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Large turnout expected at job fair

Job hunters speak to employer representatives during last year’s Fort Rucker Job Fair. This year’s fair is Aug. 13 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Ozark Civic Center. (Photo by Sara E. Martin)

Job hunters speak to employer representatives during last year’s Fort Rucker Job Fair. This year’s fair is Aug. 13 from  9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Ozark Civic Center. (Photo by Sara E. Martin)

Published: August 7, 2014

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (August 7, 2014) -- The 11th annual Fort Rucker Area Job Fair will be held Aug. 13 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Ozark Civic Center, and Soldiers are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity, even if their military separation is still more than a year away.

The fair is hosted by the Fort Rucker Soldier for Life Program, Army Community Service and the Ozark Area Chamber of Commerce, and is free and open to the public.

Job seekers will meet representatives from a diverse blend of 49 local businesses, government contractors and federal agencies, said Bryan Tharpe, Soldier for Life transition assistance program manager.

Tharpe expects around 2,000 job seekers to attend, and even though the fair is much smaller this year, he said if people are on a schedule, or simply want to beat the crowds, to show up around 8:45 a.m.

“If you wait until the end to show up, many begin packing up to catch their flights, and might have filled the positions they were showcasing,” he said. “The sooner the better.”

Tharpe suggests dressing for success, having a 30-second speech of attributes and abilities, and to bring 20 copies of resumes and other supporting documents that might be needed for an interview.

“You need to have a plan and you need to practice selling yourself. There are a lot of vendors, but even so the lines at some might be long. So, you need to research the attending companies ahead of time so you know where your skills will be best placed and you can begin tailoring your resumes to each company,” he said. “It will also help to research them beforehand so you know what the company is looking for and how they do business in case you are chosen for an on-the-spot interview.”

Visit these key vendors first, said Tharpe, then spend the remaining time speaking to the vendors that might not have been a top priority.

Some of the attending companies include – City of Dothan, URS Federal Services, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Airbus Helicopters, Waffle House, Science and Engineering Services LLC, and First Light Home Care.

“Don’t discount a company and be flexible with where you want to work. Companies only want to hire the cream of the crop, so you might have to move to find the paycheck you’re looking for,” said Tharpe. “And most companies keep the best jobs in their pockets and don’t advertise them. They look for the right candidate in interviews and at fairs like this one then offer the job off-the-cuff to a candidate that might be applying for a different job with the company.”

There will be a separate area where only Soldiers, veterans, retirees and their Families can see certain vendors that cater to their special experiences and abilities. Service members, current and prior, will be given yellow lapel ribbons for the main fair so employers will know they are speaking or interviewing a service member.

“Some people will be hired on the spot during the fair, it always happens, year after year. So don’t think this is just another fair where your resume will be filed away and be forgotten,” continued Tharpe. “And these representatives also exchange resumes. Sometimes, if they get a candidate that they think might be good for a sister company’s job opening, they will pass it along.”

The companies in attendance range from local to national business, from sales to top Aviation executives, so there is something for all education and experience levels, said Tharpe.

“This is a great opportunity for people who are looking for work or will be separating from the military soon. It’s never too early to begin the job search and networking,” he said. “Come down to the fair. It will be worth the time and effort.”

Tharpe’s last suggestion is to send out thank you notes to the representatives that do the interviewing, and said to grab business cards to do so.

“That thank you note they receive in the mail might be the deciding factor if you get the job or if they give it to another candidate. Don’t skip that crucial part,” he said.

For more information, or a full list of attending employers, call 255-1117 or visit

This article was originally published at

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