Every year, Google’s Veterans Network (VetNet) employee resource group hosts its VetNet Career Week to offer veterans, transitioning service members and their spouses or partners the tools, support and advice needed to help translate their experience and skills into civilian careers. This year’s event partnered with over 30 companies and welcomed more than 3,000 attendees to attend panel discussions, free skill-building sessions and 1-on-1 resume reviews with Google representatives. Also unique for this year, Google partnered with Welcome.US to extend Career Week to those seeking refuge in the U.S.
Our team sat down with Googlers Chris House and Tony Mendez, who attended last year's event as participants and are now Googlers, and Jenna Clark, a Googler and veteran who volunteered at last year’s event.
There is a ton of opportunity out there, and veterans have the skills.
Can you share a little about your military background?
Tony: I enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2009 as an infantry soldier and was commissioned as one of the Army’s first cyber operations officers in 2014. I led an incident response team that investigated breaches in control systems networks for a few years, and eventually transitioned to conducting proactive security assessments.
Chris: I was in the U.S. Navy for eight years, working on a submarine and on naval nuclear reactor design and operation.
Jenna: I enlisted into the Air Force in 2002 and spent just shy of 10 years working as an all-source intelligence analyst. In the Air Force, I spent my first six years attached to an aircrew, working to keep them informed of threats in the area, and later I was transferred to an intelligence squadron.
What drew you to participate in VetNet career week?
Tony: I learned about VetNet Career Week through a friend who was considering leaving the military. I’ve always had a hobby interest in Android security and loved Google products since the Nexus 5 phone, but never thought I was “ready” to apply. I signed up for the resume review to help me articulate how my experience was relevant to a company like Google.
Jenna: When I left the military, I struggled to find an opportunity. It was after attending networking and resume workshops that I was able to get my foot in the door at a startup in Boston. Within six months, I was promoted. This is what draws me to volunteer at Career Week. Veterans have diverse skill sets that are easily transferable to corporate — we just need a chance.
Lisa Gevelber, VP of Grow with Google, Google for Startups, and Americas Marketing, hosted a fireside chat during the virtual VetNet Career Week event last year.
Fast forward one year, how does it feel to be a Googler?
Chris: It feels great! It’s an incredible place to be, and I think the aspect that I’m most enthused about is how supportive, transparent and energizing the company culture has been. I’ve enjoyed the support VetNet has offered, whether it’s through events like Career Week to guide the post-military transition process, or simple social hours where we’ve all just bonded over shared experiences in the military and at Google.
Tony: Admittedly, I didn’t match with the first team that interviewed me, but it was a blessing in disguise. My current team in Android security is a perfect fit for my skill set and managerial style. I couldn’t be happier!
Why do you think events like this are so important for the military communities and their families?
Jenna: I think it’s important because it shows support towards veterans in a very real and helpful way. There is a ton of opportunity out there, and veterans have the skills — it’s just those skills need to be translated, and that requires commitment on both sides.
Tony: It’s hard to leave an organization that so thoroughly affects all aspects of your life. VetNet Career Week helps really demonstrate caring and support for the military community that’s uncommon outside of the military.
Chris: Probably the most important aspect, for me, was just seeing how many people had made similar transitions and how many well regarded companies valued a veteran's experience. I'm grateful for the time that the Googler I chatted with invested in my resume review and supporting my transition from the military.