Reflections of a Woman Veteran

Reflections of a Woman Veteran

Dear Friend,

I am immensely passionate about employment issues facing women veterans because I am one. 

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be in the Navy,  just like my grandpa. I worked hard through high school and college, and became just the fourth female aboard my first ship. I served proudly for ten years in the Navy, and planned to make it my career; that plan was abruptly changed when I received an unexpected cancer diagnosis that cut my military career short. 

After being medically retired, I was unwillingly thrust into the role of both a woman veteran and a military spouse–forced to change jobs in a new city, with no connections. I felt lost and intimidated by this unknown landscape, and–as qualified as I was–spent eleven long months unemployed. 

I didn’t know an organization like Hire Heroes USA existed at that time–I didn’t know that there was a whole team of supporters who longed to see me succeed, personally and professionally. I struggled to find my way on my own, then made it my mission to make sure that those after me don’t bear the same burden. 

You can help, too. By generously giving today, you can empower a woman veteran who honorably served her country and is looking for a new post-military career right now. 

Trust me, she needs your support. 

With Gratitude,

Erin Johnson

Director of Growth at Hire Heroes USA

Reflections on Serving Military Spouses

Reflections on Serving Military Spouses

My name is Kelly, and I am a military spouse. When I married my husband six years ago, a United States Airmen, I never realized how much that would affect my career and my ability to find meaningful employment. As a career-focused individual, I have always put a high level of importance on my career. After our first PCS to Arizona from Pennsylvania, I struggled to find a job and ended up taking a job in something I didn’t enjoy doing and unrelated to my degree. When it was time to move to another duty station (this time to North Carolina), I made a promise to myself to not accept a job that I wouldn’t love. I remained unemployed for 6+ months, and it was the hardest time of my life. During this time of unemployment, I experienced depression and became extremely frustrated with the job search process. I must have applied to over 200 jobs with few to no callbacks. Here I was with an MBA, professional experience, and various volunteer experiences, but I couldn’t find a job or even get an interview.

During this period, I stumbled upon Hire Heroes USA and signed up for their services. I was assigned a Transition Specialist named Marshall McCloud, who taught me how to effectively job search. He helped me with my resume, interview skills, and how to network and brand myself on LinkedIn. Hire Heroes USA’s mission is to empower U.S. military members, veterans, and military spouses to succeed in the civilian workforce. This mission matters because many Veterans and Military Spouses, like myself, don’t know how to effectively job search. Hire Heroes USA was not just a nonprofit organization for me: this organization saved my life. My Transition Specialist was in my corner following up with me during my time of unemployment. My husband likes to refer to my Transition Specialist and Hire Heroes USA as “a light during a dark time in our lives.” Hire Heroes gave me the motivation to keep going. I used my TS’s advice and eventually networked myself into Hire Heroes USA as a Transition Specialist. I now serve as the Manager of the Serving Spouses Program, a program designed to help Military Spouses address their unique needs and find employment. Since starting with Hire Heroes USA 3+ years ago, I have helped 886 Military Spouses and Veterans find meaningful employment. 

I will never forget the things Marshall did for me and today he remains one of my best friends. I truly believe eventually you will always end up where you are supposed to be in life. There are a number of ways you can get involved in Hire Heroes USA’s mission, including volunteering and donating. It is because of people’s generosity that we are able to accomplish our mission and provide the mentorship and support that all veterans and spouses need and deserve. When you give to Hire Heroes, you are directly contributing to the economic stability that enables veterans and military spouses to build a future. I know my story is not unique as many Military Spouses and Veterans are struggling to find jobs. In fact, the #1 request of transitioning military members is employment assistance.  When you give to Hire Heroes USA, you are answering the call.

If you’re a Military Spouse looking for support in your job search, register for the Serving Spouses Program here.

Reflections of a Military Spouse

Reflections of a Military Spouse

During my husband’s second deployment I was trapped in a boring desk job in Pittsburgh. My husband decided to pursue a career with the Pennsylvania State Police when he returned home and I saw a move out of the city as a way out of my career rut. I found Hire Heroes USA shortly after beginning my job search. My criteria for a new job were fairly strict: I wanted to work from home and utilize my college degree, which I had just earned 6 months prior. I was matched with Kelly Kelly who worked as my transition specialist. She called frequently to check in on my job search, tailored my resume to what employers really wanted to see, and kept a close eye out for jobs that might interest me.

Fast forward a year and I was starting to lose hope as I struggled to get attention from employers due to my lack of experience. I was now newly pregnant and just about to give up and accept a job offer in an office an hour away from home when Kelly told me about Patriot Advantage! I submitted my application and the rest is history. I’ve been with Patriot Advantage for almost a year now!

