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8 Valuable Tips for Navigating Military Job Fairs

When you’re transitioning into the civil sector, you’ll be faced with a huge level of competition and unexpected practices.  Job fairs are the most surprising aspect of the civilian hiring process.

A military job fair is usually hosted by a dedicated organization, such as the Chamber of Commerce from the city where you live. However, universities also organize their own veteran career fairs.

For a military veteran looking for opportunities in the civilian sector, job fairs give a great opportunity to establish connections with multiple companies. You’ll hand them a resume, and they will promote themselves to attract the best candidates.

8 Important Tips for Job Fairs

  1. Wear Something Comfortable, But Presentable

No; you shouldn’t wear your uniform to a job fair. Remember: you’re trying to fit into the civilian sector. You shouldn’t wear a suit, either. If you’re not used to it, it will only make you feel stiff and uncomfortable. Another thing you shouldn’t wear: your workout clothes.

A nice pair of dark jeans and a clean, discreet blouse or shirt is good enough. Choose discreet shoes, too. Dad sneakers aren’t the best choice. 

  1. Approach!

The employers will have their stands. You should simply show up, choose a representative, and introduce yourself. A simple “Hi, I’m James; it’s nice to meet you” is just fine. Then, you’ll ask them to tell you something more about their company, and the conversation will carry on.

  1. Show Your Personality

Job fairs have an informal character. It’s okay to joke and laugh, as long as you don’t go overboard and you don’t seem fake. Feel free to show the fun, warm side of your personality. Be positive and confident, and act like you’re there to make friends.

  1. Have Your Questions Ready

The preparation for a job fair is different from the preparation for an interview. During an interview, you’re the one who receives questions, and you should answer them. A job fair is different, and the communication is like a normal conversation. You’re the one who starts with the questions.

After the introduction, you shouldn’t leave space for an awkward pause. Here are a few questions that you can ask:

  • What does your company do and what job positions are available at the moment?
  • What qualifications are you looking for?
  • Is there someone I can contact in order to find out more?

It’s a good idea to collaborate with a professional writer, who will help you prepare for an interview. If you see this offer by a custom writing agency, you’ll realize that writing tasks aren’t just for students. You can ask a writer to give you a list of questions that are relevant to your situation.

  1. Show Your Strengths

If you have a service-related disability, you should not use it as your selling point. An employer will not hire you because of your VA disability rating, but they can hire you for the strengths that you possess as a candidate.

When talking about yourself, always focus on your personal strengths and experience. Tell the representative how you can contribute to their company’s culture. 

  1. Have Your Resume Ready

If you like a particular company and you had a nice conversation with its representative, you should give them a resume. A personal card won’t do the trick, since it doesn’t hold enough information about you. A resume will be introduced into the company’s applicant tracking system, and it will show up whenever they are looking for someone with your qualifications.

This means that you need the perfect resume. Printed resumes aren’t fancy anymore. You can ask for the representative’s business card and send them the resume via email. That’s how you’ll get into the digital applicant tracking system. 

  1. Ask for Their Advice

The representative can tell you how to get into their company. Ask if you need to work on specific certification. Ask them how the interview process is like, and what they are looking for in the perfect candidate.

  1. Follow Up!

If you had a good conversation and sent a resume to a company’s representative, make sure to follow up. You can send a brief email, asking if there are any open positions in their company that would require people with your skills.

Remember: You Carry Responsibility for Your Own Success

You’ve been thinking about your country and your nation for your entire life. Now, it’s time to think about yourself for a change. You deserve success in the civilian sector, and you should go get it.

Job fairs aren’t scary. They give you an opportunity to connect with other veterans and explore employment opportunities.

For companies interested in hiring veterans, it’s important to ensure your company's culture is veteran-friendly. Then you can confidently begin advertising jobs for veterans and recruiting the top talent your company deserves.  

By Nicole Cowart.

Bio: Nicole is a writer and editor with great interest in the job market. She gives tips to job seekers and prepares them for impressionable interviews. Nicole sees her blog posts as a chance to motivate people to show their best character traits.