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No matter how successful a veteran’s military career is, transitioning to civilian life is challenging.

 If there’s one thing my 24 years in the Army have taught me, it is that we can overcome anything.

I’ve made it my mission to help fellow servicemen and women find their fit through advising and mentorship at transition sites and LinkedIn forums in addition to my current role as an operations manager for an Amazon fulfillment center.

At Amazon, I motivate, develop and support my teammates to become the best leaders they can be – all thanks to the skills I developed in the Army. This is the kind of opportunity I want for all veterans.

Successful entry into the workforce comes down to four steps.

Form a plan. Ensure you have a quality resume that translates your military experience into related civilian skillsets. 

You have a unique blend of skills that make you a competitive prospect: project management, communication, and leadership. You also understand how to be a part of a team, thrive in the face of adversity and lead with integrity. 

Build a network. Most veterans leave after four years of service and are just looking for a shot with a company. Often this comes down to knowing one person. 

Reach out to friends, family, and fellow veterans who may know of an opportunity for which you’d be a good fit. You’ll also need to leverage platforms like Linkedin and connect with military recruiting efforts of many companies across the country.

 I’m active with Amazon’s military recruiting team and have facilitated nearly 100 interviews for veterans at Amazon – which provides resources for these recruits, including the employee support network Warriors@Amazon.

Set realistic expectations. I began my military career as a fire-support specialist and worked my way up to leading the largest recruiting territory in the Army, earning the highest rank possible in 14 years. 

When I retired in 2016, I spent three years in traditional corporate America before coming to Amazon. Wearing a suit and tie wasn’t quite what I wanted, but it was a start. 

It’s important to be realistic in how your skillsets convert in the civilian world. Do your research, set realistic expectations and humble yourself. 

Put your values first. Seek a company whose values align with yours. At Amazon, associates are the backbone of the organization. My job as their leader is to ensure their health and safety. I’m proud of all of our associates who are practicing a selfless dedication to serve people who need essential items during this unprecedented time. 

There are endless opportunities out there for veterans but you must have a plan and you must nail that plan.

No matter how many years you served in the military, you were part of a team with one mission and that holds true as you transition. Success comes when you realize you are part of something bigger than yourself. Surround yourself with people who believe in you as much as they believe in the mission at hand and you will flourish. 

 

Command Sergeant Major (CSM) Retired Gary Stiteler is a Chandler resident and is an operations manager with Amazon Fulfillment.

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