Why You Should Attend a Career Fair (Even if You Don’t Currently Need a Job)

As an Army spouse, Veronica Medley’s personal career experienced many of the challenges and uncertainties of military life. “I met my husband in college, while we were getting our undergraduate degrees,” she said. “I had this whole plan for my education and my career. And then we moved, and moved again, and then he deployed.” 

Now, Veronica’s a consultant for the University of North Carolina, where she leads special projects to completion, including enrollment strategy and military student support. She attends DAV/RecruitMilitary career fairs to help inform policy at the university as well as continue to build her professional network. 

We spoke with Veronica to discuss why it doesn’t matter where you are in your career, attending a DAV/RecruitMilitary job fair will propel your professional life. 

What is your military background? 

Veronica Medley:  

I have a lot of military folks in my family. We have soldiers dating back to the First World War. I come from a family of teachers, preachers, and soldiers – lots of civil servants!  

My husband is a staff sergeant in the Army.  Both my parents are veterans. My mom is a disabled veteran. Growing up, she was strict, but that strictness instilled a sense of discipline. 

My father went to Desert Storm and came back a different person. Knowing some of the difficulties that he went through encourages me to continue the path of psychology so that I can help others who may find themselves in similar situations.  

When things get rough for me, I remember what they have experienced, and it really encourages me to just stay the course and press through. 

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as a military spouse? 


Having to weave my own plans into his own career plans has been the main challenge. I’ve gotten used to planning for one thing and then having to pivot and plan for something completely different. 

My preferred field, psychology, requires a lot of education. And even though there is a national governing body, the American Psychological Association (APA), each state still has its own regulations.  

There’s no reciprocity agreement throughout the different state boards. Currently, I have a master’s degree in psychology, so if we moved to a state that doesn’t allow for master’s level clinicians then I wouldn’t be licensed in that state.  

I’ve been able to overcome a lot of challenges in my career by thinking outside the box and finding a way to stay marketable.  

All military spouses have marketable skills, we just have to communicate those skills in a way that employers will understand. When you move around a lot, you will need to identify what’s marketable in that area and adjust accordingly.  

Why did you attend the DAV/Recruit Military job fair for the first time? 


I was working as a career counselor with the Army Transition Assistance Program in Germany and my husband got PCS orders. I followed the advice I gave others, “Utilize RecruitMilitary’s services.”

I made my profile on Recruitmilitary.com, updated my resume, and attended the virtual career fair! The virtual job fair really came through for me personally and was so easy to navigate. I could participate from my phone, which was helpful for me. 

How was your experience engaging with employers virtually? 


I am an introvert by nature, so I was able to slip into some of these employer chat rooms and move at my own pace. As I became more familiar with the etiquette and process, I started marketing myself to the different employers in the various rooms. It felt like just having a conversation. 

What is your current position and employer? 


I’m a consultant at the University of North Carolina. My current projects include helping the university with retention efforts, self-assessments, and ensuring they are serving the students as well as they can. I’ve also done consulting projects on hiring and onboarding, grant management and compliance, and things of that sort. 

Is this the same job that you landed through a DAV/Recruit Military job fair? 


It’s not. That job was in career counseling. The official title was Army Readiness Specialist. I was basically doing career counseling for our reservist members. I helped them to maneuver the civilian job space. That whole field of work is interesting and rewarding. 

How did you land your current job in consulting? 


I landed this position through networking! 

Early in my career, I had gained skills in grant management that I knew I was able to take anywhere. I just had to figure out how to market them.  

When we moved to our first duty station, there was a local university that had some similar grants to one I had previously worked on. They didn’t have any openings, and I had the time, so I offered to volunteer. I basically told them, ‘I have these skills that you know you need, and you know that you can use. Let me just come and give these skills to you for free.’ Who is going to turn down an opportunity like that?  

I volunteered a few days a week for a couple of hours per day. Eventually, they had an opening. 

How do the DAV Recruit Military job fairs support you where you are now? 


Working in higher education is interesting. You can become disconnected from the students and the actual working world. These job fairs help me understand the job market trends as well as what students will need to be competitive once they graduate. I have a better understanding of their background and can better inform policy decisions to increase retention.  

Some of the things I can clarify by attending DAV/RecruitMilitary job fairs include: 

  • My own professional goals.
  • Job market trends.
  • Services students will need in the future.
  • Who is hiring now versus later.
  • Trends with military job seekers. 

Again, it all helps me keep a pulse. These job fairs help me to stay grounded and connected. 

Why should others consider attending a DAV Recruit Military job fair? 


I have a lot of fun going to these job fairs in person and virtually as well. You never know what will develop because of it.  

You may not be job searching right now, but you may be able to connect your friends to different employers. You may build relationships that pay off in the future. You may leave your resume with someone who can’t help you now but may help you down the road.  

It also helps you keep a pulse on things so when you are ready to reenter the workforce you have an idea of what skills employers are looking for and what fields have more jobs than others. 

What advice do you have for a military spouse attending a job fair? 


  • Prepare. The way to put your best foot forward is by preparing. Go over some interview questions, get help with your resume, and complete your RecruitMilitary profile as thoroughly as you possibly can. 
  • Be confident. Show up as your authentic self. Remember that you can do whatever you set your mind to. If you really want to do something you can do it, you might just need to figure out how to market yourself to that end.  
  • Ask for help. There are resources out there to assist you. There are people who get paid to help you figure out how to market yourself.  

Prepare, be confident, and ask for help. That’s the main advice I would give military spouses attending a job fair. 

What skills do military spouses bring to the workplace? 


Most military spouses show up very similarly in the workspace: 

  • We are planners. 
  • We are very organized. 
  • We have the ability to adapt. 

Those are the three main traits I have seen in every military spouse that I have worked with. I think that’s because if you decide to accept the military lifestyle, these things are a necessity to survive.  Otherwise, you’re just not going to be happy. 

What are important things to remember as a military spouse on the job search?  


Communication is big, and it goes both ways. Employers need to communicate the expectations and flexibility of the company upfront, and the military spouse must also be upfront with the employer about tentative plans or changes happening in the future.  

You have skills that employers want and need. Even if you took time away from the workplace, household management is a marketable skill. You just have to find the language to be able to communicate your value to employers. 

Take the next step in your career at an upcoming DAV/RecruitMilitary job fair.