Companies have a clear, simple message for service members transitioning out of the military: We want YOU.
Its just the message the folks at the Army Career & Alumni Program want for the 2013 Career Days starting at 10 a.m., Oct. 24, at the National Guard Readiness Center.
All the people coming represent jobs they have to offer, said Vicki Duffy, deputy transition services manager for Joint Base Lewis-McChord. This isnt just a random pool of people.
The companies of those representatives pay to get into this career fair, Duffy said, so they can get in front of service members.
The list includes national companies such as Chevron, General Dynamics Land Systems and Northrop Grumman. State agencies range from the Health Care Authority and the Department of Revenue to the Washington State Patrol. Local companies also will be there, Duffy said.
What wont be there are schools and service agencies who arent hiring, Duffy said. Surveys taken from Soldiers after past Career Days events consistently stated schools and service agencies didnt have jobs to offer, so ACAP invited far fewer this time around.
Not that youre guaranteed a job just for walking in, Duffy said.
Work your nets
Though some companies will be interviewing that day, including Chevron, generally the event is a networking one.
Career Day is the start of the process, she said, not where you get a job.
That means several things, including following up with any and all contacts made, said Robin Baker, transition services manager at ACAP. Its a principal complaint among surveyed companies service members present well, interview well, but fail to keep in touch.
The employers are reaching out, Duffy said. They expect, when they reach out to a veteran, that theyll follow up.
That follow-up strategy can vary, Baker said. Resumes, applications, emails all are included. Even sending a note saying you reconsidered your interest in a company is a good courtesy to extend.
You never know what the litmus test is for a recruiter, Baker said.
Serve yourself up
Presentation is crucial, Duffy and Baker said. Business casual is the minimum clothing standard for the event, and there are several ways service members can reach that standard.
Wear your ACU/ABU. The uniform is considered business casual.
Wear civilian clothes a collared shirt and slacks for men; a blouse with slacks or skirt for women. Wear a full business suit.
Not everyone has a suit, Duffy said, and for them, theres the Suit Closet program. Anyone who is transitioning out of the military within six months can go to the Warrior Transition Battalion Oct. 23, Building 9058, Rm. 1109 to pick up a suit to wear to the event.
Baker said the new suits were donated by mens and womens suit manufacturers. All are in good condition in modern styles.
Veteran of the working world
Also critical is playing up your service, Duffy said. Several employers have entire departments searching only for veterans, trying to fill Equal Employment Opportunity quotas.
What your particular military occupation code is doesnt always matter, either. Some companies might only want people trained in information technology, but others especially big ones have jobs across the entire spectrum.
Duffy said soft skills, such as being able to follow orders, supervise employees, speak in public, meet deadlines and be punctual, are huge with companies.
Employers are stating that theyre really having a hard time with the current generation coming out of high school and college, Duffy said. They dont have the ability to lead, and they dont have the ability to follow.
Those are skills that every service member gets from basic training.
Who will be there
Amazon, Airstreams Renewables, Center for Advanced Manufacturing Puget Sound, CenturyLink, Chevron, Comcast, Defense Support Services, EMC Corp., G4S, Mastec Network Solutions, Microsoft, NASCAR, Northrop Grumman, Schneider National, Securitas, Sleep Country USA, Starbucks, ThyssenKrupp AG, United States Seafoods, Weyerhaeuser, Xerox
U.S. Department of Financial Institutions, U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs, Oregon State Police, Kent Police Dept., King County Sheriffs Office, Port of Seattle, Seattle City Light, Intercity Transit, South Sound 911
Aerospace Training/Research Center; Health Care Authority; Lottery; State Patrol; and the departments of Corrections, Social and Health Services, Veterans Affairs, Natural Resources, Military, Enterprise Services, Health and Revenue
Clover Park School District, Dignity Memorial, Ecolab, Farmers District 10, Franciscan Health System, MultiCare Health System, Pacific Medical Center, Puget Sound Energy, Reddaway, Republic Services, Snoqualmie Casino, Tacoma Goodwill
How to get ready
Go to goo.gl/ZyvDwr to register and upload your resume.
Sign up for the Oct. 23 prepatory workshops, including interviewing and resume-building.
Call 253-967-3713 for the Suit Closet.
Go to www.facebook.com/JBLM.ACAP for quick video tips on how to get the most out of Career Days, including how to sign up for resume-building and interview classes.