Despite emerging technology and education, veteran unemployment and outreach remains a challenge for employers. Tools such as military skills translators are helping bridge some of the gaps, but there is definitely no silver bullet in the equation. However, companies and veterans can supplement their efforts with virtual and in-person career fairs. Participating in career fairs provides the opportunity for companies to connect on a more personal level with veterans and assess what opportunities would be a good match for their backgrounds.
Veterans, on the other hand, can take advantage of the interaction to better articulate their strengths, without being confined to their military job title or code. Other benefits include:
- Participating in onsite interviews
- Interacting and networking with other veterans
- Obtaining resume and interviewing advice
- Introducing and marketing yourself one-on-one
DirectEmployers Association started hosting virtual veteran career fairs this year. “We went from 18 employers to 22 employers for the second event, and the feedback from our Member companies has been wonderful,” stated Simone Murray, Vice President of Member Services. There are more virtual career fairs in the works that will be announced later this year.
Veterans who prefer in-person career fairs should consider attending DirectEmployers Association’s first Veterans Connect Career Fair, Monday, October 21, 2013 at Loews Coronado Bay Resort in San Diego. Details and registration are posted on the Veterans Connect website.
Another source for finding hiring events is Hiring Our Heroes, a program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. This nationwide initiative has hosted over 400 hiring fairs in all 50 states. According to their website, through December 31, 2012, the effort has helped over 18,400 veterans and military spouses obtain jobs. To view upcoming in-person events, visit the Upcoming Hiring Fairs section of the Hiring Our Heroes website.
To help prepare for your next career fair, Member companies CINTAS and J.B. Hunt helped us create short video tips to help, including how to use your resume to showcase your skills and how to transition your military skills into civilian skills. You can also find tips specific to a virtual career fair in a Help Wanted blog post from March.
We want to hear from you. Are you an employer or veteran? What has been your experience with either virtual or in-person events? What advice would you share?