SALT LAKE CITY — While Labor Department statistics reveal veteran unemployment nationwide is near an all-time low, an advocate believes some veterans are underemployed.
"There are a lot of individuals out there who have so much more potential and who maybe settled for (any) job right out of the military," according to Heidi Miller of RecruitMilitary. "But there are a lot of very amazing opportunities out there that maybe they didn't have access to beforehand."
U.S. Department of Labor data shows that employers are competing with each other to hire highly trained military talent in the civilian workforce, Miller said. There is no better time than now to be a veteran looking for a job, she added.
To capitalize on the job market, RecruitMilitary, a company that supports veterans and their spouses free of charge during their job search, is co-sponsoring Thursday the inaugural Salt Lake City Veterans Job Fair at Davis Conference Center in Layton.
The event, which runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., will include more than 40 Salt Lake-area employers who will be on-site and prepared to interview and hire veterans — or their spouses — who are transitioning out of military service.
"Veteran candidates can have access to a few different jobs," Miller said.
She said the employers will represent a variety of industries, including defense contractors, law enforcement and technology.
Data shows that veteran employment is increasing among U.S. businesses, a news release stated. The U.S. Department of Labor noted that veteran unemployment nationwide is near an all-time low of 3.8 percent, the release said.
Organized in conjunction with DAV, a nonprofit charitable organization that supports veterans and their families, the job fair will provide candidates with the chance to meet with numerous potential employers, she said. Veterans and their spouses can register online for a pre-event interview to discuss the competitive landscape of the current job market.
"Sign up in advance if possible and bring multiple copies of your resume with you and come prepared both attire-wise and to talk about your background," she said. Candidates are free to meet with each of the employers on-hand to discuss the opportunities available at each company, she added.
Miller, who is a West Point Military Academy graduate and U.S. Army veteran, said veteran recruitment can have a positive impact on Utah businesses.
"As veterans, you have a lot of skill sets you don't realize when you're in the service in many cases," she said. "So a lot of the veterans that are coming straight out of the military don't know exactly what direction is the best way to go."2 comments on this story
She said having exposure to more than 40 companies can offer better insights into what employment opportunities are available and what jobs they may be qualified for.
"That face-to-face interaction" could mean so much in a job search, Miller said.
Meanwhile, for those who may not be able to attend the job fair, she suggested the RecruitMilitary employment board to research job postings across the country. Also, if time is short, just attend for as long as possible, she said.
"We recommend to just come in during your lunch break," Miller said. "It doesn't take that long to go from company to company and get your name out there."