Veterans Benefits Information guide to VA benefits

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Veterans Benefits Information

The civilian resume checklist

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Six seconds — that’s how much time a recruiter will typically spend on a resume review before deciding whether to put it in the “yes” or “no” stack.

That’s a lot of pressure to put on a single document that basically determines if you’re going to move forward in the job search process. So, to put it simply, you want your resume to be as perfect as humanly possible.

Use the resume checklist below to help you get a civilian recruiter’s attention. You’ll know your resume is up to par if you can answer yes to the following questions.


  • Does the resume look original and not based on a template?

  • Is the resume inviting to read, with clear sections and ample white space?

  • Does the design look professional rather than like a simple typing job?

  • Is a career summary included so the reader immediately knows your value proposition?

  • Is the resume's length and overall appearance appropriate given your career level and summary?


  • Does the resume provide a visually pleasing, polished presentation?

  • Is the font appropriate for the career level and industry?

  • Are there design elements (bullets, bolding, and lines) to guide readers' eyes through the document and highlight important content?

  • Is there a good balance between text and white space?

  • Are margins even on all sides?

  • Are design elements like spacing and font size used consistently throughout the document?

  • If the resume is longer than a page, does the second page contain a heading? Is the page break formatted correctly?


  • Are all resume sections clearly labeled?

  • Are sections placed in the best order to highlight your strongest credentials?

  • Is your work history listed in reverse chronological order (most recent job first)?


  • Is the resume targeted to a specific career goal, as opposed to a one-size-fits-all document?

  • If this is a resume for a career change, does it include supporting details that show how your past experience is relevant to the new job?


  • Does the resume include a solid listing of your career accomplishments?

  • Are you translating your military skills and accomplishments for a civilian audience?

  • Are accomplishments quantified by using numbers, percentages, dollar amounts, or other concrete measures of success?

  • Do accomplishment statements begin with strong, varied action verbs?

  • Are your accomplishments separated from your responsibilities?


  • Is the information relevant to hiring managers' needs?

  • Does your resume's content support your career summary?

  • Did you include keywords, appropriate buzzwords, and industry acronyms?

  • Is applicable, additional information (awards and affiliations) included, and is personal information unrelated to the job (marital status, age, nationality) omitted?


  • Did you avoid writing the resume in an implied first-person voice with personal pronouns (I, me, and my)?

  • Is the content flow logical and easy to understand?

  • Is the resume as perfect as possible, with no careless typos or spelling, grammar, or syntax errors?

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Keeping the Doolittle Raiders legacy alive

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Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States sought a significant military achievement against Japan. On April 18, 1942, the Doolittle Raiders demonstrated that Japan was vulnerable to America’s air power and boosted morale in the U.S. The air raid was planned and led by Lt. Col. James “Jimmy” Doolittle. Sixteen B-25 bombers, each with five men aboard, set out unescorted to bomb military targets in Japan, then land in China.

Two of the crew members were born and raised in Lincoln, Neb. Thanks to Daniel Robertson, a sophomore at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, their legacies will be remembered, according to the Lincoln Journal-Star.

The monument will honor Lincoln natives Lt. Richard O. Joyce, who piloted one of the bombers, and Cpl. Donald E. Fitzmaurice, who died during the raid. It will be dedicated Wednesday in the Veterans Memorial Garden.

“Our biggest fear as a family has been that his sacrifice would be forgotten, but knowing that you have taken the time to ensure that his legacy lives on brings tears to our eyes,” Kelly Estes, great-niece of Fitzmaurice, wrote in a letter that will be read at the ceremony.

Lt. Col. Dick Cole is the last remaining Doolittle Raider. Cole, co-pilot of Aircraft No. 1, recalled in 2013 that their mission was something that had to be done.

“We all shared the same risks and had no realization of the positive affect our efforts had on the morale of America at the time,” he told The American Legion during an interview. “We are grateful we had the opportunity to serve and are mindful that our nation benefitted from our service.”

