Fort Belvoir's Army Career Assistance Program hosted a hiring fair at Barden Education Center June 12 for retiring servicemembers.
The fair gave servicemembers an opportunity to speak face-to-face with any of the 18 employers at fair, in career fields ranging from security, program management and human resources.
"They have the opportunity, during the fair, to interview for open positions in any of the companies they speak with," said Amelia Poling, ACAP Transition Employment Liaison. "Every one of the employers we have here today has (open) positions they are actively hiring for."
Each servicemember received a 15-minute interview with the employer they chose during the registration process. The idea behind the set up for the fair is for servicemembers to actually sit down and speak with a perspective employer, instead of the format at most job fairs that allows for a brief two to three minute conversation.
"Small, focused events likes this one gives seekers and employers more for their time," said Poling. "With most job fairs, a person gets two to three minutes to talk with someone and hands them a resume. There's usually no follow up."
The format was helpful for Sgt. 1st Class Derryc Jarman, Army Military Intelligence Readiness human resources noncommissioned officer. Jarman is retiring Sept. 30 after 21 years in the Army and liked getting first-hand interviewing experience in the civilian world.
"It's very beneficial," said Jarman of the format. "I haven't done a job search in 20 years, so to come see the difference in how you have to approach companies without using military jargon and speak on a civilian level is very beneficial."
Speaking one-on-one with the employers also builds confidence, according to Staff Sgt. Derrick Jones, Protection Service Battalion Criminal Investigative Division special agent.
"One of the main problems being a Soldier is not understanding the civilian job search process," said Jones. "So, to have the chance to come here and speak with employers makes me feel better moving forward with my job search."
Servicemembers have to go through the ACAP process and have an availability date within 90 days of the hiring fair. They must submit a resume to ACAP to be fully considered for the fair.
"Once they've met the criteria, we send out a list of all the participating employers and we request from the job seekers the employers they want to speak with," said Poling.
ACAP hosted the first hiring fair of this kind in April and saw an immediate return. According to Poling, 13 jobs offers were made during the fair and 50 secondary interviews were set up. One person who benefitted from the first fair is Thuy Do, Kihomac system engineer.
Do, who is retiring this year after 21 years in the Navy, was hired by Kihomac after interviewing with them at the previous fair. Do had been searching for a full-time job for several months prior to April's fair.
"This format allows you to exercise the skills servicemembers have to sell themselves," said Do. "I have no doubt that's why I was able to get this job."
Do has only been with Kihomac for a few weeks, but asked to come to the fair after learning Kihomac was coming back so he could share his story with other servicemembers. Do wants retiring servicemembers to understand that the leadership and management skills they acquired in the military will allow them to be successful in the civilian world.
"Our biggest asset is we interact, lead and manage people," said Do. "So, if I can sit down and talk to you I can sell myself better than I can on a piece of paper."
The next hiring fair is in July, and with the success of the first two, Poling is excited to provide servicemembers another opportunity to acquire job seeking skills, interview skills, and maybe even full-time employment.
"The event in July will focus more on IT, Cyber Security and Operations," said Poling. "I'm really looking forward to it."

Page last updated Fri June 21st, 2013 at 14:25