Career Readiness

Fall semester has started at colleges around the country. It is an exciting and maybe stressful time for many students, especially juniors. This is the time when students connect with companies at career fairs and networking sessions on college campuses. These companies are looking for college students to hire for summer internships. If you are a junior or sophomore looking for a summer internship and this is news to you, it would behoove you to get your resume ready and make sure your business formal attire is clean and pressed.

This season is also the beginning of a new cohort of veterans participating in a career readiness program at my favorite veteran non-profit. I have written about this organization before, and I like to bring it up periodically, in order to inform people who have never heard of it. The organization is Four Block. Here is an excerpt from its Program Details page:

Every veteran knows to be ready for the mission. You equip yourself with the best tools and surround yourself with the best team to get the job done. Are you doing the same for your career?

I participated in the Fall 2013 cohort and it was the best decision I ever made for my career. The knowledge I gained in resume writing, interview tips, and networking is invaluable. I received a packet containing interview tips that I still consult before every interview. The excellent networking events hosted by Four Block gave me access to the senior leaders of the top companies in the cities where they operate. The events are only for the participants and alumni of Four Block and they provide a very comfortable setting of 20 – 30 people instead of the usual hundreds at your typical university-sponsored networking events.

My resume is much better and my confidence during interviews is much higher since I participated in Four Block. My participation in that program was the catalyst for the success I have had in my career. If you are in a city where Four Block hosts classes, you should definitely look into the program. It might be too late to participate in the fall program but the spring cohort is an option.

The cities and locations where Four Block currently holds classes are Albany, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle, Tacoma, Walter Reed NMMC, and Washington D.C.

There are other great organizations that provide similar in-person classes for veterans. For example, American Corporate Partners (ACP) is another organization for career development and they provide great one-on-one mentoring opportunities with senior business leaders. Four Block is specifically for college students, but ACP is for everyone.

The one thing that these organizations do not provide is a hand out. Successful participation in one of these programs, or any program similar to these, requires much effort on the part of the participant. The Four Block classes should be treated as a part-time job or another class in school. There will be “homework” for the class – getting your resume ready, researching companies and open positions, practicing interview questions; however, I can attest from personal experience the payoff will be greater than the effort that is put in.

Always remember these two sayings during your job search:

Finding a job is a full-time job.

There is no such thing as a free lunch.

Authored by Aaron Hartfield

Aaron Hartfield served in the Army from August 2005 to August 2011. He deployed with the 19th Engineer Battalion out of Fort Knox to Iraq from 2006 to 2007, and then to Afghanistan from 2009 to 2010. He graduated in May 2015 from Baruch College, which is located in New York City. He currently lives and works in Houston, Texas. Visit his LinkedIn profile for his complete bio.