Veterans' Employment Services in Michigan: February 2021 Newsletter

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February 2021

Veterans' Employment Services Newsletter


Message from Veterans’ Employment Services

VES logo

Welcome to the Labor and Economic Opportunity, Veterans’ Employment Services (VES) Newsletter. Our mission is to assist you and your family secure meaningful careers in Michigan.

The concept of veterans helping veterans is a trademark of the VES team and one of the keys to its success. Veterans face many challenges when transitioning out of the military – finding meaningful employment should not be one of them.

The individualized, one-on-one career services provided are designed to assist veterans in reducing or eliminating identified barriers with maximum emphasis directed toward serving veterans who are economically or educationally disadvantaged, homeless, or are vocational rehabilitation clients. This is accomplished through advocacy, community outreach, engagement, and encouragement.

  • Veterans in need of employment assistance should contact the nearest Michigan Works! One-Stop Service Center by calling 800-285-WORKS (9675) or visiting
  • More information about Veterans’ Employment Services is available at
  • Register today and start your job search at Pure Michigan Talent Connect at

VES Incarcerated Veterans Workshops

Photo of veterans

For incarcerated veterans, getting a job after prison can be discouraging. Many experience the feeling that “no one wants to hire you” because of the perceived stigma surrounding incarceration. For long-term inmates, many find the working environment has changed while they were away – different skills are now valued, work ethics have changed, the job market has evolved.

In response, Veterans Employment Services launched a series of incarcerated veterans’ workshops to assist Michigan Veterans seeking to reenter the workforce. The goal? To assist incarcerated individuals in becoming productive returning citizens prior to their release.

The VES program, in close collaboration and partnership with the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC), provides individualized career services and in-person workshops prior to release from incarceration. To date, nearly 300 incarcerated veterans have received individualized career services to aid them in successful reintegrate within Michigan’s workforce. Many of those individuals have gone on to find employment in their communities thanks to these efforts and working directly with a Veterans Career Advisor upon their return to society.

Steve McLane, lead workshop facilitator, along with instructors Deborah Bohanon and Scott Hamel have conducted workshops and collaborated closely with MDOC representatives to provide targeted services to facilities such as the Saginaw Correctional Facility in Freeland, Woman’s Huron Valley in Ypsilanti, and the Carson City Correctional Facility.

To find out more about VES and the services it provides, visit the VES website at

Practical Employment Planning: Cover Letters and Resumes

Resume graphic image

Ask 10 people their opinion on the importance of cover letters and resumes, and you will get 10 different responses, especially on the topic of cover letters. Well, let us add an eleventh response – understanding the relationship between the two.

Think of it this way: have you ever seen a keynote speaker just walk onto the stage and introduce themselves before starting their talk? No. There is always a moderator who introduces the speaker and highlights the speaker’s background and their key talking points. They accomplish all this while speaking in a style targeted to the audience’s expectations: educational, formal or casual. 

Now apply this relationship rule when outlining your cover letter and resume. The cover letter exists to introduce you and to summarize relevant key points a reader needs to know to help make an informed decision. Also keep in mind:

  • The first or second reader may be a computer-based program.
  • Computer-based readers search for keywords or phrases.
  • A hiring manager will spend less than 30 seconds on a review.
  • Hiring managers are searching for the right fit. A singular definition of the term right fit does not exist, so do not stress over it.

So, take a second to see if your current cover letter and resume complement one another.   

Easy Cover Letter Guidelines:

  • Use a standard cover letter format. The format found in most word processing programs is a great place to start.
  • Single page typed using a scannable font size. When in doubt, use Arial 11 point.
  • Include a greeting and salutation.
  • Include 3-4 short paragraphs written in a narrative form using a conversational tone. Use simple words, get to the point, then stop.
  • List your key points by order of importance.
  • Proofread, proofread, then proofread again. Give a friend 30 seconds to read your cover letter and have them recite the main points.

