You have just come home from active service and you’re excited about getting a new job. You bought a suit or dress so you would be ready for the next veterans’ job fair. When you hear there is going to be a veterans job fair in your hometown, you can’t wait to attend. The ads for the event say that 35 companies will be hiring that day. Your excited mood stays with you as you get ready for one of your first veteran job fairs.
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It is important to have a game plan before you arrive at the veteran’s job fair. Think back to when you were in the military. You always had a strategic plan then, but now you do not. No one is there to give you guidelines to follow. You need to know how to find your own resources and know your strengths and weaknesses.
You should understand a few important things about veteran’s job fairs. First, remember that every company has a need. Someone who works at each company had to take time from their day to attend. That means they want to use their time wisely.
If you do your research ahead of time, they will be most interested in talking to you. You should have certain goals in mind when you go to a veteran’s job fair. Just wandering around is a waste of your time and the company’s time. The best way to make a company interested in you is to be as efficient as possible.
Here are some important things that you should do when you’re at the veteran job fair:
- Dress as if you’re going to a job interview and want the job.
- If you can’t afford business clothes or a haircut, there are programs to help you such as Veterans Inc.
- If you wear a beard or mustache, make sure it’s neatly trimmed.
- Women should not wear too much make-up.
- Research companies that will be at the veteran job fair before you get there. Be sure to make a list of the ones that interest you.
- Introduce yourself to the company representative. Be sure to maintain eye contact and offer a strong handshake. It’s important to show confidence.
- Be sure to have copies of your resume available and offer them to recruiters.
- Act like a professional. Make sure you have a plan that makes you seem different from everyone else. A lot of veterans don’t think to ask questions. You can stand out by asking questions about the job. Let the person know you have spent time researching their company. You decided to come to the veteran’s job fair because you’re excited about the company.
- Ask for follow-up steps and points of contact
Here are some things to avoid at veteran’s job fairs. We have seen veterans do these things at job fairs. You should avoid them because they don’t work well.
- Don’t ask if the company has open positions. Instead, ask about positions you have already researched and how you can add value.
- Show that you’re interested in the company’s success and not just your own. You should already know what they do and whether they have open positions from your research.
- Most companies will offer a pay range. You can let them know if that will work for you. If not, be prepared to state why your experience might be worth more.
- Don’t wear military shoes or boat shoes. You should choose flat-heeled brown shoes that look polished and professional.
- Be careful not to come across as someone without goals. Don’t wander around without a strategic plan.
- Never approach a company’s table and ask the representative what they do there. This shows that you haven’t spent any time researching the company before the veteran’s job fair. The company is there because they have employment needs. You need to show them that you’re the right person for one of their job openings.
- Remember that you’re at the job fair to talk business. You should avoid giving personal information about yourself. It is better to talk about being a military veteran and the skills and certifications you have. Be direct and to the point without talking too long. Make sure that you keep your presentation positive at all times.
- The most important thing is to stress what you can do for the company. You should not act like you expect anyone to give you a job without earning it. Having that type of attitude is a turn-off to employers.
A veterans’ job fair can be a good chance to find a civilian job. Following these tips can help you be successful and stand out from the crowd.