FORT HOOD — Military spouse Felichia McCormick moved to Fort Hood with her husband in July, but said she began her job search about three months before that. Still looking for work in the medical clerical field, she said she came out to Fort Hood’s Military Spouse Career Fair on Wednesday to see which employers were in Central Texas.
“I really think it’s awesome to see exactly what’s out there, especially if you’re not from here,” she said.
McCormick is no stranger to job searching after a move, having done this at least once before. She said it took her about nine months to find a job after the last move, but at Wednesday’s career fair, she set up an interview and said she was feeling upbeat.
Nearly 800 spouses turned out to Club Hood to meet with more than 55 employers in industries including banking, education, health care and government.
According to the Defense Department, 85 percent of military spouses either want or need employment currently, and there is a 26 percent unemployment rate among them.
Initiatives such as the Military Spouse Employment Partnership aim to help military spouses access career resources and connect with corporations ready to work with their mobile lifestyles.
“The day went very well,” said Teresa Shipman, Army Community Service Employment Readiness Branch manager. “The feedback from employers said they were well pleased with the diversity and skill set available for them.”
Throughout the job fair, mini sessions were held on a variety of topics with employers facilitating.
“Having the mini sessions went very well,” Shipman said. “They were well received and well attended.”
The opening session provides job seekers with advice from employers on how to turn a job fair into a job offer. About 50 people attended and were able to interact with the people who ultimately read their resumes and extend interviews.
“Your resume is a big deal,” said Sarah Hebert with Spherion Staffing.
Other employers on the discussion panel echoed similar sentiments about resumes and online applications. Tony Pacheco with FedEx suggested using keywords from job descriptions to help get a resume past the “gate keepers.”
“Put down the job description in your own words and let them know you have the skills,” he said.
The biggest complaint Pacheco said he hears from job seekers is that they submit resumes, but never get a response. Creating a specialized resume for each job application can help.
“Make a master resume,” he said. Put all job experience on it and let it be as long as it needs to be.
“Then copy and paste from it to make a relevant resume. Eliminate what doesn’t relate and narrow it down.”
Also at the fair to share her own advice as a working military spouse was the Fort Hood garrison commander’s wife, Samara Elledge.
“Every time we relocate, I know how it is,” she said. “It can be overwhelming.”
Elledge said she’d attended job fairs in the past, but this was the only one she’d seen targeted directly at military spouses.
Her advice to other spouses is to persevere.
“It can take a while,” she said. “It’s not always easy, but it will come.”
Contact Rose L. Thayer at email@example.com or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.