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The Essential Military-to-Civilian Transition Resource

If I Had It To Do Over… Advice From Veterans

U.S. Service members observe during the 101st Airborne Division, to 1st Cavalry Division Relief in Place, Transition of Authority (RIP/TOA) award ceremony on Bagram Airfield in Parwan province, Afghanistan, May 19, 2011. (U.S. Army photo courtesy of S.K. Vemmer/Released)

by CAROLYN HEINZE, Contributing Editor


t makes sense that transitioning out of the military breeds, in many ways, a sense of loss. Change is good – but difficult – and despite the resources out there, returning back to the civilian world takes many by surprise. Loss also produces opportunities, especially if one has the chance to plan for it. In this spirit, we asked several veterans to look back and share their transition experiences: what they got right, what they didn’t, and how they would approach it if they had to do it all over again. Prepare Early During his time in the Navy, Mike Abrashoff rose to the rank of commander of the USS Benfold, an underperforming naval ship he was charged with turning around. As author of It’s Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy; It’s Our Ship: The NoNonsense Guide to Leadership (both published through Business

Plus); and several others, he is co-founder of the Denver, Co.based business consulting firm GLS Worldwide. He recounts that what helped him make a smooth transition out of the Navy was witnessing how others did it – and where some succeeded and others fell down. The biggest lesson he learned was that if you start preparing for it long before you retire, chances are you will enjoy a more positive transitioning experience. “I think the smartest thing is finding something that you can make a living at, and that you have a passion for, and that doesn’t seem like work,” Abrashoff said. “The key is to test it out while you’re still in uniform.” His advice? Get involved in your local community. Go to events. Think about your skills, and what you can provide to a prospective employer. “Ask yourself, ‘How can I start tailoring this so that I’m attractive to employers?’” But transitioning isn’t just about your next career move; veterans must consider the personal ramifications of their

retirement as well. “You’ve got to make new friends – we never had that problem in the military,” Abrashoff said. He adds that transitioning vets should also have a good idea of what elements contribute to their definition of a great quality of life. “Lots of different factors weigh on you: High schools for your kids, aging parents, and your spouse’s preferences. It’s not one-size-fitsall, but if you make a mistake, it can be very costly.” Dual Income Transitions During the initial stages of your transition, quality of life can become a big issue, notes Dr. Dolly Garnecki, a chiropractic physician and founder, president and director of Spinal Health & Wellness, LLC in Charlottesville, Va. A former air battle manager with the U.S. Air Force, Garnecki transitioned out of the military at the same time as her husband, Steve. “It was psychologically and emotionally difficult to transition from getting a steady, dual-income paycheck to living off of savings and G.I. bills, and we were both students,” she said. “That was a huge change in our quality of life.” Coupled with this was the challenge of moving to a new city where there was no family and friends nearby. This initial lack of support system was especially difficult for the Garneckis, who had just had a baby. “Starting a practice in a city and state that you’ve never lived in before, where you don’t know anybody, and you have a 13-month-old baby strapped to your back – that’s what I did – wasn’t the easiest thing to do,”

Garnecki admitted. “It was one of the hardest years we’ve ever had.” The recession of 2008 also contributed to a sense of instability. For women who want – or already have – children, making the transition back to civilian life can result in feelings of separation from their peers who are still on active duty. “When you have a married couple, and the woman wants to get out so she can spend more time with her children – which is a trend I tend to see – it’s hard to make that jump,” says Garnecki. That said, for the Garneckis, things have worked out: because the couple was debt-free coming out of the military and their credit was solid, which made them eligible for a veterans’ business loan to start their chiropractic practice. “Even though we don’t have a dual income in our family, we also don’t have the expenses that we had when we were dual-income officers,” Garnecki explained. “We have gone through some trying periods, but we are not worried about someone taking the house away, or taking anything else away from us, because we are living well within our means.” She adds that this results in a certain amount of freedom. Joining Academia Upon his retirement from active duty in 1992, Bill Smith – now a health educator in the Student Health and Wellness Department at the University of Missouri at Kansas City – took a couple of years off to

explore what it was he wanted to do. Eventually, he enrolled in a university, which proved to be yet another transition – academia being a world within the civilian world itself. “I didn’t have any connection with other veterans, and I wasn’t prepared academically, so I had to negotiate that system on my own to figure out what I needed to do, and who I needed to go to,” he explained. “I think this is common for a lot of new students, but being a non-traditional student at the time – I was a little bit older than the average 18-year-old college student – created a bit of a barrier.”

