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Dear Corporate America, From Any Veteran, USA

by
Morgan Hoogvelt
Mar 1, 2012, 5:34 am ET

Dear Corporate America,

This letter is intended to ask for your help and to open your mind, perhaps a little bit. I have recently completed my tour of duty serving our country and now it is time for the next opportunity in my career. The past several years have been tough for me; numerous deployments, time away from my family and loved ones, the missing of birthdays and holidays and tough financial times as well.

I initially joined the military due to my sense of commitment and wanting to be part of something greater like service to my community and country. Now that I have accomplished that, I am ready for my next challenge and will be entering the civilian world, hungry for an opportunity where I can demonstrate my talents and knowledge.

While in the military, I learned such traits like leadership, commitment, accountability, dedication, team work, sacrifice, and courage. I learned my job in the military through schooling and classroom education. What takes civilian world technical schools and colleges months and even years to teach, I learned and successfully passed in weeks and months. I then applied those acquired classroom skills and theories in real world applications and career fields such as aviation, logistics, security, administration, healthcare, supply, legal, nuclear power, IT, and many other fields.

I performed my job in the military to a high degree and in places around the world that your average worker in Corporate America has never seen and will never know of: on an Aircraft Carrier in the Persian Gulf, on the airfield of Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan, patrolling on the streets of Iraq, building relationships in the horn of Africa, at 25,000 feet in a heavy transport airplane, inside a hospital in Germany, and many other places I can’t even begin to share with you.

So I am here now and ready to make a change in my life like many other job seekers you have come across. Yet, I find it a little harder and even frustrating not getting the same chances and opportunities to showcase my talents and experience to you. Perhaps you are not familiar with the terms on my resume; perhaps you are thinking that it will take time for me to adjust; perhaps you are thinking that my skills will not translate; or even — perhaps you are thinking that some things I may have seen will stay with me and will be brought into the workplace.

I am not asking for a handout, nor am I asking you to hire me simply because I am a veteran. I am asking you to give me a fair shot and have an open mind when you receive my resume. Take into account the experiences I have had, the projects and assignments I have worked on — and if you need clarification on any acronyms on my resume, please call me or invite me in and I will be more than happy to clarify them for you. Oh … and when we do finally meet and I address you as sir or ma’am, it’s not because I am “programmed” to speak a certain language and cannot adapt; it’s because that is the word I use to as a sign of respect.

And if and when you do decide to hire me and give me a shot; you will find me to be punctual, respectful, grateful, hardworking, knowledgeable, and accountable. I will learn fast and apply the principles that I know in order to be successful and bring success to the department and company. I will work hard, dedicate myself, add to the team, lead where I can, and set an example for others.

One thing that I will ask of you is that you don’t fall into the “craziness” people and companies make hiring a veteran like me out to be. It’s not that hard, it’s not rocket science — I am a human and not a robot. The military is a company in its own manner. As a matter of fact it’s one of the largest companies in the world that employees individuals in every career field imaginable.

So if and when your next open position arises, and you receive a resume from me or someone like me, perhaps you will give the resume a second look and think about this letter that I have written to you. Perhaps you will even go as far to invite me in and let me express the value that I can bring or perhaps at the very least … maybe if I am not qualified at all, you can cut me a break, and provide me a small piece of career advice or guidance in order to get my career pointed in the right direction and contribute to the success of corporate America.

Signed,

Any Veteran, USA

 

This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to offer specific legal advice. You should consult your legal counsel regarding any threatened or pending litigation.

  1. Matthew Hoffner

    Great “letter”.

    My own experience from years of hiring is that vets bring a high level of commitment and maturity to the position. Tehir experience can be a real advantage for any employer.

  2. Nena McFadden

    Great letter. Agree with Matthew, the committment of our veterans is incredible and they bring a different view which can really help companies think outside the box to accomplish objectives. And who better to represent a company and have your “back”.

  3. Mike Francomb

    Super message Matthew.

    It was great to see you bring out the theme that it’s simply a great business decision to tap into the talent our military veterans bring to the table.

  4. Jim Cargill

    Morgan,

    For reasons I won’t try to explain, your article brought tears to my eyes. As a veteran from another era, there is no way to explain the unique coldness veterans too often feel from some people in our society.

