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  • U.S. Army Captain Shares his Recent DCC Experience
U.S. Army Captain Joseph “JT” Thomas recently attended Orion’s March 2018 Chicago Distinguished Candidate Conference and shared his experience with us. JT found Orion through Onward to Opportunity, in Partnership with the Veterans Career Transition Program (O2O-VCTP),  Onward to Opportunity is a free career training program that provides professional certification and job placement support to transitioning service members, veterans, and military spouses.
JT had never attended an event like an Orion DCC before and was very pleased with the event. “When the event started, the candidates met the entire Orion staff, which I thought was great. It really showcased the talent pool that Orion currently has, with team members ranging from Navy Nuclear Submariners to Army Infantry Officers to Marine Corps Transportation Officers. I really got the feeling that Orion understands my transition, and, furthermore, they were invested in my performance at this event,” recalls JT. 
He also found the small group interviewing preparation to be excellent in that it helped calm any nerves he had about a face-to-face interview  and allowed for a smoother transition into the next day’s interviews. After lunch, he had the opportunity to meet with all the companies in attendance.
“This was great, because, if you had not been linked with a company, Orion allowed you to attend those companies’ briefs. I sat in on the presentations by companies outside of my South Central area, and I am very glad I did,” explains JT. “It really opened my eyes to interesting opportunities I would not have been interested in had I not participated in this event.”
JT’s favorite part of the event was the Networking Reception. Not only did he meet with all the people he would interview with the next day, but he also felt like the event “humanized” both candidates and interviewers before meeting on Monday.
“I felt as if I was able to create an emotional connection with the interviewer in a near relaxed environment. We didn’t necessarily talk business the entire time, either. I talked to Tiffany about her dogs; and JJ about the upcoming baseball season; and I felt we really hit it off on a personal level prior to the interviews,” says JT, “Interviewing with JJ and Tiffany was great, because I felt less pressure, and, during the interview, it was as if we picked up our conversation where we left off the night prior.” 
Having a location preference for the South Central US meant there were not a ton of opportunities at the Midwest DCC, which JT understood. However, thanks to the networking reception and the company briefings, he was able to interview with two additional companies outside of the South Central region. The interviews went well, and he received follow-up interviews with all of the companies with which he had interviewed.
JT appreciated the time and effort invested by Orion in bringing the applicant to the interviewer and highly recommends the event. “It is certainly an experience you will not forget, and, without a doubt, one of the most beneficial things I was able to do in my transition. I have recommended Orion to all of my buddies getting out to the Army, and the DCC is the major reason why.”
We wish the best of luck to JT as he completes his job search. To learn more about Orion's DCCs, please visit us online.

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