Opportunities Abound if You Visit Each Booth
If you decide to attend a veteran hiring event, you’ll find opportunities all over the room: job opportunities with employers; opportunities to go into business for yourself; and opportunities to advance your education. A wide variety of exhibitors attend these events – corporate employers, law-enforcement agencies and other government employers, franchisors, and both campus-based and online educational institutions. The corporate employers attending represent a wide range of industries: construction, defense contracting, energy production, manufacturing, security, transportation and logistics, engineering, healthcare, finance, insurance, information technology, customer service, retail, and home services, just to name a few. Their recruiters interview for all kinds of jobs: salaried, hourly, and part-time; professional and technical. But be warned: an employer’s name or its 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.
Hit Every Table
One recruiter for a national transportation company urges veterans: “If you attend a veteran hiring fair, STOP at EVERY table. A banner does not tell you all there is about that company. They may have a position that’s just right for you, but you’ll never know it if you pass them by.” He frequently goes out of his way to stop veterans at events, asking them what type of positions they are looking for, and urging them to visit each booth.
Ask what types of roles they are seeking to fill - you might be surprised. If they are not hiring, ask if they will accept your resume anyway for any future openings.
One Air Force veteran-turned-civilian recruiter recalls standing in a long line to speak to a well-known defense contractor, and noticing that a booth nearby (an educational institution for aviation maintenance) was quiet. “The one table I didn’t want to go to was the one that gave me the interview and the job offer. Something in me said, ‘Just ask the guy.’ I approached the recruiter and asked if they were hiring for HR roles,” he said. The admissions director happened to be manning the booth and read over his resume. He interviewed the next day and received an offer on the spot. Still another Navy veteran attended a veteran career fair hoping to put his newly earned accounting degree to use. He landed an accounting position with a wholesale electrical distributor. He encourages veteran job seekers to erase any pre-conceived ideas about what positions companies attending a veteran career fair may be filling. “I would never have considered that type of company for an accounting job,” he said. “Each company there may have more job opportunities than what you’d think.”