Preparing Veterans for the Civilian Workforce.
By Luis Murillo.
AT&T’s Leadership Development Program
Manager, Remit Operations & Systems Management | Global Customer Payments
I grew up in a household with parents that emigrated from Mexico in search of a better life. I saw how hard my parents worked to give me what they didn’t have growing up, so I was always dedicated to working hard myself, starting at 16 years old.
I was told many times I couldn’t do something or that it was too hard for me. But that never stopped me. When you have a plan of action to help you realize your goals, I believe you can do anything you set your mind to.
While in the Coast Guard, I developed skills such as clear communication, problem solving, time management, and most importantly, being able to work on a team to achieve a common goal.The experience and skills I attained in the military have helped me adapt to a constantly changing corporate environment.While working at AT&T, I’ve seen how they are preparing the workforce of the future and I’ve been able to contribute to that vision by applying the skills I learned in the military to lead a team and reach our departments goals.
From my experience, here are some tips that may help others transition from the military to the civilian world.
1. Plan and set goals:
Planning is key, and it is something I learned directly from the Coast Guard. If there was a search and rescue mission, our proactive planning prepared us to know exactly what to do without hesitation to ensure a successful mission. I took a similar approach outside of the military by writing down the goals I wanted to achieve in the next five years and made a list of action items I would need to complete in order to meet those goals. When transitioning from the military, list key circumstances that might impact you from reaching those goals. This could include your housing situation, finances, career prospects, school, etc. Share your goals with your support system of family, friends and mentors so they can hold you accountable and help you get back on track if you lose sight of your goals.
It might take some time, but start writing down your accomplishments now. Put on paper the projects you’ve worked on, times you’ve increased productivity, how you changed a process to make it more efficient – anything that made a positive impact. Trust me, it will help when it comes time to write your resume. Seek out feedback from peers you trust – in the military or outside the military – on how to best highlight your skills.
3. Build and maintain your network:
It’s important to always make time to build relationships and meet new people who can help you reach your goals. It’s even more important to maintain those relationships. Reach out to people on LinkedIn for informational interviews, attend a conference, or join a professional organization like Prospanica or the Veteran Mentor Network on LinkedIn. Building a network will offer you opportunities to ask questions and connect with people from all over who are willing to help.
4. Continuous learning and pay it forward:
I always strive to learn new things and step out of my comfort zone. Challenge yourself to do these things and you will see growth in your personal and professional development. Don’t forget there are people following a similar path and if you can help them reach their goal, we can all move forward.
Luis Murillo is a veteran who served in the United States Coast Guard. He accepted a full-time position in AT&T’s Leadership Development Program (LDP) – a 26-month-long program that nurtures participants’ leadership skills. He works as a manager, overseeing a team of eight who handle hundreds of customer cases daily.
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