The Ultimate Currency for Veteran Job Seekers (Hint: It's Not Crypto)
Since Tom Schwab served in the Navy as a nuclear surface warfare officer, his desire to keep learning and challenging himself has taken him from Corporate America to entrepreneurship as the leader of Interview Valet, a media marketing business. He spoke about his journey on Bradley-Morris/RecruitMilitary’s podcast, complete with these takeaways:
Relationships are the Ultimate Currency
“The farther you get along in your career, the more valuable they are,” Schwab noted. Early on, people tend to focus on ‘stuff’: getting a degree; getting a house; gaining experience. Over time, it’s relationships that drive success, rather than what someone’s degree was in, or how they performed in a certain class. “The stamps of credibility that you gather when you’re younger become less important the older you get,” said Schwab. “What matters more is your experiences, and even the mistakes you’ve made along the way.”
“Gaining people who know, like, and trust you can lead down the road to someone saying, ‘I’m putting something together and you came to mind. Do you want to be part of it?’” he continued.
Schwab encourages veterans to foster relationships and is a firm believer that nurturing them pays dividends, even decades later. “You don’t go online and see ads for senior vice-presidents, CEOs or board members. They aren’t on Craigslist. Those hires are made from relationships that have been built up over time,” he pointed out. Schwab stays in touch with his service buddies more now than while they were serving together due to the ease of connecting in today’s world.
The Best Job Security is Creating and Leveraging a Robust Network
Job security stems from demonstrating the value you bring to people. “We all remember who introduced us to our spouse, a new idea, or a new opportunity,” he said. “When you start introducing people, you benefit from it. It doesn’t cost you anything, but people will remember you for it. It gives you power and authority.”
Becoming an intermediary or a connector is useful for both career security and career transitions. “A person who has a network and can leverage it is the rainmaker at their organization,” Schwab said. A critical piece of the process is letting people know what you do and how you can add value to what they’re doing. One way to accomplish this is by getting good at telling your story.
Never Stop Learning
Once upon a time, whatever a person had an education in dictated their next step. “In today’s world, if you’re smart enough to learn, you can be a coder in 6-12 months. I have an MBA in marketing, but all the marketing that I use today I’ve learned on my own. As much as I learned in nuclear power school, I learned more in my first year as an entrepreneur,” Schwab said.
The Danger of Obscurity
“Millions of people need you, want to hire you, and want you on their team. The problem is they don’t know you exist. Find a way they can know, like, and trust you. Use your network to make and receive introductions,” Schwab advised.
Want to hear more? Check out the entire podcast.
By Chris Newsome