Sioux Falls Author Coaches Veteran Job Seekers
by Tom Hanson, Anchor
November 12, 2013 9:39 PM
One of the biggest challenges veterans face when leaving the military is finding a job. There's a man in Sioux Falls who not only helps veterans find jobs, he helps them find the right job. He's been so successful, he decided write a book, and much to his delight "Deployment to Employment" made one of Amazon.com’s best-selling lists.
Russ Hovendick spends hours on the phone getting to know people. As an employment recruiter he helps companies find the right employee for the right job. Give him ten minutes on the phone and he can get a very good picture your personality and your employment potential. Russ admits his first encounters with veterans were not always positive.
“I would just think well I don't think I can help you and just move on”, said Hovendick.
But Russ was encouraged by one of the companies he works with to take a closer look at veterans. So he did.
“What surprised me was their inability to connect with employers, and how to tell the story of what lies within them, and probably the reluctance to tell people what they truly bring to the table,” said Hovendick.
Russ calls it the disconnect. In the military the veterans were taught teamwork, so they play down their individual accomplishments, a trait that works against them in the private sector. And after countless hours of getting to know veterans and their challenges, Russ says he finally got it.
“From those conversations I really found out that veterans offer a ton in leadership, vision and maturity employers are really seeking", said Hovendick.
Russ has already published two books, so he knew he could reach more veterans by writing another one.
"Deployment to Employment" hit number one on the "Hot New Category Release" list on Amazon.com. Chapters include titles such as "Adjusting your mindset to the civilian world" and "Applying military training to the job search".
Nolan Ruby read those chapters. He spent 5 years in the Marine Corps as part of a CAT Squad, known for bringing heavy firepower to a fight very quickly. This father of three young children says the book helped him land a job he loves at Wells Fargo.
“I was turned down for a lot of private sector companies, a lot of companies, and he was the one who told me you've got to tone down that approach you have, make it softer, but at the same time we got to pump up these accomplishments”, said Ruby.
Instead of fighting for his country thousands of miles away, Nolan is home in South Dakota raising his family and fighting for people on the verge of losing their homes. Nolan’s success, is Russ's motivation. Spend any time with Russ, who a volunteers as a prison chaplain and it becomes clear he has a genuine desire to help others. And that's why he is reaching out to businesses that have that same mentality. Russ calls it "Invest In A Vet" a program encouraging businesses to purchase quantities of books. One example, a small company in North Dakota bought 100 books which Russ then distributed to a vet center in Omaha.
"They went right into the hands of veterans, they're excited about it, and I really believe we can touch a lot of lives through this", said Hovendick.
Invest in a vet is also meant for individuals. You can buy a book and give it to a friend a family member or co-worker. People can find "Deployment to Employment" on Amazon.com and at Barnes and Noble. Russ has written two other books "How to Get a Raise" and "How to Interview".