understand the advancement structure of your organization. It is essential that you give them patience as they learn about your company’s structure. When their motivating ambitions match your needs and your culture, you can help them acclimate to your company’s culture with ease, knowing they are a fantastic fit to allow you to continue to grow.

Want to learn more about how valuable Veterans can be to your organization? Subscribe to SAVI’s free newsletter today to receive information on exclusive webinars, topical information, and more insider-perspective on how to best leverage Veteran support in your company!

How To Find Your Purpose After Transitioning Out Of The Military

How To Find Your Purpose After Transitioning Out Of The Military

A career dedicated to the military is one deeply embedded with training, organization and purpose. However, when the time presents itself, a post-military life can be intimidating. We can begin to doubt ourselves both personally and professionally. It’s important to take a step back and assess where you are and want to be so you can make the most of your life post-separation.

Here are some of our favorite ways to find your purpose after transitioning out of the military.

Find Your Focus
Finding one’s focus in post-military life should be an exciting opportunity that inspires you to refresh your goals. In order to find your focus and passion, we recommend asking big questions first. This will help you identify your passion and where your true interests lie. Some things to ask yourself include:

  • What are the most important things to you? Is it your family? Financial security?
  • How would you like to spend your time? Giving back to your community or volunteering? Or pursuing a new career?
  • What excites you most about living life as a civilian? Access to education? Achieving a regular schedule with other civilians?

Once you determine the answers to these questions, you’ll achieve a clearer focus regarding your goals. This, in turn, will help motivate you to achieve success, no matter what path you choose.

Investigate Opportunities
Once you find your focus, it’s imperative to investigate how you can best achieve your post-separation goals. This process can include contacting fellow service-members, reaching out to a mentor for guidance, attending a seminar, participating in an internship or apprenticeship, or asking to shadow a professional in your field of interest. It may also include travel to a new location or seeking new employment opportunities. Whatever your path, do not be afraid to seek advice or help–you never know what new opportunity could present itself by just asking a simple question. Above all else, this process will ensure that you’re always taking the right steps to achieve the goals you set for yourself.

Evaluate and Pursue
The information you have gathered on your way to finding your purpose is powerful, necessary and important. You have the ability to take charge and make positive changes in your life. There is no wrong answer or question. If you truly want to find your purpose after transitioning out of the military, you have to practice patience. Simply take the time to evaluate the information and resources you have collected. Eventually, you will be right on track to discovering and pursuing purpose.

Finding your post-military purpose is vital to your success as a civilian. If you need help finding or achieving your true life’s purpose after separating from the military, let us know. We have specially designed programs to help you, free of charge. Plus, we offer mentorships and guidance on VA benefits to make sure you have the tools and resources you need to go after your goals.

Visit www.savivets.org/veteran to learn more and get free resources to aid in your transition today!

EDUCATION TRACK

Transitioning into higher education after years of military service can seem overwhelming. But SAVI’s Education Track is designed specifically to support Veterans like you from start to finish — 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. Each of these services is vital to a whole life approach to the military-to-civilian transition. 

EMPLOYMENT TRACK

Continuing on your professional journey after military service can be an amazing opportunity to find a new career that fulfills you and lets you thrive. Yet civilian workplace etiquette and the hiring process can be much different than what you’re used to as a service-member. The job search and performance evaluation processes are much more employee-driven, for example, and the workplace can be more isolating without the shared objective of high-stakes national defense.

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. Each of these services is vital to a whole life approach to military-to-civilian transition.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP TRACK

Chasing your dream of self-employment can seem daunting after years of a highly structured military life. But SAVI provides the resources to help you turn this dream into a fulfilling reality — and so that you don’t have to go it alone.

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. Each of these services is vital to a whole life approach to the military-to-civilian transition.

RETIREMENT TRACK

After serving your time in the military, it’s time to look forward toward your retirement. SAVI is here every step of the way to help you transition from service-member to thriving retiree. We’re here to ensure you don’t have to muddle through the financial, personal, and emotional aspects of retirement on your own.

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. Each of these services is vital to a whole life approach to the military-to-civilian transition.


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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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