This blog post was written by Mr. Tim McGough, a federal employee on the staff of Commander, Navy Installations Command who transitioned to federal service after retiring from the Marine Corps as a Gunnery Sergeant.
Job Fairs – most of us that have looked for work have been to one or even participated in one if your job (at the time) was a recruiter for the military or a civilian company.
Ok, let me break it down for you. Usually Job Fairs are held in a gymnasium or base club. The room is filled with rows and rows of tables. The tables are covered with nice linen and banners from the various companies attending the job fair. Behind those tables are usually one or two recruiters or Human Relations Officers looking for prospective employees for their company. On top of those tables is literature about great the company is, the company’s benefits packages, etc. Oh don’t forget the tchotckes. You know?! Those things Lance Armstrong wears around his wrist, company pens, pencils, water bottles, coffee mugs and key chains. I think you get the picture.
Now that you know the schedule of the job fair you plan on attending. You figure you fill out a few applications take away some giveaways and wait for the offers to come in. Hang on there “Sea Warrior.” You have to treat these job fairs like you are going to an interview. You can’t show up with nothing in your hand except for you “hopes and dreams.” You have to prepare. You have to have your resume up to date. Did you pick up your suit or dress from the cleaner? Or better yet did you take your suit or dress to the cleaner. You know…your business attire…it has been in your closet since Reagan was in office. Don’t worry I am sure it is still in fashion. I was being sarcastic in case you missed it.
Now that your attire is squared away, how about your resume? Did you think about your “elevator speech?” The “elevator speech” is that speech you give about your professional self from the time it takes an elevator to get from the first floor to the fifth. Think of it as your verbal resume. This is me and this is what I’ve accomplished to be an asset to your company. These recruiters see many people in a short amount of time so you need to have your game on so they remember you after they leave. Remember you have to stand above the crowd to get the job.
Your local Fleet and Family Support Centers (FFSC) sponsor job fairs on base they also get you prepared for them. Job fairs on base are common place nowadays and it is a safe bet that FFSC’s will be hosting more and more job fairs. Your friends at FFSC go a step further and announce job fairs outside the gate well in advance so you can prepare yourself.
Your first step in finding a new job is to visit your base’s FFSC and find out where job fairs are and don’t forget to pick up your laundry.