SkillBridge Resident

Congratulations, you have achieved Command Approval! Here you will find everything you need to have a successful SkillBridge Residency (Internship)!

1

Set yourself up for a Successful SkillBridge Residency!

Below are some suggestions to ensure a successful SkillBridge residency. We acknowledge that transitioning can be challenging, especially if this is your first experience working in the corporate sector after serving in the military. We have compiled a list of comments, facts, and recommendations for you to consult regularly. These resources will assist you in navigating this unfamiliar environment more effectively.

Preparing for your start date:

Keep in contact with your host company and Vets2PM and let both know of any concerns, questions, or changes right away. We can’t help resolve an issue or answer a question if you don’t contact us. 

Two weeks before your start date: 

Complete the ‘SkillBridge Orientation Course’ in Vets2PM student portal (log into the Vets2PM site and go to the ‘Student Portal’ and then to the SkillBridge Orientation Course.

  1. Complete the Workforce Tax Credit (WOTC) and email pdf to jessica@vets2pm.com
  2. Download the ‘Tracking Your Time’ excel spreadsheet and log your hours.
  3. Add your emergency contact information. 
  4. Review the free resources available to you in your Student Portal.

Accept Slack invitation from Vets2PM and check in. This will come to your personal email address. You will receive this invitation two weeks before your start date. Check your spam/junk folder as this invitation may land there. Check spam/junk folder frequently during this transition time.

During Your Residency:

Keep in touch with Vets2PM regularly!

  • Attend our regular Zoom meeting held on the 1st and 3rd Thursday’s of each month at Noon Eastern for guidance and fellowship. (mandatory unless you are in meetings with your host company) 
  • Update your resume and include your internship.
  • Utilize the ‘Resume Optimization Course’ and ‘Resume Template’ in your Student Portal.
  • Attend our monthly Zoom meeting when your internship is 45 days from end date. We will discuss your interview with your host company, your job search, answer questions, etc. It is the same Zoom link as the regular Zoom meetings, but is held on the 4th Thursday of the month before you transition.

Contact us if you have any questions during the internship – we are here to help

2

Navigating ‘Corporate America’:

About your host company:

‘Corporate America’ is not one entity. Each company is vastly different from the next. Some have strict policies and others are more blurred. Some have many employees, and others are very small. Small companies can run more freely, and larger companies usually have very strict policies. Understanding how your host company works will help you handle many situations.

Dress Code:

Every company has its own dress code policy. It is essential to inquire about the expected attire for both office and video meetings. While many companies have become more casual in their dress standards, it is crucial to recognize that each company has its unique guidelines. By asking about the dress code, you can avoid any unexpected or embarrassing situations. You should always attend video meetings looking clean and professional. Despite what others are wearing, always look well-kept and professional.

Time off:

Your host company is not the DoD/Military and they likely do not have the same time off policies. When in a SkillBridge internship you are expected to follow your host company policies. What ever time off you would have in the military does not apply during the internship. Here is information to help you with requesting time off.

  1. Ask for personal time-off as early as possible. Other than for medical appointments you should not be asking for much personal time off. However, this is ‘life,’ and sometimes you will need to, especially if your internship is longer than 90 days. As soon as you determine that you need to take a day off, ask IMMEDIATELY. Depending on the size of the company or department you are working in there may be coverage issues. The sooner you ask for time off the more likely it will get approved. Your ‘time off’ benefits from the military do not apply in your SkillBridge internship.
  2. What federal holidays does your company observe? ASK! Typically, a company will observe: New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day (and possibly the day after Thanksgiving), Christmas Day. Other federal holidays (MLK Day, Indigenous People’s Day, Juneteenth, Columbus Day, etc.) may be observed. Some companies shut down between Christmas and New Years, but most don’t. If you are in an internship during any of these federal holidays, ask if they are observed so you know.
  3. Vacation Time: Again, vacation time during an internship should be kept to a minimum and is not guaranteed. Your host company does not recognize your time off accrued during the military. If you want or need time off, simply speak to your SkillBridge host manager and ask. Do not wait until the last minute – as soon as you know you need a day off, ask immediately and get it on the calendar. Most host companies understand that you have a life outside of work, and may be happy to accommodate, but if you ask at the last minute, you may not be granted the time off. Also, let Vets2PM know when you are taking time off so we can track.
  4. International Travel: This is not suggested during your internship. Keep in mind that you are still active duty during your internship and any travel, and especially international travel, must be cleared by your command, host company, and Vets2PM prior to making any plans.
  5. Doctor’s appointments: We let our host companies know that you may have VA appointments, and doctor’s appointments during the internship and they should be flexible on this. Again, please let them know as soon as possible when you need time off for these appointments.
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Navigating Remote Working (if your internship is remote):

