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Spotlight: MOAA Virtual Career Fair

U.S. Army Reserve soldiers attending attend a job fair at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in July 2014. (C. Terrell Turner/U.S. Army)
U.S. Army Reserve soldiers attending attend a job fair at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in July 2014. (C. Terrell Turner/U.S. Army)

For a full calendar of career fairs around the country, visit Military.com's Career Fair page.

How many of you enjoy career fairs?  What, not every hand up in the group is up?  What makes career fairs so agonizing?  Well, career fairs are actually a powerful tool in your transition toolbox.  You probably won't walk out with a job, but they do offer a great way to meet HR professionals and recruiters and a chance to network and practice selling your skills and abilities to perspective employers.  So how do your reduce the pain, dread and "meat market" feel of a career fair? Go virtual!

You don't even need to leave the comforts of your home. Virtual career fairs maximize the chance to meet with target companies without the claustrophobic and impersonal feel of a live career fair.  Moreover, they allow you to maximize your interactions with companies with minimal expense of time and money.   And guess what, recruiters and HR professional like virtual job fairs too, thanks to the time and money saved as they interview prospective employees from their office.  What's not to love?

MOAA and Corporate Gray host free virtual career fairs for veterans quarterly.  Our next event is Wednesday, February 25th, 2015 from 12:00 to 4:00 pm EST.  Here are a few tips to get you ready: 

  • Register online and save to your calendar.  This is quick and easy to do.  Go to www.moaa.org/careerfair to register.  Add it to your calendar to protect this time.
  • Research companies of interest.  We typically have 35 to 40 companies attend.  Most are large companies that are hiring veterans for nationwide opportunities.  That means you can be in Boise or Bahrain and chat with a company in Baltimore.  Pretty cool!  
  • Upload a photo.  Photos matter as they begin to convey your brand and how people see you professionally.  You don't need to buy a professional photo, but you should wear business attire.  And don't forget to smile!
  • Upload a resume.  An easy to read one to two page resume is best to create a word picture about the skills and abilities you offer.  Whitespace is your friend.  It allows you to focus a reader (who is just skimming) on the value you offer.  Use key words, large font and emphasize measurable accomplishment like dollars saved, processes improved and efficiencies gained.  Remember that every entry on your resume invites a question.  Countless employees have lost their jobs due to resume embellishment and outright distortion of the facts.      
  • Be in two places at once.  The great thing about virtual career fairs that you can be in multiple lines simultaneously while waiting to chat with recruiters.  While you wait, stop into the MOAA resume review booth for a quick review.  If you are a MOAA member, no need to wait.  Send your resume to tops@moaa.org now and we'll review your resume and LinkedIn profile.
  • Prepare to chat!  You'll have to type your responses to recruiters' questions, so loosen up those fingers.  Recruiter interactions are eight to ten minutes long.  You'll need to type fast and quickly get to the point.  Keep your answers short and concise. 
  • Watch movies to "Get your mind right"!  Remember Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke?  You don't want to have a "failure to communicate" and a virtual career fair doesn't have to be a hot box to "get your mind right".  It can be more like watching Owen Wilson in "The Interns" where you move one stop closer to your dream job.  Attitude matters so stay positive and go for it!

Virtual career fairs are an excellent venue to accelerate your career transition from uniformed service to civilian career success.  Join MOAA and Corporate Gray for our next virtual career fair on Wednesday, February 25th.

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