Vincent Capodicci – Success Study

Security Program Manager

Client: Vincent Capodicci was a longtime foreign service officer at the U.S. Department of State and a director of operations and security of several high-risk embassies and consulates.

Industry: Federal Government, Nonprofit, Government Contracting, Technology

Function: Operations, Security, Management, Training, Compliance

Challenge: After spending more than 30 years in the federal government, most of it overseas, Vincent wanted to be a full-time husband and father to his young family, which required leaving government for the private sector.

Process: Vincent learned how to brand himself, then a resume and LinkedIn profile overhaul and a lot of work to develop his network helped him garner abundant recruiter attention.

Landing: Vincent landed an exciting position as security program manager for a large government contractor at a compensation level that exceeded his expectations.

Study: Vincent Capodicci had a long, rich, and exciting career in the U.S. government. After 10 years of military service, he spent the better part of two decades in the U.S. State Department where he worked as a foreign service officer in high-risk posts. He rose to the level of director of operations and security in the U.S. embassies and consulates of Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Over that time, Vincent became an expert in the greater Middle East region and in security and protective operations – and he loved it.

As a foreign service officer, however, Vincent moved to a different country every three to four years, which is hard on a family. To maintain stability for his children, his family remained in Connecticut where Vincent would visit them every few months. Ultimately, Vincent wanted to find a balance that enabled him to pursue work about which he was passionate while living full-time with his family.

“I’ve always been overseas for months and visiting home for a couple of weeks at time. I missed my family, and they missed me. About a year ago I decided that I wanted to be closer to them, and that meant leaving the State Department for the private sector,” said Vincent.

Soon after, Vincent resigned from full-time employment with the State Department. But he was able to line up a consulting contract with their Foreign Affairs Security Training Center, which enabled him to keep his security clearance and draw a paycheck as he looked for work. Then he dusted off his resume and began job seeking.

“I hired a resume writing service to redo my resume and help me create a LinkedIn profile. I began sending resumes through a service recommended to me, but I wasn’t getting the jobs leads I wanted,” said Vincent.

Fortunately, Vincent had time on his side. He began researching career management services and found The Barrett Group [TBG]. On the recommendation of a friend, he hired them and, before long, was meeting with David Black, a coach in TBG’s Clarity Program.

“I really liked Clarity and I enjoyed working with David. I didn’t feel pressure to hurry, so I went through the program at my own pace,” said Vincent.

Vincent learned a lot about his work and leadership styles thanks to the activities he did in the Clarity program, and he was able to easily identify his goals.

“You benefit the most from the personality assessments if you are honest and truthful. When I got the results, it was scary how spot on they were! They gave me specifics about my personality and work ethic that helped me design my LinkedIn profile and my approach to networking.”

Vincent determined that he wanted to stay within the world of security because he liked the challenges. He also wanted to work for a company that enabled him to maintain his sense of service to the bigger picture.

“Clarity helped me think beyond ground-level, physical security, which had been my focus before, to a higher-level, more overall, management of security. It broadened my horizon under the security umbrella.”

Just as Vincent began working with his career consultant, Larry DiBoni, next, he scored an interview for a great role with a renowned defense contractor. He told Larry that he wanted to pivot.

“Before I even got my first updated resume from the TBG team, I got an interview for a director position. Larry was essentially introducing himself and I told him, ‘We need to change the plan and focus on that!’ So, he juggled things around to help me prep for it.”

That hiring process took two months. Vincent was disappointed when he was turned down for the job, but he chalked it up to bad timing.

“I learned a lot from Larry and The Barrett Group program that I applied later in my job search, but I didn’t know how to sell myself well yet at that stage. If that opportunity had come later, I think I would have gotten the position.”

Undeterred, Vincent re-focused on job searching. He and the TBG writing team restructured his resume, stripping out unnecessary details and making important elements eye-catching. At Larry’s suggestion, he highlighted skills that are in greater demand in the private sector, like cyber and tech security, which opened a new range of opportunities to him. He learned from Larry about the power of social capital and how to use LinkedIn to develop it, and, within a month, he had lined up more interviews.

“I used the unpublished market in my prior line of work, but the foreign service community is tight knit. The private sector is a much larger scale. So, Larry taught me how to set up lines with people and follow up with them – he helped me map out a networking strategy. Because I knew few people in the private sector, the key was to get referrals from someone who knew someone who knew my reputation. That required a lot more research and connecting, which took time.”

Vincent was happy to find organizations that wanted to recruit veterans or former federal workers for the experience they bring to the table. But he also faced skepticism by some hiring managers that he could adapt to a private sector environment.

“I struggled with that attitude, but Larry and I worked on developing a good counterpoint response.”

After taking his time to find the right job, Vincent was thrilled to land a role as the security program manager for a large government contractor in what he describes as a “textbook” case of unpublished market success.

“Several months ago, I got an email from a person who was searching for a candidate with my skillset for a role at a major government contractor. He saw that I was connected on LinkedIn to someone they had recently hired that had previously worked at the State Department and he wanted to schedule a time to talk about the position.”

After several weeks of interviewing, Vincent was offered the position, in which he would oversee all security aspects of the organization’s government defense contracts. The compensation package was everything he had wanted and more.

Three weeks into his new job, Vincent couldn’t be happier – and he gives large credit for his success to his career consultant.

“The most valuable aspect of the TBG program for me was the interaction I had with my coach. Larry and I got along really well. Even after talking business, we’d talk about hobbies. I felt that he was personally invested in me, and that helped him guide me in the right direction.”

Thanks to that guidance, Vincent anticipates an exciting, new career in the private sector.

“The way TBG broke everything down was phenomenal – not just Larry, but the whole support team behind him. They show you how to find the cracks and back doors into an organization by leveraging the thousands of people that are connected to you in some way. And if you have any problems with recruiters, TBG can give you the point of contact for the position you want so you can follow up with the hiring manager directly. That opened a lot of doors!” said Vincent. “And even though I’m no longer looking for a job, I’m still networking with people. My network has exploded in multiple directions. These are opportunities that will continue to grow.”
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