Loudoun County VFW conducts job training for Va. Guard Soldiers

Raymond Houck, a member of the Loudoun County Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1177, gives a resume writing and career development class to Soldiers of the Company C, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team at their home station in Leesburg, Va., Feb. 9. More than 40 Soldiers received training on how best to translate their military knowledge and experience to civilian employers. (Photo by Sgt. JoAnna Greene, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs)

LEESBURG, Va. — Soldiers of the Leesburg-based Company C, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team received a resume building and career development workshop courtesy of the Loudoun County Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1177, and the Military Alliance Group of Science Applications International Corporation Feb. 9, 2013, at their armory in Leesburg, Va.

Raymond Houck, a member of VFW Post 1177 and MAG, gave a two-hour course to more than 40 infantry Soldiers on goal setting, resume writing, employer research and networking.

“It’s good that they’re doing this,” says Spc. Nikita Vasilyev, an infantryman of Company C attending the workshop. “A lot of these guys are taking notes and learning valuable information, like how to format their skills and work experience to translate their Army skill sets and knowledge for civilian employers.”

In today’s job market, it’s vital for veterans to demonstrate their transferable skills and experience. A recent survey by CareerBuilder showed that 65 percent of the 2,600 employers surveyed said they would be more likely to hire a veteran over another, equally qualified candidate.

“Training like this is important for our Soldiers to leverage their military experience and communicate that effectively to civilian employers, so those employers can see the value in harnessing that experience,” says Capt. Kevin Hoffman, commander of Company C.

“I can relate to them,” says Houck, a former Army communications specialist deployed to Panama.

He says he had difficulty translating his 12 years of military experience to civilian employers after leaving active duty in the Army.

The Feb. 9 workshop came about after Houck discussed his passion for helping homeless veterans with a fellow member of MAG, an employee resource group at Houck’s employer, SAIC. They came to the conclusion that they could aid this cause by helping veterans find employment.

“Resumes are the first thing that an employer looks at,” says Houck. “So naturally, that was our starting point.”

VFW Post 1177 gave full support to host the workshop for their official adopted unit, Company C.

“The VFW has a tremendous local membership base and connections throughout the region,” says Hoffman. “They’re a big plus for us because they can identify directly with Soldiers.”

The workshop was the third joint event within the last year. VFW Post 1177, in conjunction with the Family Readiness Group for Company C, has hosted picnics for Soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

“The VFW is all about those that serve and those that have served,” says Houck. “We’re here to help veterans anytime, in anyway that we can, so that no one gets left behind.”