NEWS + ADVICE
I’m Seeking an Executive Position as I Transition Out of Civil Service, Why Would I Attend a Cleared Job Fair
I teach classes on career search and social media for transitioning government and military personnel. This question and my response below came from a senior professional at a recent class. Many of the tips are valid no matter your level within an organization.
We understand that a security cleared professional looking for an executive position may not consider attending a Cleared Job Fair after retiring from a very successful civil service career. However we still recommend you attend a Cleared Job Fair for a number of reasons.
A career transition is about networking, which is a hard skill to learn and perfect. At an event like a Cleared Job Fair, you need to strategize who you will talk to and how to improvise along the way. If you approach a career event as something to dread, beneath you, or a chore, that is what it will become. But if you approach a career event as an opportunity to get out of your comfort zone, gather ground intelligence and to network, you will find a whole new world open to you.
While you may think that the recruiters and hiring managers at the Cleared Job Fair are not recruiting for the type of executive position you are looking for, many are seasoned professionals who have executive positions as part of their billet. They may not advertise these for fear that people who are not qualified for the position will apply. The recruiters at the Cleared Job Fair will be able to give you the picture of how executives are recruited for their company and who would be the best person for you to talk with.
You will eventually be talking to many recruiters in your interview process and talking to recruiters at the Cleared Job Fair will give you a concentrated practice session on how to approach, network and close each recruiter. Recruiters are people too, with good days, bad days and particular quirks – the more you practice “talking” with them, the more you enhance your opportunities to succeed in the interview and hiring process.
There will also be companies at the Cleared Job Fair that are not even on your radar, and you might find that they are the type of company you would like to work for. Many executives aim toward large companies, but small- to medium-size companies will definitely utilize all of your skills and actually give you the opportunity to stretch into other areas where you might learn something new and add to your skill set.
There are also the other job seekers at the Cleared Job Fair that you can network with as well. This is great ground intelligence on what is happening in the job search world in our community. Understanding the tactics other candidates have taken, what has worked for them, and how various companies treated them, are all great pieces of information to add to your career search tool kit.
Executive management positions are coveted but at the same time scarce, especially in lean economic times. You may have to work your way up in an organization and prove yourself, again.
As with anything, your success or failure will depend on how you prepare, strategize and approach the event. Good luck!