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G.I. JOBS VIRTUAL JOB FAIR   I   OCTOBER 26TH

Glitz, Glamour… and More

[fullwidth background_color=”” background_image=”” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_opacity=”0.5″ video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”20″ padding_left=”” padding_right=”” hundred_percent=”no” equal_height_columns=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” menu_anchor=”” class=”” id=””][fusion_text]The entertainment industry might have more glitz and glamour than many other fields, but not everyone seeks out the limelight. In fact, there’s a whole other world going on behind the scenes. It takes a crew of people to pull off a large-scale creative venture (whether a film, TV show or musical production), not to mention the folks in the office who handle the hiring and payroll of those crew members. Then, too, there’s the countless day-to-day logistics of running the studios and parent companies.

The entertainment industry is known for its competitiveness, but it also relies on a strong team-based mindset to make it all work – a mindset that’s essentially second nature for veterans. In order to be successful in entertainment or any type of creative career, it takes tenacity and discipline – two traits that are second nature to veterans. “Creative industries look for creativity and craft first, but they are happy to find us veteran employees who are organized, dedicated to mission accomplishment, and always on time,” says Justin Sloan, a Marine Corps veteran, game designer and author of the book “Military Veterans in Creative Careers.” “All else being equal (meaning we assume you’re putting in the time to improve your craft and network and all that), we definitely have the potential to move above and beyond our peers. But it will take hard work.”

The film industry is particularly competitive. “It is a very challenging industry in which the worth of anyone and/or anything is almost completely subjective and can change in a heartbeat,” says Michael Broderick, an actor, Marine Corps veteran and board member emeritus of Veterans in Film and Television (VFT), a nonprofit organization that helps veterans find jobs in the entertainment industry. “If there’s anything else you could be happy doing, I’d recommend doing that instead. On the other hand, if you absolutely can’t imagine doing anything else… well then, you’ve already made up your mind, haven’t you? Welcome aboard.”

Janet Mays found her dream job working behind the scenes as an HR coordinator at NBCUniversal. This job is something of a second act for Mays, who worked in a civilian job before. “When I ETSed from active duty, I wanted to take a break from working and enrolled in school. Within six months of being home, my sister coordinated a job interview for me at World Savings Bank (which became Wachovia, and then Wells Fargo),” she explains. “After two years of working, I was laid off. Fortunately, my Army Reserve unit
was looking for soldiers to work on CO-ADOS orders, so I was activated for two years.

When her orders ended, Mays took advantage of the GI Bill and went to school for a year and a half before looking for another civilian job. She says her military experience wasn’t as much of an asset in her job search as it is now. “Many companies within the entertainment industry wanted a candidate with experience in the industry. With most of my HR experience being in the military, it was hard to get my foot in the door. It seemed as if my military experience was not translating well in my résumé,” she says.[/fusion_text][testimonials design=”classic” backgroundcolor=”” textcolor=”” random=”” class=”” id=””][testimonial name=”Janet Mays” avatar=”image” image=”https://www.gijobs.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/janet.png” image_border_radius=”” company=”HR Coordinator, NBCUniversal” link=”” target=”_self”]It was refreshing to find a company that is not only military friendly, but Comcast NBCUniversal is military-ready.[/testimonial][/testimonials][separator style_type=”none” top_margin=”20px” bottom_margin=”” sep_color=”” border_size=”” icon=”” icon_circle=”” icon_circle_color=”” width=”” alignment=”center” class=”” id=””][fusion_text]She attended a Veteran’s Day event with a friend, where a representative from NBCUniversal happened to be giving a presentation. Mays learned of the company’s commitment to hiring veterans. The Next Steps for Vets section on their website helps veterans write résumés and search for jobs.

As HR coordinator, Mays provides human resources support for five business units within Cable Entertainment – Cable Entertainment Business Affairs, USA Network, Syfy, Wilshire Studios and Universal Cable Productions (UCP). “What surprised me the most was how hard it was for me to get anywhere with some companies that are considered “military friendly,” and even government employers,” she says. “It was refreshing to find a company that is not only military friendly, but Comcast NBCUniversal is military-ready.” She says she was also pleasantly surprised to find more veterans and active National Guard and Reserve members working in the entertainment industry than she’d originally thought.

Broderick says connecting with other veterans for mentoring or networking is invaluable for a number of reasons. “No one understands transitioning better than those who have done it,” he says, and they are relatively easy to find.

“There are opportunities everywhere,” Sloan says. “Join networking groups such as VFT, my Facebook group for Military Veterans in Creative Careers, and check out Glassdoor and other job sites for listings. LinkedIn and Twitter are both great for connecting and asking for informational interviews, and a lot of the opportunities will arise from your network.” Sloan’s Veterans in Creative Careers podcast often features unique opportunities, such as stuntmen or military advising work. “Use your military experience to land roles if you can, but don’t just rely on that. It’s really just about finding regular opportunities and then using everything in your pocket to land the gig.”

