Navigating the Hybrid Government Career Fair Environment for Post Military Careers

As with other networking and professional development events, job fairs are also transitioning back to their in-person form, but not without changes. The beauty of a job fair is the convenience and efficiency for recruiters and job seekers alike - a place to meet possible matches all in one location. When pandemic restrictions moved events online, the convenience grew as people did not need to leave their house, but efficiency gains were not always realized. Just as the workforce is now hybrid, so too is the job seeking environment.

Virtual Job Fairs Mirror Virtual Work

Virtual job fairs are here to stay because of the convenience, time savings, and their ability to facilitate geographically inconvenient meetings. With more companies hiring a hybrid workforce, location is not as important-you could be in Washington, DC interviewing for a job in Austin, TX or vice versa. Many people have found they prefer remote work to in-office positions and those people will also look for virtual opportunities for networking.

Military job seekers, attend early and often

Rob Riggins, marketing director at ClearedJobs.Net, tells all military personnel looking to transition to a private sector job to start well in advance of their discharge date. "Job fairs are networking events," commented Riggins. "Use that networking to hone in on what you really want to do post-service and understand what opportunities are available."

Recruiters may be looking to fill positions immediately, but many - especially those with a veteran hiring focus - will hold onto resumes for continual follow-up as opportunities arise. This can be a great way to determine the culture of a company as it relates to understanding how military service experience applies to private sector jobs.

Job seekers in the driver's seat

Much like the workforce, the future of job fairs will be hybrid with a mix of in-person and virtual being planned and attended. Riggins reports a strong interest in in-person events from recruiters and job seekers alike. He added, "There is also great interest in virtual events with registration strong no matter the platform."

This hybrid expectation of job fairs and employment alike is something recruiters must prepare for. Job seekers are openly asking about remote work options and citing their desire for a work-life balance. Recruiters, particularly those looking to fill cleared jobs, have to balance the reality of the need for on-site work with the desire for flexibility from the workforce. Communicating culture and benefits beyond salary is critical in attracting talent.

Making a connection

There is no replacement for the connections made face-to-face. Many online job fairs are text based (even if there is a video option) so the body language and facial expressions are missing from interactions. Also, participants are at the mercy of typing skills. A slow response might not be indicative of disinterest - it might just be the result of slow typing or a distraction in the home environment.

An in-person event can also help job seekers get the feedback they may not be getting by simply submitting resumes online. At a physical event, job seekers can get feedback on resumes and on their skills in general from face-to-face interaction. This is incredibly important for those looking for post-military employment to begin to understand how to translate their experience for the private sector.

Controlling your schedule

In-person events also give job seekers and recruiters a greater level of control. In an online environment, meetings are typically scheduled via algorithm, lining up people based on availability and stated interests. At an in-person event a job seeker could start off with several "practice" interviews to get themselves warmed up for a discussion with a company they are most interested in joining. Online, they may get matched with that company first. Riggins urges job seekers attending virtual events to adjust to this reality and "hang in there to get to all of the employers you can." He suggests asking the recruiter if you can move the discussion to audio or video call if you think you'll be more effective that way.

On the recruiting side, companies without brand recognition have an easier time pulling additional meetings when they are in-person and benefitting from a location next to a brand name company or being able to stop people on their routes around the show floor.

As military job fairs make the in-person comeback, GovEvents will continue to track events happening virtually as well as live to meet the needs of all types of job seekers.

  • Security Clearance and Job Search Networking (April 28, 2022; Tampa, FL) - In addition to traditional job fair networking, this event includes an interactive discussion on security clearances as well as a panel discussion featuring recruiters hiring in the Tampa Bay area providing insights on finding your next cleared career.
  • CI or FS Cleared Polygraph Job Fair (May 11, 2022; Linthicum, MD) - Whether you're between contracts, transitioning out of the military / government, or just casually looking around, this event features recruiters hiring for program and project managers, data scientists, cyber, geospatial, software engineers and developers, database administrators, system administrators, help desk, and more.
  • TechExpo Top Secret Hiring Event (May 19, 2022; virtual) - Speak directly to recruiters and ask questions via text or video chat. Hundreds of exciting opportunities are available for software engineers, cyber security engineers, intelligence analysts, help desk specialists, technical writers, electrical engineers, and more. Secret clearance or above is required to attend.
  • Corporate Gray Virtual Military-Friendly Job Fair (May 20, 2022; virtual) - This event provides military-experienced job seekers the opportunity to meet with employers nationwide via text chat and video interviews. It is especially for transitioning service members and veterans.
  • Defense, IT, Cyber and Intelligence Hiring Fair (May 25, 2022; San Antonio, TX) - The hiring fair is open to Active Duty, Guard/Reserve, contractors, veterans, and experienced civilians. Meet top defense contractors, federal and military friendly employers. Build your network, explore jobs, discover professional development opportunities, and ask questions to multiple employers in one event.

Find more military and government job fairs on and learn how to launch your private sector or government technology career.

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