How to Work a RecruitMilitary Opportunity Expo for Maximum Success |
By Robert Walker | vice president of sales at RecruitMilitary and a veteran of the United States Army |
Published in the July/August 2013 issue of print Search & Employ® |
There are opportunities all over the room at RecruitMilitary Opportunity Expos—job opportunities with employers, opportunities to go into business for yourself with franchisors who value your ability to get the job done, and opportunities to advance your education via online and on-campus learning.
How do you find the opportunities that are best for you? Below are some tips on interviewing with recruiters at a military-to-civilian opportunity expo.
Stay enthusiastic if a recruiter asks you to e-mail your resume to his/her company. The recruiter will not be brushing you off. In fact, being asked for the e-mail will be a good sign. Many companies require their recruiters to gather resumes by e-mail: (1) to obtain HR information required by law; and (2) so they can direct desirable job seekers to different departments.
Asking for a resume to be e-mailed also acts as a test of a job seeker’s interest in the specific opportunity. So tell the recruiter that you will comply – then do it.
Try to get to all of the booths, even those that may not seem as if they have any opportunities for you. An employer’s name or its primary industry does not necessarily indicate what openings the company is trying to fill. For example, a drugstore chain may be recruiting for positions in transportation/distribution or accounting.
Even if you are not going to the event to discuss continuing your education, talk with the recruiters at the booths for educational institutions. Today’s institutions deliver learning opportunities in many ways other than traditional, full-time, daytime classes on a campus. A few minutes of conversation may lead to an unexpected continuing-education solution that is right for you.
Another factor to consider: Most of the educational institutions at our events are always on the lookout for people to go to work for them. If you have a high level of knowledge on almost any subject and you think you might have a talent for teaching and/or designing courses, talk with the recruiters.
I would have similar advice for job seekers who have not been thinking of going into business for themselves. Franchise opportunities are available in a tremendous variety of fields. Arranging for financing may be easier than you think, with surprising discounts available to veterans. Stop by the franchisors’ booths—one of them may very well have a plan that matches your interests and your situation.
Memorize your story. Before you go to employers’ booths, create some talking points. Put together a 30-to-60-second “story” about yourself that includes some of your successes and areas of interest. Be ready to discuss how your military experience relates to the civilian workplace. You should also prepare yourself for a long, detailed interview—employers have hired people on the spot at our career fairs.
The three E’s. Be energetic, enthusiastic, and engaged at all times. Recruiters talk with job seekers all day. Job seekers who stand out are not only qualified, but also have a high likeability factor.
Ask questions. Turn an interview with an employer into a “two-way street,” by asking plenty of questions. Some examples:
- What are the responsibilities of the job?
- To whom would I report?
- What are the opportunities for advancement from this position?
- What kind of person does your company need for this job?
- What short-term and long-term challenges should one expect in this position?
- What are the short-term and long-term objectives of your company?
Who will be there?
The overall scene. Your first stop at a RecruitMilitary Opportunity Expo will be a registration desk where you will fill out a brief form and receive a list of the organizations—called “exhibitors”—that have booths at the event. You will also get a copy of Search & Employ.
When you enter the actual Opportunity Expo area, you will see many closely spaced exhibitor “booths”—tables and various displays. At the booths, recruiters who represent the exhibitors will talk with you.
Who will be the exhibitors? A wide variety of exhibitors attend our events—corporate employers, law-enforcement agencies and other government employers, franchisors, and both campus-based and online educational institutions.
The corporate employers are engaged in defense contracting, energy production, manufacturing, security, transportation, engineering, health care, finance, insurance, information technology, retail, and home services, to name just a few industries. Their recruiters interview for all kinds of jobs: salaried, hourly, and part-time; professional and technical.
Although the exhibitors work in many different industries, all of them share one characteristic: an eagerness to recruit men and women who have military backgrounds. So step right up and present yourself!
Do I Have to Pre-Register?
No, but I recommend that you do so – for three reasons:
1. HELP YOUR BUDDIES. Pre-registering prevents the lines at our registration desk from building up, especially during the early hours of the events.
2. HELP US. Pre-registering helps us evaluate the effectiveness of our event marketing – which, in turn, helps us boost the turnout of veteran job seekers – which, in turn, makes our events more attractive to employers – which means more job openings to discuss at the events.
3. HELP YOURSELF. When you pre-register, you immediately join our database of 500,000+ veteran job seekers, which is continually being searched by employers.
To pre-register, go to www.recruitmilitary.com and use the “Upcoming Job Fairs” map to select a city. Clicking on that city will take you to a registration page for the next event there.