West Point Association of Graduates & Purepost: The Value of the Network

January 17, 2023

The Value of the Network

We've connected withAhmond Hill (Director at West Point Association of Graduates) to discuss the current professional transition success with West Point's alumni base. In the past year, WPAOG has seen a 244% increase in career placement rates in West Point graduates who have transitioned from the military.

Purepost: How did you transition to WPAOG?

Ahmond: I moved from Washington DC to serve WPAOG. As a grad myself and going through the career transition on a number of occasions, it was a natural transition to Career Services. In my previous corporate roles, I was heavily involved with recruiting, talent development, and operations. This roles allows me to help my fellow grads avoid the mistakes I made when I transitioned, while also sharing best practices to navigate the career transitioning process to land their next career. It's a great opportunity to serve and support the West Point community by engaging alumni from all walks of life and with diverse backgrounds to find their next career.

Purepost: Awesome. What do you believe is driving the success that West Point graduates have with successfully finding employment?

Ahmond: West Point Grads are doing a better job of leveraging the alumni network. They do this via email, LinkedIn and events specificallySACC.

Purepost: Any insights to share with regards to candidates at events?

Ahmond: I would like to highlight the preparation for the event. 1. Be ready to network. 80% of jobs are found through networking. While you're there, network with fellow alums, company recruiters, and hiring managers. Have a prepared resume or bring business cards. Be sure to follow up with your connections within 24-48 hrs. Lastly, when you have an opportunity to engage with the hiring manager or recruiter, have a prepared elevator pitch. You have 60-seconds to distinguish yourself and incentivize the listener to want to know more about you. Practice your pitch.

Purepost: Any feedback from recruiters at SACC?

Ahmond: Interestingly, they are asking for more detailed resumes versus conventional practice adhering to a one-page limit. Also, be prepared to share what you want to do. Ex. "I want to be a customer facing project manager within information technology." Be specific with what you want to do and be able to share that in a clear and concise way with the recruiter.

Purepost: Any recruiter feedback regarding the demographics?

Ahmond: There is always a high demand for entry level managers across industries, so there is still a preference for younger graduates (O1-O3) who are transitioning out of the military after their obligation. There are fewer leadership roles as you climb the corporate ladder. So, for the grads who are making a mid-career transition or retiring from the military, it can be challenging. Recruiters advise that networking is the key to success for senior leadership roles. For all USMA grads it is also important to level-set expectations as far as matching your military skills and experience to compensation expectations.

Purepost: 100% agree that beyond short term compensation, it's even more important to optimize for skills, experiences and networks. In the grand scheme of things, the first compensation immediately transitioning from the military may not be the most important factor when deciding on a career after the military.

Purepost: Any final advice for Veterans, family and friends?

Ahmond: WPAOG Career Services highly encourages West Point grads to network with fellow West Point grads and by connecting with your local West Point Society chapters. There is no stronger network out there; it's a special community. Our grads are willing to share time, wisdom and access to their personal and professional networks, which oftentimes leads to new career opportunities.

Purepost: Thank you so much for your time Ahmond! We look forward to supporting the West Point Association of Graduates.

Effective networking is an essential tool for jobseekers in today's competitive job market. It allows you to connect with professionals in your field, build relationships, and gather valuable information and advice. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your networking efforts:

  1. Identify your goals: Before you start networking, it's important to have a clear idea of what you hope to achieve. Are you looking for a new job, a promotion, or simply to learn more about your industry? Having specific goals will help you focus your efforts and make the most of your time.
  2. Utilize your resources: There are many ways to network, from attending industry events and joining professional organizations to connecting with alumni and reaching out to potential mentors. Take advantage of all the resources available to you and be proactive in seeking out new connections.
  3. Prepare for meetings: Before meeting with alumni or other professionals, be sure to research their background and accomplishments. This will help you tailor your conversation and show that you are genuinely interested in their career path. It's also a good idea to have a few questions prepared in advance to help guide the conversation.
  4. Practice professional etiquette: When networking, it's important to remember that you are representing yourself and your profession. Be respectful and polite, and follow the basic rules of professional etiquette, such as introducing yourself properly, maintaining eye contact, and sending a follow-up thank you note after the meeting.

By following these tips, you can effectively network and build valuable connections that will help you in your job search and career development. Remember to be proactive, be prepared, and always show your professional side when networking.