Veterans, service members preparing to leave the U.S. Armed Forces and many military Family members are looking for a Smooth Takeoff, something that will help them transition into the civilian job sector. One opportunity for a Smooth Takeoff is coming to Nashville from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Jan. 24 at L.P. Field.
“This is a great opportunity to meet face-to-face with veteran-friendly employers including HCA HealthCare [Event Sponsor], The Kroger Co., American Income Life Insurance Co., Military Sealift Command, Lowe’s Companies and many more,” according to the event press release. “There will be national, regional and local job opportunities, as well as entrepreneurial and educational offerings.”
RecruitMilitary Director of Events John Lundberg, a former Marine with more than 20 years of service, explained how the veteran-owned and operated organization tries to help veterans “achieve their dreams.”
“One of the ways we are going to do that is the 67 job fairs we are going to host throughout the country in 2013,” Lundberg said. “We try to do these in various areas and they’re relatively close to large installations such as ... Fort Campbell.”
“This event is free for all military members, military veterans and their Family members,” Lundberg added.
“We suggest [you] show up like you’re going to be in an interview. And make sure you have plenty of resumes on hand to be able to distribute.”
He explained they average 400 to 600 veterans and their Family members at these events, which are only open to the military community. He also explained that while many think to come at the beginning of the event thinking there may be less people, that is typically not the case.
“We always get an enormous influx of people that come in at the very beginning and sometimes they get a little discouraged because maybe there are vendors they want to see and there are a lot of people there so they really don’t want to wait in line,” he said. “If you can come a little bit later in the day, do so because it will be thinned out a little bit and that way there will be a little bit better flow and easier access to the vendors.”
Lundberg explained many opportunities like this weren’t available when he retired from the military in 1999. He explained that was why the company was formed, to help ensure veterans and their Families are provided with opportunities to have a Smooth Takeoff into the civilian workforce.
“It was kind of a daunting process in the beginning because you’re kind of starting all over again,” he said. “You’ve been removed from the civilian sector for a number of years, whether it be as little as four or as many as 24. Starting all over again and knowing where to go can be a scary thing. We have a really good understanding of what people face, some of the challenges they face when they’re getting ready to get out.”
Lundberg recommends service members looking to get out start as early as a year out researching and looking into various job opportunities.
“That way they get a sense of what’s going to be in front of them,” he said. “It’s not really easy. It takes work … but it’s the process that takes time … It can be a long, drawn out process and the quicker people get into that process and they understand what it is, the more success they are going to have when they get out and they won’t feel like they are desperate to just find something.”
Lundberg encourages anyone with the opportunity to attend the event to preregister at www.recruitmilitary.com and wants everyone to know the organizations who attend these events are looking to hire them.
“They’re there to see you,” he said. “[Employers] see the type of individuals that these folks are and they recognize right away, ‘Oh my goodness, these are great people!’ [Veterans, service members and their Families] are folks that have an incredible work ethic; they understand what it is to get a job done and in a timely manner – we call that mission accomplishment – and [they] do it with less than desirable resources … and they do it under some really critical conditions.”
He also stated anyone attending the event just needs to be prepared: dress as if you’re going to be interviewed, bring about 50 resumes because there are no facilities on site to print and just to have a good attitude.
“We only come to Nashville twice a year, and we want to help as many people as we possibly can,” he said.
Fort Campbell’s Army Career and Alumni Program office also offers opportunities to help service members and their Families look for civilian employment. You can find more information about ACAP by calling (270) 798-5000 or online at http://www.campbell.army.mil/campbell/directorates/DHR/Pages/ACAP.aspx, www.facebook.com/FortCampbellACAP or www.acap.army.mil.