Citigroup focused on veteran employment

Citigroup is not only looking to hire veterans - it wants to help The American Legion find employment for veterans everywhere.

The Legion recently received a $25,000 grant from the financial services giant, which will also sponsor a Resume Writing Workshop for veterans and host a booth at the upcoming job fair during the Legion’s annual Washington Conference. The donation came from Citi’s Citi Salutes initiative, which the company started specifically to hire veterans, relate to its current veteran employees and pinpoint worthy VSOs like the Legion.

Citi Salutes chose the Legion for the grant because it recognized an opportunity to advance its own employee recruiting efforts at Legion-sponsored veteran job fairs, and also help equip the general veteran population to find financial employment, said KC Choi, senior vice president and program director for Citi Salutes.

“We looked at opportunities with the (Legion’s) job fairs to not only promote opportunities within Citi but to also promote within the financial services industry. That’s kind of where our primary focus is right now,” said Choi, a Navy veteran and Legion member of nearly 10 years.

At the Legion’s Hiring Our Heroes Career Fair, Citi will be among the 55 employers present looking to network with and potentially hire veterans. The event will take place Thursday from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Washington Hilton. It is open free of charge to veterans, current servicemembers and their families.

Choi says Citi will have veteran employees and a job recruiter on hand, ready not only to speak with job candidates but also to provide advice on how someone could use military experience as leverage for finding employment in the financial industry.

“(Attendees) can ask questions more than just ‘What types of jobs are here?,’" Choi said. “They also can take an opportunity to look at the people there who are prior servicemembers themselves and dig a little into how they got the positions they got to. That can give them a lowdown into our industry.”

As a large company with different divisions around the country, Citi’s focused on reaching out to veteran job candidates with all sorts of experience and skills - not just those with financial backgrounds. These areas include human resources, leadership or supervisory roles, communications, operations and technology, and legal .

“We’re a large organization, so we have a variety of different opportunities in different locations,” Choi said. “Those are all diverse options that have a lot of opportunities that can segue into opportunities with our organization.”

Additionally, Citi will host the Resume Writing Workshop beforehand from 10 a.m. to noon, aimed at helping veterans and servicemembers draft a resume that translates into civilian speak.

“We’re going to have veteran employees helping run that workshop,” Choi said. “With that, I’m hoping we can give not only help with the general translation, but an opportunity for folks to ask and explore careers in banking outside of just what people would think is typical for the industry, like tellers.”

There’s tremendous value for large companies like Citi in attending a veterans job fair, Choi says. The job fairs allow companies to interact with a rare pool of job candidates: people who have learned both a diverse set of skills in the military and the general ability to adapt and overcome.

“You hear about the leadership and the discipline (that the military teaches), but especially with an organization as large as ours, the ability to adapt to different types of environments, to move around and to be able to adapt to work across the board is as valuable,” Choi says. “I think that’s an important aspect of what a servicemember can bring to the table.”

The Legion sees great value in Citi, as well.

“Citi’s $25,000 contribution to the Legion will directly fund events at our organization’s Washington Conference, including the Employment Workshop and Hiring Our Heroes Career Fair,” said Davy Leghorn, assistant director for the Legion’s Veterans Education & Employment Division. “With this grant, it’s clear Citi cares not just about employing veterans itself, but the general need to get veterans back into the workforce.”