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Employers welcome student veterans to seek available jobs

Image from panel discussion

For the University of Southern Maine’s student veterans, prior service in the military brings with it some intangible benefits during a job search.

A strong work ethic, an ability to thrive on a team and a focus on customer service all seem to be part of honorable military service, say local employers.

“They’re really successful because of that ethos in the culture,” said Jen Hughes, the Employee Success Manager from Systems Engineering. The employer, which has an office in Portland’s Old Port, was among several to join a special panel on Nov. 9th for student veterans. Other employers included Northwestern Mutual, the Maine Veterans Homes, the Portland Symphony Orchestra and the Portland Sea Dogs (the Boston Red Sox’ AA affiliate).

 The event was organized by USM’s Veterans Resource Center and the university’s Career and Employment Hub,

Students learned that some employers will seek out veterans. They also learned that the rules and guidelines for most people applying for jobs apply to them as well. Such issues as social media responsibility, having a clean and error-free resume, knowing something about the employer and using network connections all apply, whether someone has a military background or not.

“Make sure you take advantage of all of the opportunities and the resources that you have in front of you,” said Chris Cameron, a Vice President and Director of Communications and Fan Experience for the Sea Dogs.

Leah Robertson, the Portland Symphony Orchestra’s development director, asked the student veterans to consider casting a wide net when looking for jobs. The PSO, for instance, has 83 contract musicians. But there are many other jobs there.

Joanne Aronica ‘13 of the Maine Veterans’ Homes asked the veterans to remember the mission of employers. Her’s, for instance, is quite direct.

“We’re caring for those who have the same values,” she said. “That’s really our niche and what drives our culture.”

A “Dream work situation” is available, Systems Engineering’s Hughes said

“You are super clear who you are and your strengths. Look at companies more than jobs. A job role will evolve over time.”