John Lundberg may not turn cartwheels, but he’s every bit a cheerleader and motivator when it comes to helping veterans find employment. He’s also the busiest guy in the room at a RecruitMilitary Veteran Opportunity Expo.
Lundberg, a former gunnery sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, is RecruitMilitary’s director of events. He schedules RecruitMilitary Expos across the country, and travels to about half of them. As a traveler, he makes sure that the events run smoothly for both the companies and the veterans who attend them.
RecruitMilitary Veteran Opportunity Expos are career fairs that are enhanced to include franchisors and educational institutions. The events are free to men and women who are transitioning from active duty to civilian life, veterans who already have civilian work experience, members of the National Guard and reserves, and military spouses. RecruitMilitary has been producing Expos since 2006.
An important part of Lundberg’s job is to kick off each event with a motivational speech to the veteran candidates. His goals: Get the candidates excited about visiting all of the booths, and boost their confidence. After years of running career fairs, Lundberg has amassed an array of veteran success stories that prove his theory that interacting with every company in attendance leads to finding a job.
As the veterans gather around the venue entrance before the doors open, Lundberg addresses the group. Typically, he begins with, “Look, you’ve taken the time to come here today, now here’s how to make the most of it.” He advises candidates to speak with every exhibitor, and not to make assumptions about what a company does or the types of positions it may be seeking to fill.
“We strive to put together a great lineup of candidates and a great lineup of companies,” he said. “Beyond that, the connections they make are up to them. We can’t tell companies whom to hire or force veterans to visit each booth, so I try to encourage the candidates by sharing stories. We want them to be successful.”
Lundberg also urges veterans to think beyond the skill sets in which they have been trained, and focus on the many intangible qualities that develop with military experience. “If you were an MP, for example, don’t just pigeonhole yourself and think you can only get a job in law enforcement or security,” he said. “Think of what you did in the military. Most likely, you were in charge of personnel and in charge of equipment. That makes you a leader. Employers are looking for leaders. But the only way you’ll find out is to go talk to them.”
What if a candidate misses Lundberg’s opening remarks? RecruitMilitary has a Plan B: Every candidate receives a booklet listing the exhibitors at the event, and on the back cover is a summary titled “Making the Most of Today’s Event.”
For more advice on how veterans can work a RecruitMilitary job fair with success, click here.