Abrashoff concedes that one error he made early on was not adequately researching where he wanted to settle once he got out of the Navy. He adds that back in the early ’90s, universities didn’t offer the veteran support that many institutions provide today. “The new G.I. Bill has been a great incentive for veterans to return to school and I think many campuses are making an effort continues page 6

INSIDE THIS MONTH’S ISSUE You Had Me at Hello: Be memorable in the first 10 seconds 3

Spouse Series:

Job Fairs

Transitioning Home:

Risk vs. Rewards:

Tips for a Positive Family Transition ................ page 4

Businesses are looking for you!! ................................................. page 8

Home is where the heart is. 9

Does working smart beat working hard? 10


MAR/APR 2012

Ask the Recruiter Q: Recently, a hiring manager asked if I had any questions about the job I was interviewing for and I felt awkward. What kind of questions should I be asking? Usually, the entire interview is about the job, so I’m stumped. A: The worst thing you can do here is not ask a question. I would suggest inquiring of next steps in the process, what the time frame might be for ďŹ lling the position, or asking about whether the job is a new position or was recently vacated. Some more direct questions might be whether or not your qualiďŹ cations ďŹ t the position, and if there appears to be any gaps in your qualiďŹ cations and what is needed for the job. Many times a great candidate has been passed over simply because the hiring manager assumed he or she lacked certain experience when, in fact, that wasn’t the case. You also can ask the interviewer about his/her time with the company and his/her experiences with the organization. Bottom line: you need to have some sort of question ready. Q: Is there anything that I shouldn’t say in a job interview? A: The biggest mistake is to 'go negative.' Remember, the job interview at this stage is not so much about you; it’s about your skills, experiences and how you will ultimately ďŹ t into the company culture. If you’re asked, “Tell me about yourself,â€? you don’t want to spend 20 minutes on the depressing things about your life or how the dentist messed up your root canal. Stay on topic, stay positive and keep it between 2-3 minutes. If you are asked about your skills, discuss your skills. If a hiring manager inquires about your time in the military, be

positive, even as there were likely many difďŹ cult times. Companies seek out veterans because we typically possess better tangible and intangible qualities than the normal job applicant. You will have their respect for having worn the uniform, but you will need to reinforce the many positive stereotypes associated with a military service member. Communicate a clear, concise and upbeat message about you and why you are the best person to ďŹ ll their open position. Q: Do you have any advice on choosing a location for my next job? A: It is important to do a self-assessment and consider what is truly important when looking for your next career. Generally speaking, if a speciďŹ c location is of utmost importance to you in the career search -meaning any other jobs outside that area are out of the question -- be prepared to consider opportunities which may be a bit lower in pay and not your 'dream job.' That is usually the trade-off if you are not willing to move, but perhaps it’s worth the price if you have children in a good school, live close to extended family, or perhaps your spouse has a great career. Location, opportunity, compensation, and quality of life are all important pieces of the career search. Once you determine their order of importance, you will have some clearer guidelines as how best to proceed with your career search. Mike Arsenault is Director of Candidate Services at Bradley-Morris, Inc. He can be reached at (800) 330-4950 ext. 2105 or by email at

Publisher Managing Editor Art Director Associate Editor Contributing Editors

Freelance Writer Director of Technology Executive Consultant Consultant Account Representative Account Representative

Bill Basnett Kathy Scott Alec Trapheagen Anthony Morris Janet Farley Carolyn Heinze Heidi Russell Rafferty Tom Wolfe Mike Carr Don Nowak Marla Smith Don Johnson Corey Branning Duane Neumann

Civilian Job News is published by: 1825 Barrett Lakes Blvd., Suite 300 Kennesaw, GA 30144 1-866-801-4418 Reproduction or use without permission of any editorial or graphic content in any manner is prohibited. The inclusion of advertising is considered a service to our readers and is not an endorsement of products or advertising claims. Opinions expressed in articles are the opinions of the contributors and do not necessarily express the opinions of Civilian Job News or its staff. Subscription rate: $12 per year (6 issues). To subscribe, call 1-866-801-4418. Š2007-2012 Civilian Jobs, LLC. All rights reserved. Civilian Job News and are wholly-owned subsidiaries of Bradley-Morris, Inc. (BMI), the largest military-focused placement firm in the U.S.

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MAR/APR 2012


“You had me at ‘Hello’” by HEIDI RUSSELL RAFFERTY, Contributing Editor


o you remember the blinking, light-up tie that Bill Cosby wore in an episode of “The Cosby Show,” the television series from the 1980s? Craig Griffin has seen someone sporting one of those at a career fair. “Things that are over the top may be your attempt to make sure people remember you. And, nine times out of 10, they will remember you, but not in the way you want,” says Griffin, senior vice president of operations for Bradley-Morris, Inc., the nation's top career placement firm for military veterans. “That kind of thing will more than likely lead to a road filled with pot holes.” So what type of introduction will make recruiters salivate to schedule you for a sit-down interview? Surprisingly, it’s not as difficult as you may think: Dress in business attire. When you greet a recruiter, lean forward, extend your right hand, introduce yourself, look the person directly in the eye and say, “Can you tell me more about your company?” Yes, it really is that simple, Griffin says. “That’s as good as it gets,” he adds. “The simplest, most classic, most traditional ways are classic and traditional for a reason: Because they work. If you get that part right and that’s all that you do, 99 times out of 100, you’ll still be in good standing when it comes time to having a discussion of substance.” So what goes through the mind of a recruiter when he or she meets you for the first time, given you’ve followed this simple rule of thumb? Here are a few more tips to grab them from the get-go, from Griffin and Vicky Oliver, author of four job-smart books, including “301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions.” Greet every recruiter as a potential employer, even if you think you’d never work for them. There are two types of job fair attendees: One goes with the intent to meet as many recruiters as possible, regardless of the companies present. The other knows that particular companies will be there and focuses on niche industries while ignoring everyone else. Griffin suggests shaking as many hands as possible and acting equally interested in them all. You may be a military policeman and think that you should only hit security companies like Wackenhut,but Home Depot may have security needs and job openings with competitive salaries in your desired geographic area. Prepare an elevator speech. A good elevator speech lasts for about a minute and captures a unique selling proposition “as memorably and as charmingly as possible,” Oliver says.

