Soldiers go to job fair looking for civilian jobs

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Staff Sergeant Jose Mendoza has just six months to go.

After more than two decades in the Army, he's ready to retire, and thanks to several job fairs focused on veterans, he's confident in life after ACUs and combat boots.

"I'm talking to three companies right now," Mendoza said.

Mendoza is with the 249th Engineering Battalion that he describes as the "electrical company of the Army," so he's looking for work in power prouction or utilities. The face-to-face contact at veteran job fairs is critical.

"It's good," said Mendoza, who is in talks with three civilian employers. "I mean it opens your eyes to other opportunities out there. It's horrible when you have to google something you don't know. So we're just browsing around. This one puts in front of you a lot of information. A lot of good information."

Mendoza was just one of many veterans who headed to Fayetteville Technical Community College on Tuesday for the fourth annual Recruit-A-Vet job fair. It's a signature event for Rep. Renee Ellmers, who greeted employers and vets in the FTCC student center.

Hundreds of local companies are invited to meet potential hires. They range from manufacturing to public safety, and educational and service fields.

Ted Pauling, a talent acquisition manager with Sanford-based COTY, said the fragrance and skin care manufacturer values the logistical acumen veterans bring to the table.

"When you think about the military and the movement and the deployments that they have, they're really tied into a lot of things, and the skills that are very transferrable to a business from a warehouse standpoing," said Pauling.

Pauling said COTY has 760 full-time employees at their Lee County manufacturing facility, and at any given time there are 600 contract employees on-site.

He encouraged veterans to seize assistance opportunities from local Employment Security Commission offices where resumes are shaped to help vets in their transitions.

"Make sure your resume is tailored to us," said Pauling. "Highlight those skills that are transferrable from the military to our workplace."

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