FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- With resumes in hand, thousands of job seekers made their way out to the 13th annual Fort Rucker Area Job Fair at the Carroll High School Gymnasium in Ozark July 21 for a chance at potential employment opportunities.

Alfred Alexander, Soldier for Life transition services specialist, said that the job fair, which was a joint effort between Army Community Service, Fort Rucker Soldier for Life and the Ozark Chamber of Commerce, was a way for people to be able to familiarize themselves with the different companies at the fair.

For Damien Smith, military veteran, he said the fair was a way for him to branch out and see what other employment opportunities might interest him.

"A lot of times people get stuck in the jobs they're doing and it can get a bit tiresome," he said. "This is just a good way for me to come out and talk to some employers about other avenues I've been interested in, and hopefully it can give me the connections I need to pursue those opportunities.

"Sometimes it can be difficult for veterans to transition to the civilian workforce since we're so specialized in what our jobs were in the military, but this gives us the opportunity to talk with employers and explain to them what we have to offer them," said Smith. "It's a great way to get them to remember you and see you as more than just a name on a stack of papers."

The fair showcased employers from a variety of industries, such as food service, sales, technology and finance, with a wide range of companies for people to get the opportunity to learn about.

Marissa Daniels, civilian from Ozark, said when she heard about the job fair, she jumped at the opportunity to come out to make connections.

"I wanted to get out here because a lot of times it's about the people you know, and it's not easy to make those connections with different companies if you don't already have your foot in the door," she said. "This gives you a chance to meet these people and make a connection with them. When they meet you, you have the chance to make an impression, and I think that makes all the difference."

Daniels, who currently works in the food service industry, attended college and earned her degree in finance, but hasn't been able to secure a job in her field.

"I worked very hard to get my degree and I want to make sure all the time I put in doesn't go to waste, so I take every opportunity I can to get my name out there," she said. "I feel like I made some good connections today and hopefully it will lead to something more for me very soon.

"The job hunt can be tough at times, but when there is something like this job fair, it takes a lot of the work out of having to go through that process," said Daniels. "It's almost like it takes out the middle man and gives you a direct line to the employer, and for that I'm grateful."