How This Navy Spouse Navigated the HOH Network to Land His Dream Job

Navy spouse Karl Gerner
Written by
Hiring Our Heroes

Karl Gerner is a lawyer, a Navy spouse, and an advocate for career advancement of military spouse attorneys. We are convinced he could write the book for other military spouses on how to use Hiring Our Heroes to find the perfect career. Here’s his story.

Naval officer on his wedding day
Karl Gerner and his husband said “I do” in 2016.

Karl first became aware of Hiring Our Heroes after being accepted into its pilot Military Spouse Fellowship Program in Maryland in 2018. He was aligned with Hilton’s legal department for his six-week experience.

Group of military spouses at Hilton
In 2018, Karl Gerner participated in Hiring Our Heroes Military Spouse Fellowship Program. His host company was Hilton.

The fellowship allowed him to grow professionally in many ways. But, the biggest takeaway was the network he quickly grew as a newcomer to the Washington, D.C. area. After completing his fellowship, Karl continued to attend events hosted by HOH. He also signed up for professional development and networking opportunities provided for free through the Military Spouse Professional Network.

Grassroots Recruitment Opportunity Workshops (GROW)

One such opportunity was a Grassroots Recruitment Opportunity Workshops (GROW) event. GROW focus on connecting military spouses, caregivers, veterans, and transitioning service members with local and national employers. These interactive hiring events offer job seekers the chance to learn about companies and hiring best practices. Job seekers are also encouraged to have one-on-one conversations with representatives from employers. There is no cost for GROW and the available roles span all career levels.

Karl saw that an upcoming virtual GROW event was available to job seekers nationwide. He also noticed there were some companies he was interested in on the participating employer list, like T-Mobile, so he made the decision to register for the event.

“I actually had the chance to meet the CEO [once]. So, when I saw T-Mobile, I knew it was a great company, [and said to myself] maybe I need to check out the [GROW] event,” Karl said.

A Virtual Coffee Led to a Job Offer

The highlight of GROW for him was the ability to get to virtually meet and learn about various companies.

Karl made a strong connection with the T-Mobile representative who offered to connect after the event.

“That led me to reach out to another HR person who I knew was involved with the military spouse and military recruiting community within T-Mobile,” he said.

“[Without] a good connection with T-Mobile’s military recruiting, my resume would have probably just been one in a large stack [of resumes].

— Karl Gerner

That contact led to a virtual coffee, which, in turn, led to a job offer.

Karl now works as one of T-Mobile’s in-house corporate attorneys, counseling on cybersecurity and privacy issues.

couple at law school graduation
Karl Gerner graduated from law school in 2016.

Having a Champion for You Makes a Difference

Karl said attending any HOH event is worth it.

“Treat the event as an opportunity to just make friends or connections,” he said. “There’s a sense of community [there]. Let people know you’re a part of that community and let them know you want to help that community, not just find a job.”

He does not know if attending the virtual GROW event is what secured him the job offer, but he said, “Had I not made a good connection with one of the people involved in T-Mobile’s military recruiting, my resume would have probably just been one in a large stack [of resumes]. Having someone champion for you, really, I think makes a difference.”

HOH recognizes that military spouses’ careers are impacted by their service members’ military service. That’s why every HOH event and program is open to military and veteran spouses as well as military caregivers.

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