Returning military members often find the transition difficult from the armed forces to the work force.
To help deployed Minnesota troops think about their civilian careers before they return home, the Minnesota National Guard, in partnership with many public and private organizations, launched a new military initiative called Employment Resources Training (ERT).
As part of the program, nine Minnesotans traveled to Kuwait for one week to help prepare troops for employment in the U.S. Three of the ERT members were chosen from Minnesota companies, including Target, U.S. Bank and Best Buy.
Marvin Hamilton, a Group Director in Distribution at Target who served in the army from 1985-1992, just returned from his weeklong stint. While there, Marvin worked with soldiers from the Minnesota National Guard’s 1/31 Heavy Brigade Combat Team through activities like resume-building and practice interviews.
click through the gallery below of Marvin’s trip in Kuwait
“It was a good feeling, and I know we made a difference,” says Marvin. “The training is an effort to show soldiers how their military skill sets can translate into the business world.”
After returning from active duty, service men and women often struggle to find work, especially in a difficult job market. But through programs like ERT and supportive preparatory instruction, the transition to the civilian workforce can become less of a challenge.
“Traditional interviewing style does not exist in the military,” explains Marvin. “Many soldiers are only familiar with presenting their paperwork and resumes.”
Marvin conducted hours of interview practice to prepare soldiers for the increasingly competitive job market.
“I talked about the value of telling your story and getting your point across in an interview,” says Marvin. “I told the soldiers that it’s important to know what you do and what you want. Do you want to lead people, manage projects or analyze data? Then you can start to make a reasonable search of what’s out there.”
In today’s fast paced world, jobseekers need to know how to market themselves efficiently and quickly.
“When it came to the ‘elevator speech’, we worked on presenting themselves in a competitive way,” says Marvin. “Networking is not a focus while deployed. We worked with individuals to encourage them to make sure their resume and applicant materials represent the person who shows up to the interview. Networking is one of the best ways to find new opportunities.”
After a grueling week of 15-hour days, Marvin was astounded to see the overwhelming impact of the employment training. “I was blown away by the response from the soldiers,” he says. “They were so happy and appreciative.”
Target, along with the Minnesota National Guard and other companies, will continue to assist military members in their transition into civilian lives and employment.
“This isn’t a one-time thing. We’ll be there for them if they need us,” says Marvin. “We can play a strong role in preparing returning service men and women to fulfill their dreams.
Visit www.target.com/military to learn more about Target’s support of the military.
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