Opportunities abound at DAV/RecruitMilitary All Veterans Job Fairs—in fact, since 2014, there have been more than 132,000 job offers made to attendees. But, how do you identify the opportunities that are best suited for you, and how should you best prepare yourself to take advantage of them?
According to Army veteran Chris Newsome, RecruitMilitary’s vice president of candidate acquisition, it may be best to maintain a broad horizon to ensure you’re not missing out on hidden opportunities. Here are Newsome’s top tips on how to get the most out of the DAV/RecruitMilitary Job Fair experience:
- Try to get to all of the booths, even those that may not seem as though they have any opportunities for you. An employer’s name or primary industry does not necessarily indicate what openings the company is trying to fill. For example, a drugstore chain may be recruiting for positions in transportation/distribution or accounting.
- Speak to the recruiters at the educator booths, even if you are not actively looking to advance your education. Today’s educational institutions deliver learning opportunities in many ways other than traditional, full-time, daytime classes on campus. A few minutes of conversation may lead to an unexpected continuing-education solution that is right for you. The same goes for job seekers who may not have considered entrepreneurship as a career option. Franchise opportunities are available in a tremendous variety of fields. Arranging for financing may be easier than you think, with surprising discounts available to veterans. Stop by the franchisors’ booths—one of them may very well have a plan that matches your interests and your situation.
- Dress for the part. If you are on active duty or attending the event on a Reserve or National Guard drill day, wearing your (preferably dress) uniform is great. In all other cases, you should wear the same civilian outfit that you would wear to a one-on-one interview at an employer’s place of business. And that should be, if you have it, business attire – a suit or at least a jacket.
- Stay enthusiastic and appropriately positive if a recruiter asks you to email your resume to his or her company. The recruiter is not brushing you off. In fact, being asked for the email is a good sign. Many companies require their recruiters to gather resumes by email: (1) to obtain HR information as required by law and (2) so they can direct desirable job seekers to different departments.
- Memorize your story. Before you visit any employers’ booths, create some talking points. Develop an elevator pitch and put together a 30-to-60-second “story” about yourself that includes some of your successes and areas of interest. Be ready to discuss how your military experience relates to the civilian workplace. You should also prepare yourself for a long, detailed interview—employers have hired people on the spot at these events.
To learn more about DAV’s employment program or to utilize additional resources, visit https://www.dav.org/veterans/employment-resources/.