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Avoid these LinkedIn mistakes

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By Lida Citroen

Professionals from every industry enjoy the value and power of LinkedIn to grow their professional network, promote their personal brand, connect with likeminded individuals, share information, celebrate success and much more.

With over 467 million users, LinkedIn provides a robust opportunity for job seekers to elevate their visibility, showcase their skills and experience, and connect with influencers who can help them secure their next job.

As a military veteran, you were likely taught that being on LinkedIn is important, but you may not have clear insight into its power when you search for a civilian job. As a job seeker, be sure to avoid these common LinkedIn mistakes:

  1. Listing the wrong city. As part of your official LinkedIn profile, you are given the chance to list your city in your header. If your last duty station is Colorado Springs, Colorado, but you intend to relocate home to Little Rock, Arkansas after you leave the Army, you should list Little Rock as your city. This helps recruiters scouring for candidates in the area identify who can work there. If you list Colorado Springs, you will attract recruiters seeking candidates for jobs in Colorado.

  2. Forgetting your “headline.” LinkedIn gives you a headline of one to three lines underneath your name. You get 120 characters to hook the viewer on your profile. Instead of listing, “seeking next opportunity,” consider something that uses the keywords for the types of job you’re seeking, is interesting and provides value to the viewer. For instance, instead of “Army veteran looking for IT job,” consider, “Passionate about using technology to solve complex business problems and integrate solutions for innovative companies.”

  3. Wearing your uniform. Your profile photo is typically the first thing a viewer sees when they come to your LinkedIn profile. If you’ve already separated from the military and your profile photo continues to show you in uniform, you could send the message to recruiters that you’re not ready for a civilian job. Show yourself dressed in the clothes of the job you aspire to secure.

  4. Showcasing your spouse. I’ve seen many LinkedIn profile photos where individuals use their wedding photo, baby picture, or photo of them with a pet instead of a professional headshot. LinkedIn is a professional online platform, and your photo should feature only you.

  5. Not posting. The point of LinkedIn is to learn about each other and find ways to share value. If you only “like” other people’s posts, and don’t share your own perspective, ideas, thoughts, information or successes, others can’t get to know you. In particular, recruiters and hiring managers won’t learn who you are, what you value, what you’re knowledgeable in, and where you might be a fit for their company.

Job seekers on LinkedIn should remember that employers scour the platform looking for candidates who might not even be in the job market yet. They want to see what you write about, how you articulate your experience and value, and what benefit you could provide to their company.

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Upcoming career events nationwide

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Check out these upcoming career events for veterans, servicemembers and military spouses:

May 2: Fort Buchanan Military Hiring Fair. Open to active-duty servicemembers, Guard and reserve, veterans and military spouses. 8:30 a.m., job seeker registration; 9 a.m., career connections workshop; 10:30 a.m., hiring fair. Fort Buchanan Community Club, Depot Road, Bldg. 660, Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico.

May 9: Military Spouse Employment Forum – Colorado Springs. Open to all military, veteran and Gold Star spouses; servicemembers and veterans are also welcome. 8:30 a.m., job seeker registration; 9 a.m., event kickoff; 9:15 a.m., real spouse, real stories panel; 10:15 a.m., workshops: networking your way to employment and your 30-second commercial; 11 a.m., LinkedIn and social media best practices panel; 11:45 a.m., keynote speaker and lunch; 12:45 p.m., resume development for military spouses. Peterson Air Force Club, 260 Glasgow Ave., Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.

May 16: Boston Hiring Expo with the Boston Red Sox. Open to active-duty servicemembers, Guard and reserve, veterans and military spouses. 9 a.m., job seeker registration; 9:30 a.m., career connections workshop; 11 a.m., hiring fair. All registered veteran and military spouse job seekers who attend the hiring expo are eligible to receive up to two free tickets to attend the evening's game between the Red Sox and the Oakland A’s. Fenway Park, 4 Yawkey Way, Boston.

