Archive for August, 2010

Job Fair Strategies I

With Labor Day now approaching, one career activity tends to appear on more calendars-Job Fairs. Fall and Spring remain the most popular times to hold such events. As long as the unemployment numbers remain high, expect for local news stories showing the long lines of job seekers flocking to the job fair sites. With such high volume of candidates attending, many job seekers wonder if it’s worth the time and aggravation to attend. A growing complaint revolves around many employers no longer accepting résumés at the fairs, choosing to nstruct candidates to apply on the company Web site. Some reason that with that the end result, why not save the time and aggravation of battling the crowds and just apply online at any company ‘s site you see on the job fair list.

Keep in mind that companies incur costs involving both staff time and booth rental fees to participate in these fairs. They would not continue to attend if they did not find the events beneficial. You want to look at a job fair as a chance to make the best of a face-to-face meeting with a company representative. Look at it as an opportunity to set you apart from the growing volume of faceless paper candidates on the company Web site.

First, find out what companies will attend. The sponsoring agencies usually have such a list available with at least attendee names. Some also include the openings being recruited for. If not, check out what jobs they have listed on their Web site. If a company you have interest in will attend but lists no openings in your skill area, consider attending anyway to possibly establish a contact.

Next, develop a strong, concise introduction speech. The general parts of this include your name, skill areas, level of experience, and what positions you seek. Then you will need to adapt it to the specific jobs you hope to speak about as well as the companies.

Demonstrating to a company representative that you have researched the company and have ideas about how your talents can benefit them can go a long way toward moving you ahead of the crowd. Practice this speech in front of a mirror and with friends if possible. the more you rehearse, the more confidently you will deliver the speech.

 Next post I’ll discuss strategies once you get to the job fair.

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Two Job Seeker Worries Where Being Concerned Likely Means It’s Not a Problem

Career advising often involves assisting job seekers navigate their way through activities that most seldom engage in otherwise in their careers or personal lives. I want to focus on two topics people often struggle with; following up with employers and “selling” oneself. In both cases, job seekers need to realize that simply having certain concerns about conducting these activities most likely indicates that they need not worry about how they perform them.

 A successful job search requires a great deal of follow up, after both résumé or application submission as well as each stage of interviewing. Frequently, job seekers indicate a hesitance to keep calling back an employer out of concern of appearing too pushy or aggressive. I reassure them that such fears are unwarranted, primarily because pushy and aggressive individuals typically don’t seek permission. Then I cite a survey by Careerbuilder from several years ago in which 96% of the employers said they expect follow up from applicants.

 I’m often asked about time parameters. One week following a résumé or application submission should be fine. Once you make contact, as well as following any interview, ask the employer when would be an appropriate time for your next contact. Should they try to leave this open-ended, offer your own date. Ask “If I haven’t head by X, can I call you?”

 Another struggle for some occurs regarding how much to stress and document their career accomplishments and achievements, not only on résumés and applications but in interviews as well.  They worry that doing too much makes them appear boastful. Just as I reassure those concerned about pestering employers, I remind such individuals not to worry about perceived ego problems and point out that conceited people never have concerns about appearing to be so. Keep in mind the adage “It’s not bragging if you can back it up” as well the reality that if you don’t say it about yourself, nobody else will.

 Sadly, what often turns around the thinking of job seekers that struggle with either of these questions is losing out on an opportunity go to a less skilled and experienced candidate that does not hesitate to follow up or freely discuss achievements and accomplishments.

 I have always believed that job seekers need to approach these situations the way sales professionals do, since in a job search one markets and sells his or her skills and talent to potential employers. Good sales professionals can’t say enough positive thinks about their products or services and never view themselves as pushy or an inconvenience when following up. Contrary to stereotypes, this is a sign of ego but  their belief that what they sell will benefit the potential buyer. If you feel confident that your talent can benefit a company, never hesitate at any opportunity to speak with someone there about what you can do for them.