    If you are a veteran, Morgan, I thank you for your service to our country. If you are not, I thank you even more for your understanding and dedication to service of veteran’s needs.

  5. Pamela Reiss

    I, too, found the letter inspiring.

    But I would note, as I often do working with military folks transitioning to private life, that it is their responsibility to craft a resume that is understandable to a lay person (ideally, one with no acronyms). Their task is the same as anyone else applying for a position: make it easy for the recruiter or manager to understand your skills and how they directly relate to the open position.

  6. Alexandria Brown

    I agree with Pamela. I think that providing a resume that reflects your skills in a manner that is similar to the job you are applying for makes things much easier for a recruiter. I might review over 80 resumes for just one position during a large chunk of my day, and I can tell you that I will not look up 20 acronyms for ONE resume. I would personally love to hire more veterans, but without a strong cover letter explaining how your previous jobs functions in the military translate into my company and a readable resume, that just isn’t going to happen.

  7. http://www.ere…. « abrownhrpro

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  9. Robert Dromgoole

    I invite every recruiter out there to partner with your local unemployment office, and partner with the Vet rep for your region. I guarantee they would welcome your volunteer efforts. ERE probably has thousands of readers. If every recruiter out there volunteered, we’d make a significant impact in helping our unemployed Vet population.

  10. Ken Schmitt

    Well-written! There are many important issues in this letter that those involved in hiring need to be made aware of. As the owner of my own recruiting firm, I have had experience with many veterans looking to re-enter the civilian workforce or enter for the first time. Personally, I think the biggest aid we can give veterans is professional guidance when creating their resumes. Many of their skills are perfect for the workforce but are often missing the buzz-words or translatable verbiage that hiring managers are looking for in a resume. It’s sad, really, that so many can miss out on stellar employees due to a small technicality. Those of us in the position to help in the hiring process are presented with a great opportunity- offer our services to veterans to help make their career transition as smooth as possible. Haven’t they earned that?
    Thank you for bringing some light to this issue.
    Ken C. Schmitt
    http://www.turningpointsearch.net

  11. Sarah Sheasby

    Excellent Article. I have a passion for military and am lucky enough to currently work for a corporation that values the experience and service. That being said, it is not the normal out there. I have reached our to multiple military organizations (Army, National Guard, Wounded Warriors, Navy, etc) and transitioning groups offering to volunteer coaching exiting military on how to present themselves to corporate america, help/support on how to write resumes, etc. I have never been given an opportunity and only once did someone return my call/email. Ill help for free, I can dedicate 10-20 hours a week. Does anyone have any suggestions?

    Ill never forget the man who came to my office upon his return from Afghanistan (he cleared road mines and I could not offer him a position on my mfg. floor, I was ashamed).

  12. Chris Businsky

    I signed up just to comment on this. I disagree. I’m a veteran and have been out for almost 15 years. I went into the military because my parents couldn’t afford to pay for college. I did my time, got out and used that money to start my future.

    I don’t think any veteran can separate and expect to slip into the real world. The job market is tough. I have made a career of working for the government and government contractors. They prefer military service, but now a days UNFORTUNATELY nothing is personal. Your resume won’t even reach a real person unless it has specific keywords to make it pass through the HR filters and get to the next step. There are so many people with similar qualifications that if they want someone with green eyes they can wait to find that person. That’s an example, but you get my drift.

    The good thing is that there are sites such as USAJOBS.gov that are catered to military and most government jobs won’t even let you in without that veteran status. Get continued education, taylor your resume to the job and don’t give up!

  13. Eric Standlee

    As a veteran, I would love to talk to every veteran about our employment opportunities. I am an owner in over 7 companies and a hiring manager.

    My challenge is that even though I run the largest open business networking organization in Houston called InHouston at theinhouston dot com, I don’t see that many vets.

    Help me meet them and I will do what I can to help them even if that isn’t hiring them personally.