May 22: Hurlburt Field Transition Summit. Open to active-duty servicemembers, Guard and reserve, veterans and military spouses. 8:30 a.m., job seeker registration; 9 a.m., welcome and keynote remarks; 9:30 a.m., career connections workshop; 10 a.m., LinkedIn for veterans and military spouses workshop; 11 a.m., interactive panel discussion with employers; noon, lunch and learn: fast track industry workshop; 12:30 p.m., pay negotiation and benefits workshop; 1 p.m., hiring fair. Soundside Club, 107 Kissam St., Hurlburt Field, Fla.

May 24: Fort Belvoir-Springfield Job Fair. 10 a.m.-noon, reserved for candidates who have active security clearance/military and veterans; noon-2 p.m., open to all jobseekers. American Legion Post 176, 6520 Amherst Ave., Springfield, Va.

May 24: San Antonio Military Spouse Networking Event. Open to all military, veteran and Gold Star spouses; servicemembers and veterans are also welcome. 7-9 p.m. USAA Headquarters/USAA Bank Lobby, 10750 W. I-10, San Antonio.

May 31: Coast Guard Base Seattle Transition Summit. Open to active-duty servicemembers, Guard and reserve, veterans and military spouses. 8 a.m., job seeker registration; 8:30 a.m., opening remarks; 8:45 a.m., career connection workshop; 9:30 a.m., LinkedIn workshop for veterans and military spouses; 10:30 a.m., industry briefings; 1 p.m., mock interviews, resume review and free LinkedIn profile photos. Coast Guard Base Seattle, 1519 Alaskan Way South, Seattle.

June 1: Seattle Hiring Expo with the Seattle Mariners. Open to active-duty servicemembers, Guard and reserve, veterans and military spouses. 9 a.m., job seeker registration; 10 a.m., hiring fair. All registered veteran and military spouse job seekers who attend the hiring expo are eligible to receive up to two free tickets to attend the evening's game between the Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays. Safeco Field, 1250 1st Ave. South, Seattle.

Schedules subject to change. Follow the links for full details, including base access requirements if applicable, and keep tabs on other upcoming career fairs at

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Without volunteers, where would we be?

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Dear American Legion Family and Friends,

Behind every successful nonprofit organization is a high-performing team of volunteers. In The American Legion, it’s more than a team. It’s a community.

Our volunteers run American Legion youth programs. Without their leadership, American Legion Boys State and Boys Nation would be impossible. Without American Legion Family volunteers, our Oratorical contestants — from local to national levels — would not have the opportunity to learn in-depth about the Constitution and hone their public speaking skills. Without our patriotic members who freely give their time, school children would not learn flag respect.

American Legion volunteers also provide assistance at VA hospitals, Vet Centers, long-term care facilities and more. Our members shuttle veterans to their medical appointments, spend time with them on holidays, provide chaplain services and much more.

The impact is incredible. Consider this: Last year, American Legion volunteers contributed 794,813 recorded hours for an annual savings of more than $19 million for VA. To learn more about volunteering, download our brochure on Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service(VAVS).

This week is National Volunteer Week, a time for organizations across the country to honor volunteers for their selfless contributions and recognize the irreplaceable impact of their time and energy all year round.

To all of our volunteers, thank you for what you do. You have my everlasting gratitude this week in particular for what you do year-round, so often without recognition or fanfare. Volunteerism is the very soul of our organization, and this is a time to remember and recognize that.

Please join me this week in thanking American Legion Family volunteers. Chances are, you are volunteering right next to one today.

Family First.

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Did you know?

Military Funeral Honors ceremonies must be scheduled in advance.

The law requires that every eligible veteran receive a military funeral honors ceremony, which includes the folding and presentation of the United States flag and the playing of “taps,” upon the family’s request. This Department of Defense program calls for the funeral director to request military funeral honors on behalf of the veteran’s family.