PENFED Foundation, Employment Programs

360VA has partnered with PENFED Foundation to extend to you their services and opportunities. Charlie Miles, Director of Military Employment Programs shared this great step-by-step transition tool that we hope you will find helpful. You can contact 360VA directly to access PENFED Employment assistance.

Thank you for your interest in PenFed!  

You can start your PenFed career search by creating a profile in our Military Talent Pool.  Applying to our Military Talent Pool allows your profile and resume to be regularly considered by all of PenFed’s recruiters who are actively seeking to fill our open positions with military talent across our entire business as well as with our affiliates. 

After creating your profile, search and apply to any positions of interest at

If you apply to a specific positon, you can then email your “position customized” resume to

When sending an email to Miranda, we recommend the following:

  1. For the email’s subject line, simply state the position’s title and location.  
  2. For the body of the email please provide the below information:

-Your Name        

-Position Title and Location 

-Your Location & Willingness to Relocate         

-Your Availability Date 

-Possession of Required Qualifications (Degree/Certs/Experience/etc… please be as brief as possible and bulletize)

-Desired Compensation (optional) 

  • Attach your “position customized” resume: attach a Word or PDF file entitled with your name and the position title.  
  • Please feel free to ask any questions you may have as well.

Example:  Don’t forget to attach your resume!

NameJohn Smith
Position Title and LocationSoftware Developer, McLean VA
Candidate Location & Willingness to RelocateSpringfield, VA - Yes
Availability Date2-weeks notice to current employer
Possession of Required Qualifications (Degree/Certs/Experience/etc.)                                                   Security+ certification, MA in Computer Science, PmP, 10-years experience as Software Developer for the U.S. Army & SomeCompany, etc…

Companies Hiring Veterans:

Unfortunately, PenFed cannot hire every military community member who applies to our positions so here are some additional resources to consider:

Veteran Jobs Mission: check out the career websites of the companies in this military hiring coalition. 

GI Jobs Military Friendly: check out the companies on GI Jobs Top 100 Military Friendly Employers list.

Military Times Edge Best for Vets: check out the companies highlighted by the Military Times Best for Vets list.

Virginia Values Veterans (V3): Virginia companies certified by the state as “Veteran Ready Employers.”

If you are a military spouse, please check out the employers in the Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) and their MySteP program: Military Spouse Employment Partnership & Hiring Our Heroes

All of the companies in the above links are companies that are trying hard to better understand your skills as a veteran and or military spouse and are eager to hire you.

Additional Military Employment Resources:

Hiring Our Heroes:

Hiring Our Heroes:

Onward to Opportunity:


For Military Spouses with professional licensure requirements:  Military Spouse Professional License Reimbursement & Military Spouse Interstate License Recognition

If you are a Post 9/11 Veteran  or Military Spouse looking for industry certifications such as PMP, Six Sigma, PHR, or many technology related certifications, you can get them all for free from Syracuse University at the Institute for Veterans and Military Families.

Networking is the key to finding employment.  A good job application strategy is to find a friend, a veteran, or a military recruiter through LinkedIn or the company’s career web page for the company that you are interested in and ask if they would forward your resume to the appropriate recruiter and hiring manager for the specific position(s) for which you’ve applied, thereby bypassing the “computer gate-keepers.”  Remember, you will still be required to complete an online application as well.

LinkedIn offers free 1-year premium memberships to veterans and military spouses:

It is also highly recommend that you take advantage of the free resume writing services provided by your base transition assistance office, the VA, your college’s career services office, or the local Department of Labor office.  They will help you make sure that your resume adequately articulates your skills and experience in relation to the position that you are applying to.  Ensuring that your resume translates your military experience into terms a civilian recruiter and hiring manager can understand is critical, otherwise you will get screened out during the resume review stage.

