Military Army Veteran Networks Her Way to a Corporate Job Through Career Education and Building Relationships

Tell us about yourself and your career.

My name is Janel Kim Mariani, and I’m a West Point grad and Army veteran with experience across a wide variety of functions and industries. For most of my career in industry, I was with Fortune 100 companies.

Why were you looking for a job?

I was looking for a job because I had lost my last one and needed to pay some bills.

How did you discover PAGCG?

I discovered the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Great Group through another phenomenal organization, the Greater Philadelphia Veterans Network (GPVN). Alex Archawski of GPNV partnered with Lynne Williams of PAGCG for a 6-week Veterans Career Success Group program to help veterans in career transition with career education.

How did PAGCG help you in your job search?

Let me count the ways PAGCG provided an organizational and philosophical structure for how to manage the job search. It offered professional development, keynotes in the recruiting and career transition industry, career transition support, and experts in ATS, LinkedIn, and more.

How did you find your job? How long did it take?

I networked my way into my role. I spent several weeks speaking with people and following different leads into the final conversation. The journey took about seven months.

What kept you motivated during the job search, especially during the downtimes?

Since PAGCG had several virtual sessions a day, I found myself with a like-minded group of people who were interested in learning about the ins and outs of LinkedIn. As people landed, we celebrated their success together.

What were the lessons that you learned during your job search?

A great lesson I learned is to target the company first, and then network your way in.

Do you have any networking tips or tricks that you can share?

Continue to modify your objectives and your elevator pitches until they roll off your tongue naturally.

What will you do in your new role?

My role is to find companies that are interested in hiring high performing military veterans.

What is one takeaway or nugget of wisdom that you would like to share?

I enjoyed the project management approach to a targeted job search presented by Paul Cecala.

Career Education Organization Receives Award as They Help Job Seekers
Even nonprofits that help job seekers can scale as a small business.

Help job seekers is the answer! The question is … as a small business owner, whether a for-profit or a nonprofit, what do you do when you want to scale your business? How do you get help so you can help others?

First, let’s define what scaling means. According to SCORE, “Scaling a business means setting the stage to enable and support growth in your company. It means having the ability to grow without being hampered. It requires planning, some funding and the right systems, staff, processes, technology and partners.”

SCORE provides further details for these five steps to accomplish scaling:

  • Evaluate and Plan
  • Find the Money
  • Secure the Sales
  • Invest in Technology
  • Find Staff or Strategically Outsource

Let’s add a few more challenges. Let’s say you are a nonprofit and have little to no money, you just built a website to begin to monetize, are volunteer-based with no employees (yet), and have emotional attachments to what you do. Now what?

How do you get out of your own way and get a fresh set of eyes to have someone review your business? How do you get helpful advice and recommendations?

Contact SCORE, of course! There are chapters across the country, so you can find a chapter near you to get help and request FREE mentoring sessions!

Although I volunteer for more than one SCORE chapter, there is one particular SCORE chapter I want to highlight today, which is Chester & Delaware County SCORE.

Why? Not only have I been a SCORE volunteer on the SCORE speaker’s bureau since April 2013, but I reached out to SCORE to request a mentor as a small business owner.

I got great ideas from my mentor, Frank Millheim, that I shared with my Board of Directors and steering committee to scale. Our success story and others written about this 10th-anniversary awards celebration will be added to this Google doc.

Register for the virtual celebration.

The annual celebration for the small business award winners is on Thursday, September 24, 2020, from 12 to 1 PM, and it’s virtual, so register here.

Thank you to Citadel Credit Union for sponsoring this 2020 event and honoring me with the 2019 Community Hero Award.

To let my network know about this award and ceremony, I will be leveraging LinkedIn and will also be driving traffic to my website. Could you do the same for your business with your story?

Here are four tips of what you can do on LinkedIn, even with a free account:
  • Publish a full article on LinkedIn or write an enticing first paragraph on LinkedIn that makes people want to click your read more link that leads them to your blog, which drives traffic to your website. Or include your BIO with website links in the article.
  • Share short posts with a link to your article or blog on the feed on your homepage. It’s best to post on your company page and then share that company page link (three dots at the top right) on your home page. LinkedIn’s algorithm likes it when people stay on the platform longer, which is a way of accomplishing that.
  • Share short posts in groups following the same technique as above, but sharing the link from your company page.
  • Include a native video in your post (rather than take people off LinkedIn to Youtube or Vimeo), so they remain on LinkedIn longer. Again, the algorithm will like it more if people stay on the platform longer. Speaking of video, watch the 3-minute video about my SCORE story on our home page or our Youtube channel.

