Financial Resources available for those impacted by COVID-19

Financial Resources available for those impacted by COVID-19

Jamie Rimphanli
Latest posts by Jamie Rimphanli (see all)

Have you been laid off or furloughed due to the pandemic? There are programs in place to support you during this time. It is important to stay resilient and diligent through this process as there are a high volume of individuals who face similar problems. Right now, your job is to get access to the funds that can help you through the months of unemployment.

CARES Act

What does this act mean to you? Get the basic facts on how the CARES Act works here.

Unemployment Insurance

Unemployment amount is increased under the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, including those who were ineligible like contractors or business owners. To qualify, you must be ineligible for any other state or federal unemployment benefits; unemployed, partially unemployed, or cannot work due to the COVID-19 public health emergency; and cannot telework or receive paid leave.

How long will you receive benefits and how much should you expect?

• Unemployment benefits are expanded and increased to $600 per week for up to four months. If your benefits run out, you can file for a 13-week extension until the end of the year.

• To file a claim, click here and search from your state.

The Stimulus Check or Recovery Rebate for Individual Taxpayers

The purpose of the rebate is to bolster the economy. This refundable tax credit is automatic via direct deposit or paper check. The rebate decreases a taxpayer’s tax liability dollar-for-dollar, and the credit can be refunded to a taxpayer if they have no tax liability to offset. This is applicable to taxpayers who submitted their tax return in 2019 or 2018. Not everyone will get a rebate and Credit Karma has an easy-to-read table on the cap. There’s also a handy tool from Tax Foundation available below to view your rebate.

Health Insurance

There are options for your health insurance. qualify for free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

COBRA – The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) gives workers and their families the right to choose to continue group health benefits provided by their group health plan for limited periods of time.

Affordable Healthcare Act – You may qualify under three different plans: Marketplace Insurance Plan, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Defer Your Bills

During this time, it’s important to talk to your utility providers, credit card companies, car notes and insurance, and student loans. Utility providers are offering deferments ensuring not to turn off the power, water, and gas. The government and charitable programs are available and you can find programs by calling 211.  In addition, the new law also suspends payments for six months.

Housing

The government is calling for all states, counties, and states a ban on evictions and offer forbearance. Different local state governments are taking action on property owners disobeying this call to action. As this is an ongoing issue, across the country, there’s a common fight to understand housing as a human right especially during this time.

Food

There are programs to leverage so you can save money.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – SNAP provides nutrition benefits to supplement the food budget of needy families so they can purchase healthy food and move towards self-sufficiency.

SNAP state directory. Under this program, school cafeterias are still offering meal plans and you can pick different meals and snacks for your children.

Emergency Food Assistance Program – The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) helps supplement the diets of low-income Americans by providing them with emergency food assistance at no cost.

Job Search

Employment will turn around, and some companies are still hiring. If you’re unemployed, it’s vital to prepare to land your next job. If you’re a veteran or a military spouse, Hire Heroes USA is here for you. Be sure to register for our free services and sign up for our webinar, Achieving Success During COVID-19.

Get ready – Prepare your resume, learn what’s out there, and check out freelance work. Upwork has a constant listing of opportunities to help you create your schedule and offer flexibility. Hire Heroes USA is offering additional education through virtual career events

LinkedIn, LinkedIn, LinkedIn! Re-engage with your profile and your contacts. Find out what’s going on and keep a tab on their opportunities. Let recruiters find you.

Virtual Events –  Companies that are still hiring are relying on virtual outreach. Find webinars and virtual career fairs for open positions. Hire Heroes USA has three more this year: May 14, August 13, and October 22. If this is a new experience, we’re here to help. Check out our blog on how to make the most out of your experience.

Debunk Your Bias: Sales Culture

Debunk Your Bias: Sales Culture

This is part two in a series to explore opportunities in Sales and provide insight from experienced sales professionals on different ways to turn sales into a career.

