- The Essential Military-to-Civilian Transition Resource

Power Up Your Job Hunt in the Energy Industry

by Heidi Lynn Russell, Contributing Editor

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Seek Out Military-Friendly Companies

Because veterans are highly in demand as job applicants in the energy industry, it pays to do your homework and ensure a company is military-friendly. One way is to double check that a company’s values and culture mirror that to which you’ve grown accustomed in the military. Electric coops are nonprofits, so they place a priority on public service, Rostom says.

“When you think about ‘cooperative’ principles, you see a correlation between those ideals and the military in terms of being voluntary and democratic in nature. The electric cooperatives have interesting parallels,” Rostom says. “Another piece of that is that we serve rural and suburban America, and the majority of military members are from rural areas. A lot of veterans say they can’t go home for jobs, but over 900 coops are in rural and suburban America. There is a lot of opportunity for veterans.”

The rural electric cooperative association is so anxious to hire veterans that it has a special web site to help them connect with opportunities: Co-ops from 47 states are implementing nationally recognized practices to hire and retain veterans. At the web site, you can search for jobs and also explore ways that your military service fits with each company’s culture, Rostom says.

Also, take time to find out if a company has an ‘Employee Resource Group’ that supports veterans and their families. At Bechtel Corp., veterans can participate in the ‘BSERV group,’ which provides mentoring, networking, support to recruit other veterans as new employees, and talent-development opportunities for members to develop their leadership, communication and management skills. The U.S. Department of Labor and First Lady Michelle Obama recognized Bechtel as a member of a broad coalition of companies that pledged to collectively hire 100,000 veterans.

“At Bechtel, thousands of our colleagues have served, or continue to serve, in a branch of their country’s military. As veterans enter civilian life from military service, they are such an impactful source of talent and value for important missions, like the challenges our Bechtel teams face every day all over the world,” Haynes says.

Similarly at Xcel Energy, veterans can participate in the ‘Military Ombudsman for Veterans and Employees’ resource group. They also can take advantage of a tuition reimbursement program that can be combined with G.I. Bill benefits.

Xcel has also increased its hiring effort of veterans. “Our CEO is a phenomenal supporter and is on a number of panels about being a veteran-friendly employer. He set a goal for 10 percent of new hires to be veterans, and last year, we hit 10.1 percent. As of the end of October this year, we are now above 15 percent,” Golonka says.

Military-friendly companies will also create avenues for you to get your resume in front of the right people more easily. At Xcel, for example, you can build a profile on the job site and identify yourself as a veteran.

“It notifies me, and I will send them an email and helpful links. Then anytime they’re going to apply for a job, they let me know. That helps me go into their profile. If I see if they meet the qualifications, I then let the recruiter know,” Golonka says.

Heidi Lynn Russell writes about employment and business issues.

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