Bangor, ME

February is a peak job search month in Bangor, Maine

Stephen L Dalton

By now, many jobless people have figured out they overspent during the holiday season, and credit card debt and inflation are crushing their lifestyle.
Woman in business attire with an outstretched hand and her resume in the other.Photo byDreamstime #52236303.

Historically, Veterans and recent college graduates have a much higher unemployment rate than the general public. Here’s how to change that.

Even with the recent decline in unemployment numbers, millions of Americans are out of work. The civilian (non-military/non-government) workforce had a 62.3% participation rate, the employment ratio stood at 60.1% for December 2022, and the unemployment rate was 3.5% in December, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows.

The statistics showed an overall growth in jobs in the healthcare, leisure and hospitality, social assistance, and construction areas in 2022.

Although Maine unemployment is slightly higher than the nation as a whole, the 3.8% unemployment is 1.1% lower than in 2021. There are 26,000 unemployed and 7,100 claiming unemployment benefits. These figures do not include those who have stopped looking, typically.

What’s more, those numbers do not include some of those who no longer qualify for unemployment benefits but are still jobless.

According to the article, Collecting Unemployment Benefits in Maine, “The current maximum is $445 per week. You can receive an additional $10 per week per dependent, up to one-half of your weekly benefit amount.”

Historically, Veterans and recent college graduates have a much higher unemployment rate than the general public. Those numbers get much worse for minorities, so you will have a boatload of competition for every position for which you apply.

However, it is up to you to get out and online to find a job.

#1 — Your Skills Are a Valued Asset

Veterans have a valuable skillset to get across to recruiters. Coming from a military background (retired US Army First Sergeant with 28 years), I know a few things about jobhunting after leaving service.

Don’t expect employers to understand what you did in the military. Some skills are not easily transferred, and using military jargon will confuse them further. Tell them what you did in civilian terms.

Chances are your job title will mean nothing to them. Typically, when I tell people I was a First Sergeant in the Army, they ask, “Is that like a General or something?”

There are resources like the Military Skills Translator to translate your military specialty into its civilian equivalent.
A man in a suit looks at the interviewer as if he is anticipating the question.Photo byMalik Mccotter-Jordan from Pixabay businessman

Likewise, college graduates often have hidden skill sets that they must emphasize to recruiters. Your out-of-classroom experiences add a vital image of your talents.

The recruiter already knows you have a degree and what your grade point average (GPA) was. What you need to focus on is what’s not visible or apparent.

Debate teams and leadership roles on athletic teams are crucial skills that could translate to the workplace. Internships and volunteer positions show you have some experience.

You must emphasize your technical skills regardless of your background.

Are you proficient with PowerPoint, Excel, Word, Google Docs, or any widely used creation platform? It would help if you could weave that into your resume and interview.

#2 — A Demonstration of Your Skills Might Be Worth More Than Your Interview

Something many job seekers ignore is “likeability.” Not only is it vital to be qualified, but how you come across personality-wise counts too.

One corporate recruiter wrote on Quora:

“All basic qualifications being met, likability trumps all. It’s usually the most politically admired and personally connected candidate that wins and progresses into the C-suite.”
A man in a suit is about to push the idea button on a computer screen.Photo byPixaline from Pixabay.

Provide the interviewer with a PowerPoint (Google Slides, Zoho Docs, Slides, or another) presentation that allows you to showcase your skills and abilities.

Even when those skills do not fit the position you are applying for, these vital skills for Veterans and college grads, who have little real-world experience, are crucial to demonstrating to recruiters.

When you can present any subject with confidence and flair, it is a skill many companies and corporations will find difficult to turn down. Use it!

The military provided you with many experiences not available to civilians. Look at all phases of the position and consider what experience matches that job, no matter how long ago you learned or performed it.

The same goes for college grads with previous summer hire or internship experience. Just because it is noted in your resume doesn’t mean everyone on the panel had time to read your resume thoroughly. Pointing to that experience during the interview could be helpful.

#3 — Recruiters Know What the Company Is Looking for & More

The recruiter is an excellent source of information. While you’re looking over the company website and the proposed duty position, write down your questions. Then, when you speak to the recruiter to set up your interview, ask them some of your questions.

Don’t worry about taking up their time; this is their job. When a candidate they hired gets fired, they look bad. Turnover costs the company money as well as lost talent. Therefore, the recruiter is motivated to hire the best candidate.

HR professionals and recruiters are sweating as much as you, the interviewee. Especially those who are new to the position, they do not want to blow it. Go in there prepared, or when it’s a Zoom or Skype interview, do not just set up the webcam; set up the surroundings. Everything you prepare for the interview will show. I set up a light blue room divider behind my chair.

Mull over the information you have and develop sample questions and answers. Have others ask you questions. The more experience you have answering questions, the better you will answer the question you didn’t prepare for or consider.

#4 — The Silent Interviewer on the Panel

Do not ignore the silent interviewer. If one person on the panel sits back and observes, chances are they will hold much weight in hiring. Toward the end of the interview, try to engage them with a question or point that didn’t get raised. Chances are, they are a higher up in the company.

#5 — Feedback Is Crucial

You can bet most HR professionals do know this, but all too often, you hear nothing. Some keep you waiting for weeks, while others give you no feedback or tell you that you didn’t get the job.

Record your side of the interview. That way, you can listen to your recording even if you don’t get the job or feedback from the interviewers.

Image by Robins Higgins from Pixabay

Then write down key points. How did you look on the recording? Is the background bright and cheerful, or is it too dark? Does your clothing look professional? Did you slump in the chair?

Slumping makes you look disinterested or tired. You might start the interview sitting up straight; try to beware of the habit we have of slumping.

Takeaways for Bangor, Maine Job Seekers

Veterans and recent college grads can bring a lot to a company or corporation. Let the recruiter know what special skills you have that are not apparent in your resume and provide them a demonstration of it, if possible. Consider those as your best source of information about the company you are applying to, don’t ignore any interviewer, and accept feedback, even if you are the only source of that evaluation. After all, who knows you better than you?

Veterans, do not forget to get your resume on Thousands of jobs are available not just in the US but worldwide.

Also, college grads might not have the Veteran preference, but there are many opportunities abroad. Everywhere DOD personnel are stationed, the government needs people to support them and provide logistics for just about everything available in the USA. Likewise, their children need educators.

Likewise, our second district Representative to the US Congress, Jared Golden, had meetings with the small business owners last week. This is an excerpt from his email:

“Meeting with Small Business Owners in Norway and in Augusta

Last week, I sat down with small business owners in Augusta and in Norway for two roundtable discussions on the challenges facing small businesses in the region and opportunities for growth. With the recent addition of the Mainers in Augusta to the Second District, I appreciated the opportunity to meet face-to-face with some of the business leaders driving the city’s economy.”

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About the author

Stephen Dalton is a native of Old Town, ME, and a retired US Army First Sergeant with a degree in journalism from the University of Maryland. He is a Certified US English Chicago Manual of Style Editor. Top Writer in Travel, Food, Fiction, Transportation, VR, NFL, Design, Creativity, Short Story, and a NewsBreak Community Voice Pro.

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Stephen Dalton is a retired US Army First Sergeant with a degree in journalism from the University of Maryland. Top Writer in Virtual Reality, Sports, Short Story, Design, and Creativity. I especially like writing about design and home improvements.


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