EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- More than 100 service members, veterans and military spouses from the Team Eglin community attended the Hiring Our Heroes transition summit here July 12.
The summit offered the attendees insight and avenues to obtaining employment following military service.
Since 2011, Hiring Our Heroes partnered with state and local chambers of commerce, and local and national public and private sector companies, to connect job seekers to jobs.
“We’re glad to have some of those companies represented here,” said Holly Newton, Airman and Family Readiness Center community readiness specialist, who organized the event. “They have positions available and are actively looking to hire transitioning service members and spouses.”
The summit opened with a panel discussion on civilian employment.
The panel gave advice on: when and how to begin a job search; resumes tailoring a military skillset to a specific civilian job; researching a company; and networking.
Don Stoppenbach, a business development director of a company that connects transitioning service members and military spouses to employers, moderated the panel.
He told the audience about an application service members and veterans can use to translate information from ribbons and medals, to language they can use to build a resume.
“We want to get these great candidates in front of veteran-ready employers so they can get job offers and meaningful employment,” Stoppenbach said.
Senior Master Sgt. Mike Rayno, 53rd Wing Computer Systems Squadron, had concerns about taking his skills into unknown territory, before the summit. He said his biggest anxiety is creating a resume that will help him land the job he wants.
“I’m an information technology guy and a project manager in the military, but my real passion is mentoring people,” Rayno said. “I would like to find a civilian job where I can use those skills, but I‘m not sure where those jobs are.”
Rayno hoped the information he received about professional networking websites, and the resume building application, will lead him to the right job.
“Being able to translate my military accomplishments to my resume, and having some networking paths, will take some of the stress off me,” said the father of three.
Next, a job fair featured representatives from approximately 70 local and national companies. Attendees were encouraged to gather information, ask questions and submit resumes.
Debbie Cote, a recruiter who represented a national management and information technology consulting firm, said she was impressed with the caliber of inquirers.
“I talked to about 30 great, qualified candidates,” she said. “Many were interested in intelligence analysis, cyber security and human resources positions. I’ll definitely follow up with them and be their advocate through the hiring process.”
Newton hopes the summit will become an annual event.
“We’re committed to helping our transitioning service members, veterans and spouses make connections and land jobs in the civilian sector,” she said. “They’re our heroes. They deserve the opportunity to earn a living and have a good quality of life once they leave the military.”