In the last Debunk Your Bias blog, we focused on why veteran and military spouse job seekers may underestimate the potential of sales as a great career opportunity. This time, we’ll focus on company culture, so that you can see how you may fit into this type of environment. 

I think some of the fear of a competitive sales environment stems from the movie Glengarry Glen RossDan Riley, Retired/Custom Design Project Manager at Achieve Global and Volunteer at Hire Heroes USA, shared this movie with me when I asked about sales environments and prospecting. It’s all about the sales culture. There are a couple of noteworthy quotes from the movie:

“ABC. A, always. B, be. C, closing. ALWAYS BE CLOSING. Always be closing.”

“A-I-D-A. Attention, Interest, Decision, Action. Attention – Do I have your attention? Interest – Are you interested? I know you are, because it’s [bleep] or walk. You close or you hit the bricks. Decision – Have you made your decision? And Action.”

Sounds intense, right? As Dan mentioned in his interview, a company’s environment really depends on the organization. Movies sensationalize real-life stories; Glengarry Glen Ross dramatized the sales culture of a real estate office with agents played by big named actors. These big personalities made for exciting drama but that does not speak to all companies’ sales culture. Every organization, with its different products and services, has its own process of success. 

A successful sales environment is one that encourages a positive atmosphere while promoting healthy competition. Do some research and look for indicators that will give you insight into a top-notch sales culture. Salesforce has a blog called “7 Traits of a High Performance Sales Culture,” and it can help you research companies. Here are the seven traits:

  1. 1. A data-driven mindset – The best companies are analyzing growth by collecting hard data. They analyze trends and develop strategies to improve performance. 
  2. 2. Transparency across all levels – You are not only selling a product or service, but also the company brand. Authenticity and integrity are important to any sales professional, so it’s important to know the goals and the objectives of leadership.  
  3. 3. Constant improvement through sales coaching – Like process improvement in the military culture, high performers want to continue growing and improving their skills.
  4. 4. Low rep turnover – At any company, high employee turnover is a bad sign. It’s always best to identify and conduct an informational interview with a senior sales professional at the company. 
  5. 5. Agility and flexibility – Innovation is key to growth. Doing the same thing all the time means you’ll get the same results. It’s important to keep evolving and bringing in fresh ideas. 
  6. 6. Healthy competition – The drive to succeed comes with rewards and an environment of successful professionals can motivate you to do your best. You can learn and grow with a team that inspires you.
  7. 7. A common vision – This is a team effort. As an individual, you want to be successful, but the biggest successes are wins for the whole organization. From the sales team to the executive leaders, everyone should believe in a common goal and work toward it. 

Military organizations are different from private companies, but you can see the obvious similarities in these traits. It is important that everyone believes in a mission, works together beyond self-interest, focuses on a greater goal, and adapts to the economy by innovation and process improvement. Doesn’t this sound like the military?

In mid-July, I had the opportunity to interview Amanda J. Armstrong who is a Senior Manager of Sales Effectiveness at Grainger. Amanda joined Grainger in March 2016 after serving more than two decades in the United States Air Force, retiring as a Senior Master Sergeant. Amanda has worked in sales leadership as a Manager of Inside Sales, Senior Manager, and in Sales Leader Development. Amanda’s husband is active duty Air Force and stationed in San Antonio, Texas, and they have two teenage children. She is not only a veteran but also a military spouse!

(Beginning of Interview)

(Jamie) What is it like to work at your company? 

(Amanda) Grainger’s culture is the leading factor of why I enjoy coming to work every day. I enjoy the team/family environment, respect for one another, and the sharing of best practices. It’s nice to come into the office and see people happy to be here! 

(Jamie) What does a typical day or “battle rhythm” look like? 

