From ROTC to regiment, and recruiter to reservist, John Urban has seen many angles of the Marine Corps. Now a Business Analytics Lead at PNC, Urban contributes to the Wealth Management business by helping to streamline internal processes and improving the overall customer experience. He also serves with the Marine Corps Reserves as infantry company commander in Pittsburgh.
His advice for civilian transition? Be intentional. Here are his five suggestions for getting started.
- Save Before You Split
- Invest Early
- Work Hard, Learn and Perform Throughout Your Transition
- Translate Military Skills on Your Resume
After three years of diligent saving, Urban and his wife paid off consumer debt and built up a six-month emergency fund. That fund was intended to cover costs if they weren’t earning income during John’s transition, pay for moving expenses, and to help purchase a home. Fortunately, Urban accepted a job at PNC before his military pay ended, and PNC covered most of his family’s moving expenses. That means they were able to apply their emergency fund to the purchase of a home in Pittsburgh.
“Pay attention to how you spend money,” says Urban. “Paying off the consumer debt ensured that if I had to accept a lower-paying job, we had the room in our monthly budget to still live comfortably. Saving the fund helped us not panic as we approached the transition. Having our financial house in order lowered my stress and helped me make the right career choice.”
Servicemembers can access the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), a government-sponsored retirement savings plan, to save part of their paycheck from an early age. Urban regrets not investing in the TSP earlier in his career because compound interest would have significantly increased the value of those funds by now.
“Vets should consciously set money aside so they don’t even think about it, and let it start working for them while they serve,” suggests Urban.
Urban recommends taking advantage of the prevailing pro-veteran climate to make inroads at companies actively recruiting veterans. He suggests using personal connections and LinkedIn to pursue specific businesses (or people) and grow your network from there.
“I came to PNC through contacts I had from my personal network,” says Urban. “I enjoy many aspects of working here, including the veteran community. Recently our Military Employee Business Resource Group brought two Medal of Honor recipients in to speak and it was amazing. I know that kind of event doesn’t happen at very many companies.”
Invest the time to educate and market yourself so you make a good impression – in email, on your resume and in person.
“I learned as much as I could about a company, the industry, opportunities and how I might best fit within that organization,” says Urban. “It was also important for me to understand business terminology so I could speak intelligently without using military words.”
Hiring managers love data and metrics, Urban says. If you can demonstrate tangible results of your efforts, that is the best way to tell your story on a resume.
“You have to find ways to convey capabilities, accomplishments and results from your combat experience in relatable way,” says Urban. “For my recruiting role, I used real data to explain how I met recruiting goals or key performance indicators (KPIs) for a particular period, and also showed growth over previous years. That experience helped me move into a business analytics role at PNC.”
Make a plan and stick to it to fulfill your non-military missions and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Schedule an appointment with a PNC specialist to learn how we can assist you and your family with banking needs before, during or after your military service.
PNC was named one of G.I. Jobs’ 2018 Top Military-Friendly Companies. It hires veterans into every line of business and at all levels.