Photo: Mike Abrams
Just in time for Veterans Day, a small group of Marine Corp and Army vets are helping their brothers and sisters-in-arms find and build better careers.Mike Abrams, who struggled to find a job after spending seven years in the Marine Corps, co-wrote “Networking for Veterans: A Guide for a Successful Transition into the Civilian Workforce” with Andrea Nierenberg, a networking expert who started The Nierenberg Group, and Dr. Michael Faulkner, also a Marine Corps veteran, and a business coach.
The problem many service members have upon separating is having been in “a bubble,” Abrams, who earned an M.B.A. from New York University’s Stern school of Business, said. “We’re not exposed to all the opportunities and everything available” said Abrams.
The main tool that helped him was networking, a skill that officers, who have at least a bachelor’s degree, are more likely to understand the importance of than enlisted service members, who often join the military shortly after high school.
In the book, in a phone conversation, and in videos on the book’s website, Abrams implores veterans to reach out to other vets for connections and support. Most employers do appreciate the skills a service member can bring to the table, but “you’re not going to get a job just by applying,” he said.
When told that an Amazon review for the book mentioned that it should be given out to everyone transitioning from the military, Abrams said he and his co-authors would love that. It’s a long process he said, but they’re talking to the right people.
Current and transitioning troops now have RallyPoint, which officially launched on Veterans’ Day after roughly a year of beta testing. Created by Yinon Weiss, who was a Marine scout and sniper platoon leader before becoming an Army Special Forces officer, and Aaron Kletzing, a West Point grad and fire support officer, the “LinkedIn for the Military” helps service members visualise where their contacts are in the scope of the entire Department of defence.
The site is meant to help service members take control of their careers, by seeing what positions are open, similar to the Army’s Assignment Satisfaction Key or Air Force’s virtual Military Personnel Flight. They can also explore how taking a specific position might enhance one’s overall career, and who can be contacted about the position.
“It’s exactly what my military peers needed when I was on active duty, and now RallyPoint is making it a reality,” said Weiss, shortly after he and Kletzting won $100,000 in MassChallenge, a start-up competition.
One of their advisors, former Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. (Ret.) George Casey, said in a press release about the site’s launch that RallyPoint could “significantly empower” troops.
“I’m very excited about what RallyPoint can do for our service members because networking is a skill that many of our military members don’t cultivate,” Casey said. “Networking creates opportunities and improves one’s professional development.”
RallyPoint is currently only open to those with a .mil e-mail address, to ensure absolute security. Members can control how much of their information is visible. People getting ready to leave the military can enter their separation date so vetted employers can reach out to them.
Weiss said he and Kletzing plan to keep improving the site as it grows.
“Our passion and drive to build this platform is what ultimately keeps us incredibly motivated to make this the most powerful networking resource we can for the military community,” Weiss said.
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