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The current job boom has brought new opportunities to job seekers everywhere — including jobs for veterans, who have a lower unemployment rate than the general population. But despite this trend, many veterans still struggle when it’s time to transition from the military to the civilian workforce, facing challenges such as translating military terminology on their resume, building professional connections and navigating the onboarding process.
We talked to four veterans — Solomon Rhima, Keri Garrison, Kristina Flores and Mario Carpanzano — who work at Indeed to learn how veterans offer important, in-demand skills every company wants. This group also shares the biggest challenges they encountered when entering the civilian workforce and offers a roadmap for companies looking to recruit veterans.
Solomon Rhima: The power of networking and perseverance
Account Executive in Austin, Texas
Solomon Rhima believes in lifelong learning and development. This philosophy led him to join the Marines Corps Reserve, where he volunteered for a year-long deployment overseas while also attending Texas State University.
“I was the youngest of eight, but the first to go to college,” Rhima says. “I wanted to challenge myself … and give myself as much life experience as possible.”
When he graduated with a degree in criminal justice — along with logistics and supply chain management experience from the military — he was excited to embark on his civilian career.
However, Rhima says, “I quickly learned the lesson that a lot of employers … don’t recognize the impact of the work you did in the military.”
Despite expanding his search to broader fields and sending out rounds of applications, he got no response. Another potential setback came when Rhima’s mother grew ill — but even this proved an opportunity to learn. To help his parents, Rhima spent a year running the family’s small business. In his spare time, he read everything he could about civilian jobs for veterans.
When Rhima resumed his job search, armed with new research and skills, he turned to Indeed to learn about employers in his area that might be a good fit. He also threw himself into networking: starting with military associations and veterans’ groups, and from there, building connections in the civilian job sector.
“Identifying what I should apply for and getting my resume in front of [the right person] … was the toughest piece,” Rhima recalls. “Once I felt I had connections, and they were able to point me in the right direction, I started reapplying to the positions with more of a focus.”
With the help of his network, the Indeed platform and knowledge gained along the way, Rhima found his current job at Indeed, where he has worked since March 2019.
Keri Garrison: A passion for helping veterans get jobs
Technical Core Recruiter in Austin, Texas
Keri Garrison started her military career on an Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) scholarship at Texas State University. She was on active duty for almost five years, then served in the Texas Army National…