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.