US Navy, O-3
My last day in the Navy was April 30, 2007, but I started seriously looking for jobs in December 2006. I knew of Orion International through mailings I received since being stationed on the USS Michigan as a division officer (2002-5), and I was given Stephanie Moser's name by a fellow submariner. Stephanie was great. I think I may have been a challenging candidate because of my background. My pay, location, and job type requirements were demanding, and I needed a job in a place where my wife could continue her career. Stephanie never put limitations on my career search and was always very understanding. She always listened to me and met my needs.
I attended the Philadelphia conference, and while I didn’t accept a job from it, I did do a couple of follow-up interviews that helped prepare me for when the right job came along. I then attended the Chicago conference where I worked with Todd Phillips. While at the Chicago conference, I got two leads for site interviews from companies not at the conference. I was told that AAR liked my resume and sent straight over to their office before my flight out. I then interviewed at AAR's Garden City, New York, location (near where I lived) and then had a third interview with them in Chicago. My account exectuvie even helped me to negotiate a $4,000 sign-on bonus after the initial offer from AAR was a bit smaller than I wanted.
I am now a Business Development Manager with AAR, so the interviews obviously worked out! The location is perfect because it starts in New York followed by a transfer to Chicago, which was my preferred location. There are lots of project management jobs out there, but this one deals with aerospace. I get to work on projects involving components from various aircraft on both the commercial and defense side, which makes the job much more interesting to me than a typical PM position.
Orion was hands down my favorite recruiting agency, and I worked seriously with two other major players in the business (and had brief contact with two more). Orion definitely ran the best conference out of the three. Towards the end of my job search, I thought I was going to get a job offer from a company via a lead from one of Orion’s competitors. It was funny because I was really excited about the job, but disappointed that I couldn't sign through Orion! It turned out that I didn't get the offer, so I didn't need to worry about it. Then the offer from AAR came through via Orion. It sounds strange, but I was actually upset that I was going to have to sign through another agency! That's how much I enjoyed working with Orion.
The Orion people really make the difference. Everyone at Orion was casual, yet professional, and they were open to hearing all of my preferences, while trying to help set realistic expectations. There was always more of a genuine sense of a partnership between Orion and me, as well as a team spirit between different Orion members that I really noticed. Although I get along with just about everyone, I felt most comfortable with Orion. Out of the five JMO placement firms I had at least some contact with, Orion is the best!