Depending on whether you’re interested in opportunities behind the scenes or out in front, there are a number of ways to break into the civilian entertainment industry. Whatever path you choose, do your homework first. Learn more about the industry itself – the culture, the competition, the various pay ranges, and areas with the most opportunity. Then, take some classes and learn more about your craft of choice, whether acting, directing, screenwriting or another avenue. Preparation is key, as Broderick says. “Rolling into Los Angeles or New York with a couple of thousand dollars in your pocket (or not) and hoping to ‘wing it’ is unrealistic. There are so many great books, websites, YouTube channels and other sources of information about the industry in general and the specific jobs in it, much of it free,” he advises. “Do your research. Know what you want to do before making the leap. If you’re already on the path, ally yourself with like-minded peers. I’ve heard it said, ‘People rise in groups’ and I believe it. Create your own content. Learn by doing.”

Building your own network is a huge asset, but as you do your research, seek out company-sponsored veteran recruiting programs, which are becoming more and more prevalent throughout the civilian workforce.

The Walt Disney Company is just one entertainment industry heavyweight that has not only launched Heroes Work Here, its own successful initiative to help veterans transition to the civilian workforce, but a Veteran Institute, a mentoring program built around Disney principles, which to date has guided over 1,000 companies – not just in the entertainment field – through the process of starting their own recruiting programs.

Heroes Work Here started in 2012, the result of Chairman and CEO Bob Iger wanting to step into the veteran space, explains Kevin Preston, director of Military Programs for The Walt Disney Company. “Disney had hired over 6,000 veterans since the program started. They work at every level, in every facet of the company,” he adds. “For the individuals who go through the program, the majority are hired by Disney, but others complete the program for mentoring and coaching and go elsewhere.” The Heroes Work Here website provides information and resources for transitioning veterans, regardless of the civilian industry they wish to enter.

Preston says that at first, it may not seem as though there are many parallels between an individual’s military training and the civilian workforce, but upon closer inspection, there are more similarities than differences. “The U.S. military employs 1.6 million people stationed around the world, and it has many areas like any business – human resources, payroll, accounting – and then there’s the other segment of combat arms. The military provides 18 months of leadership training – who else can get that at 22 years old?” he says. “But when they enter the civilian workforce, it’s really about looking at their military job skills and asking, ‘How do they translate to the civilian workforce?’ Here at Disney, we use some of the same skills as combat arms – decision-making, leadership, problem-solving in an ambiguous environment. Once we lay this out for a talent acquisition team, it makes sense.”

The Walt Disney Company is the recipient of the 2015 Secretary of Defense Freedom Award, the highest honor given by the United States Department of Defense.

Army veteran Eileen Underwood is the security area manager at Magic Kingdom. She learned about the Heroes Work Here program through LinkedIn and immediately knew that she wanted to be part of it. “When I returned to the United States in 2010, and after readjusting to life in the U.S., I heard about the Heroes Work Here initiative at Disney and decided to apply for a security position,” she says. “I grew up watching Walt Disney on television every Sunday evening, and the idea of working at Disney and utilizing my military experience in the civilian world was like a dream come true.”[/fusion_text][testimonials design=”classic” backgroundcolor=”” textcolor=”” random=”” class=”” id=””][testimonial name=”Eileen Underwood” avatar=”image” image=”https://www.gijobs.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/eileen2.png” image_border_radius=”” company=”Security Area Manager, Disney’s Magic Kingdom” link=”” target=”_self”]No matter what your background, there is an opportunity for you at Disney.[/testimonial][/testimonials][separator style_type=”none” top_margin=”20px” bottom_margin=”” sep_color=”” border_size=”” icon=”” icon_circle=”” icon_circle_color=”” width=”” alignment=”center” class=”” id=””][fusion_text]She says she feels fortunate to be able to utilize her military experience on the job every day. “[I chose this field] because my previous careers, both civilian and military, have been focused on securing safe environments for all people to work, play and dream. My father was a WWII veteran, my husband is a Vietnam veteran and my sons are veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. We are a family who are each dedicated to the service of our country.”

The Heroes Work Here initiative helped her find a community in the civilian workforce and taught her some important lessons. “No matter what your background, there is an opportunity for you at Disney; there are many others in your situation and you are not alone; there is a community within the Walt Disney Company where you can not only work with others who understand where you have been, but who also are interested in integrating within the civilian populace.”