Easy Resume Guidelines:

  • Do not stress over resume fads. A standard format found in your word processing program is the easiest way to get started.
  • No more than two pages typed using a scannable font size. When in doubt, use Arial 11 point.
  • Recommend using bullet statements over narratives statements. They are easier to read and scan.
  • Identify relevant keywords and phrases from the job description.
  • Target your resume by writing key points based on identified keywords and phrases. A winning strategy when writing a key point is to embed keywords in your skills or achievements statements.
  • Proofread, proofread, then proofread again. Give a friend 30 seconds to read your resume and have them recite the main points.

Create a PDF version for uploading into a database and a word-processed version for editing and cutting and pasting into an online application. MS WORD 10 has a built-in PDF converter, or you can use Adobe’s online converter tool.

Let us close with this thought: Hiring managers know that exaggerations about skills are the most common resume embellishment. It is best to be truthful about what you can really do and then express a strong desire to learn in any areas you may have weakness.

For more information on cover letters and resumes, contact your local Michigan Works! Service Center and ask about employment workshops.

Veterans Helping Veterans banner

A Veterans’ Employment Services Success Story: VES Team Helps Service-Connected Disability Veteran

Photo of Michael (Mick) Albig

Ms. Ashley Hadley registered at the Michigan Works! Southeast – Hillsdale Service Center as a job seeker. Realizing Ms. Hadley was a service-connected disability veteran and a single mother of two, she was referred to Mick Albig, Veterans Career Advisor, for additional career services.

Together, they developed a comprehensive employment plan based on her experience and her passion for wanting to work in the human services/ social work field. Her employment plan called for Ms. Hadley to start by participating in career development workshops such as job search planning, resume/ cover letter writing, and interviewing for success.  

While attending the classes, Mick assembled her employment team by making connections with career advisors and case managers from the Hillsdale Michigan Works! Talent Investment, Business Services, and WIOA teams.

Photo of Michael Albig and Ashley Hadley

The team effort began to pay off, and she started to receive calls to interview for different positions with the community. As a testament to her character, Ms. Hadley took on two part-time jobs to keep income coming into her household while she continued to secure a career position related to her goals of working in the social services field.

Then one day it happened: Ms. Hadley was offered and accepted employment as the Housing Advocate for the Supportive Services for Veterans and Families program, operated by the Community Action Agency. Her focus will be on serving homeless veterans and helping other veterans with homeless prevention.

Though it was a team effort, Ms. Hadley’s unrelenting drive and perseverance while engaging in a determined job search made all the difference.

Virtual Job Fair Calendar banner

Check out these upcoming Virtual Job Fairs

Hired in Michigan Career Expo

The Hired in Michigan Career Expo will be Wednesday, February 24, from 9:00 AM-7:00 PM. The virtual event is free for all job seekers to attend; interview early by forwarding your resume to this email Online registration required to attend the online/virtual career expo. Candidates can join the online career expo using their cellphone, laptop, tablet or computer. For more information, visit

Northwest Michigan Virtual Career and Employment Fair

Join NMC and Northwest Michigan Works! online to connect with employers who have hundreds of job openings in the Grand Traverse Area! Be sure to check out all the job fairs and industries represented in the series March 2 - Retail, Food Service and Hospitality. March 3 - Business, Healthcare and Other. March 4 - Construction, Technical, Manufacturing, Automotive and Transportation. For more information, visit

Lansing Community College's Job and Internship Fair - Healthcare

The Healthcare Virtual Job & Internship Fair will be Tuesday, March 16, from 9:00 AM -12:00 PM and from 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM. It is open to all LCC students, LCC alumni and the general public. This virtual event will feature employers hiring for full-time, part-time, and internship positions in healthcare. There is no cost to participate. To learn more and to register, visit

To see the latest job and career events throughout the State of Michigan, please visit the Pure Michigan Talent Connect Career Events Calendar.


If you are a veteran looking for information concerning education, health care, benefits or quality of life programs, please visit the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency for more information, or call the Michigan Veteran Resource Service Center at 800-MICH-VET. 

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Veterans' Employment Services is part of Workforce Development, within the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity's Office of Employment and Training.