It was Kelly’s determination and perseverance that found me my dream job that met all of my criteria. She knew exactly what I needed and wanted, kept me involved in the process and convinced me not to give up when I explained my concerns to her. After over a year of working together, she never gave up on me! Since being hired with Patriot Advantage almost a year ago, I still keep in contact with Kelly. She checks in from time-to-time and we follow each other on Instagram where we share excitement over Pennsylvania native cuisine (she’s a PA native too!) and struggles of military life.

– Ivy, Military Spouse

If you’re a Military Spouse looking for support in your job search, register for the Serving Spouses Program here

Reflections on Volunteering

Reflections on Volunteering

I’ve always admired the patriotism, courage, and selflessness of our U.S. military members. There’s a tradition of this in my family:

My father, at age 16 and with the blessing of his parents, enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps toward the end of WWII. My husband is a Purple Heart Vietnam Veteran, having served in the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division. He survived a year in Vietnam. He’s shared with me the unwelcoming reaction Vietnam veterans encountered on their return home. He was counseled to delete his military service from his resume! His father was a career Air Force officer, who served as a Navigator in WWII and Korea. Their family moved all over the country, including Alaska, as he was transferred to different bases. Our son served four years in the U.S. Army Old Guard and escorted Nancy Reagan during President Reagan’s funeral services. He is still serving in the Florida Army National Guard, and has deployed twice to Iraq and Kenya.

I retired a few years ago as Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Macy’s Technology. After a career in HR, I wanted to find a way to serve and support our veterans while leveraging my extensive experience. Hire Heroes USA is a perfect match. As an In-Office Outreach Volunteer, I support the Client Services team in contacting our clients. I provide coaching and encouragement, get updates, and determine how we can further support them. Of course, I leave a lot of voicemails, too, but each one is a reminder to that client that we are here for them. In the three years I’ve been volunteering, I’ve identified over 150 hired clients. These calls always provide a celebration moment!

The HHUSA team is dedicated, caring, and professional. They provide the support and resources our clients need to navigate the new and often confusing world of civilian employment. I see the positive difference HHUSA makes in the lives of transitioning military, spouses, and veterans. I’m honored and proud to play a small part.

– Donna, Hire Heroes USA Volunteer

Make a difference in the lives of veterans and military spouses by becoming a Hire Heroes USA volunteer today!

Volunteer Spotlight: Erica

Volunteer Spotlight: Erica

In the past two years, Erica has dedicated over 50 volunteer hours to Hire Heroes USA. Working with our clients on their job search, Erica brings a unique perspective as both a recruiting professional and military spouse. “I enjoy talking with clients and try to give them new insights,” Erica shared. “Even if it’s just one thing, they will walk away with that and it’ll stick with them.”

Her career in Talent Acquisition allows her to dive deeper into the hiring process. She prepares veterans and military spouses with information on how to negotiate salary, get interviews, and determine the best content for a strong resume. Erica enjoys using her professional experience to give back to the military community: “Helping transitioning service members and spouses find meaningful work is something I am very passionate about because it’s fulfilling and meaningful work.”

We asked Erica why she enjoys volunteering with Hire Heroes USA and she explained, “I can bring a unique perspective, not only as a military spouse myself, but as a talent acquisition professional who spent several years reading, reviewing, and selecting resumes. I’ve always felt that I can help answer candidate’s questions about the hiring process.” 

In this season of thanksgiving, we are extra grateful to have Erica on our team. Thank you for sharing your time and expertise so graciously with Hire Heroes USA!

Make a difference in the lives of veterans and military spouses, like Erica, by becoming a Hire Heroes USA volunteer today!

Transitioning from Service to Civilian Life

Transitioning from Service to Civilian Life

Hire Heroes USA CEO Christopher Plamp and Navy Federal Credit Union SVP Keith Hoskins spoke on some of the challenges military members face when transitioning into civilian life and a list of “Best Careers After Service” on Fox Business: Mornings with Maria.

Find out more information about the 10 Best Careers after Service here.

Volunteer Spotlight: Ajitkumar

Volunteer Spotlight: Ajitkumar

From Hire Heroes USA client to a volunteer, Ajitkumar Baridun understands the transition from the military and the many challenges of searching for a civilian career.  “As a veteran, I understand the transitioning struggle [veterans] face,” Ajitkumar Baridun said. After receiving a job as a Project Manager, Ajitkumar knew he wanted to give back to others. He decided to volunteer with Hire Heroes USA to help other veterans find meaningful civilian careers. 

Although he is new to volunteering, he plans to increase his volunteer hours to help any veteran in need. Ajitkumar spends his volunteer time assisting with mock interviews, career coaching, and lending a listening ear when called upon. 

