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April 23, 2014
Justin Creech, Belvoir Eagle

Fort Belvoir, Va. (April 24, 2014) - Teenagers who live on post and in the local community spoke with Human Resources managers and assistants at Fort Belvoir during the Army Community Service Employment Readiness Program's Teen Job Fair, April 16 at the ACS building.

Human Resource representatives from the Fort Belvoir Credit Union, Post Exchange and the Nonappropriated Funds office spoke to the teens during a panel discussion about the importance of dressing properly for an interview, having questions prepared for the interviewer and appropriate comments to make during and after an interview.

The panelists also wanted the teens to feel comfortable when applying for jobs, too, according to Juanita Ray, Fort Belvoir Nonappropriated Funds Human Resources specialist.

"I wanted to make sure they are aware they have to get used to applying for jobs online," said Ray. "A lot of jobs are announced on USAJOBS, but the system is cumbersome, so I think some teens are afraid of using the website."

Teens left the fair more confident and informed about preparing and going through an interview, plus applying for jobs, according to Signe McDonald, 16, who attends Hayfield High School.

"The way you present yourself during an interview," said McDonald, "The fact all that stuff is taken into consideration is definitely the most useful information we heard today."

Her interest in working at the Fort Belvoir Exchange this summer is why she attended the fair, said McDonald. Along with interview skills, McDonald feels like the advice each panel member gave for how to apply for a job is useful.

"You have to read the entire job description so you aren't surprised by something when you start the job," said McDonald, "Whether it's pay, benefits or something else."

One teen who attended the fair found the interview skills particularly helpful. Haleigh Altersitz, 14, Lewis Village resident, likes to sew and make dresses. She's thinking of starting a business one day, so knowing how to conduct an interview will help her if she has to hire someone.

"I know what to look for in an interview if I ever interview someone," said Altersitz.

Panel members also spoke to the teens about speaking with confidence, not arrogance, during an interview. Ray said there was a definite change in the teenagers' demeanor when they spoke with the panel members after the briefing.

"When they first came in, no one was smiling and several of them had this look on their face like, 'What am I doing here?'" said Ray. "But, after the briefings you could see the difference in their demeanor."

The information and skills the teens received during the fair put them a step ahead of their peers, according to Brent Jurgerson, ACS director.

"What they learned today is skills that will help them throughout their life," said Jurgerson. "Whether it's a job this summer, going to college or another opportunity, these are basic life skills they are learning that will help them long-term."