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When you leave the military, the biggest question is "what's next?" It's a scary job market right now, but the skills you've received in the military make you highly marketable. The Legion sponsors dozens of veterans hiring fairs each year, and our employment experts also provide tips to writing resumes, networking and making a strong impression in the interview process.

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'Hiring Our Heroes' events in New Jersey

'Hiring Our Heroes' events in New Jersey

Veterans and military family members seeking employment are encouraged to take advantage of two American Legion cosponsored job fairs coming soon to New Jersey. The free-of-charge hiring events are part of an extended series of such fairs being hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Legion posts to offer employment opportunities to veterans, soon-to-be discharged active duty military members, Guard and Reserve members, and military spouses.

The unemployment rate among veterans during the present economic difficulties is especially high and rising alarmingly. For instance, the Iraq and Afghanistan war-era veteran jobless rate in September 2011 was 11.7 percent, up from 9.8 percent the previous month. That is the overall Post 9/11 veterans unemployment figure. Among female veterans the unemployment figure is an even more staggering at 14.7 percent.

The American Legion's Economic Division has taken a proactive role in addressing this problem by helping to host career fairs, small business development workshops and employment symposiums in increasing numbers over the past two years. Recently, the Legion and posts have joined forces with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its network of local and regional chambers to tackle veteran joblessness.

The first of a new series of nationwide American Legion/Chamber of Commerce cooperative job fairs was conducted during the Legion's national convention in Minneapolis this past August. The convention "hiring hall" was packed with all available employer exhibition booths occupied. High-tech industries, service companies, large and small manufacturers, and government agencies were among those offering a wide variety of positions ranging from information technology and sales to hands-on mechanical repair.

The first upcoming New Jersey "Hiring Our Heroes" event will be in Toms River on October 22. The Atlantic coast town is less than two hours south of New York City and east of Philadelphia. The second job fair, slated for November 4, is in Florence, N.J., about 30 minutes north of Philadelphia.

Local Legion posts are hosting the two job fairs and a light breakfast will be provided at both events. Admission is free but advance registration for both employers and job seekers is required. To register, visit, click here. The web page contains information about other upcoming job fairs nationwide as well.

The times and locations of the "Hiring Our Heroes" job fairs in New Jersey are:

Oct. 22, 20119:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.The American Legion Post 1292025 Church RoadToms River, N.J.

Nov. 4, 20119:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.The American Legion Post 1946th and Broad StreetsFlorence, N.J.

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