Ajitkumar uses his own experiences to selflessly coach veterans. We asked Ajitkumar why he enjoyed volunteering with Hire Heroes USA and he said, “I’ve always wanted to help and make a difference in people’s lives, which I finally get to do by volunteering to mentor.”

Make a difference in the lives of veterans and military spouses, like Ajitkumar, by becoming a Hire Heroes USA volunteer today!

Volunteer Spotlight: Brad

Volunteer Spotlight: Brad

Brad has been a Hire Heroes USA volunteer for two years! He’s logged over 80 volunteer hours and doesn’t plan to stop there. He has always had a desire to help others. Brad’s sole mission in life is to “make a positive impact in the life of another person.” 

The majority of Brad’s career has been in the healthcare industry, ensuring personalized, positive experiences for hundreds of patients. His professional experience provides expert career guidance and makes a positive impact on America’s heroes. “I get excited [to volunteer] because I know that I will be speaking with many of MY heroes – anyone who is active duty or retired active duty is my hero,” Brad said. 

Brad’s passion for helping veterans and military spouses shines through his continued support and willingness to volunteer. We asked Brad why he enjoys volunteering with Hire Heroes USA, and he said, “The most amazing part about volunteering is that I get to make a positive difference in the life of a veteran and their family no matter what the context of the call is.”

Make a difference in the lives of veterans and military spouses, like Brad, by becoming a Hire Heroes USA volunteer today!

Partner Spotlight: How one small business gives back

Partner Spotlight: How one small business gives back

“I love working with Hire Heroes USA because it’s a true partnership,” says Joe Finch, founder and CEO of Recruit Responsibly. Joe has been supporting Hire Heroes USA since the inception of his company in 2016. Recruit Responsibly is an executive recruiting firm with a very unique mission. 

Joe worked in corporate recruiting for over a decade before he had his ‘aha moment.’ He had always wanted to own his own business, helping people and companies find the right employment fit, but also wanted to use this business to make an impact in the community. He thought, “What if we could donate off of our wins? Every time my company succeeds, we could help three other organizations succeed!” After researching nonprofit organizations focused on employment, Joe decided to form relationships with three: People Supporting Employment First, Jobs For The Future, and Hire Heroes USA. He reached out to Hire Heroes USA a few months prior to launching his business. “I was nothing but an idea, and you were rooting for me,” he said. Now, when Recruit Responsibly places a professional into a job, 15% of all fees are donated. To date, Joe and his company have also provided over 600 mentoring sessions for veterans and military spouses through Hire Heroes USA. 

Like many Hire Heroes partners, Joe is more than a donor – he’s a true collaborator in the mission. Because Recruit Responsibly is located in San Diego, Joe has been involved in the Run for Heroes San Diego 5K since it began. He brought his wife, Monica, along with him to run and she was inspired to volunteer by the staff and supporters at the race. Monica now helps out as an official Hire Heroes USA volunteer, offering hours of her time to support veterans and military spouses preparing to enter the civilian workforce. Joe and Monica personify the dedication of Hire Heroes supporters and partners: unique and fully committed. 

When asked why he chose Hire Heroes USA as a partner organization Joe said, “Everyone you meet- whether they are a volunteer, supporter, or staff member, everyone is invested in the organization. It’s such a close-knit company, and they are experiencing a lot of growth, and it is awesome to go along for the ride.” Joe encourages other for-profit companies to get involved with Hire Heroes. He said that the flexibility of the partnerships is one of the greatest parts; his company is able to give what works for them, and he is able to be part of the mission to help empower the veteran community and their families. 

Learn how to become a corporate partner today!

Volunteer Spotlight: Kathi

Volunteer Spotlight: Kathi

Hire Heroes USA volunteer Kathi knows first-hand what it’s like to be in a military family. Her dad served in the Air Force and drove for generals in WWll. The challenge isn’t new to her and she is very appreciative of the men and women who have served this country.

Kathi worked with Boeing for 20 years as an Organization Development Specialist and Executive Coach. She decided to bring her talents to Hire Heroes USA as a volunteer two years ago when she heard about Hire Heroes USA through a television special. It was at that moment that Kathi knew she could support veterans and military spouses as a volunteer. She contacted Hire Heroes USA immediately and completed what she says was an “organized and professional volunteer orientation through the phone.”

Over the last two years, Kathi has completed over 80 volunteer hours. She is grateful to continue serving those who served our nation. “I’m happy to offer coaching clarification to determine next purposeful life and career goals and support actions towards a successful transition. I’m always impressed with military experience, energy, and great attitude – all valuable to employers.”

Make a difference in the lives of veterans and military spouses, just like Kathi, by becoming a Hire Heroes USA volunteer today!