We talked to one of USAA's recruiters to find out how military veterans can get hired at this perennial Military Friendly Employer.
G.I. Jobs: What do prior military hires bring to your company that you like?
USAA: Prior military hires are hugely desirable at USAA because these individuals know our market better than anyone. USAA provides financial services to the military community and their families. We need team members who connect with our members’ unique challenges and sacrifices. Prior military employees play a big role in our success.
G.I. Jobs: What issues/surprises do you find that military transitioners/veterans need to be aware of when entering the civilian workforce?USAA: Resume writing, interviewing, and job searching skills are new experiences for most veterans, but must be mastered for a successful transition. Making the transition from the military into “Corporate America” takes research, networking, organization, and perseverance. You can never start too early. Upon making the transition, recognize that you are embarking on a separate, second career, different from what you’re accustomed to. Military transitioners typically need to make adjustments to the type of work performed, pay and benefits, workplace environment, and culture, just to name a few.
G.I. Jobs: What advantages do military personnel have over their peers of the same age and education level?
USAA: They already embody USAA’s core values of service, loyalty, honesty, and integrity and have the ability to effectively perform in a dynamic working environment. They also have solid leadership skills, world experiences, professionalism, technical training, problem-solving skills, and they are mission focused. These attributes will contribute to their success in any civilian workforce.
G.I. Jobs: What disadvantages do you find?
USAA: For most military veterans, limited experience in job seeking, networking, resume writing, interviewing, and salary negotiating can make the job search process challenging. You should approach the job search as you would a one-person marketing campaign — present yourself as the “must have” product available to the employer. Do research, match your skills with the company’s needs, and prepare your “story” in advance. Being organized and focused will help.
G.I. Jobs: What are the most common mistakes you see on military/veteran resumes?
USAA: They assume recruiters are familiar with the military. As a result, many resumes are loaded with military jargon.
· Translate military terms ahead of time;
· Explain why your military experiences directly relate to the position;
· Avoid sanitizing the resume to the point where your military service disappears ;
· Match the company’s needs from the objective statement to your individual skills;
· Use a functional format — resumes should be short and to the point; and
· Conduct research before the interview and remember — “one size does not fit all”
G.I. Jobs: What are the most common mistakes military/veterans make in interviews?
USAA: Military members have unique skills and experiences but often have difficulty relating it to the job they’re seeking. Be prepared to answer questions and include anecdotes that illustrate your personality, values, and experiences. Focus your interview on why you would be a good fit for the company.
G.I. Jobs: Is relocating essential to promote within your company?
USAA: Relocation is not essential in all cases, but an employee’s willingness to relocate may provide management the flexibility it needs to initiate or complete a project, and help achieve the company’s goals.
G.I. Jobs: What types of positions does your company recruit military for?
USAA.. We recruit military for many different kinds of positions — from the frontline positions that serve our members on the phone, to executive management positions that lead major projects and companies. We select people who have a passion for serving our members, and who share our core values and sense of urgency.
G.I. Jobs: Describe one of these positions (responsibilities, daily duties, working hours etc.)
USAA: The majority of our positions are Member Service Representatives (MSRs) which involve interaction with the member by telephone. In this position, MSRs might help a member prepare for deployment one day, and help refinance a mortgage the next. USAA gives its employees the ability to make values-based decisions, which means MSRs must be prepared to make decisions based on their values and the specific situation at hand. MSRs have flexibility and authority to do what’s best for the member based on values. Work schedules vary based on location and business needs, but are generally within the standard Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. window. There are also non-standard work schedules that include weekends, or a mixture of both standard and non-standard schedules.
G.I. Jobs: 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?
USAA: It depends. Many of our employees love working with members on the phone each day, but some prefer to move into other areas of the company, or into management. We have a Job Opportunity Program that offers qualified employees the chance to apply for positions that allow professional and personal growth.
G.I. Jobs: Describe the benefits of this position (healthcare, retirement, vacation, etc)?
USAA: USAA offers medical, dental and vision care, annual holiday and performance bonuses, life insurance, world-class retirement benefits, and a generous paid time off program, to name just a few. Well-being benefits, such as fitness centers, support employees’ physical and emotional health, wealth-building benefits like matching 401(k) plans provide financial opportunities, and work-life benefits including business casual dress and dependent scholarships help employees manage life’s demands.
G.I. Jobs: Describe a typical career progression for this position?
USAA: Qualified and high-performing employees can progress from entry-level to supervisory/lead duties, with opportunities for advancement into management and executive management positions. USAA believes in the professional growth of its employees and offers a variety of training programs to assist with this process. We also encourage our employees to achieve higher education with our tuition reimbursement program. Training and education help position you better when applying for management-level positions.
G.I. Jobs: Any other comments or advice?
USAA: Two words: Network and research. Also, take advantage of the service provided by transition assistance programs and seek out those who have already made the transition to benefit from their experiences.
Be proud of your contributions and have confidence in your ability to successfully transition into “Corporate America.” Companies of virtually every size and industry appreciate the sacrifices you’ve made and value the military skills and experiences you bring to the table.