(Amanda) Every successful day begins with planning! Our sellers plan who they are going to call and what they will talk about while on the phone.  After our team members have planning time, they will jump right into their day by calling their customers, discovering needs by asking thought, provoking questions attempting to gain an opportunity for that customer to expand their business with Grainger. Throughout the day our team members will collaborate with each other, have a 1:1 strategy or mentor meeting with their leader or listen to pre-recorded calls to enhance their sales ability. Even though the day can be fast-paced, the environment always calls for tons of collaboration, sprinkled with fun contests, and A LOT of LAUGHS! 

(Jamie) There’s a fear that sales comes with heavy prospecting that veterans/military spouses may not have the network or know-how. How are customers or clients attracted to the company’s services or products?

(Amanda) It helps that Grainger is what I call a “superpower” in the Industrial Supply space, so fortunately for us, our 90+ year brand goes a long way. If you are hard-working, agile, coachable, dependable, you love a challenge and have a natural ability to build relationships with people, then this is the career for you! Last time I checked, veterans and military spouses have ALL of those attributes.  Our customers know the Grainger brand of reliability, honesty, and customer focus pretty well but if they don’t, you will love working here so much, it will be easy for you to share your passion for Grainger’s values and integrity we bring to our customers every day. 

(Jamie) What is rewarding about being in sales? 

(Amanda) Helping our customers! Getting in front of them to make sure we help keep their businesses running while keeping their people safe. We take great pride by being the #1 Safety Supplier in North America and there is no other satisfaction than keeping people safe. I also like hitting my sales number. I would be lying if I didn’t mention the thrill of my hard work to close that sale.

(Jamie) How does the compensation structure look like? Is it just a base pay plus commission or commission only?

(Amanda) For the Inside Sales Associate position in San Antonio, there is a base pay component as well as commission pay for hitting revenue targets. 

 (Jamie) What are the average and potential income?

(Amanda) A seller who is consistently at 100% to plan will earn close to $46,000 annually, and that includes base pay plus commission. The commission is uncapped, and a seller who is above their sales plan has the potential to earn more. 

(Jamie) What are some misunderstandings about sales? 

(Amanda) 

  • – Sales is cutthroat and there is no collaboration amongst team members  
  • – You must follow sales scripts with no deviation or flexibility when speaking to customers
  • – You must pitch ALL DAY LONG 
  • – It’s unstable and can’t make a reliable income
  • – You can’t build relationships with customers since you’re too busy selling products

Luckily for us, these misunderstandings are not indicative of our culture and what we represent. Here is my take on it: 

At Grainger, we promote a team environment and love to cross-pollinate between teams. We find it helps us develop and grow faster. It’s One Team, One Fight for us!

We also believe in communicating with our customers to build relationships. We want our sellers to use their natural ability to conversate and to learn their customers’ business. One of Grainger’s strongest attributes is our ability to build relationships and turn customers into our extended family.

Lastly, our team members work very hard to make a living for their families and we are razor-focused on providing them all the tools necessary to allow them to do that. We have quite a few team members who have been with our Inside Sales group for years and they have built a very comfortable lifestyle for themselves and their families. Not to mention, we also offer a world-class work-life balance for our teams. Monday – Friday, 7:30 – 4:30, weekends and holidays off. Very different from military life!! 

(Jamie) What is the most important quality that someone should possess to be successful? 

(Amanda) I can think of plenty of adjectives to describe my most successful sellers however, tenacity is what comes to mind first.

(Jamie) Veterans and military spouses may not realize they have the qualities to do a sales profession, why do you think they are ideal candidates?

(Amanda) We have seen great success with our vets and military spouses already. Sales requires mental fortitude to get the job done and let’s face it, military families feel that daily and for years. Whether you have donned the uniform or been the backbone to their family supporting the home front, there is a great deal of resilience and tenacity required of you. GRAINGER WANTS THAT! 

(Jamie) Are there any last words you would like to share for our veterans and military spouses?