    Eric at apccash dot com

  14. Karla Porter

    Morgan – Excellent conveyance of sentiment and getting the point across. And as a veteran serving other veterans – I think it’s shameful that there are some who will not pick up the phone or at least send an email asking for clarification of something they don’t understand. Haste makes waste as they say. Robert Dromgoole said a mouthful, if you want to assist veterans to be successful in their reintegration and transition to civilian life and careers, walk into your local state one-stop-shop and speak with the vet rep, volunteer to help translate some of those resumes. ~Karla

  15. Morgan Hoogvelt

    Thanks everyone for your kind and great comments. They are appreciated and hopefully this letter will reach people in the right places and help them change their thought perception or their company hiring approach when it comes to veterans.

    @Sarah – thanks for your comment and so awesome that you can volunteer your time and help vets. Can you email me direct (email on profile) so we can connect and I can better help point you in the right direction? Look forward to connecting.

    @Chris – thanks for your comment and sorry you disagree. I too am a veteran and signed up for purpose AND college money as well. I don’t think any veteran expects to “slip” into corporate America, unless you are a highly connected senior officer, but rather the point is consideration. In all the conferences I attend or speaking events I go to on the topic of hiring veterans, it is made out to be a science and it doesn’t have to be. All I am doing is asking corporate America to open their eyes, things are personal once more with social media and information sharing – we can help change things.

    @Eric – great comment and exciting you want to help and reach out. Most transitioning vets might not end up at your networking event, not because they don’t want to, it may be that they are unaware of it. I think sometimes us in corporate America have to take a bit more proactive stance on finding vets. You can team up with programs like the Army’s ACAP program, Marine For Life, or/and even Transition Centers on bases. Those are just a couple and if you want to contact me, I would be more than happy to help you offline.

  16. Michael S

    Morgan –

    Very well written article and like Chris, I signed in just to offer my .02. I served 6 years in the Corps and got out and did the same sort of work in the civilian sector and later contracting. Not wanting to be a contractor the rest of my life I used my post 9/11 GI Bill to pursue a degree in accounting. This is where I am at now.

    I think I can speak for all veterans and 95%+ of Americans when I say that military service entitles you to respect. That is it. You have valuable skills learned through your occupational school and have had more practical experience working in groups and leading individuals than most hiring managers. The thing is, it is up to you to communicate those skills to your prospective employer.

    Should you get special consideration for a job just because you are a veteran? Maybe. I lead plenty of Marines that were tenacious fighters but had zero social skills or could not show up to work with a clean shave unless threatened with administrative punishment.

    Your special consideration will come when your resume gets flagged by the computer because you did your research and you put all the right keywords in your resume that was uploaded to the corporate database. Your special consideration will come at the job fair when you shake the hand of the recruiter, look them in the eye and tell them how your tour of duty in the Navy makes you a better employee than a recent college graduate. Your special consideration will come in the interview when the hiring manager learns understands (in his terms) what you did in the military and how hiring you will add productivity to the company.

    What I am getting at is that your military experience is nothing if you do not know how to communicate your skills and experience into terms your prospective employer will understand. You are a veteran, like me, who deserves the utmost respect for your sacrifice. You may even get special consideration if you get in front of the right person – don’t count on that though.

    The face is that you are a veteran, just like the tens of thousands of others in the job market. Figuring out a way to stand out from your fellow job seeking veterans will give you the edge you need to land your next position.

    Best of luck in your job search. With your writing skills I would be shocked if you are searching for long. – Michael

  17. Michael S

    Holy spelling errors / typos. Why is it I never proof read when it is late and I need it the most?

  18. Morgan Hoogvelt

    @Michael – thanks for signing up and for your contribution and also for your military service. Just so you are clear, this letter was NOT a plea for me for my own personal gain or job search. Thankfully I am employed full time and not in the market for a new opportunity.

    Overall, the point of the letter was to show Corporate America the skills and attributes that veterans can potentially bring to an organization. This letter, in no way, is make anyone feel sorry for veterans and give them a pity party and simply hire them because of their veteran status. Again, my point was to convey to hiring manager that veterans and transitioning military members have great skill sets that can be tapped into and that can provide value to an organization.

    I served several years in the Navy and got out only to have hiring managers question everything I did in the military and tell me my skills were not applicable to the civilian world – when in fact, all my skills I learned in the military were and are very applicable to the civilian world. Once again, not asking for any special consideration – only for people to open their eyes.

    Semper Fi – Morgan

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