Memorial Day brings up a lot of feelings. Anticipation; for various barbecues and the opening of pools here in the Midwest. Elation; for the three-day weekend to share with family and friends. And for me; gratitude that I live in a country like America, which, while not perfect, can be a wonderful place to live. But there are other reasons for Memorial Day and they hit closer to home when like me, you grew up a military brat (albeit in a time of relative peace) or like Red Branch Media, you are based in an area very close to a base and many of your friends have served multiple tours in Iraq or Afghanistan.

While I know that Memorial Day is different than Veterans Day, I am blessed that I do not know anyone who has died in a war. Despite the fact that our country has been involved in a war or occupation for ten+ years, and people in my circle of family and friends have served up to 5 tours apiece, we have been so fortunate.

However, not everyone is so fortunate. So whether you are watching a parade, attending a barbecue, splashing around in a pool or going camping, try one of the following to give back this Memorial Day:

  • Donate to a family who has lost someone in service.
  • Invite friends who are alone this Memorial Day to your celebration.
  • Place flowers on a soldier’s grave early in the day, so his or her relatives will see them when they visit.
  • Send a care package to soldiers still serving in Iraq or Afghanistan still.
  • Work with a veteran to help them transition into the workforce (more on this below).

In this post, which originally ran on The Recruiterbox Blog: Small Business Kitchen, August Nielsenis provides tips for veterans; from helping them tailor their resumes to transferring skills to be ready for the civilian market.

Making Your “Veteran” Status Work for You

When you’re surrounded by a certain peer group for an extended period of time, you tend to communicate very well with each other. However, after transitioning from one group to another, certain lingo doesn’t often get received in the same manor.

For example, a veteran telling a recruiter or interviewer what his job responsibilities were in the military. The recruiter hears what the veteran is saying, but if they lack military knowledge or experience, most of the conversation may get lost in translation. This alone is detrimental in the search for a new career.

To prepare yourself for the civilian market, one of the most important things you can do is research. Look up equivalent civilian jobs for your MOS, and rehearse conveying this to people in terms they’ll understand. Additionally, take time to think about and research the skills you have that would be applicable to civilian jobs, and what jobs need skills like yours. Read more…

On, our own Maren Hogan wrote an article about getting our military back into the workforce.

Putting Soldiers to Work

Originally posted January 24, 2012.

It was a quiet end to a war many Americans wished was over long ago, but end the war Soldier_dogtag_American_Flag_Freedomin Iraq did, on December 17th. Many Americans, consumed with economic issues, rising unemployment rates and let’s face it, our fair share of ridiculous media, did not realize we ended the war just before the decade mark. Now, as soldiers, some of whom have served 2-3 tours in the 2nd Iraqi War come home, what responsibility does the recruiting community have to help them get jobs? Particularly when there aren’t that many jobs to come home to?

Some states are taking matters into their owns hands, lawmakers in Iowas are trying to push legislation through that will allow additional financial aid for returning troops while Texas politicians are urging big business like Boeing, Lowe’s and USAA to hire vets. It makes sense, the unemployment rate for veterans who had served in the military since Sept. 11, 2001, stood at 13.1 percent last month — five percentage points higher than the national average for civilians, figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show. Read more…

On their blog, our friends at Careerminds posted tips for a veteran to help them with their career transitions.

Tips to Serve Those Who Have Served the Nation

Originally posted December 15, 2011.

The official end of US presence in Iraq marks the return of countless military personel who may find themselves searching for work upon their arrival home. Career transition can be challenging for anyone, but for a veteran leaving the military and entering the civilian workforce, the challenges are different.

If you or someone you know will be making the return trip home with this final withdrawal, take a look at the following tips that could help put you or a friend on the right track to finding a new job. Read tips…

The Undercover Recruiter posted an article about veterans and how the skills learned in the military can be beneficial in the workplace.

5 Skills Taught in the Armed Forces to Help You Secure a Job

It had been 8 years since I did the simplest civilian activity such as getting a haircut. Also, I was 26 years old and didn’t have experience other than my job in military communications and a paper route when I was in my early teens.

After a few weeks, I became quickly overwhelmed and discouraged with finding a new direction for my career. My family supported me in every way and soon enough I came to my senses. Aside from my physical experiences, what kind of mental experiences gathered from my services could be useful in this situation? Read the rest…

photo by: isafmedia