Thursday, January 31, 2019

Building a Linkedin Profile for When You Leave the Service

  Linkedin has been around for several years, and a few of my former colleagues have likened it to “Facebook for Professionals.”  But it is much more than just another social network; it is a tool to help you find gainful employment, build a network, and at the very least aid in recommending subordinates, co-workers, and teammates in their future job hunts.

  Years ago, I created a Linkedin profile solely for the purpose of endorsing my Soldiers who had completed their time in the Army. My profile was very bare bones, but I had a skeleton of job titles and dates of employments.  As I thought more about retirement, I fleshed out my profile and added more meat and substance to my profile.

  In my year of casually looking for employment, I noticed that my Linkedin profile was key to applying for several jobs in the private and public sector, so I want to share what I have learned or told other military people about Linkedin profiles.

  If you don’t have one already, the first thing you should do is create a profile. Besides the reasons previously mentioned, a Linkedin profile helps you remember previous job assignments and duty responsibilities… as long as you remember to add them. I have used my Linkedin profile as my reference tool on several occasions when I tweaked personalized job resumes by seeing which duties and responsibilities fit and matched the specific job requirements.

  The next thing you should truly consider the privacy and public viewing settings for your profile.  I know several people in the service who set their Linkedin profiles to private. I understand the need to keep lives private, but when it comes to recruiters and job seekers, your resume and parts of your life should be available. I’ve known people who worked at some pretty obscure jobs who made it almost impossible to find on Linkedin, which makes it that much harder to connect and build networks and endorsements.  On the other hand though, if you don’t want your picture out there for Google and other search engines to show anyone searching your name, you can set your profile up to not show it to unregistered users. I do.

  I cannot stress the importance that you have to have a good portion available for recruiters and head hunters to find you.  Your privacy settings also help Linkedin find potential jobs that line up with your job skills or interests.

  Speaking of pictures, you should make sure your Linkedin picture is somewhat professional looking. Or at least, avoid all efforts to put in your favorite picture of something blowing up in the background and you looking surprised. A good photo should have your head and shoulders.  If you are Active Duty, having your profile picture depict you in uniform is not a big deal, but once you get out of the service, change it. You don’t need to wear a tuxedo or a suit and tie, but you wearing your favorite band t-shirt is not going to help your prospects of landing that supervisor job with the county or state.

  When you think you have your Linkedin profile built, Linkedin may suggest a “summary” as a part of your profile’s introduction. I recommend building it yourself. I recently started a new job in the library. Linkedin thought my summary should read as

“Veteran Library assistant with 25 years of experience in supervision, management, and team building.”  While those words are true, individually or in phrases, they depict that I’ve been working in a library for decades rather than a month. So, be careful when letting Linkedin or any website autofill or complete your information.

Linkedin is a great tool, and it will help you find jobs in cities you’re looking in.  And from what I’ve seen in my previous job searches, Linkedin does not questionable job offerings that I’ve seen on other websites such as and (though they are still ranked among the best in finding job opportunities).  At the very least, use Linkedin to keep an account of your military accomplishments (take bullets and key parts from your NCOER or OER), and build out your professional profile so that when you are no longer wearing the uniform you will have a good start on that resume. And use Linkedin to take care of your subordinates and teammates by endorsing their relevant and corresponding skills.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Race Shirts: Which Brands Runners Love and Which Ones to Avoid

My Collection from the Past Four Years

I recently went through all the shirts I got from races in the past four years.  There are quite a few I like, and some I’ll wear when it’s almost time to do laundry.  But I do like them all, even if a few of the non-performance shirts are pretty thick.  

  I will however say that there is an order of precedence when it comes to what kind of shirts a runner would like to see coming from a race organizer.

  After sifting through my collection of race memorabilia, I created my list of bottom tier to top of the wish list when it comes to what kind of shirt runners like me would like to see in our swag bags.

  Bottom tier contains brands such as Gildan and Hanes.  I consider these the mainstream and underwear brands because most people know those two names has a part of their undergarment wardrobe.

