Helping our Heroes: Transitioning from Military to Civilian Careers

November 11, 2015 Bob Van Buskirk

To all the men and women who have served and are currently serving our country – THANK YOU. Thank you for your commitment, bravery and sacrifices for our freedom. We commend you this Veterans Day and every day.

As a Veteran who served nearly five years in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War, I still remember the first day I stepped foot in Germany. I worked as a photogrammetric cartographer developing target charts and maps from aerial photography. My time in the service taught me a lot about myself, teamwork and working in a fast-paced, demanding environment.

Upon returning from the service, getting back in sync with all aspects of civilian life was a transition. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, especially in terms of a career. Though I had a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in adult education, I entered the service right out of college and only knew the military. Fortunately, I was able to find a position in sales, which eventually led me to my career today at Xerox. Though every veteran’s experience finding a job is unique, one common challenge is aligning the skills learned from the military to a new career.

My colleague and former U.S. Army Officer Bob Tisone, a Vice President of Public Sector Sales for Xerox, said it best: “The military trains people to lead or manage by example, as well as through direction, delegation, motivation and inspiration. Veterans understand the practical ways to manage behaviors for results, even in challenging situations. Military duties involve a blend of individual and group productivity to be successful while also working side by side a diverse group of individuals.” These assets would be beneficial to employers, but often veterans need some guidance to help them discover which jobs best align with their skills.

When I returned home, there was nothing like the post-military career assistance that exists today. Fortunately, there is now an increasing number of resourceful companies that understand the benefits of recruiting veterans to their workforce. I’m honored to say that Xerox is one of those employers. Xerox has even instituted a formal military hiring program to make the transition back to civilian life a little easier. Whether it’s actual job search help, resume advice, or interview tips, this program gives veterans the knowledge and resources they need to prepare for a new career.

Last year, Xerox hired more than 1,700 veterans in various positions throughout the United States. The company actively seeks individuals with leadership abilities, team building skills and operations management experience – something every veteran learns from their service. If this sounds like you or someone you know, please check out: www.xerox.com/jobs/military-leadership .

About the Author

Vice President, Federal Capture, Xerox Federal Solutions

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