Dennis Spring

June 2019
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My Transition From the Military 

The year was 1967 and I was completing my third year of college as an English literature major and journalism minor. I decided to do something college students have done and continue to do — I wanted to take time off. Not to travel or do nothing, but rather to get a job in NYC to test my mettle and experience the business world before graduating from college.

Unlike students of today who want to take some time off from their studies, I was summarily drafted into the Army and then Vietnam. Lucky for me I managed to land an entry-level job at a large, innovative public relations services company eight months before I was actually inducted. After completion of my service two years later, I was re-hired by the company that hired me before being drafted.

From that point I continued to pursue my public relations career and complete my college studies and degree by working during the day and attending school at night. I spent about 14 years at the public relations service company where I rose to the title (rank) of senior vice president and then opened an executive search firm in 1980, which I still run.

Resume and Career Tips to Remember

As a public relations executive search consultant, I would advise returning vets to:

Emphasize your military experience only if you were trained in and worked in areas such as: public affairs, government relations, community relations, speechwriting, special events, news or newsletter writing, social media, etc. In other words, skills that are directly transferrable and of interest to the public relations world.

Do your due diligence. Research the segment(s) of the public relations business that you are most interested in, such as public relations agencies, corporate communications departments of corporations, nonprofits, etc.

Next, get your well-written resume (no typos, good grammar) out to all the employment venues that can maximize your resume’s reach — executive recruiters, social media, job boards, etc.

With respect to recruiters, attempt to make personal contact with each one. Whether for an informational or interview for a particular position, make your presence known to the headhunters. If you can’t meet with one, then a telephone conversation can be helpful; and last, an email communication. Don’t just send your resume and an email and forget about the headhunter. Periodically inform them of your status and progress and forward any job tips to them that you heard of or are not interested in.

Get your background info on LinkedIn and keep it up-to-date. Offer advice and contribute your thoughts and opinions on social media group sites and on Twitter. Re-tweet and like comments that you think are appropriate.

Put together all of your samples of relevant work in the form of a hard and digital portfolio.

In interviews, talk about your leadership and consensus-building experience, and how you addressed public relations and personnel issues.

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