Disabled veteran lands dream gig

posted on

Retired sailor gets help with virtual career fair

A service-connected disabled veteran who hails from the Navy special warfare community arrived at the perfect career via a virtual job fair.

Shawn Lightfoot, from Austin, Texas, retired after a successful military career and was actively employed but did not find the work fulfilling.

“It was just a means to an end,” he said of his job in the food service industry.

Lightfoot eventually found his way to the virtual career fair world through DAV’s partner, Veteran Recruiting.

You can do it on your own time, don’t have to put on your Sunday best or travel to a specific location and meet people, he said.

“The job fair allows you to do it virtually [and] online,” Lightfood continued. “You have the opportunity to research the company right there and there is a recruiter that answers questions.”

In Lightfoot’s case he met his organization’s recruiter in the virtual space in late 2015. He met with company representatives in November the same year and in the holiday season he got an unexpected and pleasant gift.

“Two days before Christmas I get a call from Honolulu saying, ‘We saw you were interested in this job; can we fly you out?” Lightfoot said.

Lightfoot said it was very pleasant to be able to leave Boston in winter. He started with his new organization, Covanta, as an electronics engineer, in February 2016.

“This is absolutely what I spent my Navy career building up for,” said Lightfoot.

He advises fellow disabled veterans to not give up looking for that dream job and do not sell themselves short.

“Anyone who’s an E-5, E-6 or E-7; at that point you’re already supervising or managing,” he said. “You have a skill set that companies are going to look for [provided] that a veteran knows how to market himself in the workplace.”

“Shawn is a living testament that disabled veterans can do anything they set out to do,” said National Employment Director Jeff Hall. “He didn’t let a disability get in his way and he has demonstrated the power of our virtual career fairs. Well done.”

Lightfoot agreed.

“I proved that I’m capable of doing pretty much anything you give to me,” he said. “You tell me what it is you think you need out of me and I’ll tell you what I can give you.”