Your points should enhance the skills you picked up in the service, particularly those that can translate readily to civilian life. These include communication skills, organizational skills, management skills and leadership skills. If possible, depict your job in the military in terms that mirror a job on the civilian side. “It really helps if the candidate has done their homework on the types of opportunities that exist. Find others who have made the transition and pepper them with questions about what they do on a daily basis at their jobs. Then try to weave that information into the pitch,” Oliver says. Suppose you have a background in civil engineering and did revitalization or built schools on a deployment. At the job fair, you discover a regional construction company or civil engineering firm. Give a snapshot on your background, how your education relates and how all of it might relate to that firm’s mission, Griffin notes. If you’ve done your homework, say so. Recruiters are flattered if you say, “You’re one of the people I wanted to seek out,” says Griffin. “As a recruiter, I feel obligated and pleased to share more about my experiences and background with this person. I will offer some texture to my organization as well,” he says. On the flip side, if you don’t know anything about the company, that’s okay too. “Express a general and sincere interest. Take the initiative to say, ‘Hi, I’ve never heard of your organization. Can you tell me what you do? From there, you might discover other tie-ins with the recruiter, like that the company is based in Atlanta, which also happens to be your hometown. Realize that recruiters are taking notes as you mingle. Sure, you’re standing in a sea of people, all vying for the same amount of attention. But don’t worry that your basic blue suit and firm handshake will be lost in the crowd. Your job, Griffin says, is to make sure you dress traditionally and meet-andgreet professionally. The recruiter will take it from there. “We take notes on the back of the resumes. Sometimes I’d be seeing 200 to 300 people in four to six hours. So to remind myself that this person presented himself well, knew about the company, seemed good to talk to and had a sharp background, I’d jot it down,” he says. The same night in their hotel rooms, recruiters will go through their resume stacks and determine who will get the callbacks, he adds. “If you had proper attire, a professional handshake, looked me in the eye, it demonstrates someone who is taking the process seriously. You’ll have my attention to continue the process.” Freelancer Heidi Russell Rafferty is a reporter with 19 years of experience who writes about employment and business issues.


MAR/APR 2012

SPOUSE SERIES: Mission Transition Weathering the storm together by JANET FARLEY, Contributing Editor


s a military spouse, some assumptions can be made. You are, by default, an extraordinary individual skilled in the art of starting over. You have to be in this crazy, live-on-the-edge kind of life we lead. Every few years, you pack up your life and those of your children and spouse, and move to a new “home,â€? be it around the corner, across the country or far, far away to foreign lands where you struggle to speak a new language. In the process, your worldly goods suffer scratches, nicks and gouges that will always be there, despite the paid-out claims designed to compensate you for them. Through it all, you persevere. You make new friends. You look for a new job. You help your children acclimate. You make nice with your spouse’s coworkers. You diligently search for and ďŹ nd the right hairstylist, doctor and orthodontist, or at least the ones for right now. At some point, after one tour or too many to count, you do those things for what you imagine will be the last time – in a militaryto-civilian transition. With this move, your camouaged spouse’s “uniformâ€? may not require extra starch and you won’t need to show your

ID card to make a purchase at the grocery store. In some ways, it is like other PCS moves and yet it’s not. It’s the big one that many of us long for only to discover it’s not as easy as we thought it would be. According to a recent Pew Research Center Survey, there are certain characteristics that seem to increase the likelihood that a veteran will have an easier time readjusting to civilian life. For example, veterans who are college graduates, understood their missions while serving, were commissioned ofďŹ cers and had strong religious beliefs tended to have an easier re-entry into civilian life than others. Interestingly, the survey notes that post9/11 veterans who married someone while in uniform had a more difďŹ cult time readjusting to life after the military. In fact, the ďŹ ndings suggest that the chances of these veterans having an easier re-entry into civilian life with spouse were reduced from 63% to 48%. Ouch. Whatever happened to the ‘two heads are better than one’ theory? Researchers in the study point to reintegration after deployment challenges as the reason the transition to civilian life is so difďŹ cult for Post-9/11 veterans. Frankly, it’s no shocker that deployments, at any stage of the cycle or for any military

