Most Popular Careers Articles

Military Life 101

  • job fair
    Military Spouse Employment 101
    Military.com
    While the military will always throw a monkey wrench in any best-laid plans, your career doesn't have to be one of them.
  • (Photo: U.S. Department of Education)
    Military Spouse Education Help 101
    Military.com
    Good news for you: Being a military spouse can actually make some parts of going back to school easier.
  • (Photo: U.S. Navy)
    Military Life 101
    Military.com
    Military life has a lot of nuts and bolts. You know, the little things that make up just an ordinary day.
  • stack of one dollar bills
    Military Spouse and Family Benefits 101
    Military.com
    Don't know exactly how to get your military spouse and family benefits or want to know more about what they are? Read on.
  • Movers at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, load up a truck with household goods. Jose Ramirez/Air Force
    Military Spouse and Family Moves 101
    Military.com
    Whether you're an old pro or new to the military moving game, there's stuff to learn about PCSing. Here's our easy PCS 101 guide.
  • (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Sullivan Laramie)
    Military Family Deployment 101
    Military.com
    Preparing for deployment can seem like an uphill battle. But we've been there. Here's what you need to know.
  • Military family
    Military Family Life 101
    Military.com
    Military life is not easy, but we've got your back. From marriage to kids and parenting, we have the resources you need.

Are Job Fairs More Like Clubbing Than Speed Dating?

Somehow I pictured the Hiring Our Heroes job fair for military spouses in Washington DC last week as the career equivalent of speed dating. I imagined employers seated at little tables with a candle and a flower. I imagined military spouse job seekers in little black suits going from table to table on mini-interviews. I imagined someone reading my resume and realizing I was The One.

Clearly, my imagination was way out of control.

Because the reality was that the job fair -- one of 20 to be held for military spouses this year alone-- was a whole lot more like clubbing than focused speed dating. The organizers had done an awesome job of setting up the space with employers at booths and mini-classrooms around the edges and child care clearly marked and staffed with workers in bright gold t-shirts.

 But to the uninitiated, the space was as crowded and overwhelming as a club can be. Even though staff members were poised right at the entrance to help navigate the event, it took me a little while to figure out what I was doing. I scanned tables. I had someone look at my resume. I stood in line and chatted with the other participants as the recruiter from SAIC took our resumes and placed them facedown on a table with a stack of other resumes.

"I swear I left there feeling old and tired and unemployable and that no one would ever want me!" I exclaimed to my girlfriend the next day.

"So it was exactly like you going to a club," she said dryly.

"Without the leather miniskirt," I said.

"So why go?" My friend asked. "I was going to go to the one in San Diego but I'm not that good at talking to strangers anyway and I don't know how it would help me. So why go?"

Great question. I say you go for the same reasons you might choose to go to a club even though the chance of meeting your true love there is kinda low. You go because of everything else that is available in the space. Just like in a club you can find friends and music and dancing and bright lights and drinks with tiny umbrellas, at a job fair you find all kinds of worthwhile extras. The lady who looked at my resume gave me tips that made me feel a lot better when I sent it out to other employers the next day. I found a new program that helps military spouse entrepreneurs develop a business plan for free which might really work for me. I signed up for the Military Spouse Business Association because those ladies are really rooting for military spouses.

Granted, I did not find my One True Job at that job fair. But some people did. Some of us left that job fair the way some people leave a club -- with The One. The rest of us left with a couple of phone numbers, a website, a scrap of hope left in resume-form. When you are walking away from a job fair -- when you are tired and your feet hurt and you are discouraged--that doesn't seem like a lot to get a job on. But lots of the time, it is.

Sound Off...What do you think? Join the discussion...

Military News App by Military.com

Download the new Military.com News App for Android on Google Play or for Apple devices on iTunes!

Contributor

Jacey Eckhart is the former Director of Spouse and Family Programs at Military.com and a military sociologist.  Since 1996, Eckhart’s take on military families has been featured in her syndicated column, her book The Homefront Club, and her award winning CDs These Boots and I Married a Spartan??

Most recently she has been featured as a military family subject matter expert on NBC Dateline, CBS morning news, CNN, NPR and the New York Times.  Eckhart is an Air Force brat, a Navy wife and an Army mom.  

© 2016 Military Advantage