(Amanda) When I retired, I was scared, and I wasn’t sure what I wanted my career to be. I also wasn’t sure if my skills were going to translate or I was going to get used to not being around my military comrades. What I discovered was I have new comrades and they are very much like my military family. They believe in terms like integrity, ethical behavior and being selfless; Comrades who welcome diversity and promote inclusivity. These concepts are what I have lived my whole adult life by, and I find great comfort knowing I can continue with a company like Grainger.

I have found my new home and I am hoping you will find yours too. Whether you have answered your nation’s call and transitioning to civilian life or you are looking to find a place you can grow a career as you support your service member, Grainger is a place your service is needed and we are looking for more comrades like you. 

Join me and adopt a new slogan. “For the Ones Who Get It Done.”  Suits you…doesn’t it? 

(End of Interview)

It was a pleasure to hear Amanda’s insight, as a veteran and a military spouse. She shared such great information on showing similarities of both cultures and how Grainger could be a great career opportunity for veteran and military spouse job seekers. 

Stay tuned for the next Debunk Your Bias on Sales! For more recommended articles to understand sales cultures, I recommend checking out these articles:

Debunk Your Bias: Sales Jobs

Debunk Your Bias: Sales Jobs

This is part one in a series to explore opportunities in Sales and provide insight from experienced sales professionals on different ways to turn sales into a career.

I want to begin with a scenario. Let’s say a friend reaches out to you about needing help in buying a new car. Your friend trusts you, and you recently bought a car so the experience is still fresh and relevant. You gather information to assess what they’re looking for and then share your insight. When you provide advice, you’ll probably share the reasons behind your recent purchase, along with other options you considered or passed on. Your friend is so grateful for the information, and you help narrow down their choices to two cars. In this very common scenario, when you provide advice – as a good friend would – you’re actually selling your friend on a car.

You might think that’s not true because you’re just trying to help, but this is actually the essence of selling. Sales professionals want to help customers evaluate solutions for a problem until the customer can make a happy decision. The scenario I described above is a common situation, but this is how sales work in many different industries.

Have you heard of Sales Engineers? Sales Engineers have extensive knowledge of the mechanics around cutting edge technology, services, and products; they can also explain options and provide recommendations on solutions for various companies. Most Sales Engineers have engineering degrees but actually have a higher earning potential than other types of engineers. Their median salary is over $100,000 based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics (April, 2019). Sales professionals are important for a growing business and are quite prevalent in our economy; there are about fourteen million Americans in sales and related occupations (Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018). The sales world is expansive and essential to a growing market for tangible and intangible products and services.

In this blog series, we want to debunk your biases on sales jobs and highlight opportunities that you may be missing out on. We have several employment partners who want to hire veterans and military spouses in sales roles, but it’s a challenge.

Why is it a challenge? Think about the military community. There is a set of industries that seem like a natural fit for veterans leaving the military, like defense contractors and government agencies. It’s evident in our 2017 Hire Heroes Report, which analyzes and summarizes trends with our clients, that the top three industries and job functions for hired clients are as follows:

Industries:

  1. Government and Public Administration
  2. Defense Contracting
  3. Information Technology

Job Functions:

  1. Safety / Security / Law Enforcement
  2. Administration / Clerical
  3. Installation / Maintenance / Repair.

These trends make sense since these are common careers in the military. After leaving the service, a new chapter can either be terrifying or the most rewarding step. It is important to face the risks and learn about opportunities outside of your comfort zone.

To help you make the best decision about your career path, we’ll be interviewing professionals in the field and representatives from companies with excellent cultures. I had the pleasure of interviewing Mark Hoag, VP of Medical Sales at CNF Medical and Dan Riley, Retired/Custom Design Project Manager at Achieve Global and Hire Heroes USA volunteer. Click the links below to get their full interviews:


In the next Debunk Your Bias: Sales Jobs blog post, we’ll speak with veteran sales consultants at CaliBamboo and Grainger.

For more information on working in Sales, check out these recommendations: