GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — U.S. Army Garrisons Bavaria and Rheinland Pfalz are hosting European Theater Transition Summits March 26-27 and March 28-29.
Organized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes Foundation, the events are focused on helping service members, veterans and military spouses build skills and connections that will lead to employment.
You should mark your calendars now, whether you’re transitioning in the next six months or in several years, say event organizers. Here’s why.
1. The Transition Summit brings employment resources to our doorstep.
There are a lot of advantages to being stationed in Germany—unique training opportunities and travel, to name two. But some things can be harder from overseas, and transitioning from active duty to civilian life is one of them.
The Transition Summit provides Soldiers, family members and veterans living overseas a career fair experience similar to what you can find stateside, said Anne Fugate, USAG Bavaria Transition Services Manager.
“It gives members of our community a chance to talk with a number of experts face-to-face about employment, education, training, and benefits,” Fugate said. “Overseas, we can’t take this kind of opportunity for granted.”
The two-day event brings together employers and representatives from organizations such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Labor, Small Business Administration and Chamber of Commerce.
Currently, more than 30 employers are signed up to be on-site during the career fairs, including Amazon, Hilton Worldwide, Lufthansa, and Microsoft.
2. Hear employer perspectives on job hunting.
Especially if you want those employers to hire you.
The Summit includes a town hall-style panel and industry briefs during which employers will talk about job hunting best practices and what they are looking for in applicants. Summit-goers will also be able to talk with employers during a networking event on day one and during the career fair on day two.
Employer feedback is invaluable, said George Brown, event manager for USAG Rheinland-Pfalz, especially if you are new to job hunting outside of the Army.
“The first resume I created when I transitioned looked nothing like the later version that got me a job,” Brown said.
“In my case, I had to delete a lot of minutiae, stuff that seemed important when I was active duty but that cluttered up the page. Someone else might have a much tighter resume, but be using language that doesn’t communicate to a civilian.”
Brown notes that the Afterburner Military Transition Seminar on day one goes in-depth on how to communicate what service members offer to employers.
“Service members bring a lot of value, in terms of both experience and work ethic, but we don’t always know how to communicate it effectively—what to highlight and what to leave out,” Brown said. “This seminar helps service members identify what they offer and how to tell that story in a way that employers can appreciate.”
3. It’s not just for transitioning Soldiers.
The primary audience for the Summits are Soldiers who are separating or retiring in the next 12-18 months. However, the Summits offer something for all community members—service members, veterans, and military spouses.
Lew Lewis, USAG Rheinland-Pfalz Transition Services Manager, encourages career-minded spouses to attend, whether they are looking for a job locally or preparing for a move.
“Military spouses face some unique challenges, building a career within a military lifestyle, which is why the event includes a seminar specifically for spouses,” Lewis said. “That seminar talks about how to develop a career when you move every two or three years, including overseas, where job availability is tighter.”
For spouses or other community members looking for local employment, Lewis notes that the Summits’ career fairs include employers with Europe-based positions.
Lewis encourages all service members and spouses to participate in the Summits, even if their transition is a couple years in the future.
“Everybody transitions at some point. Sometimes that transition is planned, and sometimes the timing is unexpected,” Lewis said. “Take steps throughout your career to get informed and build connections, so when the time comes, you’re prepared.”
In USAG Bavaria, the Summit will be held at the Multipurpose Facility, Bldg. 134 on Rose Barracks. In Rheinland-Pfalz, the Summit location is the Armstrong Club on Vogelweh. The agenda is as follows:
March 26 (Bavaria) or March 28 (Rheinland-Pfalz)
March 27 (Bavaria) or March 29 (Rheinland-Pfalz)
To register for the Transition Summits, go to www.uschamberfoundation.org/event/germany-transition-summit.
If you have questions about how to prepare for the event, contact your local Soldier for Life—Transition Assistance Program (Bavaria: DSN 476-2055, CIV 09662-83-2055; Rheinland-Pfalz: DSN 541-1400, CIV 0611-143-541-1400).