Employer Day provides job opportunities after service

Brenda Martineau, of the National Security Agency’s External Recruiting and Hiring Office, and NSA career adviser Candice Nash give resume feedback to service members and military spouses during the Soldier For Life-Transition Assistance Program’s Employer Day on Jan. 26 at McGill Training Center. (Photo by Maddie Ecker)

At Fort Meade’s recent SFL-TAP Employer Day, transitioning service members and their spouses interviewed for civilian careers.

Staff Sgt. Linda Kelly was among those receiving resume feedback and interviewing for potential jobs on Jan. 26 at McGill Training Center.

“[This event] is important because it helps us get jobs on the outside, in the civilian world,” she said. “It’s so easy to take and pass a test to get your [military] job and get good at it. I have to find out how that job translates into the civilian world.

“To go to this and get information about the fields we work in is really good. That’s why I go to all of them. Somebody is going to hire me.”

Kelly, who has 37 years of military service including 21 years on active duty, has a background in logistics, but is willing to learn new skills in order to meet the demand of the civilian workforce.

“I’m nervous, but it’s time to open a new book,” she said.

One thing Kelly would like help with is translating her job requirements as a service member for a civilian job.

Felicia Hillard, Fort Meade’s SFL-TAP transition specialist, builds relationships with local businesses and brings them on post to connect with transitioning service members and their families.

“This is the first event of 2016, but we have one every quarter,” she said. “We try and bring a variety of businesses. We just added Verizon and Enterprise.

“We like diversity [in our career choices] just like the people here [are diverse].”

Employer Day events are different than job fairs. Candidates bring their resumes and have the opportunity for onsite interviews with recruiters.

In both the third and fourth quarters of 2016, 24 people who had attended an Employer Day event were hired for full-time employment. During last week’s Employer Day, there were 46 contingent hires, five of whom have already received offer letters.

“We [have these events] because we want to keep our military community active, lucrative and thriving,” Hillard said. “In this day and age, we just want to make sure our Soldiers go into a lucrative job that will help them and their families.”

Christine Sayles, lead recruiter for Camber Corporation, has helpful tips for transitioning service members looking for a civilian job.

“My advice? Network as often as possible,” she said. “You often get a job because you know somebody. Also, update your LinkedIn, recruiters will look there for potential hires. There is an option on your profile to notify recruiters you are looking for a job.”

As a military spouse whose husband served in the Air Force for 24 years, Sayles understands the challenge service members face as they search for civilian jobs.

“When my husband got out, he didn’t know what to do,” she said. “As a spouse, this is how I try and give back. I wish there was somebody who would have told my husband this kind of information.”

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