member or family, are difďŹ cult. There’s a reason why less than 1% of those in the United States serve our country voluntary. It’s not a life that just anyone chooses. It’s a difďŹ cult life of sacriďŹ ce, whether you wear the uniform or are married to it. When you couple the stress of a militaryto-civilian transition with the stress of reintegration after deployment, regardless of how long a couple has been married, there are going to be patches of rough weather ahead. Add in a less than lucrative job market, and there is the real potential for a perfect storm. Making it through such a storm requires patience, perseverance and a genuine desire to move forward. t "DDFQU UIBU EFQMPZNFOUT DIBOHF people on both sides of the wedding ring. t%POUGPSDFEFQMPZNFOUSFBEKVTUNFOU and career transition. Take them both one-day-at-a-time, step-by-step, minuteby-minute. t #F QBUJFOU XJUI FBDI PUIFS 5BML openly and honestly about your feelings with one another or with a professional who may be able to help you ďŹ gure things out. t -PPL BU ZPVS NJMJUBSZUPDJWJMJBO transition time as an adventure, and a chance to start something exciting and new together.

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Nichole Howard, right, the wife of an inbound Fort Sill Soldier, thanks Barbara Ellis, Lawton Public Schools assistant superintendent of human resources, for her advice during the First Women's Equality Day Career Advancement Fair at the Patriot Club, Fort Sill, Okla., Aug. 19, 2010. (U.S. Army photo by Jason Kelly/Released)

t8PSLBTUFBNUPmOEZPVSOFYUKPCT Attend the transition assistance program workshops together and collaborate on your job search activities. Be each other’s best cheerleader, though good moments and disappointing ones. t 5BLF DBSF PG ZPVSTFMWFT (FUUJOH UP know someone all over again can be physically and emotionally draining. Eat right. Get enough sleep. Exercise. In the end, surveys and statistics can say anything. In life, you get the ďŹ nal say-so. Janet Farley is the author of "The Military Spouse’s Guide to Employment: Smart Jobs for Mobile Lifestylesâ€? (Impact Publications, 2012) and “Quick Military Transition Guide: Seven Steps to Landing a Civilian Jobâ€? (Jist Publishing, Inc., 2012). Follow her on Twitter @mil2civguide and @smartjobchoices for tips, news and inspiration.

MAR/APR 2012


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â&#x20AC;&#x153;If I Had It To Do Over... Advice From Veteransâ&#x20AC;? continued from page 1 to be more veteran-supportive. They may not be creating new services, but they are enhancing the services that they already offer to support veterans, such as academic tutoring, advising, and creating veteran spaces on campuses where veterans can connect with each other.â&#x20AC;? Another challenge for Smith â&#x20AC;&#x201C; who served in Desert Storm â&#x20AC;&#x201C; was the effects of having been in combat. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I was experiencing things from my military service that I was learning to cope with on my own,â&#x20AC;? he related. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There were some physical and mental health issues that I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t relate, initially, to my military service.â&#x20AC;? He admits that it took him almost 20 years to make that connection, and to ďŹ nally seek help through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Smith encourages transitioning veterans to sign up with the VA as soon as possible. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Despite any of the negative perceptions that people have of the VA, become connected with it as soon as you transition out,â&#x20AC;? he advised. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You may not need it now, but in a couple of years you may ďŹ nd that you do need its services for health care, or you may start to experience things that you can deďŹ nitely put a claim in for.â&#x20AC;? Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a process, he says, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a process worth going through. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Getting connected with the VA is the most important thing that any veteran can do upon their transition out of the military.â&#x20AC;? For those interested in starting a business, Garnecki suggests Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a free, national

business counseling resource operated by experienced volunteer mentors. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Because I used a SCORE mentor, I was able to avoid several pitfalls new business start-ups often endure,â&#x20AC;? she said. SCORE recently launched a new initiative â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Veterans Fast Launch â&#x20AC;&#x201C; speciďŹ cally designed for transitioning vets. Abrashoff concedes that one error he made early on was not adequately researching where he wanted to settle once he got out of the Navy. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re in the military, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re told where youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going to settle,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Then when I had the opportunity to pick and choose, I probably didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t choose wisely â&#x20AC;&#x201C; I ended up in an area that I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t like, and that precipitated another move within 18 months.â&#x20AC;? He counsels transitioning vets to do their homework in order to avoid additional moving costs. For Smith â&#x20AC;&#x201C; who partly ďŹ nanced his education through the Montgomery G.I. Bill, and partly ďŹ nanced it through student loans â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the only thing he would have done differently coming out of the military is to have found another way to pay for school.

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U.S. Army Sgt. Todd Sibley, with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 200th Infantry Regiment, New Mexico Army National Guard, sets up a checkpoint at Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center, Ind., Jan. 28, 2011. Soldiers of Charlie Company participated in Camp Atterbury training as part of a task force that is deploying to Kosovo, a former Yugoslav republic located in southeast Europe, to help bring stability to that nation. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. David Bruce/Released) released)


As for the rest? â&#x20AC;&#x153;I have no regrets in terms of my military service; that was a good thing for me to do when I did it,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The path that I took was the right path for me at that time, and it continues to be today.â&#x20AC;? Carolyn Heinze is a freelance writer/editor.








