Even though Sgt. Janice Richmond didn’t join the Army until she was 32 years old, she still had hopes of becoming a sergeant major. Ten years later, she’s part of the Warrior Transition Brigade after undergoing lumbar fusion to connect discs in her spine and help alleviate back pain.

“My passion was helping soldiers. That’s what I wanted to do,” said Richmond during a two-day career workshop Feb. 27 at the Soldier Development Center. The workshop helped transitioning soldiers revamp resumes and learn how to respond to strategic interview questions meant to gauge how a person handles certain situations.

From the keywords to format, there’s been a change in how resumes are written during the past few decades, officials said.

“If I was to go purely from my resume writing classes in 1997, I would fail in today’s society,” said Sgt. Peter Hegre, a soldier in the brigade. “That’s what this is really helping out (with), where it’s creating success where I would have failed otherwise.”

Retired 1st Sgt. Anthony Thomas, transition coordinator for the Warrior Transition Brigade, wanted to hold the event to help prepare soldiers for interviews and provide them with marketable resumes. About 25 soldiers and two spouses of wounded warriors who are unable to work registered for the workshop.

“It helps prepare them and their spouses for the future when they get ready to exit the military,” Thomas said.

After Hegre’s interview, Joelle DiMicele, team leader of veteran programs at Hire Heroes USA, critiqued him. The biggest lesson he learned is to avoid talking about salary until you actually get an offer letter.

“The rule of thumb is defer, defer, defer,” she said. The best thing to do when an employer asks your requested salary is to turn it back to them and ask what the salary range for the position you’re applying for typically is.

Hegre said the mock interview was helpful because he didn’t know how to handle that type of situation.

“It was absolutely fantastic,” he said. “I have a job with Lockheed Martin but this is giving me opportunities to either better my job with Lockheed or even start looking at opportunities outside that company and tapping into the other sources I have around me.”

Another two-day workshop is scheduled for April 9-10.

Contact Sarah Rafique at srafique@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7549. Follow her on Twitter at KDHreporter.

I'm the education reporter at the Killeen Daily Herald. Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SarahRafique

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