When I first left the Army after five years of jumping out of planes, I thought I was one of the lucky ones. I wasn’t worried about my veteran job placement. I had great leads on two jobs in San Francisco and both were interested in hiring me. Neither worked out. My wife and infant daughter then spent the next two months crammed into a single bedroom at my mother’s house in Texas while I searched for work all over the country.
No answers to any applications or resume submissions. I have an M.S. in Personal Financial Planning and a Law degree in addition to my five years of military service and I couldn’t even get an interview for entry-level work. Luckily, my brother in law in Los Angeles offered to get me a job on film sets and live with his family while I searched for full-time employment. After arriving, one of the first actions I took was googling various forms of “Los Angeles Veteran Job Placement Services”.
A LinkedIn profile for Meredith Davis popped up that would change my life forever. It said she worked for a company called Tech Qualled that prepares veterans to enter the world of B2B technology sales. I spent the next 3 days stalking the program because I was skeptical. The program’s website stated that it was free for veterans, they would help with job placement, and they would provide all the training. It seemed too good to be true. In this day and age, everything is a scam until proven otherwise.
I researched the founders and instructors and all their credentials checked out. They were senior executives and systems engineers at Cisco, sales consultants at Oracle, and military veterans. Program graduates were working at Blackberry, PCM-G, Soft Choice, etc. After three days, I was satisfied this wasn’t a scam.
I reached out to Meredith on LinkedIn and after introductory phone calls, online assessments, resume submissions, video interviews, and waiting for the selection board to convene I get a phone call from Meredith…I wasn’t selected. I was devastated.
I got a job a few weeks later working in a call center selling cruises. Money was good but I wasn’t challenged. The phone would beep and I’d speak to someone about Amsterdam, Prague, Paris, or whatever city they were interested in. It quickly got to the point where it was a script and every day was the same.
After two months, I couldn’t stand it anymore and I reached back out to Meredith about reapplying. It was a gamble to leave that job for this program. I was miserable in the call center, but every two weeks money was deposited into my account, bills were getting paid, and my daughter was being fed. Still, I had a feeling that this program would provide a better life for my family.
The entire application process started from scratch and this time I was accepted. Apparently, the selection board liked the fact that I didn’t take no for an answer and reapplied. The classes began a couple weeks later and everything they told me was true.
- They told me it would be an intense workload and it was. I spent 20-30 hours a week reading and completing assignments.
- They told me costs would be minimal to the veteran, and they were. I partially paid for a few books (they provided an Amazon gift card to help offset the costs) and a plane ticket to Fort Worth, TX. That was it.
- They told me there would be job placement assistance and there was. They provided interview coaching, resume writing assistance, and actively sought to place me in positions.
All told, I believe I interviewed with eight companies scattered across the country that sold either IT solutions, internet security, software, or hardware. After considering my options, I accepted a position with a company called Tektronix based near Portland, Oregon. Through my conversations with customers, I get to help some of the brightest engineers in the country make the next leap forward in innovation. The people I work with have been fantastic and no one is ever too busy to answer a question or talk strategy about a potential lead.
None of this would have been possible without Tech Qualled. The training that they provided and the support they showed throughout the entire job search was nothing short of first rate. If you are like me and you just stumbled across the program by happy accident and you are wondering if it is something to consider…it is.