He Found Success Using RecruitMilitary's Job Board
Well before retirement U.S. Army Infantry 1SG Jeremiah Shepard incorporated two RecruitMilitary services into his job hunt - the job board and a job fair. It paid off.
He met his current employer through the RecruitMilitary job board six months before his transition date. It was such a good fit, his new employers were happy to wait.
Read the full interview here:
Tell us about your military background.
I'm a 25-year U.S. Army Infantry retired first sergeant, with two tours in Afghanistan and Kosovo. I was an operational planner and did a lot of different various infantry roles throughout my career in addition to being an instructor and drill sergeant. I came towards the end of my career and realized it was time to make the transition.
I am currently employed with Dell Print Solutions as a general manager of technical services, responsible for nationwide customers across the United States and parts of Canada. I am responsible for dispatching, servicing, coordinating, and resourcing service technicians and maintaining relationships with my sales personnel and my help desk staff, which services over 16,000 devices that our company maintains for our customers.
Do your military skills come into play at your civilian job?
Absolutely. Things like understanding how the big picture works with the needs of troops on the ground and those resourcing pieces help in my role today.
I also learned leadership, which now helps me teach, coach, and mentor my direct reports.
How did you prepare for your transition into the civilian workforce?
I started planning my transition probably about nine months prior to my retirement. Not long after the 20-year mark, I knew that it was getting close.
I worked with the Army Community Service Program for the resume writing, job skills, and networking classes. At the same time, I started the Soldier For Life Program, where I was introduced to the IVMF (Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University) Onward to Opportunity program. There I sought additional training and resourcing to adjust to the civilian sector.
Also, the Soldier for Life Program was more than adequate in helping and insisting along with the Army Community Service Program.
What were important take-aways for that preparation stage?
Regardless of any MOS, you learned skills and traits.
I remember filling out a self-assessment asking, "How do you fit in? Where do you see yourself?" It took me three months to fill out and determine where I was going to be a good fit.
I essentially said, "Okay, when am I going to retire?" I did some backwards planning. I knew some of my limitations from some service-related injuries, so even though I really wanted to go into law enforcement, that wasn’t going to be the best option.
I'm good with numbers. I'm good with a lot of the resourcing pieces that I've learned throughout my military career, so I decided to go into human resources or project management. I took courses through Onward to Opportunity.
Through the Onward to Opportunity Program, I was connected with an actual project manager to hear about the day in a life of a project manager. It felt like something I wanted to do, but when I looked at the time needed to get my certification, I had to shift gears.
Then I looked into human resources. In the military, my job included making sure everybody came to work, that they were getting performance evaluations or and accolades, and they're getting taken care of. It transferred well.
How did you hear about RecruitMilitary?
The group at Onward to Opportunity spoke highly of RecruitMilitary.
RecruitMilitary was also at a career fair at Fort Drum, New York hosted by the Army Community Services and Onward to Opportunity. After speaking to the RecruitMilitary representative, I immediately created my RecruitMilitary profile.
I had three job offers within the first three weeks of being up on RecruitMilitary.
One of those offers is where I'm working now as a general manager of technical services for a nationwide managed print and managed IT company.
My supervisor is the person that posted on RecruitMilitary. He is a 20-year veteran himself. He knew what attributes he was looking for. I saw the job was in an area where my family wanted to live. I talked it over with my wife, mulled it over, and I gave them a call back.
I said, "How soon are you looking for me? I still have about six months before I fully retire and go into my transition leave."
He said, "We'll be waiting for you."
What do you love about your new job?
I'm still giving back to veterans to this day. My company is part of an organization called the Business Technology Association (BTA).
When my company wanted a veteran hiring policy and asked me to put one together, my first step was to meet with our legal counsel. The next thing I heard, the BTA had created the Veterans Enhancing Technology Program, and I am now a board member with six others. The other veteran members have been in the industry for 20 to 30 years.
Through this program, we look for additional ways to bring veterans into our company – whether as part of an office industry or managed IT type of environment.
What advice would you give to anyone that was attending a RecruitMilitary career fair?
Go often and go as early as you can before you make that transition to civilian life. You’ll be better prepared to engage with the civilian populace. You’ll also practice showing the correlation of your military skills and experience to different roles.
Before you go, learn what companies will be there. Ask questions like:
- What types of employers?
- What are they looking for?
- Where do I see how I fit with them?
- In which regions are they located?
- Where do I want to work and where do I want to live at the same time?
- Will this meet my family's needs?
Look at the capabilities and what you learned from your specialty MOS or your specialty skillset. Those things translate.