USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION
JOBS & EDUCATION
Advice for veterans looking to land their dream job In early 2017, retired Army Lt. Col. Frank Stanley stepped into a newly created role as head of veteran recruiting for commercial real estate brokerage Cushman & Wakefield. He’s watched veterans nail the job search and then make missteps. Here’s how he advises ex-military job hunters looking to join the civilian ranks. What should be a veteran’s first step in the job search? Get clarity. One of the things I ask veterans is: What would motivate you to wake up in the morning and go to work? Do you want to manage a portfolio of properties? Does it excite you to manage personnel? Do you want to be in charge of money? I don’t want to just give you a job, I want to give you a career — something that will keep you motivated and excited. How can veterans convey the depth of their experience? Tell stories. Many veterans have dealt with real-life situations and made lifeand-death decisions at a moment’s notice. You need to explain that. The resume might say you had a platoon of 30 people. But what does that do for a civilian employer? You need to show them what it means. It means you were a manager and a leader. You managed a budget; you managed people; you managed logistics. So you come prepared to tell those stories, to tell them how you managed operations, how you were able to facilitate a group of people. What’s the biggest job-search mistake veterans make? Too often, a veteran takes the first job that is offered. They are looking for security; they want that paycheck, but in reality they also need to look at the environment of the company. They need to look at the opportunities for upward mobility. If they take the first job offered to them, they may be wasting their talents and capabilities.
JPMORGAN CHASE & CO
JPMorgan Chase’s military and veterans recruiting team members Patrick Groome and Brian Interdonato at a career event in Phoenix. where you have coordinated who helped him single out The Veteran Jobs multiple projects or multiple Broadridge Financial Solutions teams,” Palmer said. “You as the kind of place he’d want Mission has tips need to articulate examples of to work. and resources how you have accomplished Finding the right company for veterans, the goal and completed the was a priority for former including a page mission. Those everyday Army Sgt. Vincent Wright. He on companies that activities for military personleft the service in 2015 and are actively hiring nel may be quite uncommon signed on as a business operaveterans. in the business world, and so tions manager with JPMorgan veteranjobs you really need to spell those Chase, where he makes sure mission.com out.” 15,000 bank machines are This idea of telling stories always up and running. resonates with many hiring “The first thing I was managers. The military resume can be looking for was a company that understood alternately bland or obscure, and those both the challenges and the skill sets I who make hiring decisions said it helps bring to the table as a veteran,” he said. “I them when veterans can lay out in might not know anything about debits and practical terms what exactly it is they did credits per se, but Chase totally understood while in uniform. that. They were willing to teach me that “I like vignettes,” said Steven Davis, while leveraging the things I am really good global head of talent acquisition at Broadat, things like managing operations.” ridge Financial Solutions. “A story helps me Once a veteran finds the right company, as a hiring manager to visualize what you he or she still needs to tell the story, to were doing. I can see you in the moment, share the events and anecdotes that make in action, and that helps me to understand a resume come to life. what you did.” “You need to be able to talk about It helps, too, if the veteran can then specific leadership situations, the places
connect that story back to its privatesector equivalent: Show how managing a military supply chain or a regimental budget aligns with similar activities on the civilian side. “While specific skills or tasks don’t necessarily translate, there are a lot of things that are very relevant to the corporate world, and vets need to draw those parallels,” Davis said. Former Army Capt. Lucas Hanson didn’t feel ready to tell that story when he first left the armed forces. He took a job but decided he wasn’t really sure what his post-military career should look like. Hanson decided to go for an MBA, using the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Two years later, feeling far more focused, he landed his present position as a planning and strategic operations manager with Cisco Systems Inc. It’s a career route he recommends for those who are still feeling their way. “If you don’t know what you want to do, take the time to go back to school and figure it out,” he said. “For the past six or eight years, I had been focused on other people, and this was two years when I could just focus on growing myself. That’s a big opportunity that the military gives you.”