The Smiling Face of Goodwill

As soon as you walk through the doors of the Goodwill Support Center you will see Keegan with a big smile on his face greeting you with a warm, pleasant, “Hello, how are you?” Keegan has been with Goodwill for 3 years and has made a lasting impact on everyone he meets. He loves his job at Goodwill as a phone operator and being the first one to meet and greet people each morning. Keegan likes being around people here at Goodwill and enjoys working with everyone. Keegan has an upbeat, outgoing personality that we are happy to have at Goodwill. Let’s learn more about Keegan!

  • What is your favorite movie?
    • The Fast and Furious Franchise
  • What is your favorite type of music?
    • Classic Rock
  • What is your favorite band/artist?
    • AC/DC
  • What is your favorite book?
    • The Series of Unfortunate of Events and Harry Potter
  • What is your favorite TV Show?
    • NCIS
  • Who is your favorite college sports team?
    • Iowa State Cyclones

Top 3 Challenges for Veterans Transitioning to the Corporate World


By Randy Wooden

Most job hunters face challenges, particularly when looking to change industries or job functions. Even though the unemployment rate for veterans is below that of the general population, veterans may face different challenges; let’s explore three and some tips for dealing with them.

1. The written word, particularly resumes. All industries have unique jargon, and the military is no different with its job titles, acronyms, and phrasing. Your task is to de-militarize your resume’s wording by using the corporate world’s equivalent terminology. For example, personnel could translate into associates or human resources. Mission could translate to project. Company/squadron/platoon could translate into department, division, or perhaps organization. The website is one of many resources that help translat military-speak into corporate-speak. Try having your resume reviewed by a career coach or civilian hiring official for their feedback.

2.  Networking. Most of us, veterans included, tend to spend time with our co-workers and family rather than establishing and maintaining a broad professional network. Try attending veterans  and professional events beyond hiring fairs.  Check LinkedIn or a Google search for veterans groups that focus on advancing careers.  You’ll find you have company wrestling with a career transition. You’ll pick up pointers on how to engage in the civilian labor market while establishing relationships with others who’ve already made the leap and are eager to help others do the same. Get out, and get involved.

3. The interview. Just as you’ve tried to replace military-speak with corporate language on your resume, you’ll need to do the same during your interview. Getting the words right is only part of the challenge

Boot camp works to remove a person’s individuality: “I” becomes “we.”  In interviews, you’ll need to cite accomplishments, ideally your accomplishments and not necessarily those of your team. Now is the time to toot your own horn.

Ask people to do practice interviews so you can practice using  civilian rather than military-speak. Your service is great; now it is time to convey how you did it in terminology your potential employer can understand.

Remember to smile and talk with your hands and arms open. You’re bringing lots of technical skills as well as training in a myriad of interpersonal scenarios. You have transferable hard and soft skills that include things like problem solving, negotiating, dependability, critical thinking and effective team work.

Many employers are wisely eager to hire vets. Do your part: show them how your past experiences mesh well in their corporate world.

My Boss Just Asked Me If I’m Looking for Another Job. What Should I Say?

Your boss calls you into their office.  “Are you looking for another job?”  Gulp!  Now, what?

Why are they asking?  How should you respond?

In all likelihood, your manager suspects you’re looking and is seeking to confirm that hunch.  Asking that question for no reason seems unlikely; assume they’ve heard or sensed something that prompted their question.

Let’s assume you are looking or interviewing.  Admitting you’re looking for another position could make you appear disloyal or uncommitted to your current job.  Instead of lying or being forthcoming, you could dodge the question. Ask why they’re asking.  “Why do you ask?”  Or, “Should I be looking?” With either dodge, you could gain insight as to what prompted their question.

Your boss may say, “Well, I’d heard you weren’t happy and were out looking.”  Do you use this opportunity to voice your concerns that have you looking for a job?  It depends on your boss.  If they say something such as, “Let’s talk.  I value your work,” then perhaps you discuss why you are looking for other opportunities.

If you choose to discuss it, don’t dwell on negatives.  Talk about seeking continued challenge and professional growth.  It’s not uncommon for workers to change jobs and/or companies many times in their careers.  Don’t be surprised if you’re asked whether you’re looking; be ready with a response.  Good luck!

A Mentor for Life at Goodwill

Three years ago Amanda was in a dark, lonely place in her life. She was struggling to barely live paycheck to paycheck. Working 2-3 jobs making minimum wage while battling depression and anxiety which caused her doubt herself and who she was. Amanda knew that a change was not only needed but necessary. “I wanted to provide for my daughter. I needed something better,” Amanda said. “I needed stability.”

Loree, Store Manager, at the Fort Dodge encouraged Amanda to apply for an open position when she was visiting the store on a shopping trip. Amanda had hesitations about working at Goodwill because of the fast-paced environment of the backroom. She really didn’t know if she could handle it. Despite these hesitations, Amanda took a chance, applied for the job and was hired. “When I first started I was really quiet,” she said. “It was rough my first year.”

What Amanda didn’t realize was that Loree would be the friend and mentor that she needed at this point in her life. “Loree sets the tone here. You can go to Loree about anything. No matter what’s on her mind, she makes time for you,” Amanda stated with assurance. To Amanda, Loree is the mentor that is not afraid of challenging you to help you see the potential in yourself. “She genuinely cares about each and every one of her employees.”

Amanda has made significant progress since she has been with Goodwill which includes being promoted to Team Lead. Amanda admits she is starting to figure out who she is but is not as stressed out as she was three years ago, and her mental health is in a better place. “Looking back on it now. I have been through a lot. I had to work several jobs where I hardly saw my daughter and struggled with mental health, but I am working on it and I believe everything will come together.”

Meet the Program Managers-Maggie


Hello! My name is Maggie. I manage our Pre-Vocational Program for adults with Mental Illness and Brain Injury.  Individuals who have a desire to work but struggle with mental illness or a brain injury come to me and I work with them for 2 years to prepare them to transition into community employment.  I work with them on many different skills that are needed for anyone to be able to maintain employment at any location.  I truly enjoy watching people come to me with struggles and barriers and grow over the two years I work with them.  It is so rewarding to see how people can succeed when they never thought they could.

What do you wish you knew more about?

  • I wish I could expand my knowledge on Mental Illness and Abnormal Psychology. I have learned so much working in the job I do, but my desire to continue learning is strong.

What would be your ideal way to spend the weekend?

  • My ideal way to spend a weekend would be to take a trip and see a new place I have never been. I love meeting new people, exploring new places, and experiencing new cultures.

What is something you think everyone should do once in their lives?

  • I believe everyone should take at least one trip outside of the country to a place they have never been.  It is truly amazing to experience other cultures and to be able to live the way they do for a small period of time.  My travels have opened my eyes to so much and I believe everyone should experience that feeling at least once during their lifetime.