Introduction to Cracking the Code

With Brig Berthold, Rick Silva, and John Serpa

John Serpa: Hi, welcome to Cracking the Code, H.R. Intel on Civilian Employment. My name is John Serpa. I’m retired United States Marine first sergeant turned professional, and I’m here today with Rick and Brig. And I’m going to give you a little bit about my background and kind of how I landed here in an H.R. role and sitting here talking about cracking the code. So I went through separations classes in 2001, 2012 in 2018. And one thing that I found each time was that I was not getting the information that I really needed, listening to people that were on a base, talking to people that were in uniform. And what I needed was to talk to civilians, I needed to talk to people that that do hiring and that know from an H.R. perspective, what I needed. So here with Rick and Brig, like I said, let these guys introduce themselves and then we’ll get back to it.

Rick Silva: So thanks, John. I’m Rick Silva. I’m retired master sergeant, United States Army. And I spent time in the active army, the Army National Guard, and Army Reserves. And I have since become a professional recruiting manager now. So I am deep in the weeds of what it looks like on this side of the fence. We’re going to talk a lot about how this is different than your traditional transition classes that I know many of you out there have been through. And if you haven’t, that’s OK. This is this is not that. This is a different, different program. It’s well worth your time. But we’re going to talk about that a little bit… a little bit more later. Right now, let’s let Brig introduce himself.

Brig Berthold: Thanks. I’m Brig Berthold. I right now work for a veterans service organization, and my job is explicitly to talk to H.R. professionals all day, every day and figure out what it is they want out of an ideal candidate. And then we work to prove that person’s chances of getting that job from both ends, both with, you know, employability training resumes, LinkedIn and that kind of thing, but also on the relationship side with networking and the stuff that we do. So I’m retired army as well. I’m a staff sergeant, retired as medically retired in 2017, did some time in the Utah Army National Guard and then the active component as well.

JS: So the three of us have completely unique and different backgrounds, but there’s certainly something that we have in common and that is our passion for helping veterans, whether that be through H.R. or some of the work we’re doing with the Greenville…Greenville Society of Human Resource Managers or here through Upstate Warrior Solution or some of the other things that are going on in our region.

JS: But when I first joined the military, I was a reservist and I didn’t really like that. So I went active duty. At the end of my first four years, I went through a separations class overseas. It was pre 9/11 and it didn’t teach me anything. If anything, I doodled in my book and I couldn’t get… I couldn’t wait to get out of this class. It was about five days long. And fast forward to 2012. I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do and I decided to go ahead and take another separations class. At that point, the Marine Corps had given you avenues you could do. You could retire, you could go into business, you could go into college and go into entrepreneurship. And so I took the entrepreneurship. I learned a few more things, but I still felt like I wasn’t getting everything I needed. Twenty eighteen and my TRS class. I thought I was pretty good.

But what I was lacking was the actual the experience of talking to people that do the hiring, the H.R. professionals and the hiring managers. So what we started to look at just kind of not just us but other people that, that are passionate about veterans and hiring veterans, what do we need to know and who needs to know it?

RS: And I think that’s what’s… what’s going to be different about this, of course, is it’s not just three veterans here. You’re going to see us throughout these modules. We’re going to lead some sessions and we’re going to talk to a lot of smart people, way smarter than we are in the realm of human resources. And that’s what makes this program so special. It’s… it’s veterans who care, mixed with civilians who care and the role that they’re in that can make a difference. And so we’re trying to give you is that kind of secret sauce, the peek behind the curtain that you’re not going to get at transition classes, you’re not going to get really anywhere. So this is a different program. Greenville Society of Human Resources has been that it’s been leading, leading the front kind of the tip of the spear with this and Veterans at Work program. So there a lot of… a lot of good stuff going to come out of here. And I hope… hope you all take advantage of it and take a lot out of it.

BB: The way we structure this entire training opportunity for you is really intended to hit as many different learning styles as possible and give you as many opportunities to obtain that information your way as we possibly could. So we have worksheets, we have short videos. We have interspersed advice pieces that are short and sweet to the point, so that if you just need to jump in and grab something, you do it at your own pace and you can do it in the style and the method that best suits you as a learner. We’re really interested in making sure you get this information and, you know, we’ve done everything we can to support that.

JS: And who is this is really meant for? I mean, we all, for the most part, do go through some sort of military separation class, whether it’s a one day thing, whether someone had stop-loss stop-move and they had to get out a very short amount of time. But one thing we’ve also noticed that guardsmen and reservists, they don’t really get anything. They go to some training. They come back to their parent command with their local unit in Smalltown USA, and then they’re pushed outside the gate. We’ll see you next month, at drill weekend. There are individual units that are doing things like that, but this will also help that group of folks as well.

RS: Absolutely. And you’re going to get information, emails, you’re going to get all… all of the tools you need and all the instructions you need. But in a nutshell, you’re going to have a bunch of modules. There’s no right way to do this program. You can watch them at your leisure. You can watch module seven and then model, two. You don’t have to watch them in order. You’ll have about a month, a month or so to complete the program. And again, you’ll… you’ll get emailed instructions on all this. There’s quizzes, but they’re not graded. They’re just kind of check on learning. We’re all familiar with that. And they’re not long. It’s just trying to make sure you’re watching the videos and then we’re going to have an in-person networking event. So that’s really where the magic is going to happen. After… after you do these modules, you’re going to get more information on that in-person networking. And again, that’s where the rubber meets the road. And you’ll be able to put a lot of these techniques and tips and tricks that you’re going to learn in these modules into practice.

BB: So thanks for joining us and we hope you get a lot out of this.

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