Veteran John Langdon served for 20 years of active duty in the U.S. Army, including deployments in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Maldives and Sri Lanka. He retired in July 2021, with a full career of service under his belt, but without a full appreciation of how challenging it would be to find a civilian job. “I was finally out of the military, so then I was kind of scrambling – very stressful ... I sent out resumes everywhere,” he said.
In September 2021, he took the first job he was offered, which was as a project manager for a digital marketing company. “It was tech and public facing, which was OK,” he added, “it wasn’t really my interest or passion, but I was grateful to the company for hiring me.” What he really wanted, though, was a federal government job, where he could continue to serve, but he kept getting rejected: “yeah, I have a folder with like 100 different cover letters.”
The turning point came in Summer 2022, after Langdon reached out to USDA. “The Military Veteran Agricultural Liaison (MVAL) Monshi Ramdass ... provided me with some guidance on how to write a federal resume,” he said. “I have a very good civilian resume, a private sector one, but when it came to the federal side of things, I was selling myself way short. I was using a two-page resume that was cutting out a lot of stuff. So, with (the MVAL’s) guidance, I redid my resume.”
And yes, this story does have a happy ending. After Langdon fleshed out his federal resume, he succeeded in getting a job as a project coordinator for USDA’s Forest Service. He started in January 2023.
USDA welcomes veterans like Langdon, and the variety of skills they can bring to the agency. Please take a look at all USDA has to offer. And if you have questions, please email Veterans@usda.gov – or check out USDA’s Veterans Information page which has specific information for employment, education and entrepreneurship.