Sears pledges to hire veterans

December 20, 2011 (CHICAGO)

The commitment to hire veterans may be an act of patriotism or it may simply be good business to hire men and women with a resume from the government. Even with that commitment, jobs are hard to find. ABC7 got some advice Tuesday for returning veterans entering the civilian work force.

If you're looking for a plasma TV at Sears, Jimmy Beamon may have had a hand in making sure it was there. Beamon, an inventory analyst for Sears, was hired in October. Prior to that, he was a sonar technician for the Navy hunting submarines. It took him over a year to land a job after leaving the Navy. Beamon said the key was networking and finding ways to convert his 10-year military experience to the corporate world.

"I tried to focus more on the leadership aspect and what I've learned about managing people and things like that as opposed to just the technician skills that were involved," said Beamon.

Christina Dibble helps recruit veterans for Sears. She is a veteran herself and tells returning vets not to be discouraged.

"Consider your resume a living document, revise it over and over again. Keep track of your successes, how many times you resume has been selected for an interview," said Dibble.

John Challenger, an outplacement specialist at Challenger, Gray and Christmas, says veterans need to be prepared to face a tough job market.

"Each vet ought to take a hard look at their experience and distill out what their skills are that they have and be very clear about how they are doing to translate that into the business world, " said Challenger. "

Back at Sears on 79th Street, Floyd Maxwell had no problem finding work in the 1990s as a Desert Storm veteran. A layoff in 2008 didn't deter him either. Maxwell says having l military background gave him the tenacity to keep looking. Now he manages the stock room and the store's products.

"Some of the hardest thing you experienced in the can utilize those by saying I can overcome this. I know it's competitive out there with the job market, but I have these unique skills," said Maxwell.

The most recent returning veterans have higher unemployment rates that the national average. Experts and the veterans we spoke with suggest connecting with other veterans to see which companies may be hiring and for support.

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