Alumni Help Vets Find Employment
Published: Saturday, August 30, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 20:02
When John Fisher-Thompson (MSB ’09) returned from active duty in the Marine Corps in May, his path to civilian employment was not initially clear.
Two friends from Georgetown, Ben Vinograd (SFS ’10) and Quentin Vasdeboncoeur (MSB ’10) helped Fisher-Thompson improve his resume and land a position at a top consulting firm in New York.
Their efforts inspired the trio to found Conditions Set — a new nonprofit that helps veterans find employment as they adjust to civilian life — in July.
“As [Fisher-Thompson] was leaving the Marines, he was communicating with [Vasdeboncoeur], trying to get his resume up to scratch from a corporate point of view,” Vinograd said. “We realized there was a bigger need for this kind of thing.”
The group realized the difficulty of translating military experience into terms that civilian employers would be able to understand and appreciate, and the need for a wider solution.
“We agreed that there were definitely many other people in a situation similar to his but could not think of any service currently in place to provide dedicated assistance with resume building,” Vasdeboncoeur, Conditions Set’s chief financial officer, wrote in an email.
The resume help was key to Fisher-Thompson’s success finding employment.
“[Vinograd] was able to convey my experiences in a way that was more recognizable to corporate recruiters,” Fisher-Thompson said.
While there are other organizations that support active-duty servicemen as they return to civilian life, Condition Set is uniquely focused on assisting all veterans with the job search.
“A lot of them tend to focus on finding jobs for officers as opposed to enlisted members,” Fisher-Thompson said. “Instead of trying to be a complete solution, we wanted to focus on resume-building and do it well.”
One of the nonprofit’s first clients was a Marine who hoped to find a job in law enforcement after being deployed to Iraq. Conditions Set helped him cut down his standard military four-page resume and tailor the language in it to be specific to each position to which he was applying. The resumes were reviewed by both military and civilian personnel from a 30-person volunteer staff.
“We were able to get it down to one page of concise information on ‘who I am and this is what I’ve done,’” Vinograd said. “People can follow the military guidelines, but it’s still coming from a certain perspective which may not be relevant in the civilian world.”
To find new clients, Conditions Set has reached out to servicemen currently serving in the Marines and launched a social media effort aimed at veterans. So far, Conditions Set has helped 13 servicemen from the Navy, Air Force, Marines and Army, graduating three candidates to the interview process.
“Right now our biggest focus is on getting more candidates,” Vinograd said.
Six other Georgetown alumni have since partnered with the original founders to support Condition Set’s work.
“As college students, many of us had volunteered for various organizations but had been unable to continue doing so after graduation due to the very limited amount of free time that came along with a full-time job,” Vasdeboncoeur wrote. “We realized that this would be a great opportunity to help others that would also work with our schedules.”
Condition Set hopes to repay veterans for their service defending the country.
“We want our candidates to have what they need in order before they move on to the next stage of their lives,” Vinograd said.