Tuesday, 11/10/16

MediaCom employee makes LinkedIn for Veterans work for him

NY-Post _-Spencer -Lopez-

After a feature in the New York Post, "LinkedIn makes job searching for veterans easier than ever" we sat down with Spencer Lopez, Ad Ops Associate, to discuss his journey that brought him to MediaCom.

During his one year, seven months and 19 days of unemployment, Lopez used the G.I. Bill to go back to school and prepare for a change in career (prior to his service, he held roles in the financial service industry) and got connected with the Veterans Network Program. The program sets veterans up with a mentor in their industry of choice through the Veterans Mentor Network (VMN) and provides a free year of LinkedIn membership to participants. Veterans qualify simply by listing their military experience in their profile and LinkedIn does the rest.

Lopez found the most value in the forum where the members of VMN could connect with eachother. "The members of the group were all very encouraging, but also provided solid critiques. Rather than being a place to go to for a pat on the back, the members provided great advice from their perspective on ways to improve. For me this was a critical piece of the puzzle."

Even after taking advantage of career fairs, it still took two meetings with a MediaCom representative for Lopez to make the move. "I made many mistakes with my resume and job search initially that really hampered my success. Not follwing up, not networking and not making adjustments to my resume when it wasn't working." A group called HireHeroesUSA.org helped Lopez with his first major resume overhaul and the VMN group helped to refine it further.

"Had it not been for MediaCom bringing me in and introducing me to the team, I doubt that I would be working here today. At the time I had no college degree (still working on it!) and no internships. So if I applied through any other method I am 100% certain I would not have even gotten a phone interview." Lopez warns companies to "Consider that veterans might not hold degrees from prominent schools. Coming from active duty they might have degrees from online universities like Strayer [a MediaCom client!] or oftentimes veterans might not have a degree at all. But the skills we possess might be even more beneficial to the bottom line than the 6 credit hours we don't have in physical sciences or philosophy."

Advice for other veterans in the same position? "Never give up. Failure wasn't an option in the military and you should have the same attitude in your job search. A long search can be frustrating and disheartening, I know that all too well. But at some point you have to take a step back, assess the situation, take an honest look and ask yourself if you've done everything that you can do. The answer will be no. Then you need to keep adapting and moving forward."

What's the G.I. Bill? On June 22, 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, also known as the G.I. Bill of Rights. The purpose of the act was to help the nation reabsorb millions of veterans returning from overseas who had been fighting in World War II. The Post-9/11 G.I. Bill provides education benefits for servicemembers who have served on active duty for 90 or more days since Sept. 10, 2001. This Bill can pay your full tuition & fees at school, provide you with a monthly housing allowance while you are going to school, and give you up to $1,000 a year to use for books and supplies.

New York Post article "LinkedIn makes job searching for veterans easier than ever" was posted on September 11, 2016.

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