Tomorrow there will be a job fair here in the Mile High City hosted by our newspapers and a list of top sponsors. I’ll be attending out of curiousity. I want to know who’s hiring, and I also like to watch job seekers in action.
I remember hosting a booth on behalf of an employer a few years ago in another state. That’s where I gained A LOT of insight on how job seekers really blow it at job fairs. My company was seeking a Creative Director, part-time Webmaster, and an Account Executive. I volunteered to represent the company and accept resumes, even though I wasn’t the one responsible for hiring. Here’s a list of what NOT to do…..
1. Dress for the beach. This is your very first impression, so take it seriously! The person accepting your resume will make notes, including that you wore flip flops or didn’t wash your hair. Wear business clothes as if you were attending a job interview.
2. Bring your children with you. I was surprised to see job seekers pushing a stroller at a job fair. Hire a sitter and do your job search alone. Your future company probably won’t want you to bring your children to your job. The same rule applies for job fairs.
3. Ask about jobs for your kids. Seriously, I had a man come up to me and tell me his college graduate son needed to get a real job and realize that he can’t make a living as a musician! Parents, I know you mean well, but no one wants to hire an employee who’d rather be doing something else, or needs his parents to do his work for him.
4. When asked what type of work you’re looking for, reply “I’m not sure….. what have you got?” That tells employers you haven’t decided on a career, and you are asking them to decide for you. They don’t have time for or want that type of responsibility.
5. Use a limp handshake. I’m not sure exactly what it is, but I find a limp handshake to be downright creepy, and so do many other people. Practice a firm handshake, smile, and look the employer in the eye.
6. Hand over a resume with corrections, typos, or missing information. If your resume is not up to par, I suggest you ask for a business card and ask if you can follow up with a resume. Mail it out the very next day, so they don’t forget you!
Finally, have a game plan in mind as to which booths you want to visit, and seminars you’d like to attend so that you can fit everything in. And of course, if someone is offering a free critique of your resume, be sure to take advantage of it.