Looking for a job is in fact a full time job in and of itself. The amount of time that is spent seeking job openings, researching companies, networking, filling out applications, updating resumes and cover letters is astronomical. Needless to say, job searching is a lot of work.
There is a bit of good news for those of you who are in the Charleston area who are unemployed or underemployed. The Diversity Hiring Expo will be held on Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Tanger Outlet Blvd. in North Charleston.
This job fair is about one month away. Here are some tips to help you start preparing now:
Before the Job Fair
• Reflect on your employment goals and objectives. Do not enter the job fair with the impression that you simply want a job. Be concise and deliberate in your job selection. Are you seeking a full time job or seasonal position? Is there a particular field or industry that interests you? Have goals. Have a plan.
• If you do not have a resume, prepare a resume for distribution. If you have a resume, review it to make sure it is up to date. The Charleston County Public Library has excellent resume writing guides. With the Diversity Hiring Expo job fair being a month away, you have ample time to craft your resume. The library also has resume writing workshops complete with professionals who will review your resume free of charge. Take advantage of these free career search options.
• Create and perfect your “elevator pitch”. Be prepared to spend 30 seconds pitching YOU. Focus on being able to tell a potential employer about your experience and your goals. Most importantly, tell the employer how the company will benefit from having you as part of their team.
During the Job Fair
• Dress the part. Make sure that your attire conveys that you are serious, professional and upward bound.
• Speak clearly; ask questions and show interest and enthusiasm. Do not come across as the stressed out job seeker. Let your personality shine and leave a positive, lasting impression.
• Take the representative’s business card and politely ask for their preferred method of contact. This request is often uncomfortable for both the job seeker and the employer representative. However, there will be hundreds of resume exchanges at the job fair. You need to maintain contact with the employer without seeming pushy.
After the Job fair
• Send a letter to the employer representative. This letter serves as a reminder of your qualifications and interest in the position. This is an important step that many job fair attendees fail to complete. Your letter to the employer after the job fair will probably make you stand out from the crowd. It is also helpful to include a copy of your resume with the follow up letter. If the recruiter shared important advice, reference the shared advice and thank him or her for sharing the information. Send the letter immediately after the job fair.
• Make sure that the follow up is timely and appropriate without being too assertive. Representatives strongly dislike the job seeker who emails or calls every week. Reach out to the representative within two business days of the job fair. Do not appear to be overbearing.
Employers are seeking the ideal candidate for the position. You are likewise seeking a job. There are many hours spent on both ends preparing for a job fair. You must “stand out from the crowd” while avoiding the appearance of being “pushy”.
Clear goals, a confident appearance, clear and concise conversation and prompt follow up are the tools you need to put you over the top.