By LINDSEY MONGER, Army Test and Evaluation Command
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – The U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command’s, or ATEC, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, or HHC, held its monthly Soldier For Life, or SFL, lunch box session Aug. 23 at ATEC headquarters to discuss lessons learned attending job fairs.
In support of the Army’s SFL program, ATEC’s HHC Commander, Capt. Michael S. Lee, started ATEC’s SFL program to prepare and give Soldiers the tools they need to successfully transition to civilian life after their military career ends. To help facilitate this, he relies on the large network of military retirees at ATEC who volunteer to discuss lessons learned with Soldiers who are either transitioning or retiring from the Army.
According to Lee, one of the lessons he learned from job fairs was the importance of developing an elevator speech before speaking with potential employers.
“The purpose of the elevator speech is to prepare someone for job interviews and job fairs,” Lee said. He went on to explain that a carefully crafted 30-second elevator speech provides employers with information about you and the qualifications you possess that make you an ideal candidate.
Lee said that during his last job fair he decided to test how effective elevator speeches were or were not. “Last time I went to a job fair, I intentionally didn’t prepare an elevator speech just to see if I could strike up a conversation with an employer and talk myself up without one,” Lee said. “It was hard and I failed miserably.”
Lee introduced the session’s guest speaker, Dale Crewe, a senior program manager at Leidos, a global science and technology solutions company. Lee said he met Crewe at a recent job fair where Crewe was actively recruiting to fill open positions at Leidos. Lee asked him to come to ATEC to share advice from an employer’s perspective on the do’s and don’ts for job seekers at job fairs.
Crewe described how big a part a person’s presentation plays in whether or not they are considered for a position within his company or eliminated from consideration altogether. “A person who attends a job fair without a resume or is there wearing flip flops is immediately eliminated from consideration,” Crewe said.
Crewe also stressed the importance of job seekers following up with a potential employer after the job fair is over.
In addition to job fairs, Crewe offered other job search and networking options the Soldiers should consider. Some of the ones he recommended were hiring conferences where prospective employers were matched up with qualified and prescreened applicants; online job recruitment agencies such as Monster.com and CareerBuilder; and two of the most popular social media platforms used for networking – LinkedIn and Facebook.
At the conclusion of Crewe’s discussion, Lee opened up the floor for further discussions on lessons learned at job fairs.
For more information about the Army’s Soldier for Life program, visit http://www.soldierforlifearmy.mil.