I left home at the age of 19 with no direction in life. Enlisting in the United States Navy (February 2001) in Massachusetts, I ended up being stationed in Gulfport MS with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 7 (Seabees).
I relocated to Ohio with my family to begin a new life. I knew I had enough transferrable skills to obtain employment, however I had a hard time translating this in a resume. During an unemployment evaluation, a representative referred me to a local DVOP. I met with her and went through an extensive evaluation and modification process. I became knowledgeable of how to properly showcase my skills so that those who had never served in the Military understood. Soon afterwards, I was hired as a case worker, determining Food stamp and Medicaid eligibility for approximately 3 years. As a result of my positive experience, during my time on the job, any Veteran that I identified, I referred them to the local DVOP for assistance. Subsequently, I was hired as a DVOP for the state of Ohio. This was the most rewarding job I had since the military. I understood and could relate to them; the feelings of having no direction. After serving in this capacity for about 18 months, I relocated to Massachusetts to be closer to my family.
In November 2010, I was hired as a Program Support Clerk working for the Bedford VA Medical Center. I provide human resources (HR) assistant services in employee benefits and recruitment and placement. I am responsible for counseling current and former employees, beneficiaries and relatives on federal employment benefits and processing a full range of personnel actions under different personnel systems. Although I miss working directly with Veterans, I find satisfaction in supporting daily operations in support of the VA facility.
If I had to give advice to veterans seeking federal employment, it would be as follows:
- Read the vacancy announcement thoroughly!
- Always follow up to ensure that you have submitted all required documents and your application is complete.
- Never sell yourself short. Rate yourself high as possible. Your qualifications and how you rate yourself will determine whether or not you will be called in for a face to face interview.
- Think outside the box. You may have transferrable skills for another posting if the position you are seeking is not posted.
- Never give up! It is a full time job to find a job!
It has been 9 years since I left the service however I will never forget all that I went through nor the people and programs that assisted me in my journey in my civilian life.