A Veteran’s Open Letter to Active Duty Personnel and Transitioning Veterans

“I have had the honor to spend the last few weeks with Brent Hand [owner of Valor Magazine]–  He spoke to me about Valor Magazine and his mission to focus and highlight American heroes.  I asked to be part of his mission, hopefully adding value and perspective to lift up our brothers and sisters who have served.

As a Veteran, I understand the obstacles we all face when leaving the military and successfully integrating ourselves into the civilian workforce.  Serving in an MOS that does not directly translate into the civilian world exacerbates this issue and leaves a lot of transitioning veterans lost.

My wife, as a Parachute Rigger, fell into that group of veterans who could not directly translate her MOS into a civilian career.  Luckily as a SOF Medic, I was afforded more opportunity than most.  After my service, I worked my way up to be a Regional Director for an ambulance company and the President of the largest ambulance company in West Tennessee.  All of this was accomplished without a college degree.  Now please, make no mistake, pursue a degree and use the GI Bill that you have worked for.

So how did I accomplish this type of career success?

Here are my two pieces advice for all active military personnel and transitioning veterans.

1.  Seize Every Opportunity

Take advantage of the educational opportunities you are offered during your service.  While serving, I did not turn down a single school or training opportunity.  In addition to increasing my knowledge base and experience, each school helped add value to my resume.

2.  Believe in Yourself

Always have confidence in your abilities! — and more importantly, sell yourself!  Regardless of your MOS, you have achieved and experienced things during your service that the majority of civilian American have not or never will achieve or experience.  Military service has provided you a strength and measure of discipline that you can draw from.

You must understand, employers seek employees who possess your qualities of discipline, leadership, determination, dedication, and organization.   It is up to you to market yourself in a way that highlights these desirable traits.  Spend the time and money to have your resume professionally done.  Read up on how to give a successful interview.  If you have a positive mindset, prepare yourself, and believe in yourself — the sky is the limit.”

— Joe Chiarella NRP, FP-C

Veteran Resources

There are many resources available to veterans and active duty members to help with transition.  Below is a list of sites and organizations that help Veterans transition into corporate America or start their own businesses.

1.      Hire Our Heroes:  Hire Our Heroes is a veteran ran non-profit organization that aims to lower veteran unemployment by training, mentoring, and coaching veterans in job placement.   Get involved!

2.      MilitaryHire.com: MilitaryHire.com is a military hiring network that aims to connect the “veterans of America’s armed forces with employers who value their experience and skills.”  On their site, you can search for available jobs as well as instruction on resume writing and interviewing to highlight your unique qualities and skills.

3.      Hiring America: “Hiring America is the first TV series dedicated to helping veterans find jobs. We feature companies with outstanding veteran hiring initiatives, share insights from CEO’s, career counselors, and HR specialists, and give valuable information to help ease the transition for veterans entering the civilian workforce.”  Check out the latest episodes here!

4.     Call of Duty Endowment (CODE):  One-stop-shop for all unemployed veterans.  Submit your information to be paired with one of Call of Duty Endowment’s partner organizations.  Organizations referred by CODE offer free services like resume preparation, interview practice, and job search.  If you are an unemployed veteran, fill out the form HERE.

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