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MAR/APR 2012

Job Fair Calendar

Date: March 21, 2012 Location: ACAP Job Fair International/National Cole Park Commons, Fort Campbell, KY 42223 9 a.m. - 3 p.m Sponsor: ACAP 800- 325-4715, Date: March 22, 2012 Location: ACAP Job Fair Regional/Local Cole Park Commons, Fort Campbell, KY 42223 9 a.m. - 3 p.m Sponsor: ACAP 800- 325-4715, Date: March 23, 2012 Location: King George Job Fair Citizens' Center Building, 8076 Kings Highway, King George, VA 22485 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sponsor: JobZone, Janet Giles, 540-226-1473, Date: March 27, 2012 Location: Woodbridge, VA Job Fair 14349 Gideon Drive, Woodbridge, VA 22192 Hosted by Stratford University 4 p.m. - 7 p.m. Sponsor: JobZone, Janet Giles, 540-226-1473, Date: March 28, 2012 Location: Richmond, VA Job Fair Richmond Campus, 11104 W. Broad St., Richmond, VA. Hosted by Stratford University 4 p.m. - 7 p.m. Sponsor: JobZone, Janet Giles, 540-226-1473, Date: March 29, 2012 Location: Career Expo. Ft. Hood, TX - Club Hood 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sponsor:, 866-801-4418 Date: April 1, 2012 Location: ACAP Job Fair Waterford at Springfield, VA 6715 Commerce St. Springfield VA 22150 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Sponsor: ACAP 800-325-4715, cleared-jobfairs Date: April 11, 2012 Location: Career Expo. Ft. Rucker, AL - The Landing 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sponsor:, 866-801-4418

Why Join the

Estes Team?

Date: April 12, 2012 Location: Washington Area Top III Job Fair The Pentagon, Apex 1 and Apex 2 Areas Sponsor: Washington Area Top III Sponsor: 540-226-1473 or (Cont.) 434-263-5102,

s Great schedules—Most drivers are home daily or every other day

Date: April 17, 2012 Location: Patuxent River NAS Job Fair Pax River Naval Air Museum (next to Gate 1 directly off Three Notch Road) 22156 Three Notch Road, Lexington Park, MD 20653 3 p.m. - 7 p.m. Sponsor: JobZone, Janet Giles, 540-226-1473,

s Competitive wages s Comprehensive benefits

s Growth opportunities s Terrific work environment s Company stability (Celebrating 80 years of service!)

Positions Available! sDrivers (Class A CDL with Hazmat and Doubles)

Date: April 18, 2012 Location: Joint Base Andrews Top 3 Association The Club at Andrews AFB 1889 Arnold Avenue, Andrews AFB, MD 20774 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sponsor: Joint Base Andrews Top 3 Association, 540-226-1473


sDock sClerical sMechanics (Power and Trailer)

Date: April 26, 2012 Location: Career Expo. Ft. Benning, GA - Benning Conference Center (formerly Benning Club) 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sponsor:, 866-801-4418 Date: May 3, 2012 Location: Career Expo. Ft. Carson, CO Elkhorn Catering and Conference Center 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sponsor:, 866-801-4418 Date: May 11, 2012 Location: Fort Belvoir Community Job Fair American Legion-Springfield 6520 Amherst Avenue, Springfield, VA 22151 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sponsor: JobZone, Janet Giles, 540-226-1473, Date: May 17, 2012 Location: Career Expo. Nellis AFB - The Officers' Club 10 a.m. - 2 p.m Sponsor:, 866-801-4418 Date: May 31, 2012 Location: Career Expo. The Lee Club; Ft. Lee, VA 10 a.m. - 2 p.m Sponsor:, 866-801-4418

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Date: March 14, 2012 Location: Career Expo. Tampa/MacDill AFB Wyndham Tampa Westshore - 10 a.m. - 2 p..m. Sponsor:, 866-801-4418

Be sure to visit for a complete list of positions available. Toll-free recruitment line: 1-877-WRK4ESTES (1-877-975-4378) Current Operating Area AA/EOE

For more job fair dates and locations, go to

MAR/APR 2012


Transitioning home: Jason Dickie by MIKE CARR Freelance Writer


ivilian Job News recently caught up with Jason Dickie in Boston. The 1996 West Point graduate took some time to speak with us about his transition from the U.S. Army to the civilian workforce. Jason served ďŹ ve years as a ďŹ eld artillery ofďŹ cer in Texas before returning home. "I just wanted to get back home to Massachusetts," he acknowledged. In 2001, OfďŹ cer Dickie transitioned to civilian life, where he began work as a recruiter at a small job placement agency in Boston. "I talked with [an] old friend and fellow artillery ofďŹ cer who was working at BradleyMorris Inc., a national military-to-transition ďŹ rm." Jason said that he was impressed by what the company was doing for veterans. During his time as a recruiter, Jason worked with other West Point grads concentrating on placing recruits in pharmaceutical sales careers. "We were a tight group; the camaraderie was great," he said. Jason also said that his philosophy as a recruiter was to build relationships with the candidates. "Sometimes the prospective candidate and a desired placement just didn't ďŹ t, but because of the relationship I built with them, they would often recommend a friend who was looking for a career change."

