Corporate Social Responsibility

Impact Story: U.S. Veteran Marcos Rogers

A National Guardsman Learns to Market Himself

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Look at Marcos “Mark” Rogers’ résumé, and the words “tech geek” don’t exactly jump out at you. The Hero 2 Hired website helped him discover a civilian career path and adapt his résumé for a successful job search.

Mark spent 9 years in the Mississippi Army National Guard, including 1 year in Afghanistan. He has done tactical and search-and-recovery work during 3 major U.S. natural disasters, including Hurricane Katrina in 2005. And he is a certified crime scene investigator who processed nearly 200 violent crime scenes in Mississippi.

Mark’s 9 years of military experience -- and the strong work ethic and attention to detail that go with it -- caught the eye of a Cisco recruiter in early 2012. He is now a Global Government Marketing Manager for Cisco’s Public Sector division and working on a master’s degree in National Security Affairs.

From Hero to Hired

As a member of the National Guard, Mark assumed many roles. He deployed satellite communications as a communications officer for a Special Operations Unit and managed 33 troop members as a Signal Detachment Commander.

In 2008 he served as a Battle Captain in the Tactical Operation Center during Hurricane Gustav and as a Military Liaison Officer (LNO) in the Emergency Operation Center during Hurricane Ike.

Common among these varied roles were the skills they required: motivation, leadership, organization, hard work, quick but wise decision-making.

Before joining Cisco as a Global Government Marketing Manager, Mark Rogers spent 9 years in the Mississippi Army National Guard.

Military service “has allowed me to overcome obstacles, have a ‘whatever it takes’ attitude toward any task, and be able to perform multiple tasks with relative ease,” Mark says.

As it turns out, these skills are highly valued in the civilian workforce, and by technology companies in particular.

After he left the National Guard in 2009, Mark sought a new career. He explored job resources specifically for veterans, like the Hero 2 Hired website of the U.S. National Guard and Reserve, and used the tools it provides to explore career paths and adapt his résumé for a civilian audience.

A Creative Streak

As a Signal Officer in the Army, Mark worked with information and communications technology (ICT) and gained a basic understanding of Cisco equipment. But he had another talent that didn’t appear on his resume: he was a practicing musician and songwriter.
Mark Rogers greets his daughter, Arabella, upon his return from Afghanistan in November 2003.

Cisco recruiter Steve Vann knew about Mark’s background; when he learned of the open marketing job, he felt the combination of Mark’s creativity, ICT knowledge, and the structure and discipline he gained from military service made him an ideal candidate.

“When I read the [marketing] job description I felt like Mark would be extremely good at it,” Steve says. “He is comfortable in the spotlight, he is the most creative person I know, and his communication and people skills are excellent.”

In his role as a global marketing manager, Mark works with government agency clients. He ensures that Cisco’s business decisions are grounded in a deep understanding of current and potential government customer requirements and looks for ways to improve customer satisfaction within the sector.

Steve was able to provide one-on-one guidance to Mark, helping him tailor his résumé to the role. “With his creativity and skill set he has definitely shown a tremendous ability to do what they need him to do,” Steve says.

Tapping Human and Technology Networks

Mark exemplifies a problem that many veterans face – not being able to market themselves and the skills they developed in the military, and in life, for the civilian workforce.

In Steve, Mark found a champion to help him navigate this process and emphasize to employers the skills he could bring to a civilian job. He also took advantage of technology-based tools designed specifically for veterans to aid his job search.*

Mark advises other veterans to do the same, and to highlight all of the traits that the military teaches: “motivation, personal service, highlighting the leadership skills, no obstacles too large.”

“These skills are completely transferable,” Mark says. “Do not be wrapped up on the job title, but consider what each position has to offer.”

* These tools include the Career Pathfinder developed for the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America; developed for the U.S. National Guard and Reserve; and the 100,000 Jobs Mission. These tools were created by software develop Futures, Inc. with seed funding from Cisco.

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“These skills are completely transferable. Do not be wrapped up on the job title, but consider what each position has to offer."
— Mark Rogers