- The Essential Military-to-Civilian Transition Resource

Taking Logistics to a Higher Level
by Janet Farley, Contributing Editor

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Article Sponsored by: Epes Transport System

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To excel in a job with this company, Blum suggests you enjoy finding ways to make things work in a technological sense and you know what to do when things don’t always go as planned.

“In the world of robotics, Murphy’s Law is alive and well,” said Blum.

In other words, contingency planning skills are a big plus in this business.

From Military Job Seeker to Service Manager
In October 2010, then-Navy LCDR Ned Hazlett attended a Transition Assistance Program (TAP) class in preparation for his retirement after 20 years of service as a Naval Flight Officer.

It was during the TAP class that Hazlett learned about BMI and how the leading military placement firm could help him quickly and efficiently find a civilian job in line with his vast experience and technical abilities.

“A BMI representative came to our TAP class and told us what they could do for us and that the best time for us to connect with them would be when we were within 90 days of being able to start a job,” said Hazlett.

“I was still a few months away from that point so I thought I would wing it on my own for a while and see how things worked out,” said Hazlett.

By mid-January 2011, Hazlett had not secured employment or had any promising leads so he contacted BMI.

“I figured if nothing else, I would get some good tips on how to interview for jobs and get my resume scrubbed,” said Hazlett.

Hazlett ended up getting much more out the deal.

“Working with BMI, I found it easier to get my name out to potential companies who might be interested in my skills,” said Hazlett.

After attending a Bradley-Morris ConferenceHire¨ hiring event in the Hampton/Norfolk area, he was hired by Swisslog North America as an account manager and was promoted to service manager in 2012, having responsibility for over one half of the service department.

In November 2013, he was promoted again. This time, he was responsible for the entire service department.

“Swisslog definitely promotes from within,” said Hazlett.

“I enjoy my job. It’s a good fit for me professionally and personally,” said Hazlett.

From the Other Side of the Desk
Ironically, Hazlett now finds himself on the other side of the interview desk working with BMI, not as a candidate, but as the employer. He has been pleased with the caliber of candidates he meets though that relationship.

“When BMI gives me a stack of 10 resumes, I know without a doubt that those 10 candidates are all equally qualified to do the job. I wouldn’t have those resumes in my hands if they weren’t,” said Hazlett.

“Now, whether I select you for a follow-on interview comes down to one thing. It comes down to how you interact with me as a person,” said Hazlett, who offers job seekers some more good advice.

“BMI sets you up to succeed. You just have to listen to the advice that they give you. They know what they’re talking about,” said Hazlett.

“Be flexible. If you are applying for a job as a field service technician, that means you’ll be travelling anywhere been 75% to 80% of the time fixing equipment for our customers,” he said.

“Understand that frequent civilian business travel is very different from the type of travel you may have experienced during deployments. It’s a different mindset but it still has its challenges that you have to deal with,” said Hazlett.

“Don’t over exaggerate the skills and experiences on your resume. In our company, we have people who have served in uniform before and we understand the way things work in the military. We know what to look for in the resumes and we know when someone is overstating things,” said Hazlett.

“If you’ve never interviewed before, it can scare you out of your mind. Practice interviewing for a job before you actually have to do it,” said Hazlett.

Hazlett also advises job seekers to follow the basic rules, stated or not.

“We want to hire people who carry themselves well and who can follow the simple rules,” he said. “If your BMI rep tells you to show up to a job interview 10-15 minutes early, dressed for success in a nice suit, do it. Don’t show up late, in blue jeans, a purple shirt and tennis shoes,” he said.

Make no mistake about it. Swisslog North America places great stock in hiring someone who has the best technological skills. They won’t, however, pass on you if you happen to be the best person for the job.

“We’d rather hire a technician having the right soft skills set and then teach them what they need to know,” said Hazlett. “Character counts,” he said.

As it should.

Janet Farley, a workplace and career strategies expert, is the author of Quick Military Transition Guide: Seven Steps to Landing a Civilian Job (Jist Works, 2013). Follow her @mil2civguide on Twitter.

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