That's why he would tell any service member about to transition out of the service to work with a recruiter. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Without a doubt, they build a relationship with you and get you into the pipeline.â&#x20AC;? In 2003, Jason had a chance meeting with the Sheriff of Norfolk County, Mass., Michael Bellotti. He soon joined the sheriff's ofďŹ ce at age 30 as the one of the youngest deputy superintendents of operations. Jason then went on a thorough six-month training tour at other county correctional facilities and attended a correctional ofďŹ cer's academy. "It wasn't too different from the OfďŹ cer's Basic Course in the Army," he said. In 2007, he was promoted to Director of Human Resources for the sheriff's ofďŹ ce and currently oversees all aspects of HR for over 300 employees and several hundred retirees; payroll, time and attendance, labor relations, worker's compensation and contract negotiations. But his Army leadership beliefs still guide him 11 years after leaving the service. â&#x20AC;&#x153;One of my goals is to know what my men need to accomplish in their missions at the facility,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I want to enhance the correctional ofďŹ cersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; daily life, and let them maintain ownership of their responsibilities.â&#x20AC;?


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Mike Carr served honorably in the United States Marine Corps and United States Air Force. His is a freelance writer for Civilian Job News and former military journalist.

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Do the best work of your life. At URS, we believe that when you create an environment that encourages individuals to collaborate and solve complex problems, you attract the best people. As a leading provider of management and technical services to the U.S. Government, URS values the wealth of experience, discipline and integrity that veterans bring to our business. So if you thrive on meeting complex challenges and are looking to do the best work of your life, we invite you to explore careers at URS.


Visit us at



MAR/APR 2012

Work hard? Of course. Work smart? Even better! CAREER COACHâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S CORNER

by TOM WOLFE Career Coach and Contributing Editor


ecently, I joined a group of colleagues in a discussion that focused on military-to-civilian transition, speciďŹ cally as it relates to ďŹ nding a job. This group assembled to address the gross disparity between unemployment in this country as a whole and the unemployment rate among veterans, and what could be done about it. The data is staggering. According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, at the end of 2011, the unemployment rate for veterans was almost 50% higher than the national rate (12.1% vs. 8.5%). The ideas coming out of the group were all over the place. Although some of them were quite creative, much of

my professional tool kit. Any tools that may have been there were most likely rusty or in severe need of sharpening. Although the VA, DOD, DOL, and other government agency-sponsored programs like TAP and ACAP address the problem, the increasing unemployment rate among veterans certainly indicates more must be done. Our separating service members and veterans need not only the appropriate transition tools, but also the guidance and instruction on how to use those tools. Two, even with the best intentions, most civilian employers are not prepared to hire separating military personnel and veterans. They have little understanding of what servicemen and women actually do in their assignments. What they think they know is often oversimpliďŹ ed or based on stereotypes: ďŹ ght wars, shoot people, ďŹ&#x201A;y jets, drive ships, stand watch, come back from overseas, etc. Additionally, because of the emphasis on bottom line (proďŹ t) and accountability to shareholders, those employers frequently

So how do you, the reader of this column, address these issues? Work hard and work smart. I suspect you are already on board with the ďŹ rst of the two. Preparing for your job search and interviewing is hard work, physically and mentally. There is much to accomplish: resumes, cover letters, references, wardrobe, networking, research, timelines, sample interview questions, practice interviews, and more. You will work hard at these tasks and you will do all the things necessary to succeed. But hard work alone is not good enough; you also need to work smart. By work smart, I am mostly talking about being selective. Here is where to start. First, understand that interviewing for a job is a form of sales. No, that does not mean that you have to go ďŹ nd a sales job, although for many of you, that might be just the ticket. What I mean here is that when you are interviewing, you are selling a product called YOU to a company called YOUR EMPLOYER. Now, as any successful salesperson will tell you, it is much easier to ďŹ ll a customerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s existing and acknowledged need with your product than it is to convince a prospective client that the need even exists. How does that relate to ďŹ nding a job? Remember that as hard as it may be to convince an employer to hire you, what if you had to ďŹ rst convince that

4. Take a look at joint private/public sector initiatives such as the JP Morgan Chase 100K Jobs Mission and the growing list of impressive companies that support it. They signed up because they want to hire YOU. Bottom line: be selective, focus, work hard, but work smart. Good hunting! Tom Wolfe is contributing editor & columnist for Civilian Job News and author of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Out Of Uniform: Your Guide to a Successful Military-to-Civilian Career Transition.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;





Read this issue of Civilian Job News online NOW: what was proposed was nothing more than rehashed conventional wisdom. Regardless, the one thing that stuck with me when the dust settled was a glowing conundrum. On the one hand, there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of organizations that openly and vigorously state a sincere desire to hire veterans. On the other hand, there are thousands of veterans in the ranks of the unemployed. There is an obvious disconnect somewhere. How can that be? I have a theory. I believe this disconnect has two root causes.

