On September 6, 2017, 24 veterans filed into a meeting room in Menlo Park, CA. They were there to interview for jobs in the competitive world of technology at one of the most respected social media companies of them all: Facebook. Greg Vera, recently discharged from the service, declares “the dream is to get a foot in the door at Facebook.” Through a partnership between Facebook and Swords to Plowshares, that dream became a reality for a number of Bay Area veterans.
Hiring managers and leaders from different departments at Facebook held 30-minute interviews with each candidate discussing their project management, leadership and technical skills. The Special Projects Team from the Employment and Training Department at Swords to Plowshares provided support for the veteran before the interviews, coaching each applicant on their resume content, interview skills, and self-presentation.
“Mitch has been coaching me up!” Greg Vera exclaimed. “Mitch revised my resume and gave me a better template to use.” Mitchell Margolis, Aine Prendergast, and Sarah Wong ensured that all the candidates were prepared for their interviews by pre-screening each prospective applicant to ensure they met all of Facebook’s technical qualifications.
“Our veterans are very humble, so they downplay all the skills they have!” Aine Prendergast said at the event. The team also worked with each veteran to feel confident in explaining how they can transfer their skills set from their service to Facebook.
Another applicant, Dwight Williams, appreciated the support Swords was able to provide. “I did a mock interview with Sarah and I bombed it. They gave me stuff to study. Then…Boom! I had an answer for everything they asked me.”
Some service members at the event were new to Swords to Plowshares, but other applicants had benefited from other services offered through the organization. One veteran explained that he fell on hard times after he was discharged from the service and sought assistance from Swords to Plowshares. Since then, he has gone back to school, is working towards his MBA, and landed an internship with Adobe. “I wouldn’t be here if Swords wasn’t impactful,” he shares.
After the interviews, candidates were able to network with each other and other professionals at Facebook. Sarah Wong summarized the event and what these jobs could mean for veterans. “The opportunity to work with Facebook, one of the world’s largest and most innovative companies, was an incredible experience for Swords to Plowshares and all of the veterans involved. The positions they have to offer are life-changing and have potential to propel these veterans to the ‘dream jobs’ they have been searching. Facebook’s staff were so supportive and helpful throughout the process, proving they align with our vision to bring top veteran talent to the tech sector.”
If your company or organization would like to partner with Swords to Plowshares to provide employment opportunities to veterans, please email us at email@example.com.
Sam Thomasson is the Employment Program Relations Coordinator with Swords to Plowshares. She supports the Employment and Training programs with internal and external communication, social media, employer relations, outreach and events. Sam graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English and women’s studies from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. She has five years of experience developing and facilitating programs and is passionate about delivering quality programs that enhance the lives of others.