Remote working can be a completely new world to navigate for you. It has many benefits and also some challenges, especially if you’ve never worked remotely before. Note: Not all employers allow remote working. This will only apply to those that do.

  1. Computer: Your host company may provide you with computer equipment, and others don’t. If they do, please care for it and be sure to return it when requested at the end of the internship (if you get hired, this likely won’t be needed.) If your host company doesn’t provide equipment, you should have a working laptop or desktop computer. Most companies use Microsoft/Windows (PCs) versus Mac (Apple) operating systems. If you use an apple laptop, please be sure you have Microsoft Office on your Mac so you can communicate and share documents.
  2. Monitors: While we can’t dictate that you purchase additional equipment, having an additional monitor so you have two screens, is very beneficial when working from home. Think of it this way, one monitor can be used for the video while on a Zoom or Teams call, and the other monitor can be used to look up content that you are discussing. There are many affordable monitors you can purchase if you want to optimize your productivity.
  3. Speakers, Microphone, and/or Headphones: Since you are working remotely it is imperative you have working speakers and/or headphones.
  4. Office: Make sure you set up a quiet and peaceful area to work, if possible. This helps remove distractions while working or while in meetings.
  5. Loneliness: Working from home/remotely has so many benefits, because you are in the comfort of your own home, can take the dog out, run a quick errand, etc., but if you are not used to working at home you may begin to crave human interaction. Be sure you have a good support system and use this time to determine if working remotely is the best option for you!
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Training during your Internship:

  1. Your host company will train you as part of the OJT. You will learn their processes, about the job, the industry your company is in, and may include specific training modules such as safety, etc.
  2. Your internship may include additional training from Vets2PM. This will be outlined in your approval email.
  3. Vets2PM will keep in contact with you regularly during your internship. It is essential that you keep in touch with us as well. If you have any questions, concerns, or require any form of assistance, we anticipate you reaching out to us so we can help you address and resolve any issues. Without being aware of any problems, we cannot provide the necessary support to resolve them.

The Office Environment:

When interning onsite, it is important to dedicate time to familiarize yourself with the office culture at your new company. The atmosphere is likely to be more relaxed compared to the military, and the dress code may be more flexible as well. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to meet numerous new individuals. Given that many of your colleagues may not have a military background, you might initially feel out of place. However, try to integrate with your colleagues and become acquainted with their way of communicating. If you encounter unfamiliar terms or concepts, do not hesitate to ask for clarification and be kind to yourself during the learning process. It will not take long to grasp their way of communicating. Remember, as part of your internship, you received a digital copy of the book ‘How to Speak Civilian Fluently…’ Make sure to read it as it will be a valuable resource in helping you adapt to the civilian language and culture.

Each company has a different hierarchy:

You are very used to the military rank and hierarchy and it’s not always so clear in corporate America. Job titles can be very different and not always descriptive of their ‘level’ in the organization. If you have questions or concerns, ask your immediate supervisor how they handle communication within the host company and follow that guidance. You can always ask Vets2PM and we will help you navigate the process.

