Every Express Employment Professionals’ associate has a story. To help tell these outstanding stories, we like to showcase exceptional associates each month on Movin’ On Up. It’s important to give credit where credit is due, and Express loves to share the stories of our associates as an inspiration to you while you strive to achieve professional success.
This month’s associate has a heartwarming story about overcoming obstacles. As thousands of soldiers return from Iraq and Afghanistan, many veterans with years, even decades, of military experience will look to build a civilian career. But, many veterans find it challenging to adapt their military skill set to a civilian job market. But because of this associate’s determination, and with a little help from Express, he was able to overcome these challenges.
As a graduate of West Point, Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Hughes served 31 years in the United States Army. In 2012, Stephen started to look for his first job outside of the military. It’s easy to assume that someone who has traveled all over the world, seen the best and the worst that humanity can produce, and led soldiers in both peace and war, could easily find work. But, that wasn’t the case. He struggled for months looking for a job but didn’t find any leads, call backs, or interviews.
It wasn’t until he attended a job fair for military spouses and transitioning military members in Fort Richardson, AK when his luck changed. Rodger Hargis, Business Developer for the Anchorage Express office, had a booth at the fair. Having served 12 years in the Army, with many of those years on Fort Richardson, Rodger knew who Stephen was by reputation, but never met him in person. Stephen hesitantly approached the Express booth and introduced himself to Rodger.
“We talked for a few minutes and Stephen handed me a resume that truly resembled an ‘After Action Review Report’ from a military operation.” Rodger said. “We discussed the need to ‘translate’ his resume into ‘civilian’ terms and I offered our office’s assistance.”
They set up an appointment and sat down to go over the details, and Rodger asked Stephen for the opportunity to help him in his search for a new career. Rodger quickly looked for opportunities to place Stephen, but soon wasn’t sure if we was going to have any success.
Eventually, there was an opening for the Director of Operations position with the Arc of Anchorage. Rodger presented Stephen and the Arc loved him. The timing was perfect as he was officially separating from service on retirement orders. After extensive interviews, including one on Skype from the east coast, he was offered the position. Stephen has now been with the organization for almost a month and is excited about the opportunity to continue serving his community.
“While the nature of his service has changed, the heart of that service beats strong and true,” Rodger said.
If you are a military veteran who is struggling with the same hurdles Stephen was, check out this blog post on how your military experience can help you find a job. Search for the Express office closest to you for more information and help with your job search. If you know a fellow associate who would be a great candidate for our associate spotlight, let your Express office know. If you have an Express associate you’d like to feature on Movin’ On Up, let us know in the comments below.