An estimated 175,000 military personnel are coming off active duty over the next 12 months, and most of them will be looking for jobs. Many veterans have skill sets and experiences that can translate well in the wireless industry; the key for these people is connecting with the hiring managers who can place them.
“The biggest challenge the military has is they don’t understand what their capacities are, they don’t know how to market their own talents and how to go out and find connections,” says Andy Pero, Operations Manager at recruiter Orion International. “When you look at a company as big as AT&T … how would a veteran know [how] to get in touch with the right manager?”
AT&T is committed to hiring veterans, and recognizes the problems military personnel can face when approaching the civilian job market. Chris Norton is one of the success stories – during active duty he led the Arrival/Departure Airfield Control Group at Fort Dix, NJ, and later commanded the Headquarters Company, 1079th Garrison Support Unit. Now he is AT&T”s Talent Attraction Manager for military personnel.
Norton spends a lot of time coaching veterans on job search and resume strategies, and he says that when they ask him what jobs are available he asks them what they want to do. He says most military skills translate somewhere at AT&T, including medical backgrounds because of the company’s focus on mobile health. He says AT&T’s U-Verse unit is hiring lots of young veterans who are ready to work with their hands as premise technicians.
Norton says one of the biggest problems veterans face is their resumes, because the way that assignments and accomplishments are listed is different from the way jobs and achievements are detailed on civilian resumes. “The recruiter we will get milliosn of resumes,” he says. “Along comes this one that doesn’t look like anything you understand, and you move on to the next one. It is no one’s fault but that is the situation we have.”
“When I find out a veteran has applied I conact the recruiter,” says Norton. “I offer to walk through his qualifications. When that happens it typicaly moves on to the hiring managers.”