When Michael Skarda started the journey of becoming a commissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force, there were no indications that his military career was beginning amidst two decades of conflict. In 2002, Skarda joined the Air Force’s Reserve Officer…
Veteran Career Services, Purepost Open Up Opportunities for Students
Transitioning from a military career back into civilian life presents many challenges for veterans. Syracuse University has created a robust infrastructure of career and academic services to help student veterans make a smooth transition from military service to academic life—and helps them eventually enter the professional world.
One service, first offered to only student veterans but now available to all Syracuse University students, is Purepost. Purepost is a software platform that helps veterans communicate the value of their service and translate military work experience into terms that are easily understood by civilian employers. More importantly, it automatically details the management skills used in the military and explains how they apply to a civilian job.
Purepost was started in 2017 by Army veteran Anthony Garcia. Garcia noticed the difficulties of transitioning to the professional world.
“He saw through his own personal experience that there was a need for taking down the barrier between the military skills that a veteran receives during their time of service and when they enter the civilian sector,” says Jennifer Pluta, assistant director of Veteran Career Services in the Office of Veteran and Military Affairs (OVMA).
Pluta says that a lot of the jobs in the military are very similar to the civilian jobs. For example, you could be a physician’s assistant, an engineer or pretty much anything that exists in the real world, just in a military setting. “What Purepost did is they went through every military job occupation for every rank for every branch and pulled out all of its competencies, and that’s really amazing,” Pluta says.
In addition to the jobs already in the software, an expert panel of veterans does the translating and accepts more entries. If a student is looking for something that’s not on the platform, they can send them that information and they’ll add it into their database so it will be available to other veterans.
The service has been extremely helpful to Syracuse University students in finding employment after graduation.
Peggy Trujillo G’20 found Purepost and Veteran Career Services extremely helpful after she discovered it while earning a master’s degree in communications online at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. “It’s normal even for young veterans to be leaders. However, they don’t think of themselves as having high-level management experience while trying to pursue civilian jobs,” Trujillo says. Trujillo used Purepost to translate her 20 years of experience in the U.S. Navy into a resume that details all the skills she learned.
“I would recommend Purepost to student veterans simply because it helps them fully understand who they are and how to apply for jobs. It gives them confidence and if they start this resume when they’re a student, it also might show them what they’re missing and what they need to focus on in school,” she says.
Purepost is now open to all SU students, not just student veterans, after the University recognized the value of a tool to enhance the student experience.
“Purepost helps eliminate barriers. Sometimes students don’t realize the skills they possess, maybe even from a summer job they had at 16. They may not realize the breadth and depth of skills that they utilized in that position. Because that awareness may not be present, that’s a barrier,” Pluta says. “When students understand their competencies and their skills, it shows up on their resume but also shows up in their interview, and they’re going to be able to talk about it.”
In addition to Purepost, Pluta and her colleagues at OVMA provide many other valuable resources to student veterans to ensure their success in securing employment after graduation. Veteran Career Services offers virtual services through its website, Handshake and resume tools like Purepost and Vmock as well as a library of tutorial videos featuring career-related content. The team also provides career immersion trips, national conference options, interview practices, mentorship meetings where experts meet with and advise students and career fairs.