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SMA South Florida Partners with Patriot Placements for the Veterans Job Readiness Bootcamp

    Author: Goretti Duncker, MSHRM, SHRM-CP, SMA Vice President of Marketing & Communications



    On Saturday, February 2, 2019, I found myself waking up around 6:30 am for an early morning start. Why you might wonder, on the weekend, would I not choose to sleep in instead? Well, I was compelled to get up for a good cause. That morning I had the pleasure of representing Staffing Management Association of South Florida as a volunteer HR professional at Patriot Placements’ Veterans Job Readiness Boot Camp. Patriot Placements is a nonprofit 501 c3 organization serving the military community by working with the businesses to promote job placement and economic independence to U.S. veterans and their spouses at no cost (

    The event, held at Keiser University in Fort Lauderdale, FL, connected a group of eager veterans with enthusiastic HR professionals that provided the former military personnel with personalized 1:1 consultation to review and enhance their resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Veterans also attended presentations facilitated by Carmelita Resh, Founder and CEO of Patriot Placements, and Janelle Rodriguez, PHR, SHRM-CP, HR Consultant, covering various topics such as interviewing skills and job search basics. This intensive four-hour boot camp was organized into several breakout sessions, which also included time allotted for veterans to network with the HR volunteers, as well as their peers. Attendees received complimentary professional head shots, a promotional code for one year of LinkedIn Premium, and a job-seeker toolkit - a tote bag filled with pens, a leather portfolio, and other materials for success. Veterans were given everything they need to walk into an interview for a prospective employer with poise and confidence.

    The individual that I worked with was an energetic former soldier in the U.S. Army Infantry and served in Afghanistan and Germany for several years. After his time in the military, he worked for Broward County Parks and Recreation and thoroughly enjoyed being in an environment where he could be hands-on, active, and could apply the skills that he gained in the Army. He was most recognized for his work ethic, which seemed to be a common trait among all the veterans in attendance. This did not come as a surprise to me, and yet still it brought the realization that HR professionals often unintentionally overlook the advantages of hiring a veteran for various reasons; most commonly because they are trying to hire qualified candidates while meeting the minimum "time-to-fill" and handling multiple competing priorities that veteran outreach is just not a focal point. However, it is important that HR professionals make a conscious and concerted effort to actively source and recruit veterans. Serving in the military prepares veterans to handle challenging situations that might take their civilian counterparts years to experience or develop the skills to handle. Here are five prominent reasons that I have gathered from various sources why veterans make viable candidates:

    1. Veterans are focused on goal accomplishment - the military places cultural emphasis on mission completion
    2. Veterans are aware of health and safety protocols - military personnel are trained to keep themselves and their teams safe, and their equipment/property well maintained
    3. Veterans are adept at dealing with adverse situations - military personnel have the flexibility, determination, and endurance to complete difficult tasks in challenging environments
    4. Veterans demonstrate integrity - trust and honesty and upholding moral principles are integral when working in a military unit
    5. Veterans understands the importance of teamwork - working collaboratively as part of a unit is crucial when completing mission-based tasks

    So the next time you are scrolling through your Applicant Tracking System for qualified candidates, give close consideration to those few significant words you may catch on a resume that state “highly skilled and motivated military veteran”.

    Are you interested in learning more?! Staffing Management Association of South Florida (SMA) is an affiliate of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) and a special interest chapter dedicated to providing its members with resources and networking, leadership and professional development opportunities related to talent management, recruitment, onboarding and retention. For more information, contact the author, Goretti Duncker, Vice President of Marketing & Communications directly on LinkedIn or email

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