RallyPoint, a LinkedIn for Veterans, Battles Unemployment

RE/CODE
September 2, 2014

By Kurt Wag­ner:  Fol­low­ing four years of active duty in the Army, and another 12 serv­ing in military-​​related civil­ian posi­tions, Nicole Jensen ran into an unex­pected prob­lem: She couldn’t find a job.

Over a five-​​month period, Jensen says she applied to nearly 90 jobs, of which she heard back from three. She had pro­files on every job site she could find, Mon­ster, USA Jobs and LinkedIn among them. At one point, she actu­ally “dumbed down” her resume, tak­ing off prior man­age­ment expe­ri­ence in the hope of catch­ing the atten­tion of recruiters look­ing to fill more entry-​​level roles.

I’m not going to tell you exactly how I felt because there are some exple­tives in there,” she says now, laugh­ing. “It gives you a worth­less feel­ing not even hear­ing back [from the recruiter]. Hear­ing noth­ing made me feel worth­less and ignored.”

Jensen’s relo­ca­tion to Texas from Ger­many — where her hus­band was wrap­ping up his 24th year of active duty — meant she needed to rejoin the civil­ian work­force, which found her mil­i­tary qual­i­fi­ca­tions dif­fi­cult to under­stand. Recruiters couldn’t trans­late Jensen’s mil­i­tary expe­ri­ence, and she didn’t know any other way to explain it. When her brother, another vet­eran, rec­om­mended Ral­ly­Point, a LinkedIn-​​style pro­fes­sional net­work specif­i­cally focused on active and vet­eran mil­i­tary mem­bers, she signed up. She had noth­ing to lose.

Within 72 hours, she was con­tacted by Time Warner Cable for a pro­gram man­ager open­ing. Her first day on the job was last week. “The recruiters on Ral­ly­Point, they really stepped up,” she said. “[Most] peo­ple don’t know what vet­er­ans can really bring to a company.”

Ral­ly­Point is look­ing to solve an issue fac­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of vet­er­ans join­ing or return­ing to the pri­vate sec­tor. Recent vet­er­ans, or those who have served since Sept. 11, 2001, face a 9.2 per­cent unem­ploy­ment rate, much higher than the 6.2 per­cent unem­ploy­ment rate for the gen­eral U.S. population.

To read the full arti­cle, visit ReCode.