A pair of veterans, at very different times in their lives, found employment success via two different DAV career fair formats.
Gulf War-era Navy veteran Raymond Banister’s living situation was precarious, at best, when he first discovered a DAV job fair. He had recently been laid off and found himself unemployed for four months while living in Florida, with few leads on quality employment.
“I had put in well over 200 applications over the four months I was out of work,” Banister said. “My wife and I were literally days away from having to pack up our home in Florida and move to a friend’s basement back in Michigan.”
Persistent in his employment search, Banister seized the opportunity to meet with prospective employers at a DAV/RecruitMilitary Veterans Career Fair.
“I not only got a job—I got a great job making more than what I was making with the company that laid me off,” Banister said, who hired on with IT company Cognizant. “This affected us tremendously, as we would not have a place of own if it were not for me finding [them] at the job fair.”
Banister said the DAV job fairs stand out for the quality of the companies that attend and for the help of the staff on hand to help guide participants.
“Make no mistake; you have to do the work and speak with the employers, but they’re there to help you open your mind to possibilities,” he said. “I participated in many job fairs while looking for work, and this one is far above the rest.”
Navy veteran Louis Johnson was still on terminal leave from his retirement and facing the same employment uncertainty that so many veterans have experienced when transitioning to civilian life. He had never given much consideration to the idea of a virtual career fair but decided it was worth a shot. It wound up being the very thing that put him on the path to his new career.
“It was more effective than headhunter groups that had tried to place me into positions that weren’t really what I was looking for,” Johnson said. “The DAV virtual career fair was truly effective, and I highly recommend any transitioning service member to look into which companies participate in it, and if they feel qualified, to submit a professionally reviewed resume and cover letter during the company’s virtual career fair day.”
Johnson, now a training manager with Johnson Controls Inc., out of Wisconsin, loves his job, feels valued and finds the atmosphere to be very veteran friendly.
“It would have been very easy for Johnson Controls Inc. to hire someone for my positon from within the company, but they chose me and have helped me grow professionally while allowing me to bring my ideas and suggestions to the table,” Johnson said. “Johnson Controls has a real affinity for veterans and understands the value in hiring them.”
Johnson said one thing that stuck out to him about the virtual career fair was how easy it was to use and the availability of the company’s recruiters.
“I really didn’t have a specific position I was trying to apply for at the time, rather, I updated my resume and gave each recruiter at the fair a copy,” he said. “I then asked them to review it and look to see if I was a fit for a position that might be available. To my pleasant surprise, I was called by a manager a couple of weeks later that wanted to screen me. And, well, one thing led to another and here I am.”
“These are just two examples of why DAV is so heavily involved in veteran employment,” said National Employment Director Jeff Hall. “It’s critically important. Whether you’re retiring from the military, transitioning out or simply looking for new employment, DAV is here to help.”
If you’re a veteran or a veteran’s spouse interested in attending a DAV/RecruitMilitary career fair, you can find the complete list and how to register at jobs.dav.org.