December 12, 2016 BestCompaniesAZ

How Military-Friendly Employers Help Smooth the Way for Veterans Starting a New Career

A Military Transition Success Story from Synchrony Financial

While some military veterans jump right into the job search, James’ methodical transition to a professional level position in engineering took several years. A masters’ degree and a position with a defense contractor paved the way for him to move into the corporate world with Synchrony Financial, a military-friendly company. James offers some insights for military job seekers and employers.

The military has a different vocabulary, and an employer may not understand it. Work experience may not be readily apparent to a prospective employer. “What does ‘Platoon Commander’ mean? Military duties need to be translated to civilian skills”. James emphasizes that this should be addressed at the beginning of the job search, and that a good recruiter’s assistance is valuable.

Focusing a job search on military-friendly companies can smooth the way. A knowledgeable recruiter for Synchrony Financial helped James find the right fit in facilities management. “I had to understand the roles and responsibilities. People might associate facilities with maintenance, but once we got through the stereotype, I realized it was more about vendor management and sourcing.” As an engineer officer in the military, James had funded projects, scheduled work, and managed vendors and processes. With the help of his recruiter, James found a direct skills correlation to his dream job with Synchrony Financial.

Some transitioning military will experience a significant learning curve with new software and a different approach to leadership. Some differences James noted are the difference between the military’s mission focus and the customer focus of the corporate world; and the difference between the military’s individual decision making and group decision making common in corporations. “I learned that getting input may delay a process, but has long term value,” said James.

One way Synchrony helps veterans through their transitions is through an active Veterans Network. “You can immediately join and take part. There’s quite a bit of pride, we’re very passionate and involved in our diversity networks in general,” James explained. “The idea is, this is not just a today job, it’s a career, this is how we start building a career. Not just your own duties, but what is the next opportunity for you.”

Synchrony prioritizes the skill sets, values, and qualities veterans bring to the job, whether at entry level or leadership. The discipline, work ethic, and dedication of veterans like James is rewarded at Synchrony.