Jose joined the U.S. Army as a reservist in 2001. “In the beginning, I was focused on the Army’s education benefits and scholarships,” he said, “but I soon transitioned to active-duty service.”
By 2014, Jose’s military career had advanced considerably. He had completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, become a commissioned officer, and served in two overseas deployments. His leaders recognized his abilities and continued to offer him increased responsibility. “I’m grateful for the mentorship and support of my senior officers,” he said. “They put me in leadership positions that helped me to become more professional.”
When it came time to leave Joint Base Lewis-McChord for his next assignment, Jose faced a tough decision: continue his Army career or leave active-duty service to stay near his daughters. His family won. “I decided to return to the Army Reserve locally and started my civilian job search,” he said.
“My biggest challenge in finding a job was overcoming my inability to communicate without using military acronyms and my very direct approach. I struggled over and over on multiple job interviews.”
He found the resources and assistance he needed at Goodwill’s Operation GoodJobs. “My case manager was very effective and responsive to my needs,” Jose said. “He helped me find good job offers and hiring events, reviewed my resumes, prepared me for my interviews, and tested my professional communication.”
Through this process, Jose learned that interpersonal skills and networking can be more important than technical expertise. “Your resume gets you an interview, but networking and how you project yourself are what get you the job,” he said.
Today, Jose has secured a job as a ward administrator at Western State Hospital. “I thought I was a good candidate based on my experience, but I was a bit challenged with the change in tempo and the different ways I interact with team members. I’m working hard at demonstrating that I am trustworthy, loyal and respectful while maintaining my professional military values.”