Candidates Put Best Foot Forward During Military Spouse Career and Resource Fair

By CourtesyMay 7, 2024

By Melanie Tucker, ACS Employment Readiness Program Manager

The job search process can sometimes feel like a full-time job all on its own. It can become a frustrating experience for those looking to find employment. Generally, job applicants rely on their resume to pave the way for an opportunity to meet with an employer in person, leaving many job seekers with several degrees of separation from meeting face-to-face with potential employers. Many job seekers feel it would be much easier to land a job if they could just speak directly with a hiring manager. Regardless of where they are in the job search, career fairs are a great way for candidates to connect directly with hiring managers without relying solely on their resume to get the chance!

Lucky for current job seekers, the ACS Employment Readiness Program and NC4ME are hosting a Military Spouse Career and Resource Fair on Wednesday, May 22, from 9 am – 2 pm at the Soldier and Family Readiness Group Center on post. This event is designed specifically for military spouses, allowing them the opportunity to meet with employers looking to hire from the military community, and learn more about education and training resources available to them.

When attending a job or career and resource fair, candidates are encouraged to arrive prepared to put their best food forward to maximize their networking and job seeking capabilities. Here are a couple of tips to help candidates make the most of the event:

Schedule a workshop or resume review ahead of time. ACS Employment Readiness professionals specialize in private and federal employment - and are a great resource leading up to and during the job search process. The employment workshops cover various topics essential for an effective job search. For more individual assistance, one-on-one appointments allow ERP specialists to provide tips specific to each candidate on how to write or improve their current resume drafts.

Prepare an elevator pitch. Candidates should prepare to meet and introduce themselves to employers. An elevator pitch is a 30-60-second introduction that should include relevant skills, education, training, industries of interest, and goals for the future. The elevator pitch is a great opportunity to provide insights as to current employment as well, so it’s a good idea to include current job titles, such as “educator”, “project manager”, or “volunteer” as well.

Network with every employer present. Candidates may have experience in one field and plan to speak only with companies within that arena. Still most businesses employ numerous positions beyond just their field of focus. Individuals with skill sets of all kinds can work in industries of all kinds, even outside their scope of experience. Individuals with teaching experience could transition well into roles supporting the military community; hospitals not only seek medical professionals but need marketing, billing, and information technology professionals; and a local college may hire human resources experts. Be open to speaking with all employers - they might have the ideal vacancy available.

Bring several resume copies. Before attending a career and resource fair, job seekers should review and update their resumes and bring several copies to the event. Ten is a good number, but how many a candidate should bring depends on how many employers they meet throughout the fair. Investing in resume paper for a high-quality, polished product is advisable. Reminder: keep resumes at one to two pages (and five maximum for federal resumes)!

Collect business cards and follow-up with employers. Collect business cards and resources from employers, especially if they cannot leave a resume with that employer. Send a follow-up email to the employer within a couple weeks after the fair, thanking them for the opportunity to meet and reiterating their interest in the company. It is also a good opportunity to request a status update on the vacancy or any applications submitted.

Every military spouse who is or might be looking for employment this year would benefit from the event, which is open to all military spouses – active duty and retired. Employers from various industries and education and training resources will be present to help fast-track employment possibilities. Attendees will not only have the opportunity to get face-time with employers, but they can get a free, professional headshot taken during the event to use for their professional online profiles, get personalized resume reviews, and some employers will offer on-the-spot interviews!

The Soldier and Family Readiness Group Center is located at 236 Interceptor Road, Fort Liberty, NC 28308. Pre-registration is available, and attendees can also register at the door. To pre-register, interested spouses can contact the ACS Employment Readiness Program at 910.396.2390 or 910.907.3421.