December 6, 2016

Resume workshop at Webster helps veterans find jobs

Timothy Schneidewind came to Webster University March 10 dressed in his finest suit. The Marine Corps veteran came to campus to attend the Veteran Resume and Career Prep workshop hosted by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR). Over the course of two hours Schneidewind learned tips for building his resume and how to interview properly.

The ESGR partnered with Webster University and the Human Resource Management Association of Greater St. Louis (HRMA) to host the event on Tuesday March 10 in the Sunnen Lounge of the University Center. Brandy Scheer, the program support technician at the ESGR believes it is important to provide service members with specialized assistance.

“We want to teach military members how to brand themselves,” Scheer said. “We teach them how to verbalize their skills in a way to make them attractive to employers. When someone says ‘I drove a tank’, they might not know how to put that into terms of maintaining multi-million dollar equipment and the technological side. These are the things employers want to hear about from job seekers.”

The two groups hosted a variety of volunteers from several major companies in the St. Louis region to help veterans learn crucial tips to make them more attractive in the hiring process.

Representatives from Monsanto, Boeing, Touchette and Enterprise Holdings were all in attendance to assist the former service members. The veterans who attended were encouraged to conduct mock interviews and practice elevator pitches with the volunteers in a stress-free environment.

According to Alejandro Cornejo, a representative for Monsanto, there are several common mistakes that military members run into when applying for their first jobs in the civilian world. He said veterans exiting the service aren’t taught about networking.

“Service members need to start before they even get out. The earlier the better,” Cornejo said. “They need to make contacts by talking to everyone they meet. Even if that contact doesn’t pay off for five years you will be glad you have it when you need it.”

 Another common mistake noted by Cornejo is a perceived skills gap in what the veteran currently knows, and what they believe to be desirable to employers in the workforce. Service members like Schneidewind often believe that the skills they learn in their specific military specialty will have no application in the civilian sector.

“I was an artilleryman for four years,” Schneidewind said. “When I started looking for jobs my resume was basically empty, I feel like none of that stuff matters to civilians. I hear companies love hiring veterans but they still want all this experience that I haven’t had the time to get.”

The ESGR says veterans are highly sought after in civilian sector jobs. According to the ESGR website service members are “disciplined and skilled workers who display pride, leadership, responsibility and professionalism in what they do. They understand the mission of their civilian jobs and make it a priority to get results, all while displaying a strong work ethic.”

In addition to the Veteran Resume and Career Prep workshop the ESGR, HRMA and several other veteran advocacy groups will be hosting a job fair next month. The event on April 14 will host over 100 different employers with over 500 different positions to be filled exclusively for veterans. Barbers will be on hand to give free haircuts and tailors will be creating suits for veterans who cannot afford it ahead of their interviews.

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