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Elston’s Recruitment Work at CBRE Helps People Achieve Goals
The 15 years spent as a recruiter in the U.S. Army paved the way for Chris Elston’s current position as corporate recruiter with Los Angeles, CA-based CBRE Group, Inc.’s global workplace solutions business.
“I definitely like helping people, and my recruiting background helps me help people achieve their goals and dreams,” says Elston, who initially never thought he’d gain a career he loves by joining the Army.
“As a kid, I thought I’d learn some job skills and get some life experience. I never joined the military to become a career solider,” he remembers. “But as I continued and began advancing quickly, I really enjoyed my military experience. It allowed me to meet people and learn life lessons.”
He started as an Army cavalry scout, doing reconnaissance. He was later transitioned into recruiting command after showing an aptitude for it.
“I was in 10 years at that point. It was completely different from what I was doing. It re-introduced me to civilian life because you’re 100 percent in the community,” recalls Elston.
As an Army recruiter in North Richland Hills, TX, he attended job fairs, conducted a variety of Army recruiting and awareness programs and led community relations programs. He progressed within a couple of years to center commander and lead recruiter in Carrollton, TX, where he led an Army recruiting team consisting of 16 active Army and two Army Reserve employees on Army recruiting operations.
Four years later, Elston moved to Irving, TX where he advanced to master trainer responsible for assessing, planning, conducting and evaluating training of recruiters. Three years after that, he became company first sergeant first in Dallas, TX, then in Frederick, MD. He held that post for four years, overseeing the company’s daily operations, which consisted of eight Army recruiting centers.
Two years ago, when Elston marked 25 years of service, he made the decision to retire from the Army. “The transition wasn’t difficult because I treated it like another mission,” explains Elston, who holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA and is now pursuing his MBA. “What was difficult was letting go of the military lifestyle.”
But given his extensive recruitment background he built while serving, Elston quickly landed a job with CBRE, which led him back to Texas. Within a few months of joining the global real estate services firm, he was promoted to his current role as corporate recruiter, critical facilities. “I’m doing basically what I did before, but now I recruit for CBRE,” he says.
As a corporate recruiter, he recruits nationwide to fill engineering positions in the data center CBRE manages. He’s also part of CBRE’s military recruitment team that’s based in Dallas, TX and that reaches out to transition offices on military bases. He’s also active with CBRE’s African-American and military networking groups.
Elston’s experience as a recruiter helped him find a civilian career path that perfectly matched his military expertise. His advice to fellow veterans seeking to do the same involves being able to connect military job skills to civilian ones on resumes.
“Really pay attention to your resume. Be sure to also tailor your resume to the job description. Don’t shortchange the skill set you’ve built in the military. And make sure you describe those skills so civilians can decipher them,” advises Elston. Too often what happens is there’s a lot of military jargon that civilians can’t really interpret, and many will lose opportunities because of that.”
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