Iraq War Vet Tom Fenwick Hired After Chicago Job Fair
Posted by Michelle McCarthy on July 30
My name is Tom Fenwick and I'm an Iraq war veteran who served four years in the Marines and six years in the Army National Guard. I completed my Bachelor’s degree in 2006, and after working a couple of years in a startup, I decided to go back to school for a Masters, which I earned in 2010 while working full-time. I began my job search while going back to school, but for a guy with a higher degree and 10 years of military career under my belt, I felt disappointed with the prospects.
I had over 10 years of service and entrepreneurship under my belt, but mostly everyone wanted to hire me for an entry-level position. I felt the strain, as many have reported before me, of translating my skills acquired during the military to the private sector. As a team leader in Iraq, I exemplified leadership by solving high-pressure situations with a level head and had mastered my multi-tasking ability, including tackling last minute emergencies.
When I heard IAVA was hosting a job fair in Chicago, I decided to try my luck. My job search had stagnated. Simply submitting resume after resume to online job postings wasn’t accomplishing anything. I decided to work smarter, not harder, and meet employers in person. I am a former U.S, Marine and an Army soldier. I hold myself in high confidence, and this simply didn’t show in an online job application.
The booths I visited at the fair felt promising. I could speak directly to the employees, managers and executives of the companies I approached. I gathered a sense of how enthusiastic the presenters were about their own companies and they filled me in on specifics, such as employee benefits and corporate quality of life. This allowed me to make an informed and focused decision on which companies to apply to. I appreciated the opportunity to ask specific questions about the job offerings, and more importantly, I was able to answer questions they had about me on the spot, instead of them having to ask me later or worse, not ask at all.
Now, six weeks later after an aggressive recruitment, I feel wanted again – like I have something to offer to the civilian job force. CDW offered me a Senior Sales Analyst position last Thursday, which I just accepted, with a raise from my previous position. I couldn’t be happier. I want to thank IAVA and Hiring Our Heroes for giving me a shot when others wouldn’t, and for connecting me with companies that realize the value of veterans in the work force. I can’t wait to start.
Does my job story match yours? Get the latest on upcoming job fairs sponsored by IAVA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes fair here.
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