MANCHESTER - 24th July | LONDON - 31st October
An civilian talking to soldiers at Catterick.

Is a veterans career fair for you?

What’s more, the companies and organisations in attendance at a veterans career fair all offer opportunities that are particularly well suited to service leavers. That means veterans don’t need to trawl through stalls to find those that are most relevant for them.

What is a veterans career fair?

If you’re new to the job hunt or wondering exactly what is a veterans career fair, then the answer is it’s a designated space where relevant businesses can come together with those leaving the armed forces. These are companies keen to recruit military leavers, because they understand the value of veterans.

What are the key features of a veterans career fair?

The main feature of a veterans career fair is the wide range of booths and stands, which allow a potential candidate to easily navigate the space and identify organisations they’d like to interact with. While the biggest focus is on employers with an interest in hiring former service personnel, there may be other relevant parties there too, such as recruiters and training academy representatives.

Breakout spaces away from the main job centre arena can be a useful opportunity to network and review what you’ve learned. Chatting to a fellow service leaver or even a representative from a stand in a more informal setting can be a good way to find out more about your options and the experiences of others after a life in the forces.

What companies participate in veterans career fairs?

While veterans career fairs differ from regular jobs fairs by only being open to service leavers, the criteria for companies to attend is fairly wide. All employers that have potential openings for those leaving the Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force and the Merchant Navy are encouraged to participate.

What resources are available at veterans career fairs?

On top of offering the chance to make connections and ask questions, job fairs allow you to take various resources away with you too. They include information about specific companies or roles; the contact details for recruiters and HR teams; training prospectuses; and guidance on where to find more advice and support.

How can veterans benefit from attending a career fair?

Former military personnel could gain some insight into potential careers by attending a generic career fair or virtual job fair, but nothing compares to a specialist in-person event for veterans. They’re tailormade to give service leavers the most relevant advice possible and filled with companies looking to hire those from the military with transferable skills.

What are the advantages of attending a veterans career fair?

As well as employment opportunities, there are myriad reasons why a veterans career fair can be beneficial to a service leaver. These include:

  • Networking with other veterans
  • Better understanding of your transferable skills
  • Obtaining interview advice
  • Face-to-face interactions with employers
  • Comparing offerings from different companies
  • Connecting with recruiters
  • Researching training opportunities
  • What are the goals of a veterans career fair?

The specific goal of attending a veterans career fair will be different for each individual. One of the defining features is likely to be where you are at in your post-military job search. It may be that you’ve left the armed forces fairly recently and are looking for information. Alternatively, you could be at the point of being ready to connect with organisations you’d like to work for.

What types of jobs are available at veterans career fairs?

You’d be surprised how many industries are keen to recruit from the military due to the relevance of the skills veterans have obtained. Among those with the greatest demand are security, logistics, transport, IT and engineering, but they’re not the only roles available at veterans job fairs, with areas like communication and renewable energy also represented.

The army may have given you experience in areas like construction or medicine, while being in the navy might make offshore work in the oil or gas industry a suitable prospect. Attending a veterans career fair is a useful chance to explore the possibilities and even get suggestions you may not have considered before.

How can veterans prepare to attend a career fair?

To get the most out of a veterans career fair, a job seeker should think a little bit in advance about how to prepare. Not only are you looking to gather information from participating employers but you also want to show yourself as a worthy candidate, especially if you find the perfect role for you.

What are the tips for veterans to make a good impression at career fairs?

Preparing for a veterans job fair should not be a stressful process, and should help you to feel calm and in control as soon as you walk in the room. If this is the first time you’ve attended such an event, it’s worth having a little bit of insight into the best practices and prep other service leavers are likely to have done.

Some career fair tips include:

  • Dress smartly to give off a sense of professionalism
  • Wear comfortable shoes as you’re likely to be on your feet for a long time
  • Print out copies of your CV to had to companies or recruiters
  • Research the companies that will be in attendance
  • Prepare your elevator pitch so you don’t find yourself rambling
  • Think of appropriate questions to ask

What are the key skills veterans should highlight at career fairs?

It’s worth remembering that while a careers fair is a good place to network, it’s not an interview. Having worthwhile conversations and dropping in a few of your skills obtained in the military is a strong strategy, but don’t try and sell yourself to be handed a job there and then. Instead, mention the transferable skills you think would be relevant in passing.

You can then refer back to these conversations and the insight gained if you interview for such a role in the future. Veterans career fairs are part of the process of finding a new job and those who attend will be better placed to apply for roles having spoken to representatives from the sector.
How can veterans network at a career fair?

Networking comes in many shapes and forms, from approaching businesses with prepared questions to chatting with someone in the coffee queue. Make yourself as open and approachable as possible, refrain from looking at your phone and don’t assume you know who may end up being a useful contact in the long run.
What are the best ways for veterans to follow up after a career fair?

The most successful veteran candidates are those who follow up after an event. This could be through LinkedIn or an email, asking additional questions or simply sending a courtesy message to say how useful you found the fair. This simple task is an effective way to differentiate yourself from the many faces a company representative or recruiter saw at the veterans career fair.

Photo credits

© Crown copyright

Pexels / Christina Morillo

Unsplash / Andrea Natali