Veteran’s Perspective: We Are Still Part of Your Military Family – We Just Wear Different Uniforms

Michelle Alban, Vice President of Communications and Social Impact for ViacomCBS Networks Americas and Air Force Veteran.

You have overcome many obstacles in your life but transitioning out of the military is still one of the scariest events that will happen in your military career. I know, I have been there. I was eight months pregnant when my military husband and I transitioned out of the Air Force. We headed to Florida, which has the third largest veteran population in the nation, with no job prospects and filled with a whole lot of hope.

A few months after my twin boys were born, I went out in search of a job. Not many organizations were looking for an AWACS instructor, so I applied for a job as an executive assistant with Nielsen Media Research. I had no idea what they did, nor did I know that this pivotal role would launch my career in entertainment, but I went in, and just my luck, the hiring manager, Mike Whitworth, was also an Air Force Veteran. I am 99.9 percent sure that is why he hired me.

Michelle Alban. May 7, 1992, Lackland Air Force Base San Antonio, TX.

Many veterans don’t realize that you also have a “military family” on the outside. We no longer wear the uniform, but we still look out for our military brothers and sisters, nonetheless.

Lucky for you, we are easy to find. If you haven’t done it by now, create a Linkedin profile with a profile picture in business attire, not a military uniform, because we want to show how quickly we adapt. Now, it’s your time to think BIG! What do you want to do in this next phase? Search for the word veteran and the industry you want to work for in the people tab. Find companies that you would like to work for. Here is the crucial part–don’t ask them for a job, and don’t send them your resume. Ask them for 15 minutes of their time. Everyone can spare 15 minutes. Tell them what you envision doing and ask them for advice on how to get there. Ask intelligent questions and be memorable. I recently had someone ask me for a quick meeting, and they couriered coffee to me from Starbucks while we met virtually! I still remember him, and every time I come up with a possible opportunity that I think he might be interested in, I send it his way.

LinkedIn also offers you a Free Premium Career Subscription and a year of LinkedIn Learning for being a Veteran. Make sure you take advantage of that offer. It has lots of great courses and is an incredible resource for any military Vet.

So, remember—Think Big! You will probably not get your dream job right out of the service, but one of us here in the civilian world is always here to assist and get you on your way. Remember- we always have your six. You are not alone!

As the Vice President of Communications for ViacomCBS Networks Americas, Michelle Alban oversees Communications and Social Impact for the ViacomCBS International Latin America, Canada, and U.S. Hispanic Americas cluster. She manages c-suite communications and leads the Internal Communications, Social Impact, Public Affairs, Media Relations, Streaming and Publicity departments for Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, MTV, Paramount Network, and ViacomCBS International Studios. As an Air Force Veteran, she has been a firm believer in giving back to the community. She served as the Communications Chair and Board Member for the National Wheelchair Basketball Association, sat as an Advisory Board Member for the Broward County Commission on the Status of Women, organized the first South Florida NBC Universal Veterans’ Network and led the GE Women’s Network in South Florida.
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