by Joshua Hudson
Founded by World War II veterans, DynCorp International (DI) provides services for governments and industry worldwide. It is a leader in aviation, logistics, contingency support and security. DynCorp has recognized the importance of veteran talent in their global success. Nearly half of their 70-man recruiting office has prior military experience from all branches to assist in their search for military talent. They specifically look for transitioning veterans through G.I. Jobs magazine, “DynCorp Days” with TAP and ACAP classes and the Transition Assistance Management Program (TAMP).
Mike Sovacool, who joined DI in 2004, heads up the department. He served as an infantry officer in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1977 to 2000, and has worked in human resources since then. G.I. Jobs spoke with him about how veterans can best prepare for a civilian career and GET HIRED™.
GIJ: What do prior military hires bring to your company that you like?
DI: They bring a genuine sense of honor, reliability, and proven accountability.
GIJ: What issues/surprises do you find that military veterans need to be aware of when entering the civilian workforce?
DI: They need to be aware of, and prepared to articulate, how their military experience transfers to the civilian workforce. This can be especially challenging for those working in specialties such as infantry, artillery, and armor.
GIJ: What advantages do military personnel have over their peers of the same age and education level?
DI: Their experience and the level of responsibility is a great advantage. Military members of all ranks are responsible for the operation and accountability of equipment worth millions of dollars. In the civilian sector, these opportunities are generally reserved for senior-level employees. They may also have significant leadership experience: often responsible for the well-being of a large number of personnel.
GIJ: What disadvantages do you find?
DI: One challenge for service members is balancing work experience and education. Without an academic background, it may be challenging to find the right opportunities after leaving the service. On the other hand, if you’ve enrolled for college coursework while serving, we understand that military training and real world deployments can often interrupt finishing a degree program.
GIJ: What are the most common mistakes you see on military résumés?
DI: We see an excessive use of acronyms, misspellings, and the failure to limit content to one-to-two pages. Many of us are prior military, so we are likely to understand the acronyms, but other organizations may not.
GIJ: What are the most common mistakes veterans make in interviews?
DI: We often see the inappropriate use of military jargon (“roger that”), and an inability to explain specifically why a candidate wants to work for our company (e.g. “I can do anything you need me to do”). That doesn’t help the interviewee or the recruiter.
GIJ: Is relocating essential to promote within your company?
DI: We are an international technical services firm, so that kind of geographic flexibility is useful.
GIJ: What types of positions does your company recruit military for?
DI: We hire specialists from all types of military backgrounds and we offer support staff positions in many areas – human resources, contracts, procurement, compliance, finance, accounting, and administration.
GIJ: Describe the responsibilities of one of these positions.
DI: One of the more rewarding opportunities we have is the International Police Advisor (IPA) position in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere abroad. International Police Advisors gain hands-on experience building the trust, confidence, and respect of civilians by providing technical assistance in policing skills and techniques while mentoring foreign national police at all levels. The hours and locations vary, but the rewards are invaluable – on both a personal and professional level.
GIJ: Can a new hire stay in this position for an entire career or do you require new hires to “move up or move out” like the military does?
DI: While some opportunities are contingent upon contract requirements, many DI employees have been with the company for years. Many of our corporate employees join DI as contract employees and serve on one-year assignments overseas. Some opt to renew their contracts abroad, and others find follow-on opportunities at our corporate offices.
GIJ: What is the average starting pay for this position?
DI: The typical IPA compensation package starts at over $100,000 per year.
GIJ: Describe the benefits of this position.
DI: DynCorp International’s “DI Care” is a comprehensive and competitive benefits package that covers our employees and enrolled dependents worldwide.
GIJ: Do employees need to pay for any of their benefits?
DI: The company either provides or subsidizes benefits. The premium contributions are reasonable and affordable for employees.
GIJ: Are there any other special incentive benefits that might interest military new hires ?
DI: Depending on contract terms, many incentives may be available including overseas tax exemptions, tuition reimbursement, or a 401(k) plan.
GIJ: What type of educational experience do you look for in military candidates?
DI: While many military candidates hold undergraduate or advanced degrees, we place significant value on real-world experience as well as military school attendance and technical certifications. DI looks for individuals with a varied skills set, and military, technical, or collegiate academic credentials are all good indicators of potential.
GIJ: How many military veterans work in your company and what percentage of the total workforce does this comprise?
DI: DI employs approximately 15,000 employees in more than 30 countries and a significant percentage are veterans, from entry-level to senior and executive management.
GIJ: Did any of the senior executives in your company serve in the military?
DI: Our senior leadership includes General Anthony C. Zinni, USMC (Ret.), who serves as the company’s executive vice president, Maj. Gen. Bob Rosenkranz, USA (Ret.), president of the International Security Services division, Capt. Rory Fisher, USN (Ret.), president of the Logistics and Construction Management division, and Chris DiGesualdo, an Air Force veteran and president of the Maintenance and Technical Support Services division.
Words of Advice for Military Transitioners
As they say, luck is where preparation and opportunity come together. Remain prepared, confident, and steadfast in your job search!