Army veteran Eileen Underwood is the security area manager at Magic Kingdom. She learned about the Heroes Work Here program through LinkedIn and immediately knew that she wanted to be part of it. “When I returned to the United States in 2010, and after readjusting to life in the U.S., I heard about the Heroes Work Here initiative at Disney and decided to apply for a security position,” she says. “I grew up watching Walt Disney on television every Sunday evening, and the idea of working at Disney and utilizing my military experience in the civilian world was like a dream come true.”[/fusion_text][/fullwidth][fullwidth background_color=”” background_image=”” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_opacity=”0.5″ video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”20″ padding_left=”” padding_right=”” hundred_percent=”no” equal_height_columns=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” menu_anchor=”” class=”” id=””][one_full last=”yes” spacing=”yes” center_content=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” hover_type=”none” link=”” border_position=”all” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”” animation_speed=”0.1″ animation_offset=”” class=”” id=””][title size=”2″ content_align=”left” style_type=”double solid” sep_color=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” class=”” id=””]Janet Mays[/title][fusion_text]HR Coordinator, NBCUniversal [/fusion_text][/one_full][one_half last=”no” spacing=”yes” center_content=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” hover_type=”none” link=”” border_position=”all” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”” animation_speed=”0.1″ animation_offset=”” class=”” id=””][fusion_text]

Why did you choose this career path? I love HR! I love helping people and consider myself to be an employee advocate.

How has your military background helped you in this industry? Due to my extensive military training, I can anticipate issues before they become problems and can adapt to changing circumstances quickly.

What’s the biggest challenge? The biggest challenge I had in my transition was getting an interview. I felt like no one in entertainment would consider me because I did not have experience in the industry. Since I moved to LA and didn’t know many people, it was hard trying to network my way into an organization.

Advice for transitioning service members? Take advantage of your benefits and use the resources provided to you – there’s a lot of good information and you need to take the time to learn about what is out there.

[/fusion_text][/one_half][one_half last=”yes” spacing=”yes” center_content=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” hover_type=”none” link=”” border_position=”all” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”” animation_speed=”0.1″ animation_offset=”” class=”” id=””][imageframe lightbox=”no” lightbox_image=”” style_type=”none” hover_type=”none” bordercolor=”” bordersize=”0px” borderradius=”0″ stylecolor=”” align=”none” link=”” linktarget=”_self” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”down” animation_speed=”0.1″ animation_offset=”” hide_on_mobile=”no” class=”” id=””] [/imageframe][fusion_text]

Age: 33

Military Service:
First Lieutenant (O-2), Army (2002-2006), Army Reserve (2006-Present)

MOS: Health Services Human Resources (70F)

Education: MBA, University of Phoenix, 2008

[/fusion_text][/one_half][/fullwidth][fullwidth background_color=”” background_image=”” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_opacity=”0.5″ video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”20″ padding_left=”” padding_right=”” hundred_percent=”no” equal_height_columns=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” menu_anchor=”” class=”” id=””][one_full last=”yes” spacing=”yes” center_content=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” hover_type=”none” link=”” border_position=”all” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”” animation_speed=”0.1″ animation_offset=”” class=”” id=””][title size=”2″ content_align=”left” style_type=”double solid” sep_color=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” class=”” id=””]Eileen G. Underwood[/title][fusion_text]Security Area Manager for the Magic Kingdom Park, Walt Disney Company
[/fusion_text][/one_full][one_half last=”no” spacing=”yes” center_content=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” hover_type=”none” link=”” border_position=”all” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”” animation_speed=”0.1″ animation_offset=”” class=”” id=””][imageframe lightbox=”no” lightbox_image=”” style_type=”none” hover_type=”none” bordercolor=”” bordersize=”0px” borderradius=”0″ stylecolor=”” align=”none” link=”” linktarget=”_self” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”down” animation_speed=”0.1″ animation_offset=”” hide_on_mobile=”no” class=”” id=””] [/imageframe][fusion_text]

Age: 56

Military Service:
Staff Sergeant (E-6), Army (1978-1989)

MOS: Military Intelligence

Education: Bachelor’s degree, equivalent criminal justice

[/fusion_text][/one_half][one_half last=”yes” spacing=”yes” center_content=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” hover_type=”none” link=”” border_position=”all” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”” animation_speed=”0.1″ animation_offset=”” class=”” id=””][fusion_text]

What do you do? I lead security at the Magic Kingdom Park.

How has your military background helped you in this industry? What I am doing now utilizes many of the tools and education that the military afforded to me. My military experience and education has helped me tremendously, not only in my security role but also as a leader.

What’s the biggest challenge? One of our biggest challenges is making magic for our guests while we conduct our security protocols at the front of our park. We strive daily to work in a timely and friendly fashion so that our guests can begin their wonderful and magical experience inside the Magic Kingdom Park.

Advice for transitioning service members? My advice to those transitioning is to learn the Disney culture from your peers and friends. You can also join the SALUTE Diversity Resource Group and connect with many other veterans who can also give you tips, camaraderie and mentoring to assist you in adjusting to a wonderful Disney career utilizing much of your military experience. I would also tell other veterans that you have so much to offer to Disney and not to give up. You will be so glad you didn’t!

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