Success Stories of Veterans and Reservists Transitioning to Corporate Work

militaryAfter years of deployment, rigid schedules and working within the military’s structure, the difference in environment and job description between civilian and military work can be overwhelming.

Despite the uncertainty it brings, many veterans look forward to working in the corporate world, because this will allow them to spend more time with their friends and family.

Question is, what are you going to do for work? Will you be able to find a new job? Will you be able to adjust?

I believe you can do it. Many of your brothers and sisters have transitioned well, so there’s no reason for you not to try.

Here are two stories to inspire you.

Stephen Otero was a combat photographer for the Air Force, who suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after serving for 12 years. He started looking for a civilian job May 2012. He only had a few interview suits, his resume and steely determination to find new work.

It wasn’t easy; he went to several job fairs and interviews only to find low-ball job offers. But he didn’t give up. Using his public relations experience in the Air Force, he got a job at Security America Mortgage, where he’s now the Public Relations Director.

That’s the amazing transition of a combat photographer to public relations director at a private company. Here’s another one, from Lt. General to logistics executive:

William Pagonis was a Lieutenant General tasked to oversee logistics planning for two operations during the Gulf War.

After retiring, he applied for several jobs and acquired a position at Sears. The company’s executives were reluctant to hire him, as they’ve never hired anyone from the military in an executive capacity.

At first, his peers thought he was domineering, a Rambo who doesn’t know what it’s like to work with a team. But Pagonis quickly crushed that stereotype and became a key executive at Sears.

Your position and background shouldn’t hinder you. Like these men, you can use it as a springboard to find a civilian job.

Where can Military Veterans and Transitioning Servicemen Find Work?

As of 2012, 29% of companies are recruiting veterans, compared to only 20% in the previous year. This number continues to increase as more companies recognize the discipline and focus talented veterans can contribute to their company. Of course, the added tax incentives for hiring veterans encourage them more.

Aside from direct-hiring from private companies, you can get in touch with recruiting firms and government funded institutions dedicated to helping heroes like you to land a civilian job.

  • Corporate Gray (Corporategray.com)- Connects private companies with veterans and transitioning military men. They have several career-building tools and services that can help you create a resume fit for private work. You can also sign up to get alerts for job listings and job fairs.
  • Military.com– Powered by job portal Monster.com. Looking for an accountability buddy in your hunt for a private job? Military.com can help you! The site boasts thousands of job listings in different states and industries. Not sure how to find the job with your given skills? Use the translation tool  to adapt your military expertise into desirable private sector skills.
  • Recruit Military (RecruitMilitary.com)—Offers free job-search services not just to military veterans, but also to their spouses and servicemen from other branches of the armed forces. As an added bonus, Recruit Military also provides resources for veterans wanting to start a business or own a franchise.