Natalie helps military personnel realize their potential and define their professional goals. She partners with companies that are ready to hire Veterans, and acts as a broker to make sure that both the Veteran and the company are happy. In this interview, she shares an immense amount of wisdom she’s learned in helping Veterans. We talk about mentorship, mindset, and a variety of topics applicable to any Veteran career path.
Natalie Oliverio is the Founder + CEO of Military Talent Partners, which provides mentorship, coaching, and career discovery to help military talent realize their potential and define their professional goals. She served in the Navy for 4 years as a journalist and spent 10 years in Corporate recruiting and 3 years volunteering in professional mentorship among the military community.
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Transcript & Time Stamps:
Joining me today from Morgantown, WV is Natalie Oliverio. Natalie Oliverio is the Founder + CEO of Military Talent Partners, which provides mentorship, coaching, and career discovery to help military talent realize their potential and define their professional goals.
She served in the Navy for 4 years as a journalist and spent 10 years in Corporate recruiting and 3 years volunteering in professional mentorship among the military community.
What was your transition out of the military like?
I thought it would be very easy. I was planning on leaving active duty and go to college and then find my dream job. But I was really clueless. I was laughed out of the journalism school that I had enrolled in. So I ended up picking human resources because I felt like it was a way to give people a voice.
Once I got going in the corporate world, I almost felt as if I had been held back a few years. I felt like I was behind everyone else. Everyone has had gone to school and spent a few years getting their career going. And I was just getting started.
In the military, you are doing important work but it’s different work from what people are doing in the civilian world. So everything that you do in the military starts to feel like it doesn’t mean anything when you are transitioning into a completely different world. That can be very difficult people. They might struggle to feel the same sense of purpose they felt in the military.
Understanding what’s ahead and planning for your transition becomes so critical in order to create success on the civilian side. There are so many resources available to you. But you need to start contacting and reaching out to those resources ahead of time in order to take full advantage.
How do you explain what you do?
What I do at Military Talent Partners is help connect people to meaningful careers. We help veterans start the conversation of what they want to do after they get out. Mentorship can be a very important part of this. You really need someone that has gone through the transition ahead of you to help you with your own transition.
If a veteran is interested in getting involved with Military Talent Partners, how can they do that?
The easiest thing to do is go to our website to get started. We focus on career placement. We partner with corporations that are military friendly and are ready to accept veterans into their company.
Our final focus is our executive coaching program. It’s an online career accelerator. It helps transitioning veterans think about where they would be a good fit in the civilian sector.
How do you know that a culture is going to be a good fit for a veteran?
We do a lot of our own internal research. I also talk to hiring managers and people that have worked at that company to get a better sense for the culture there. Those conversations really uncover a great deal of information of what the day-to-day is really like at a particular company. This is very important to us because we only want to associate ourselves with companies that truly value veteran contributions.
We act as an internal talent partner. We’re helping companies screen various veterans that could be a good fit for them. So it’s mutually beneficial both for the company and the veteran.
What are common mistakes veterans make during their transition?
Veterans don’t give themselves enough time for this process. They will start looking for jobs 30 days or two months before their transition. This really isn’t enough time. When you’re transitioning, you need to put your oxygen mask on first and make sure you are giving your transition the time and attention it needs in order to make sure you end up in a successful position on the civilian side.
The other thing veterans do is that they don’t value the power of mentorship. If you find people that can help and advise you, that can really accelerate your career.
I’ve mentored hundreds of people. There are some common threads but everyone is different, too. Military Talent Partners tries to make our services extremely individualized in order to fit the various situations veterans are in.
Do you have any resume advice?
Resumes can be very intimidating. But resumes really won’t get you a job. It’s just a summary of your career. Less is often more. You have six seconds to make an impact. So you need to focused on your biggest and best accomplishments. What did you do that was different or unique?
Every sentence should start with a power verb. You should have no more than three bullets for each job that you have held. Think about the things that you want to be remembered for in each role that you have had.
Try not to go over one page. That can be very overwhelming to a recruiter. They will want to look away rather than at your resume.
Metrics and numbers are resume gold. Phrases like “results driven professional” are completely useless. It’s like resume suicide. Instead, quantify and talk about what you actually did. Show rather than tell the results.
Do you have any recommendations for veterans on how they can approach negotiating?
First and foremost, you have to understand your needs. You need to know how much you need to make in order to continue your lifestyle. Be aware that there is no BAH in the civilian sector.
Know that number but don’t share that number with the recruiter. You’re going to want to pad that number by $5,000 - $10,000. So even if they come back with a lower number, you’re still above the number you need to maintain your lifestyle.
During the interview, it’s important to come from a place of want rather than need. I’ve been in so many interviews in which I felt like I really needed a job. Then I went into the interview with so much pressure and didn’t perform well. I was not calm or confident. So when you’re interviewing, think about the job as a want rather than a need. Present yourself in a way in which you are completely confident in your abilities. At the end of the interview, the interviewers aren’t going to remember what you said but how you made them feel about you.
Confidence is everything - it’s a complete game changer during the interview process. Tone of voice and enthusiasm are very important. This is your opportunity to show them the best parts of who you are. So come from that place of want where you’re showing your best self.
Do you have any advice for a veteran that might not know what they want after the military?
What is your why? What is your purpose? What drives you? We’re huge Simon Sinek fans and we work with veterans to answer these fundamental questions. This could be the first time in your adult life that you’re making decisions for yourself about what you want to do and what career you want to take on.
Your personal brand is about who you will become. That can be different than what you’ve been in the past. You don’t have to keep doing exactly what you did in the military if you don’t want to.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I’m a huge fan of Jesse Itzler. One thing that he said to me was, ‘You didn’t come this far to only come this far.’ This is just thing beginning. If you accomplished everything you did in the military, there’s no reason you won’t be able to continue that in the future.