"What I mean here is that when you are interviewing you are selling a product called YOU to a company called YOUR EMPLOYER.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; One, most military service members lack the necessary tools to conduct a job search. I will use myself as an example. I joined the Navy when I was 18 and got out when I was 27. During those nine years I never had to look for a job. Never had to interview. Never had to write a resume. Never had to put on an interview suit. Neverâ&#x20AC;Ś well you get the drift. Talk about being ill-equipped! There was no need for these tools in

focus on immediate results and real-time value added. Although that approach is valid and defensible, it also works against hiring people out of the military. To illustrate, I will share another personal experience. When I was a partner in a military recruiting ďŹ rm, I was frequently approached by companies that had heard that hiring military personnel was a good thing and, although they had never considered it before, they wanted to give it a shot. My ďŹ rst question to them was always: How quickly do you expect those new hires to start adding value? I told them that successful onboarding of a military hire takes time. There is a learning curve and a start-up period. You must make an investment in them that exceeds their paycheck. This transition is not only about assimilation of technical and operational competencies and re-training; there are other gaps to ďŹ ll, including the need to recognize the cultural, environmental, social, and workplace differences between military and civilian employment. There are exceptions to this, of course. An excellent motor mechanic coming out of the Marine Corps has the skill and experience necessary to do the same job almost immediately for a civilian employer. If you ďŹ&#x201A;y helicopters in the Army, it will not take long to get up to speed on the NewsChannel 5 Eye in the Sky. A nuclear plant operator in the Navy needs very little start-up time to do the same job for a power company. An Air Force meteorologist would be a ďŹ ne understudy for Al Roker.

same employer to hire a veteran for the ďŹ rst time? Even if you are successful in educating that employer about veterans and convincing that hiring manager of the potential value added by a veteran, you have yet to convince him or her to hire you. This is where working smart comes into play â&#x20AC;&#x201D; you would be much better served to target employers that already value veterans as employees.



So, how do you ďŹ nd these predisposed, military-friendly employers? Easy. There are four ways. 1. Take a look at the companies that advertise or are featured in print and digital media like the one you are reading now. Those companies use Civilian Job News because they know the readership is YOU. 2. Revisit and take full advantage of the government sponsored programs and resources. Are you familiar with www. You should be. Pay particular attention to the interviewing events and job fairs sponsored by your local TAP ofďŹ ce. The companies in attendance are looking for YOU. 3. Find organizations that host job fairs and placement ďŹ rms that specialize in military-to-civilian transition and employment. Companies such as and Bradley-Morris, Inc. have already done the pre-sell and stacked the deck in your favor. Their clients contract with them because they want to hire YOU.


MAR/APR 2012

CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING Hot Job Opening OVERSEAS CONTRACT - AECOM is seeking former military candidates with vehicle maintenance, small arms repair, power generation, and communications electronics backgrounds for a one year contract position overseas. Compensation starts above $96,000 and the company provides you with two 14-day R&R leaves and an additional $1,700 per trip to offset travels costs. 100% of your medical benefits, your transportation, and housing are paid for. You must have a valid US passport and possess or be able to obtain a NAC-I or secret clearance. Contact: Pete Charest, AECOM Senior Recruiter by email: MANUFACTURING TEAM MEMBER - Seeking combat arms and other non-technical enlisted candidates fresh out of the military for an entry level manufacturing position in Waxahachie, Texas. The company plans to build future leadership bench strength by hiring military talent and teaching them the manufacturing process from the ground up. The plan is to fast-track the military employees into supervisory positions. This company will fly you in at their expense for an interview and tour of the facility. Send your resume to Carolyn Hall, MOBILE MAINTENANCE TECHNICIAN - A growing trailer leasing company is seeking junior enlisted candidates for their growing business. The company is specifically seeking military with some mechanical abilities. Company plans to teach new employees the business from the ground up, then move them swiftly into supervisory positions. Locations include, but are not limited to: Cleveland OH, Dayton OH, Indianapolis IN, Atlanta GA, Charlotte NC, Talladega AL, Chicago IL, Dallas TX, Pittsburgh PA, and many others. Send your résumé to Carolyn Hall, chall@ IT SYSTEMS ANALYST - A government contracting company is seeking an IT Systems Analyst for a position in Clarksville, Tennessee. Candidates must have a high school diploma or higher education, two years’ experience providing systems level support for multi-user database systems preferred. The position requires you to work as a team member and take initiative on individual assignments. Knowledge of computer flow charts and the ability to develop systems solutions are essential. You must be open to domestic travel in support of system startups and installations. International travel may be required so possession of a passport is highly desirable. Send your résumé to Carolyn Hall, chall@bradley-morris. com.

