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Recruiters talk to job applicants at the Hiring Our Heroes Job Fair held Sept. 8 at The Clubs at Quantico. The fair was held so companies could tap into the pool of service members, veterans and spouses.

Photo by Valerie O'Berry

Hiring Our Heroes job fair provides insight into what employers are looking for in candidates

15 Sep 2016 | Valerie O’Berry Marine Corps Base Quantico

Do you send out resume after resume with little to no response? Most people do. But, if you know what employers are looking for in a military resume you might just get an edge over other applicants.

Private companies alongside government agencies participated in the recent Hiring Our Heroes job fair held at The Clubs at Quantico for those transitioning out of the military and veterans. The event was sponsored by the USO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Also connected to the event was a transition summit that featured informative and interactive panel events, recruiter training and facilitated discussions focused on improving competitive employment for service members, veterans and military spouses.

Private sector employers were definitely looking for a few good men and women to fill their open job positions, and a variety of employment opportunities were available -- everything from bank tellers to scientists needed to research the Zika virus.. Many of the company recruiters at the job fair were specifically work on a daily basis to hire military members, veterans and spouses. They recently shared their insights about why military members and veterans are so attractive to them as employees.

Overall, recruiters said that many of the qualities employers are looking for are inherent in military members. Kelly Freeman, a recruiter with ABT Associates, a research-based contracting company, said that military members and veterans “embody the same values their company holds.”

Taylor Sias, talent acquisition coordinator with Bozzuto (a real estate development company) agrees with Freeman and said that military members and veterans hold a lot of the qualities her company is looking for too. For example, military members and veterans have leadership attributes, they are reliable, dependable, very flexible and you can “Always count on them to go above and beyond. I think everyone is looking for this in an ideal candidate,” she said. Her company was recruiting at the job fair for sales and marketing positions; management; accounting; and even project engineers, to name a few.

PNC Bank has a recruiter whose job it is to hire military members and veterans. Mark Yackel, who was also at the job fair said he is in charge of military recruiting for the Washington, D.C. area. “Our job is to help the individual find out if PNC is right for them,” Yackel said. “We explain to them how the skills they obtained in the military apply to the public sector. Reading a job description we may put out is sometimes like reading a foreign language.” He went on to say that when management gets a resume from a former military member his job is to decipher it for management and even train them in what to look for. “We are able to look at it differently. For example, one thing I look for is problem -solving ability. If you have been dropped into the desert in Afghanistan, that’s a real problem. If they can handle that problem they can handle our problems,” Yackel said.

He also said that there are many positions military members can seek, everything from a teller to cyber security, for example. Yackel emphasized that the leadership one learns in the military as well as achieving outcomes are some other qualities he is looking for in an employee. The one key point that Yackel brought up is that military members are loyal. “On others we spend six months training them, then they walk out the door. We end up spending a lot of money training people who don’t want to stick with it. You don’t find that in the military,” Yackel said.

Those recruiting in the police field were also out in force at the job fair, with at least three departments looking for candidates. The Arlington Virginia Police Department Representative Sgt. A. Cromer, said that she likes the life experience gained in the military and it is the key to why her organization likes to hire veterans. “They are self-starters and they have initiative and discipline,” she said. The police department’s motto is duty, honor and commitment, and Cromer definitely sees this in military members and veterans.

“It’s an easy choice,” said Cromer. She added that the Arlington Police Department requires two years of college for its employees, but two years of active duty military service is equal to that in their department. “The life lessons they have learned in the military are priceless,” she said.

Hiring Our Heroes has a list of upcoming job fairs in Virginia and all over the United States.

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