TANGOALPHA3 IS EXCITED TO INTRODUCE A NEW CONTENT SERIES FOCUSED ON HIGHLIGHTING THE MANY EXCELLENT VETERANS WE’VE ASSISTED IN FINDING JOB PLACEMENTS.
The Veteran Spotlight series is a chance for us to catch up with our community of veteran talent. We discuss things like how their current job placement is going, what it was like while on the job hunt, as well as any challenges they may have faced while transitioning from the military to the private sector. In the end, it’s a great way to highlight excellent people and provide an inside vantage point into some of the services we provide and industries we serve.
WE RECENTLY SAT DOWN WITH LISA TO CATCH UP AND ASK HER ABOUT HER EXPERIENCE ON THE JOB HUNT AND WHAT’S IT’S BEEN LIKE SINCE BEING PLACED AT NWS CHARLESTON.
Site Lead supporting NWS Charleston site in North Charleston, SC for the VA TAP contract
Lisa Alexander has served as a Benefits Advisor supporting the VA’s Transition Assistance Program at Naval Weapons Station Charleston since January of 2020. We were fortunate enough to be able to hire her late last year to continue her mission of ensuring veterans transitioning into civilian life and understanding the benefits they are entitled to. Lisa served in the US Army and has spent much of her civilian career in customer service. She understands the challenges Veterans encounter as they acclimate to civilian life and is well positioned to both relate and advise them on their new journey. TangoAlpha3 is proud to have Lisa represent us and excited to share her insights.
What was your initial job search experience like?
When I first started applying for federal jobs, I was only focusing on jobs in the transportation industry. Having served 13 years as a Transportation Officer in the United States Army, I wanted to stick with jobs in that industry, because I hold a Master’s Degree in Transportation & Logistics Management. Having the South Carolina State Ports Authority right in my back yard, I figured it would be a breeze to obtain employment there. Not as easy as I thought. After applying several times, I had several interviews, but was never offered employment. I did not let that discourage me so I kept applying never getting a job offer. As time went on, one day I did a Google search for benefits and came across jobs as a VA Benefits Advisor. I started applying and a few weeks after I applied I had a phone my interview with a different agency in Dec 2018. During that phone interview I was told that my resume was not even being considered for the job, because it did not show my facilitating skills while I served in the military. The interviewer told me she just had to call me to see who I was because of all my skills and educational background that was listed on my resume. She was intrigued. Needless to say, by the time the phone interview was over, my resume was corrected and resubmitted and a week later I was offered the job as a VA Benefits Advisor. Who knew. Persistence, patience and a positive attitude is the advice I will give anyone seeking employment.
Did you face any challenges when you first transitioned from the military into the private sector?
When I first transitioned from the military I had many challenges. I was not given the opportunity to attend a TAP event back in 2003. I was a single parent not living in my home state of SC coming off of Active Duty and unemployed. I stayed vigilant in my job search and reached out to various Veteran organizations in the community of TX and was able to obtain employment because of my Veteran status. It was touch and go for a while not having that military support anymore and not being able to go into an office on a base to ask for help.
What is a typical day at work like for you?
Each work day is different. Some days it is non-stop action meeting clients and answering calls and emails. Other days it’s research making sure I keep up with the latest Department of Veterans Affairs News so I can offer my clients the best information possible. I take each day as it comes and stay prepared.
How has your military training and experience helped you in the private sector?
Many employers look for individuals who have that military experience. They know we are disciplined, we’ll always be on time and we will do what’s asked of us. For me, being able to show employers in the private sector that the training I received in the military can play a crucial part in their company was key. The leadership skills, organizational skills, analytical thinking and an outstanding work ethic can help other staff members within the company.
What advice would you give to transitioning Veterans looking for their first job after leaving the military?
The advice I would give to any transitioning Veteran is to be patient because the job market changes daily. I would also tell them to be persistent in their job search and not get discouraged when you get rejected. I would also tell them to utilize the educational benefits they have earned and return to school to either continue or complete their education or even find a new skill, as what they did while serving in the military may not always match up to a job in the private sector. Finally, I would tell them to keep a positive attitude and never be afraid to ask for help. There are so many resources available to help Veterans that are not utilized. A VA Benefits Advisor and a VA Employment Specialist is always available to assist you on your journey.
What has your experience been like working with TangoAlpha3?
Although I am new to TangoAlpha3, the staff I have interacted with so far are amazing. They are available to answer any questions I may have or point me in the right direction. I hate when the day comes I have to transition to a new agency, but my time spent here would have been an amazing experience being able to help other Veterans like myself working as a VA Benefits Advisor.