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Hiring Event Helps Transition from Military to Civilian Life

LAWTON, Okla_One. That's the number of chances you get to make a first impression. And that's the exact type of scenario that members of the military who are transitioning into the civilian work force got practice with Tuesday night.

Nearly two thirds of new vets say they've had difficulty landing a job in the civilian world, so the Oklahoma Work Force held a special event to help them with job interview preparation.

Tuesday's event was a pre-cursor for a hiring event that will take place on post later this week.

Nancy Browne started transitioning out of the military in 2009 and has slowly started to find her way.

"At first I felt like I was on my own because I didn't know what to do or where to go or anything of that sort when I first got out, but ever since we got here I actually feel like there's people helping me through this process, " Browne said.

Robert Phillips knows exactly how she feels. He remembers feeling scared when he transitioned out of the military in the 70s, but now he works with veterans through Work Force Oklahoma to help people like Nancy make a seamless transition.

"Some of these veterans haven't had an interview for years. Some of them have had multiple interviews and haven't got hired, so our intent is to give them some information that will help them prepare for the interview better or work on their resumes, " Phillips explained.

He said more than anything vets need to access the resources available. He said compared to the 70s the military has made great strides in making the transition easier, and the biggest task is viewing their abilities through a new lens.

"They're really not at a big disadvantage because they're taking those skills they learned in the military, and all they're doing is transitioning them into civilian skills, " Phillips said.

Nancy Browne said thanks to events like these she's learned she already had the knowledge to measure up to any other civilian in the work force, but now she has the added confidence to give her that extra edge.

"I would say I was on the shy side and only answered when spoken to, and now I offer information I know will benefit them. I learned to show the company I would be a better asset to them than for them to hire someone else, " said Browne.

Phillips stresses there are jobs out there; many times it's just a matter of managing your expectations.

He says it's better to get your foot in the door somewhere rather than approach your job search with blinders on.

That hiring event is this Thursday at the Armed Forces Reserve Center on post. It will run from 10:30 to 2 p-m. Registration is free and is open to all military. There will be over 50 employers there.

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