The Job Fair was Critical for my Career Shift
U.S. Army veteran Jason Sapp worked in new home construction after his military service, but he just didn’t feel like he was in the right career.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Since this interview, Sapp has been promoted to Branch Manager at QED.
We talked with him about his journey, and how his experience at the job fair shaped his career:
What motivated you to join the military?
Jason Sapp (JS): I grew up wanting to be a soldier, and that's the route I ended up taking.
I served from July of 2002 through August of 2007, assigned primarily to the 2nd Brigade Reconnaissance Team of the 1st Infantry Division, based out of Schweinfurt, Germany. I served two tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, so I’ve certainly been all over the world.
What was your experience transitioning back to civilian life?
JS: I was medically separated and retired while my unit was in Baghdad. It was a very difficult transition, coming out and trying to figure out what to do with my life. My goal was to retire after 20 years, and instead, I served five and ended up medically retired.
DAV (Disabled American Veterans) helped with my filing process for disability with the VA as soon as I got out of the military. They were a huge help throughout transition.
Part of the journey of being a disabled veteran and searching for work is just being honest about your disabilities and having that conversation with potential employers.
We find ourselves in a job market where companies are willing to work with people and provide the training, support, and tools necessary to accommodate whatever disabilities they may have.
What led you to RecruitMilitary?
JS: I was evaluating shifting my career focus out of new home construction, but I wanted to find something that still partnered with that industry.
When you're mid-level in your career and want to change to something completely different, you have to have a lot of things in place. You need a support system, a training system, and mentors. You need a group of people that are willing to bring you “under their wing” and help set you up to succeed.
As far as finding the DAV|RecruitMilitary job fair, I happened to see there was an event here in Denver. When I saw that the job fair was veteran focused, I signed up and uploaded my resume to get ready for it.
I think the job fair was absolutely critical, because I wouldn't have found this company without it. Just doing my regular searches on different websites and such, I didn't even know about this opportunity.
What were some of the highlights of the job fair?
JS: Throughout the entire job fair, everybody was super friendly and helpful.
Aside from the opportunities present, I was surprised by how many employers were there, looking to obviously hire veterans and support the veteran and military community. Everybody was ready to interview. They were ready to hire. It was definitely a pleasant surprise.
When I found QED at the job fair, it was a no-brainer. For one, their recruiter was a retired command sergeant major in the Army. The instant connection that I had with him really drew me in. I literally sat down with the branch manager and had a 35-minute interview right there onsite. I wasn't expecting on-site interviews, but I certainly was excited for that opportunity.
I really appreciated the personalized care I received from RecruitMilitary, in terms of preparation for the job fair, like helping make sure my resume was up to date and I had my "ducks in a row" before the job fair.
This was probably the best career move I've ever made, just to be honest with you.
Do any of your military experiences help in your new job?
JS: The leadership training that I gained from my time in the Army certainly applies. Although I'm not necessarily in a leadership role, I think all of us should be leaders in our positions.
I love working with the people at QED. It's been a long time since I found a company that had such great people, and similar comradery that I had in the military. For me, that was pretty unique to find, for sure.
Looking to make your own career shift? Even if you’re just curious about what opportunities are open for members of the military community, DAV|RecruitMilitary job fairs are happening all over the country, all the time. Find one that’s right for you!
By By Elizabeth Stetler, U.S. Army Veteran