Why I Run the Marine Corps Marathon

MCM Blog postI was raised in a military family, and have always known the importance of supporting those who have served when they come home. This did not fully resonate with me until my close friends came home from war with wounds that I could see and wounds that I could not. Watching them face these challenges drove me to become more involved in the veteran community. It felt like the least I could do.  

Running is a passion of mine, but it hasn’t always been. Growing up, I hated running and one day decided it was an obstacle I wanted to overcome. Little did I know that I would love it and it would become my preferred way to relax. Because my dad and several people close to me are Marines, I have always followed the Marine Corps Marathon – its compelling stories of camaraderie, and the sheer will of its runners to get through the race.  

One summer, I was half-heartedly running without a goal to work toward. I went to Bethesda, MD to the Naval Hospital where my Aunt works and sat with some of the wounded soldiers during their recovery. Their unbroken spirit was inspiring. One gentleman, in particular, lost both of his legs but couldn’t be brought down. He still had the fight in his eyes and spoke about his injuries as just another obstacle to overcome. Not long afterward, a Marine that I grew up near came home as a triple amputee. I watched his girlfriend crutch the entire marathon in honor of him. I decided then that I would run for those who couldn’t.

This is my third year running the Marine Corps Marathon, and each year I’ve made new friends along the course, heard stories that motivated me to put one foot in front of the other, and cried with families during the blue mile – a stretch of the course lined with photographs of fallen service members.  Each year, I have joined a charity team in the marathon – raising money for veteran service organizations whose missions inspire me. This year, I am running with Hire Heroes USA to support the mission of empowering transitioning U.S. military members, veterans and military spouses to succeed in the civilian workforce.


How to Enhance Your Virtual Career Fair Experience

How to Enhance Your Virtual Career Fair Experience

Hire Heroes USA’s Virtual Career Fair is a one-day online career fair and networking event for the transitioning military members, veterans and military spouses who choose to participate. It is a great opportunity to speak with recruiters and hiring managers about their organizations and the job openings that they have available. During this event, your resume could get in front of as many as 10, or even 20, hiring managers in the same day.

To get the most out of our Virtual Career Fair we recommend that that you do the following:

1) Do your homework

It’s been said that finding a job is nothing more than a numbers game: apply for enough of them and sooner or later you’ll get one. While this strategy may eventually work, it can also prove to be an incredibly frustrating experience of rejection and wasted time.

A better job search strategy is to target your applications toward the jobs that interest you and companies where you can find success. Be sure to research the companies that are attending the Virtual Career Fair and make sure you review the jobs they are trying to fill. Then, make sure you target these companies during the career fair.

2) Get your house in order

Before you log in to the virtual career fair, clean up your house! Many recruiters will want to video chat with you, and the last thing you want them to see is clutter or, even worse, a messy house. Before you go online to the virtual career fair website, make sure that everything that is behind you, as you are sitting at your computer, looks professional. From the vantage point of your computer camera, both you and the rest of the scenery in the room will be visible.

3) Dress for success

While virtual career fairs may seem less formal and more relaxed than traditional career fairs or in-person interviews, they’re not. Companies make significant investments in virtual career fairs, including registration and set-up costs, personnel time, and technology. They take the events very seriously and are looking for job seekers who do the same. Dressing professionally shows them you’re serious about finding a new career.

4) Have your paperwork ready

Before you join the virtual career fair, make sure you have your resume ready. If you know what companies will be participating in the job fair (and you should if you followed the first step), try to tailor your resume to each company. Proofread them. Then have them saved on your desktop. This will allow you to quickly access them, send them in an email, and discuss with the recruiters.

5) Check your connection

There’s almost nothing worse than being in the middle of a video chat or instant messaging with a recruiter and your internet connection disconnects. Before you log on, make sure that your power supply for your computer is reliable, and make sure that you have a good internet connection.

6) Stay classy

Just because you’re sitting at your home doesn’t mean you should forget to be professional. Remember to address recruiters as “Ms.” and “Mr.” Be polite! And, don’t use emoticons, or type LOL or OMG, etc. in messages.

7) Take notes

This step is, perhaps, the easiest and most important to accomplish: Take notes. Take lots of notes – every step of the way. Before you join the virtual job fair, make sure you have made note of the companies that will be participating. What jobs do they list as being open? What are their major accomplishments? How do you think you can help them? Use your notes to develop questions to ask the recruiters. You can also use them to develop three key messages about yourself: how you can be a valuable part of their team; how your experience translates to their company’s goals; and, how you can help them. Use your notes, questions and key messages to convey to others how prepared you are for this event.

8) Follow Up

Send thank you notes to everyone who takes the time to talk to you. It will impress them and keep your name and resume at the top of their mind.

The Benefits of Virtual Career Fairs

The Benefits of Virtual Career Fairs

Hire Heroes USA’s next Virtual Career Fair will be take place on Tuesday, August 29, 2017, from 10am – 3pm EDT. Utilizing the virtual realm for these job fairs provides a distinct advantage over traditional in-person career fairs, because most of our military, veteran and military spouse clients are geographically dispersed around the country and even overseas.

The virtual concept provides an excellent platform for job seekers and employers alike. Here’s why:

  • Job seekers can learn more about each participating company, as well as their available openings. Since this event is open only to military, veteran and military spouse job seekers – you know that all of the companies participating are specifically seeking the talent offered by this select group – particularly the talent gained from service in the U.S. military. Participation in this event not only helps job seekers expand their network and learn about a variety of hiring organizations all at once, it also provides them the opportunity to submit questions directly to the participating recruiters and hiring managers, allowing for timely answers.
  • For participating Employers, benefits include the ability to discover top military talent no matter where the job seeker is currently stationed and/or resides.  low-cost way to access employable talent without having to pay the expenses (travel, etc.) that are associated with attending traditional in-person career fairs. Besides that, it is also less time consuming because no travel is required. Employers can also engage with multiple job seekers at once, allowing more prospective applicants to learn more about each employer’s organization.
  • Both Job seekers and Employers have an added benefit, too. They can accomplish all of this within the comfort of their own workspace or office. In the Virtual Career Fair environment, employers and job seekers are able to engage with each other through group and private chats, with an option for video chats, as well. The Virtual Career Fair is also more productive than the traditional in-person option, because Job seekers can engage with more employers, and employers can engage with more job seekers.

Hire Heroes USA received a lot of positive feedback from participants in our first Virtual Career Fair, which was held in May. That event drew 32 employers and was jointly sponsored by Amazon, Raytheon, and the Virginia Department of Transportation. Other companies participating were Sanford Health, U.S. Foods, Walgreens, and Windstream Communications, to name just a few. On the job seeker side, we had hundreds of participants – from all over the country and around the world. It was even noted by employers that great candidates were identified who would’ve typically only started their job search after they had moved back to the United States.

One job seeker who was hired by Amazon following our May event said, “The Hire Heroes USA Virtual Career Fair was perfect for connecting with employers.” With continued positive responses like that, Hire Heroes USA will continue to provide this platform on a quarterly or bi-annual basis as yet another way to bridge the gap between our military, veteran and military spouse job seekers, and employers.

Learn more about how the Virtual Career Fair works

Get Registered!

Blog by: Liz Reyes, Director of Employment Opportunities with Hire Heroes USA