This article was originally published on,, and

BIO Lynne M. Williams

Lynne M. Williams, Ed.D. Candidate is the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group, an all-volunteer 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides career education and networking connections for: 1) jobseekers in career transition, including veterans and 2) employed and self-employed for career management. In addition, Lynne is also the owner of Around the Clock Executive Helper, a writer of resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Lynne presents unique research-based workshops on LinkedIn, resumes, the Applicant Tracking System, the Art of Networking In Person & Online, and other career-related, social media, and technology topics. She is currently working on writing her doctoral dissertation and is a contributing author to Find Your Fit: A Practical Guide to Landing the Job You Love along with the late Dick Bolles, the author of What Color is Your Parachute?. In addition, she writes a weekly career column in Vista.Today Montco.Today and Delco.Today and other publications with LinkedIn tips and more. Connect with her on LinkedIn at with a personalized message and visit the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group website and read our SCORE Success Story!

LinkedIn for the Win for Educators & Students

High school students over 16, college students, and educators in both K-12 and higher education need to be on LinkedIn. Teachers should act as models with their LinkedIn profiles, as their students begin to prepare for their future careers, military, or continuing education. 

On April 16th, West Center University hosted a one hour LinkedIn workshop on Zoom that was open to students and the community through the Dr. Edwin Cottrell Entrepreneurial Leadership Center. 

Since there are so many students and educators in the region who did not participate in this training, I thought it would be helpful to share the deck. The information in this deck will also be beneficial to any of our region’s now 22 million job seekers who have applied for unemployment in the past four weeks.

There are lots of links in the appendix for students as well as helpful links for internships. Speaking of internships, or volunteer opportunities to gain some experience, we love volunteers and have lots of tasks that can be accomplished remotely. Sign up on our Google form to volunteer with our 501(c)3 charitable all-volunteer nonprofit. 

Since the workshop was only an hour, and there is so much more to learn about LinkedIn, there are many links throughout the deck. The links are available for further self-guided learning. 

Everyone is welcome at the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group, so join us to learn with us as we share career education topics while networking. There are virtual meetings daily, both with and without speakers. 

We just celebrated our 10th anniversary on Tuesday, April 7th, and have more than doubled our membership in less than five years to almost 4500 members. Remember our tagline – Your Career Our Mission.

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LinkedIn Learning and Other Online Platforms

Knowledge is power. You don’t know what you don’t know, so engage in continuous lifelong learning to improve yourself and your skill sets. 

In April 2015, Linkedin purchased a platform called and then subsequently rolled it into what is now called LinkedIn Learning. As of April 2018, there is no additional charge for the learning platform for those who have the following paid accounts: 1) Premier Career, 2) Premier Business, 3) Executive, 4) Sales Navigator Professional, or 5) Recruiter Lite. You will notice the Learning icon in the top right hand part of your profile page and can access it there.

You can learn about software, business, technology, or creative skills to reach your future career goals. When you complete certain courses or any of the over 70 learning paths, LinkedIn will allow you to download the certificates of completion on your profile. 

As a nonprofit leader, volunteer, or jobseeker, you might want to take a look at, which is run by Matt Hugg, who is one of three chapter leaders for the Nonprofit Career Network (NCN) Philly chapter of the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group. The next meeting is Thurs March 12th in Lansdale at 8:30 AM. The topic of discussion over (buy your own) breakfast will be Nonprofit Board Recruitment and you can sign up here

Although there are many many other learning platforms out there, this is a pretty good list that will get you started on the road to self-improvement! Happy learning!


Class Central

Ivy League Courses

PBS Learning with Ken Burns

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College Grads and LinkedIn

Some students finish their college coursework in December instead of May. If you think they are all prepared to be jobseekers, then think again.

They do not have their career documents together (resume – one for handing people and another for online applications, LinkedIn profiles, BIO, networking one pager, job tracker sheet, networking business cards, target company list, etc.)

They do not have a well prepared and practiced elevator pitch and have not been groomed for interviews nor do they know how to negotiate salaries, much less look them up to find out the range in the local area.

They don’t know how to network online and in person, much less follow up … and I could go on. 

After paying who knows how much for that piece of paper called a diploma, one would think that the students might be better prepared. They are not. 

I spent time with one December graduate this week who finally has a LinkedIn profile (which should have been established in high school) to connect with family and friends. However, she has been instructed by me NOT to connect to potential employers and search for jobs until she has her proverbial “career document act” together. It’s a process and a journey for this phenomenon, which could be known as job school 101. Better to take the time to prepare and groom than rush into the unknown. 

Another local student who will graduate in May attended one of our speaker and networking meetings this week and exclaimed how much he learned from being there. He never realized that this career education support system existed. Now he knows. 

Bottom line … do not neglect managing your career and your career documents from the beginning of your career onward and make networking a habit. A simple start would be with a Bronze membership.

If you want to engage in career management in a group setting, save the date of Saturday February 1st for an all day accelerator in King of Prussia. We will walk with you along your career management journey!

Also register for the upcoming LinkedIn workshops listed below. 

You can also ask mom and dad to hire a coach, as suggested by Alex Freund in this video interview with Anthony Uva who runs a program called Secrets of College Planning Show. 

Dive in! Welcome to life! You have work to do!

Don’t miss our upcoming featured events. If you are a working adult, come learn and network with us. Visit the events tab on our website.

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