This article originally appeared at Online Career Tips.
By Ann Eastham
Contributor, Career Services
A Virtual Career Fair (VCF) is an online platform that facilitates a conversation between a recruiter and a potential employee. With advancements in technology, the ability to connect virtually is greater than ever and the Intelligence Community (IC) is taking full advantage.
As a career coach, I have had many conversations with students and alumni about the benefits of attending these VCFs, and below are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:
“Do VCFs really work?”
One of the most popular questions I hear is, “Do these things [VCFs] work? Do people really get hired from these events?” The answer is, unequivocally, YES. I have worked with numerous students who have attended American Military University and American Public University’s National Security VCF in the past and have been hired due to the connections they made during the event. While exact numbers can be hard to come by in the IC (for obvious reasons), the recruiters are returning again and again.
Still not convinced they work? Consider this; it’s not just American Military University and American Public University that is hosting these events. The IC hosts an annual VCF; the last one was in March 2016. If the recruiters weren’t finding high-quality talent at VCFs then flat-out, they would not attend or host them.
“So they work – who can I expect to talk to?”
Depending on who is hosting the event, you can expect to speak with a variety of recruiters from different agencies, both federal and private. Keep in mind that these are career fairs and not hiring events, so your expectation is not to leave with a job offer but to leave with a connection.
“I don’t have a background in intelligence; can I still go?”
YES! A million times, YES! The IC is a diverse field and needs highly trained people with a variety of knowledge. If you have a background in IT, mathematics, law enforcement, political science and psychology (just to name a few), your skills can be put to work in the IC.
Also, keep in mind that the IC still needs skilled individuals in areas like HR and accounting (not only for potential intelligence work, but for the companies themselves). Oftentimes, these roles will also require a background check and the ability to possess a security clearance since these employees may have access to sensitive information in order to do their work.
If you’re trying to decide if this is the right opportunity, just ask yourself what it is you have to lose by attending. If you need help preparing for the upcoming National Security VCF, and are a current AMU/APU student or alumni, reach out to the Department of Career Services! Our coaches can help you prepare your resume, perfect your approach and help you identify those key employers.
About the Author
Ann started her education at the University of Findlay and completed an associate degree in equestrian studies in 2005. After working for a few years in a wide variety of farm/ranch jobs, she completed her bachelor’s in healthcare administration at Ashford University. Ann served as a clinical technician in an ICU/telemetry unit before working as a clinical research coordinator for cardiac, vascular and thoracic surgery.
In 2011, Ann transitioned from working in the healthcare field into higher education and started as an academic advisor. While working as an advisor, Ann developed a passion for assisting students in converting their education into careers and became a career coach in 2014. Ann currently works with students in the health, nursing, intelligence/national security and military industries.
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