Keith Solomon was one of the lucky veterans hired by the Georgia DOT at the Atlanta career fair, and he gives the military a lot of credit for his success. The former Navy hull technician served on active duty for four years and then spent another four in the Navy Reserve. “I joined the Navy to travel and see the world. I wanted to get out of Miami to avoid getting into trouble and to better myself. I also wanted to serve my country while allowing the military to pay for my college education,” he said.
As a hull technician, Solomon’s duties were varied. He trained his shipmates, learned how to fight and control fires, managed personnel, assigned schedules and tasks, as well as other duties that kept his ship afloat. The ability to execute all these tasks turned Solomon into a leader. “The Navy taught me discipline, motivation, pride and strength,” he said.
He thinks veterans make a good fit just about anywhere in the civilian world. “Veterans are highly skilled, and trained to multitask. They go above and beyond to get the job done. They are dedicated and show pride in doing their job.” Solomon worked diligently to land the right position after getting out of the Navy. “I was often overqualified for a job,” he related. Nevertheless, he networked, researched companies he was interested in, and used government websites such as the Dept. of Labor to aid in his search.
When he arrived at the Atlanta career fair, he noticed lots of activity. “The job fair had more than 40 employers with recruiters and HR representatives on the spot. They were giving out lots of material and information for job leads and openings. Overall, it was very successful for me because I got immediate feedback from the Georgia DOT. I was interviewed and shortly afterwards I was offered a job as an equipment operator. I’m very grateful.”
Solomon has some advice for veterans seeking new careers:
- Have faith and a positive attitude. Believe that you will get the job.
- Try a booth with fewer people. This will allow you more time with the recruiters, as opposed to the most popular companies at the job fair.
- Develop a list and a strategy for what companies are high on your list, but speak to everyone.
- Network and do lots of research. Learn about a company’s history.
- Don’t be afraid to take jobs with temp/staffing agencies while trying to get the job you really desire.
- Never give up, keep trying until you get the job!