- The Essential Military-to-Civilian Transition Resource

Drilling for Jobs: Your Future with Rowan Companies

Part two

by Janet Farley, Contributing Editor

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Article Sponsored by: Crete Carrier and Northern California College of Construction

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Tapping into BMI Expertise

A few years ago, Paul Piatt was 1LT in the Army, serving as an Ordnance Officer placement firm for transitioning military officers(91A) on active duty and in the Reserves. Today, he is a Health, Safety & Environmental (HSE) Associate for Rowan.

To make his military-to-civilian career transition, Piatt turned to Bradley-Morris, Inc. (BMI). He learned about the placement firm for transitioning military officers, NCOs and technicians through word-of-mouth from other transitioning junior military officers.

He was glad he did.

“BMI gave me transition guidance via Internet training, phone and e-mail conversations,” said Piatt.

After preparing him for multiple interviews, Piatt attended a BMI ConferenceHire® military hiring event in Houston, Texas with six different companies.

Several of the companies he interviewed with were interested in him and requested follow-up meetings. After sailing through additional follow-up interviews at the companies’ respective locations, choices had to be made.

“I received three job offers and made the decision to accept Rowan’s offer. I couldn’t be happier with my decision,” said Piatt.

Even with BMI’s expert guidance, making the transition from military to civilian life was not easy for Piatt or for his family.

“Moving to a new location without the military network of friends and colleagues was very intimidating and at times frustrating,” said Piatt.

“I feel as though I made it easier on myself and family by starting the transition process early,” said Piatt who began about one year out.

During this time, he studied, prepared and networked diligently.

That hard work paid off with a rewarding and challenging career at Rowan.

A Good Post-Uniform Fit

“I love working for Rowan. I enjoy the people I work with. Everyone here is Placement firm for transitioning NCOs and techniciansfriendly and the environment sets a family atmosphere,” said Abigail Jimenez, a contracts administrator for Rowan. “The leadership is great. They make employees feel valued and make the effort to make personal connections.”

Jimenez served in the Air Force for six years as an E4 working in medical logistics before being hired by Rowan. She learned about the company though an online career website.

“My career transition was not easy at first. My challenge was being able to explain my work experience in the military and the projects I was involved with in civilian terms,” said Jimenez. She learned how to make the connection and encourages job-seeking veterans to do the same.

“For example, in medical logistics, we were responsible to take inventory of all our pallets that we shipped to different locations of the world for support. In the civilian world, this could be translated into project management.”

“I think Rowan is a good fit for someone who has been in the military before,” said Jimenez adding that the company and the military share similar attributes.

Some of those common attributes include familiarity with global operations, a need to pay close attention to detail and a need to ensure safety in the workplace.

“I also enjoy the fact that our company holds yearly events that involve their employees and their families. It shows that our leadership values families,” said Jimenez.

Teamwork, a concept widely recognized in the military, is one that Rowan also values.

“Although each department performs a different job duty, we all work together as a team knowing that without the other department’s input or support we would not be able to achieve our company’s goals,” she added.

Advice for You from the Rowan Vets

Today’s veterans who work at Rowan can certainly give you some valuable advice for every stage of your military-to-civilian career transition.

Before you leave the military and after it, both Cifuentes and Jimenez stress education.

“Use the educational tools, such as the GI Bill, to help you accomplish the goals for a better future,” said Cifuentes.

“Take advantage of the school tuition reimbursement program the military offers,” said Jimenez.

All the Rowan vets suggest you carefully market your skills on paper and in person.

“Document all the projects you are involved with and your key responsibilities. These are experiences that can help you format your resume,” said Jimenez.

Piatt offers several suggestions. “Make an effort to start learning the civilian employer’s industry and the language they speak, but be careful. Never throw out words and acronyms you are unsure of in an attempt to impress because a civilian employer will see right through it and your attempt to impress will backfire,” said Piatt. “Know how to translate your skills so that it matches up with the civilian employer’s values and priorities. Reputable placement firms like Bradley-Morris can help you.”

“Practice interviewing with a civilian who has never served in the military. Have a civilian read over your resume and cover letter to critique it for military jargon and abbreviations,” adds Piatt.

There are also some good suggestions for making the cultural shift.

“Keep up with your core values and attention to detail. The training that the military has provided you can really help you stand out from your civilian counterparts,” said Jimenez.

Barlow suggests that you make the effort to truly adapt to civilian life.

“If you’ve been in uniform for a long time, you are military-minded. In the civilian sector, acting that way can sometimes come across as being pushy or rigid,” said Barlow. “It sounds funny, but learn how to be a civilian. Embrace it for what it is.”

It helps when you transition to a company that values military backgrounds and experiences in their civilian jobs - a company like Rowan.

To find out about Rowan’s current career opportunities, visit the Careers section of their website at

Janet Farley is the author of Quick Military Transition Guide: Seven Steps to Landing a Civilian Job (Jist, Inc, 2012) and writes about careers and workplace issues. Follow her on twitter @mil2civguide.

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