Skill translators

The most significant obstacle reported by transitioning service-members, as well as employers interested in hiring them, is skill translation.  Transitioning service-members often have great difficulty with articulating their skills and experience in a way that employers unfamiliar with the military experience can understand.  For their part, employers often have problems seeing the connection or relation between military occupational specialties (MOS) – “military jobs,” skills and experience and their career offerings.   Fortunately, there are an increasing number of tools available to Veterans and recruiters to assist in that two-way skill translation:

Tips for all Job-Seekers: 

Resume Writing Recommendations (see the resume example at the end of this guide):

  • No pictures, 1st and 3rd person grammar, acronyms, italics, or misspellings
  • Security Clearance in BOLD at top (for cleared space jobs)
  • Bulletized & no less than 11pt font; 
    • Header/Personal Information: Name, address, phone, email (include the zip code of where you want to work so you come up in recruiter searches for that area), and LinkedIn profile.  Do not place this information in the Top Margin/Header as it cannot be read by most recruiting systems there.
    • Professional Profile/Summary (your title and also provide the civilian equivalent)
      • I prefer a bulletized “Professional Profile or Professional Summary” over “Objective” to identify the position and highlight your relevant skills and experience as they pertain to the position.   Don’t just say you are seeking a fulfilling career at PenFed, tell us what type of career (i.e., said position) and why we’d want to hire you for that career (i.e., what are your qualifications for it)… be sure to address all the position requirements (again, this is a personal preference but there is a general trend in this direction).
    • Employment (Reverse Chronological)
      • Accomplishments based descriptions, not just the billet description and responsibilities: What tools you used, how many people you supervised, how much money you saved or generated, have you led any teams (if so, how many, the ranks of those led, general objectives, success statistics, etc.)
    • Education: if you are an active student/recent graduate, please indicate your current/most recent cumulative grade point average (GPA), particularly if it’s above a 3.0
    • Skills/Core Competencies… keep relevant… recruiters are not concerned about personal hobbies like if you like to body-build, for example, just if you qualify for their position… I often see this right under the “Professional Profile” section as well, which is ok.
    • Achievements, Honors, & Awards not mentioned in your Employment history
  • About 1-page for each 10 years of experience (different than a federal resume).  No more than 2 pages.
  • No need to include references on resume… no need to mention that references are available on request… we’ll ask for them if necessary.
  • Get professional help!  There are many free resources for veterans.  Students should seek assistance from their career services office.

Job Application Recommendations:

  • Tailor/Translate/Customize your resume to the Position Description
    • Address every requirement clearly on the top half of the 1st page of resume (you have 8-10 seconds to sell yourself as that’s how long a recruiter takes to initially review your resume)
    • Use the same language and key words as the position description
    • The Professional Profile section is where you should do this
  • Apply to positions that match your experience.  You may not get much traction applying to positions above or below your experience level.  Note: a degree often lowers the experience requirements for many positions.  Below varies with each company:
    • Jr. Level (0-5 years)
    • Mid-Level (6-13 years)
    • Sr. Level (14+ years)
    • Project/Program Leader (12+ years with some industry project/program management experience)
    • Program Manager (5-6 years industry project management experience, PMP certification)
  • Network… avoid just blindly applying for a position online (it’s a waste of time 90% of the time)
    • Always try to connect with a person in the company who can get your resume to the recruiter and hiring manager for that position.
      • Ways to connect/network; LinkedIn, Informational Interviews (good for endorsements and interview prep/practice as well as learning about the job and company), Career Fairs, Networking Events, and letting everyone you know that you are looking for a job. 
  • Do your Homework prior to meeting/contacting recruiters…Be Prepared!   Here are some suggestions:
    • Avoid asking, “Do you have any jobs that are a good fit for me?”  Only you know what you are most interested in doing… search the job site and tell them what specific position(s) you are most interested in.
    • Avoid asking, “Do you have any job openings or what types of jobs do you have?”  Know what the company does and what specific jobs you are interested in.
    • Avoid asking a recruiter to critique your resume or your LinkedIn profile or to find/match you with a job… they usually don’t have the time… make it easy for the recruiter to help you. 
  • Don’t expect a job/interview at most career fairs…they are for networking… someone to send an electronic copy of your resume to when you apply.
  • Be a professional, stay positive/gracious and don’t burn bridges… avoid negative, complaining or daily emails … and don’t necessarily expect feedback particularly if you are more than 90 days from transitioning.  Just because you were not selected for one position doesn’t mean they are not considering you for another.
  • Put your resume on Career Builder, Monster, Indeed, LinkedIn, Simply Hired, and industry related/ boutique job boards (i.e., for veterans, cleared professionals, etc…)
  • Make sure to use a professional email address and ensure your social networking profiles do not contain pictures or comments that might potentially “scare off” a potential employer. 