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Interviewing for the job with your host:

Research the company you are interning with. Visit the company’s website to learn about the company before your interview. Having a comprehensive understanding of the company’s operations is crucial. That is how you can show your interviewer that you are not grasping for straws, and you are interested in the company’s mission and vision.

Once you receive an invite for your interview, research who is interviewing you by looking up their LinkedIn profile.

Dress for success...at minimum dress in Business Casual.

If you are looking for a permanent job with the company at the end of your internship, ask if there is a good chance of that. Some companies hire SkillBridge for full-time employment, but some also just want to support military members and their journey while transitioning from the military.

How you are a good fit – Despite the fact that the SkillBridge internship may be different from your current military position, understand that your years of experience, knowledge, skills and abilities can be an excellent fit for the internship/role – and most skills will transfer into any industry. Your host company will train you in their industry – that is why they are a SkillBridge host!

Be prepared to ask a few questions (most interviewers will ask at the end of the interview if you have questions). When constructing questions, think about your role, the company, the future of the company, etc.

  • Does the company accommodate flexible work schedule?
  • What are the expected work hours and what is the pay range for the position?
  • Does the company have benefits upon full time hire, and what are they?
  • What is the opportunity for advancement within the company if hired (positions/timeline, etc.)
  • If the company has multiple locations are there opportunities to transfer?

Put your thinking caps on…you might get thrown a few curve balls in effort to see how you think or problem solve. The interviewer may also ask about your role vs. the team. Think about your individual contributions.

Remove any potential distractions. When participating in a virtual interview, it is important to find a dedicated and quiet environment to ensure minimal interruptions. Demonstrating to the interviewer that you value this opportunity is crucial. (Please refrain from conducting the interview while driving, while at a playground, dog park, or any similarly distracting locations).

Think about what you can bring to their team. You are there to sell yourself!

TIP: Join our Facebook Group. Vets2PM has a group called: Vets2PM SkillBridge Exchange which can be found here. Join the group and learn about job opportunities from our employer partners and other companies. Our job board has a comprehensive list, but our Facebook group has others.  (Be sure to answer ALL the questions when you join the group or you won’t be approved.)

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Vets2PM Debrief:

  • Join our monthly Zoom meeting when you are 45 days from the end of your internship – it is the same Zoom link as our regular meetings, but it is held on the 4th Thursday of each month. We will discuss your interview with your host company, your job search, and answer questions/provide guidance.
  • Please finish the ‘Nearing the End of Your SkillBridge‘ course available in the SkillBridge Orientation section of your Student Portal. Upon completion, you can take our Exit Survey, which helps us improve our program. Additionally, you can obtain a Certificate of Completion that can be printed.

FAQ’s

Do I get the same time off that I did in the military?

During SkillBridge you follow your host company time off policies. You are not entitled to the same time off as in the military. Ask your host employer when you are unsure.

Professionally, and per your host company guidelines. Ask if you are not sure.

Ask Vets2PM or your direct host supervisor if you are not sure. It is not a good idea in corporate America to bypass your direct supervisor, so in this instance, ask your supervisor. If you’re not sure, speak to Vets2PM and we will guide you.

They should, but ASK them before you incur any expense. Again, ask your Vets2PM team if you are not sure.

Generally, yes. If your host company needs you to travel they should cover all travel expenses and ‘per diem’ which covers food/meals, etc. Before you do any travel, ask them about their policies, how to handle the expenses, etc. And, let Vets2PM know you are traveling. If you are asked to do any international travel you must ask your command (and Vets2PM) before making any plans. Remember, you are still Active Duty and must follow this guidance.

Generally, NO. Mileage generally is from the office/usual work location to the customer site, not from your home. If you work remotely (100% of the time), this may be different. Ask your host before incurring mileage from home.

NO. You are not permitted to receive any pay during your internship. (If your host reimburses for expenses, you are allowed to accept this – reimbursement for expenses incurred – but no pay.)

YES, as long as they give that same shirt to other employees. You are not allowed to accept anything that isn’t standard procedure. If they give a shirt to all employees, they can give one to you.