TODAY   |  March 27, 2013

Hiring Our Heroes: Navy vet turns financial analyst

For veterans like Melissa Fay, a former lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, adjusting to civilian life and finding a job can be tough –  but after a few edits to her resume, Melissa landed a position with General Electric as a financial analyst. NBC’s Kerry Sanders reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> and this morning on "hiring our heroes," a nationwide effort to find jobs for veterans who are leaving the service. we're talking about a rather unique job fair in new york. kerry sanders , as you see, is there. good morning.

>> reporter: well, good morning. matt. i've got good news -- the u.s. chamber of commerce is planning on helping a half million vets get jobs. this morning, they can announce that they've already helped 108,000 vets find jobs in the civilian sector. among them, former navy lieutenant melissa faye . melissa faye is all loving with her 5-month-old emily. but this is also melissa faye , a former lieutenant in the u.s. navy . a chopper pilot who put in nine years' service before entering the civilian world.

>> we're not used to selling ourselves. so you kind of have to put yourself out there and be willing to talk to anyone.

>> reporter: for so many veterans, it begins with just trying to explain to someone who wasn't in the military just what they did.

>> i had written my resume. and it said, "flew missions in the persian gulf ." sounds cool, but how does that translate to a boss hiring you to sit behind a desk?

>> reporter: at this "hiring our heroes" gathering that we featured last year on "today," melissa came armed with a rewritten resume.

>> led missions through the planning, strategy, and execution to deliver x pounds of cargo to ships in the persian gulf . so you know, kind of translating into words that the civilian sector recognizes.

>> reporter: it clicked. a recruiter from general electric saw her experience, her -- her mba, and hired her as a financial analyst .

>> she's performed across the board because of her prior experiences and training.

>> reporter: that is awfully good to hear, melissa . when you hear your boss -- i think you're due for a pay raise after that. you're here to help other veterans make this transition.

>> correct. i'm here with g.e., we're doing one-on-one coaching with veterans. anything they want, interview help, resume help, interview skills, elevator pitch.

>> carl slender is here. pea spent a career, 28 years in the air force . what kind of job are you looking for?

>> preferably one that pays.

>> reporter: in the area of expertise --

>> logistics. definitely, production, analysis, office environment. definitely. and i'll bring a smile to your office.

>> reporter: lavette, yew with the marine corps . you hope to transition in what sort of job?

>> computer tech , network support systems.

>> reporter: you feel prepared, ready for this?

>> yes, i'm excited. great opportunities.

>> reporter: wonderful. and albert, formerly with the marines. your idea, the perfect job that you hope to connect with today?

>> well, given that i have eight years of operational experience in telecommunications and radio operations, i would want something that i could bring to the table with at&t, comcast, any radio communication companies so i can bring to the table.

>> reporter: and not only you can do that, but you can do it under pressure because you did it on the battle field.

>> yes, sir.

>> reporter: we wish you the best of luck. you have help with melissa , and that's what's going on across the united states . they're working on trying to make those connections. the u.s. chamber of commerce has pledged to help a half million people make these connections. the u.s. department of labor statistics says, matt, that there are about 700,000 vets that are out in the market right now looking for jobs.

>> and we owe them those jobs, kerry. we urge people