Interview Recommendations:

  • Prepare! Prepare! Prepare! Practice! Practice! Practice! 
  • Ask the recruiter about the structure of the interview, the interviewer, and what you can expect to happen during the interview.  The recruiter will often ask you about your salary expectations before the interview so as to not waste your or the hiring manager’s time if there is too great a difference.  Ask what they want to pay for the position or what they would expect to pay someone with your skills and experience. 
  • Perform a mock interview with a friend or spouse based on the Position Description prior to the interview.  Study the position description and have answers ready to explain how you meet/exceed the position requirements.  Try to anticipate questions and have an idea how you want to answer them.  Don’t try to memorize and recite answers though, be conversational.
  • Research the company and position (and like positions as this will help you learn the language and address the position’s requirements) as much as possible.  Know their mission, what they do, their culture, their core values, and why you would want to work for them.
  • Don’t be afraid to interview for positions just for the practice… You may be contacted by companies in which you haven’t applied to a position and asked to interview.  Keep an open mind and interview for the position.  Worst case, you get some interview practice… best case, you discover and get offered a new career opportunity.
  • No heavy cologne or perfume, wear business attire, avoid coffee/caffeine prior to the interview, have fresh breath, no cell phone, bring a portfolio with notepad and pen to take notes, bring extra copies of your resume, be 15 minutes early, be courteous to all you meet, smile and make eye-contact, don’t slouch, listen carefully to and answer questions fully.  If you don’t understand a question, ask for clarification.  Be concise; 1-2 minute answers… allow the interviewer an opportunity to talk.  Always be positive… don’t bad-mouth former employers or colleagues.   
  • Be prepared to answer the, “tell me about yourself” question in 3-5 minutes in a way that it relates to the position… Your answer should tell them what types of problems you can help them solve.

Other common questions include:

  1. Give an example of a significant accomplishment.
  2. Tell me about a weakness.
  3. Give an example of a time you failed.
  4. How do you work as a member of a team?
  5. How do you lead others?  What is your leadership style/philosophy?
  6. What do you do when a team member is under performing?
  7. How do you organize a complex assignment?
  8. Why are you leaving your current job?  
  9. Why are you interested in our company?  What do you know about our company?
  10. Tell me how your experience has prepared you for this job.
  11. Tell me more about “this” item on your resume.
  12. Why are you the “best person for this job?”

Check out Linked-In’s new interview questions generator:

Be prepared to provide detailed technical and or industry related execution specifics, i.e. how you will accomplish the job?  Consider preparing a brief presentation on how you plan to accomplish the mission.

  • For behavior based questions use “SAR” to frame your answer: Situation, Action, Results.  Focus on accomplishments.
  • If asked the “tell me about your greatest weakness” question be honest with your weakness but then try to turn it into a positive such a lesson learned or corrective actions taken.
  • You may have to discuss salary and benefits.  Do your research ahead of time (on,,, etc…) be honest.  It’s ok to share your last salary if asked but you don’t have to.  Have an idea where you really need to end up and what’s most important.  Don’t forget about the other benefits such as 401k matching, vacation days (PTO), telecommuting, healthcare, etc… some are negotiable.  Before throwing out a figure, I might ask, “What does your company expect to pay a person with my skills and experience in this position?”  You can also offer that, “I’m willing to entertain any reasonable offer.”
  • Be prepared to ask 3 questions about the position when the hiring manager asks you if you have any questions.  General examples:
    • “What are you seeking in the ideal candidate for this position?”
    • “Why is this position open?”
    • “What will define success in this position?”
    • “Are there opportunities for promotion?”
    • “What is the most important thing I need to accomplish?”
    • “What is the most significant obstacle I will have to overcome?”
    • “Do you have any remaining questions about how my skills and experience relate to this position that I can better address?  
  • Close the interview by asking for the position (let them know you want it) and asking when you might expect to hear something back.
    • “Do you see anything that would prevent you from making me an offer?”
    • “How do I rank in comparison to other candidates you have interviewed for this position?”
    • “How do you see me fitting in with your company?”
    • “Is there any reason I’m not fully qualified for this position?”
  • Follow-up with a thank you note.  Hand-written is more personal but email has become acceptable as well. 