Disco Dash (Gildan Heavy Cotton Blend)

  Gildan has several styles and brands that they use.  My Gildan preference from first to worst are:

Anvil  (a nice thin shirt)
Gildan Dry Blend (not thick, but not thin cotton blend)
Alstyle (feels like Gildan’s Soft Style, but I rank higher because of a particular race)
Gildan Soft Style (not-so-thick cotton blend)
Gildan Heavy Cotton Blend (thick cotton blend)

811 Run (Gildan Soft Style)

  Gildan’s Heavy Cotton Blend, Soft Style, and by extension Alstyle are a lot thicker than I would like when it comes to running and cardio training. They aren’t conducive to dealing with sweat; the tops get a lot heavier the more you perspire.
Stephen Siller Tunner to Towers 5k (Alstyle)

Cooper River Bridge Run (Dry Blend)
Cooper River Bridge Run (Dry Blend)
Gildan’s Dry Blend is not thin, but it works a lot better than those others when it comes to a sweaty work-out.  I find it noteworthy that the only Dry Blend shirts I’ve gotten come from the Cooper River Bridge Run.

  Anvil, on the other hand, is a very thin shirt that breathes well and when it becomes full of sweat or water, doesn’t feel anywhere near as heavy as any of Gildan’s other brands and styles that I’ve received over the years.

  Hanes is also used quite a bit when it comes to race shirts, but it has not been as plentiful as Gildan’s variety in the races I’ve done.  From Hanes’ line of products, I have received five different types of shirts to include one line of performance or tech shirt.

Guardians of the Night (Hanes Nano)

Hot Summer's Night (Hanes X-Temp)

  As I said earlier, Hanes and Gildan almost run neck and neck in their availability to race organizers and the thickness of certain shirts.  But Hanes does produce a couple of lines of thinner shirts and the aforementioned tech shirt.

Mont Kemba (Hanes Comfort Dri)
  I’m not a huge fan of their basic shirt nor their Comfort Soft line, but the Nano and X-Temp are acceptable in quality, fit, and comfort.  The Hanes Comfort Dry technical shirt feels very similar to A4’s thin tech shirts.

Port and Company Shirt (Red Shoe Run)
I have a set of shirts made by Sport Tek and Port and Company.  The Sport Tek shirt is a tech shirt that can easily be mistaken for an A4 performance shirt, while the Port and Company shirts feel very similar to Gildan's Soft Blend.

Delta Apparel Shirt (Governor's Cup)
Delta Dri Shirt (Savannah Bridge Run)
  I own two types of Delta Apparel shirts. The first set is similar in to Gildan’s Soft Blend.  The Delta shirt I own a Delta Dri shirt, and it is a thin running shirt that is smooth feeling and fits really good on the body.

  For performance shirts, I have received race shirts manufactured by A4, Expert Brand, and Recover. 

Run Hard Lexington (A4 thin)
Run & Ride Carowinds (A4 thick)
  My A4 shirts come in two styles, thin and silky or thicker but sturdy.  I really like both since they have moisture wicking capabilities, but for A4, I honestly prefer A4’s thicker shirts over their thinner shirts.

Zoom Through the Zoo's Expert Brand Shirt
  The one Expert Brand shirt I own is similar in style to A4’s thicker performance shirts. In fact, the only reason I don’t wear this shirt more often is because the race logo’s design is a little smaller than I would have liked. It’s nick-picking, but when you own over 60 race shirts, more than a dozen regular running shirts, and a plethora of pop culture t-shirts, there’s just some shirts that don’t get worn much.

The Great Chocolate Race. Great Shirt, Not Great Race.
  The one Recover brand performance shirt is in the same boat at my “Zoom Through the Zoo 5k” shirt by Expert Brand.  I actually love the feel and comfort of this long sleeved, thin technical shirt, but it is the race that I’m not happy with, or rather the race organizers, so I don’t want to give them much publicity by wearing this particular shirt.

  But the top two brand for race shirts goes to Next Level and Tultex, with Tultex being the champion. Both have a great thin shirt that gives great comfort and style with little to no sacrifice to quality. 

  I have yet to be disappointed by a Tultex shirt and Next Level is an overall great shirt to own.
True to the Brew Half Marathon (Tultex)
Get to the Green (Tultex)

  However, if a running shoe company provides a shirt for a race, you can bet that will be the top tier for race swag. I've done races where Mizuno produced the shirts and I've done a run in which New Balance provided a shirt, but I've worn my Nike running shirt the most. Shoe companies definitely know what kind of shirts athletes, everyday runners, and fitness enthusiasts want to wear.

Daybreak 10 Miler (Mizuno Performance Shirt)

New Balance Shirt

My Team RWB shirt by Nike (well worn and washed)

  You can check out my videos showing all my race shirts here:

  And you can see the full shirt review of each brand here: