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  • Meet Orion Talent’s 50,000th Military Hire, Mason Graham

Orion Talent recently announced our 50,000 veteran hire, Mason Graham, and we want you to get to know his story a little better. From the football field to the battlefield to a brand new career field, all while COVID upends life, Mason’s transition from military to civilian is definitely worth celebrating.

Mason’s Military-to-Civilian Transition Experience

Transitioning from the USMC during the COVID pandemic presented unique challenges for Mason Graham, an Infantry Captain and former Navy Outside Linebacker. Both his networking opportunities, as well as previously available positions, were negatively affected.

“Many companies that I originally contacted were on a hiring freeze due to the uncertainty of their future business projections. Networking wise, many of the conferences and programs that I had signed up for either got canceled or went virtual. I pivoted to searching for direct placement opportunities,” explains Mason.

Additionally, Mason found it hard to select a clear direction for his civilian career. And, until he nailed down a specific job industry, it was hard to network effectively. Instead, he decided to focus on his leadership and people skills garnered in the military.

He explains that the military made him comfortable speaking in front of people, which made in-person interviews more natural for him. He also had eight years of experience leading small and large teams. His experience as a platoon commander and company commander taught him how to deal with a myriad of different types of people all with different jobs and bring them together to accomplish a common goal. Mason knew that this experience was valuable, as, outside of the military, it is hard to have the same leadership experience early on in your career.

Finding the Right Civilian Career

With this in mind, Mason began casting a very wide net into many different types of careers. With a few months remaining until he separated from the Marine Corps, Mason was deep in the interview process with several different companies. “I had narrowed it down to jobs within the medical tech industry and strategic consulting,” he recalls, “As I mentioned earlier, COVID-19 restricted the number of conferences that were available which meant most of my targeting was to specific companies.” It was at this point in October 2020 that Orion Talent connected him with a career with Abiomed, a leader within the medical tech industry.

Abiomed represented the right company culture and the opportunity for Mason to develop a passion for his product. “The motto of the company is ‘Patients First’ which correlates very well with the mentality within the military of ‘Mission Accomplishment’. I am currently selected to attend Abiomed's Military Officer Training Program, which will include a year of training to prepare me for the role of Cardiology Account Manager,” says Mason. He uses his leadership experience in his work at Abiomed on a daily basis.

Advice for Veterans

For Mason, networking is integral to a successful military transition. He suggests his colleagues get comfortable networking and start doing so as early as possible. He also advises that transitioning service members talk to as many veterans that have transitioned as possible to learn from their first-hand experiences.

Mason also shared another piece of advice - do not rest on your accomplishments. “Your new career does not care about your past accomplishments as much as how your military experience will help their company be more successful. Keep that in the back of your mind when you are the new person in your job,” he explains.

And finally, Mason emphasizes the importance of tailoring a resume to the career you want and not the jobs you’ve had, dropping military jargon. This will help non-military hiring managers understand how your skills will correlate with their job role.

Advice for Hiring Managers

When it comes to advice for hiring managers, Mason advises that they ask questions that help learn more about the candidate’s role within the military and how that experience will correlate to the specific civilian role. Also, he says, understand that it is not natural for military members to network or interview, so when talking about their accomplishments within the military, they may be downgrading their pedigree. “Veterans are team players. This is instilled in them through their training, and it will pay dividends to their employers,” concludes Mason.

Celebrating 50,000 Military Hires

We are proud to spotlight Mason as our 50,000th Military Hire. He is a wonderful example for other transitioning veterans, especially in these unique times. Thanks to Mason for letting us help with his military-to-civilian career search.

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