Here are four keys to transition/job search success… The “4-P’s”

  1. Passion: figure out what you really, really want to do… what are you passionate about?  A good book recommendation is Bold,” particularly if you have any thoughts of being an entrepreneur, or even if you do not.  Also read What Color is Your Parachute.  
  2. Preparation: figure out where and for who you want to work.  Research companies in the space you are interested in working and then pick a half-dozen or so that you really like because of their culture, product, or whatever draws you to them and then learn all you can about them.  Study positions of interest – which teaches you their language, follow company news, learn their history, learn about their culture, learn about their finances, etc…  Being open to relocation vastly improves your chances for connecting with your dream job.
  3. People (Networking): connect with current employees – use LinkedIn, conduct informational interviews, attend career fairs or events with those companies in attendance.  Get your resume socialized within the company.  Networking is the best way to connect with a position and is a factor in 85% of successful job searches.

“So what do you do?” A New and Simplified “Elevator Speech”: the traditional 15-30 second elevator speech is too long and comes across as too scripted and clunky...all the listener hears is “blah, blah, blah.”  Use the below format instead, it’s much easier to remember and deliver and will act as a teaser/catalyst for follow-up questions and conversation:

  1. What I do
    1. Who I do it for
    1. How I do it

Example: “I empower members of the military community (the who) to achieve meaningful employment (the what) through advocacy, networking and career readiness training (the how).

  1. Practice, practice, and practice some more for your interview; interviewing is a learned skill that you need to practice so that you are comfortable talking and telling relevant stories about yourself in an interview setting.  It is important to be confident, articulate and knowledgeable in your interview.  The more you practice and research the company the more confident, articulate and knowledgeable you will come across.  The hire decision is usually made within the first few minutes of the interview based on initial impressions of you, often before you even get down to discussing the details of your qualifications.  Learn who will be interviewing you and try to research their background as well.  Remember to relax, smile, and let your confidence show.  I also recommend a superhero/power stance for 2 minutes before your interview to increase your levels of testosterone and decrease your cortisol.  This will literally help you feel more confident in your interview and allow your true self to shine.

Please let us know if we can be of any further assistance and best of luck in your career search!

Resume Template:

Translating Military Terms:

CommanderDirector, Executive or Senior Program Manager
Executive OfficerDeputy Director
Field Grade OfficerManager, Department Head, Program Manager
Company Grade OfficerOperations Manager, Section Manager, Project Manager
Warrant OfficerTechnical Specialist or Department Manager
Senior NCOFirst-Line Supervisor
InfantrySecurity Personnel
First SergeantPersonnel Manager
Squad LeaderTeam Leader or Team Chief
Supply SergeantSupply Manager or Logistics Manager
Operations NCOOperations Supervisor
CombatHazardous conditions
Company, Unit, SquadronOrganization, Company, Department or Section
DeploymentAustere Environment
Military personnel officeHuman Resources
Military occupation specialty/classificationCareer Specialty or Career Field
Squad or platoonTeam, Department or Section
ReconnaissanceData collection and analysis
RegulationsPolicy or Guidelines
Security clearanceAbility to manage sensitive data, Trusted Employee
SubordinatesEmployees or Direct Reports
TAD or TDYBusiness Trip or Temporary Assignment