Service members, veterans and military dependents attend a hiring fair as part of the Hawaii Transition Summit July 9, 2015 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal)

Navigating a job fair as a military spouse

Caitlin M. Kenney
March 12, 2018 - 12:33 pm

Job Fairs can be intimidating and overwhelming, both for first timers and seasoned professionals. Aside from the obvious expectations for the event, such as wearing business professional clothing and bringing copies of your resume, here are a few tips for navigating a job fair as a military or veteran spouse:

Research which employers will be attending that interest to you. This will allow you to plan your day by prioritizing whose booth you will visit first, and help you estimate the number of resumes to bring.

Be confident in your pitch and demeanor with the recruiter. You want to come across as someone prepared to take the next step in their career with that company, not self-conscious about your work experiences because of the military lifestyle.

Regarding your work experience, don’t fret. For those gap years or volunteering experiences that you may have on your resume, make sure you highlight what you those experiences can bring to their company.

For example, if you were unemployed due to taking care of young children and you are asked about the gap in your resume, you could say something like “I am a worker who can prioritize responsibilities, and during that time it was my family. I am excited to bring that same sense of dedication to a position at your company.”

Bring business cards in case you run out of resumes and for networking with other attendees. They can be a simple format with your name, phone number and email to contact you.

As for a business card from a recruiter, you should write on it the highlights of what you both discussed so when you send a follow email, those notes will help jog his or her memory. This can also work if you have a notepad with you. This is key to a successful follow up because the recruiter will be meeting with potentially hundreds of people at the job fair and you want to stand out.

Pro-tip: Bring a small water bottle and some lozenges because you will probably be speaking with a dozen people to get that next job.