HAMPTON, Va, (WAVY) – Hundreds of veterans and military spouses filled the Hampton Convention Center to look for the next step in their careers during a job fair Thursday afternoon.

More than 40 different companies were at the fair, including the Hampton Sheriff’s Office, the city of Virginia Beach and many more.

Recruit Military hosted the hiring event, which was just one of around 100 they hold across the country.

Event Director Rob Mulvihill is a military veteran himself, having spent a number of years in the U.S. Navy.

He said this was a great opportunity for Hampton.

“There’s 465 candidates who are pre-registered for the event right now, so it looks to be a great opportunity over there in Hampton,” Mulvihill said.

In addition to holding job fairs every year, Recruit Military also has a program called Skill Bridge, which helps service members start the job process before leaving the military.

Shawn Brown was at the job fair to network, something he said is very important for veterans to do.

“You really have to be more open minded,” Brown said. “You have to be willing to look at different possibilities and different opportunities and capitalize on them.”

Veterans from every branch of the military were at the fair to find careers.

One from the Navy, Shanice Williams, said why the event was so important.

“It is hard to get your footing in the civilian sector, I know that from experience,” Williams said, “so I think this is awesome that they’re kind of giving you a head start in getting your career outside of the military.”

Mulvihill said now that the fair is over, the real work begins.

“Follow up is crucial,” Mulvihill said. “Usually 24 hours after an event, reaching out to that recruiter, thanking them for being there, wanting to connect, whether it’s LinkedIn, and making sure that they’re doing follow up.

Recruit Military will hold another job fair online on Tuesday, Feb. 7. Visit Nationwide Veteran Career Fair Schedule | RecruitMilitary for more details.