‘30 Interviews With More Than 25 Different Companies’: Veteran Optimizes His Job Search Through Corporate Fellowship

Marine standing front of flags
Written by
Hiring Our Heroes

What’s your military service exit strategy? Don’t have one? Don’t worry, Hiring Our Heroes is here to help.

Through our corporate fellowships, Hiring Our Heroes places transitioning service members in SkillBridge-authorized fellowships with employers committed to hiring veterans. The 12-week fellowship provides veterans with professional training and hands-on experience in the civilian workforce while they are still on active duty.

Corporate fellowships aim for a smooth transition from the battlefield to the boardroom for veterans like Damien Guss.

two Marines

When Guss began to prepare for his retirement from the U.S. Marine Corps after 21 years, he turned to Hiring Our Heroes. He saw how the corporate fellowship helped a friend “launch into the civilian sector,” and he wanted a similar outcome for his transition.

“I choose to participate in a corporate fellowship due to the opportunities it brings to a service member exiting the military,” Guss said. “Hiring Our Heroes was outstanding in getting my name and resume out there to the participating companies. I had over 30 interviews with more than 25 different companies.”

During one of these interviews, Guss first heard about Zebra Technologies and learned how he could work in the tech industry after the Marine Corps. Soon, he realized Zebra’s goals matched his professional goals. Also, he found a company made up of people who “care about helping veterans.”

Related: Four Military Veterans Share What It Was Really Like To Transition To Civilian Life – And Civilian Jobs

Without this exposure to various companies and industries through Hiring Our Heroes corporate fellowship interviews, Guss is doubtful he would have connected with a military-friendly company like Zebra.

“Without the corporate fellowship, I would still be undecided on what I wanted to do [after the military]. I owe a lot of credit to Hiring Our Heroes,” he said.

I owe a lot of credit to Hiring Our Heroes.

Damien Guss, U.S. Marine Corps veteran
Damien Guss

However, through the fellowship, Guss found his post-military path and transitioned successfully into a full-time position with Zebra. More than a year later, he remains happily employed there. Also, Zebra promoted Guss to his current role as senior manager of systems engineering. Now, Guss is responsible for building efficient integrations into the existing  systems and providing solutions for Zebra’s distribution center.

Upon reflecting on his experience, Guss is grateful for Zebra for hosting transitioning service members as fellows.

“It means a lot for any company to help transitioning service members get their foot in the door and showcase what we can provide to a company,” he said. “If this program wasn’t around, I think that I would be telling a different story right now.”

springtime family photo

The Department of Defense recommends active-duty service members start planning for their transition at least 12 months prior to separation, and 24 months before retirement. As an authorized DoD SkillBridge provider, Hiring Our Heroes facilitates three corporate fellowship cohorts annually. Interested service members can review eligibility requirements, application deadlines and fellowship timelines to help them plan their transition.  

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