11 experience and judgment to plan and accomplish goals. The successful candidate must be highly customer focused and have demonstrated experience representing a company to a customer and vendor representatives. To apply, visit our website at https://

Overseas SERVICE ENGINEER - Schweitzer Engineering

$"t$BMJGPSOJB Laboratories (SEL) seeks a professional, innovative SENIOR TRUCK TECHNICIAN - Technicians are the key to keeping our business rolling! That is why Waste Management, an industry leader in waste and environmental solutions, is seeking motivated, skilled heavy-duty truck technicians to work in our shops. Our truck technicians enjoy a professional, clean, and well-organized work environment that supports our team atmosphere. Working under limited supervision, a Waste Management truck technician performs preventative maintenance, runs inspections, diagnostics tests, and repairs a variety of vehicles and equipment. Our truck technicians utilize computer diagnostics and work with fleet maintenance software programs to document part usage, account for repair time, and more. Required qualifications include being at least 21 years of age or older, legally eligible to work in the United States, 3 years’ experience working on heavy trucks and diesel engines, valid driver's license and clean driving record, must be able to supply your own complete set of master mechanic hand tools and impact wrenches, successfully pass pre-employment (post offer) drug screen, background and motor vehicle records check, and have the ability to perform physical requirements of the position with or without reasonable accommodations. Visit our website at

'-t'MPSJEB AVIONICS/ISR MECHANIC – This position services, cleans, inspects and performs scheduled and unscheduled maintenance on RC 26 aircraft. Responsibilities may include maintenance, repair, modification to airframe, avionics, engines, ISR equipment, sub-systems, and related support equipment. Works independently or in coordination with other A&P Mechanics and technical representatives to troubleshoot, diagnose and solve unusual and complex maintenance problems. You must have the ability to apply logic and good judgment, understand technical order diagrams and procedures, use test equipment for analysis of airframe, engine, flight control, pneudraulic, fuel, electrical/electronic systems, problems. To apply visit https://www.urs.apply2jobs. com/, Requisition Number: EGG62059.


"-t"MBCBNB Administrative Assistant for a 12 month contract LOGISTICS MANAGER - The Logistics Manager will plan, manage and coordinate the activities of employees assigned to the Logistics Section either directly or through subordinate managers and supervisors to ensure goals and objectives are met. Candidate is expected to establish or direct the establishment or modification of procedures to support logistics operations at the appropriate levels of acceptability. Employee will be responsible for administration of company policies and to administer or direct the administration of employee disciplinary and corrective actions. This position relies upon extensive

or technical equivalent and no significant related experience. Submit your resume to whitmanj@

assignment in Wilson, NC. You will provide general administrative support to a department or group of professionals, produce and edit slightly complex correspondence and complete word processing/typing projects, maintain filing systems, process forms, make copies, prepare faxes and order office supplies, make appointments, answer phones, and take messages, compile and analyze routine information for inclusion in reports, follow established procedures, possess ability to multi-task and maintain professional demeanor at all times, work overtime when needed and possess a high school diploma or equivalent and 2 years of related experience, or Associates degree

and detailed individual for our Service Engineer position located in Al Khobar, SA. If you are looking for an opportunity to travel and apply your engineering expertise in assisting SEL customers in product knowledge, installation and commissioning on site, then this position is for you! SEL is a global manufacturer that provides products and services for the protection, control, automation, integration, communications and metering of electric power systems for industrial and utility markets. The company has an immediate need requirement for a service engineer. You must be eligible to live and work in Saudi Arabia. If you have a minimum of five years establishing and growing technical customer accounts with industrial users, technical sales management experience with industrial users, please submit your CV to:

HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGER - Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) seeks a professional, innovative and detailed individual for our human resource manager position. If you are looking for an opportunity to utilize your international human resources knowledge with a growing, global company then this may be the position for you! Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. (SEL) seeks a Human Resource Manager to plan, organize, and lead the Human Resources efforts for SEL Australia. We ask all candidates to submit their resume through our website at

Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation is a 501c3 organization and our mission is to provide college scholarships to military children from all branches of the armed forces who lost a parent to combat or training.

Approved by the Better Business Bureau as an accredited charity.

Further information can be found at

MAR/APR 2012


BdhieZdeaZVgZajX`nidÅcYdcZXVgZ ZZgii]Znad dkZ# H]Z[djcYild# As a major in the Army Reserve, Becky Hamilton is proud to continue servvin ingg he herr country. She is also proud to work for CSX, a company that truly values her mi milililita tary ta ryy commitment and the skills and experience that it gives her. Our jobs start with exxte tens nsiv ns ivee iv paid training and can be the transition into a rewarding career. For more information on job openings, click on the Careers link at


Qualified candidates will be contacted by e-mail for interview, aptitude tests and drug screening. No applications accepted by phone or after the deadline. Equal Opportunity Employer. ©2010 CSX Corporation

March/April edition of Civilian Job News  

The March/April edition of the Civilian Job News