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Quick Tips For Job Seekers

Career Fair Success Strategies

Preparing for career fairs

  • Review the list of employers who will be attending (see Employer Book link for the fair you are attending).
  • Research represented organizations in which you are interested.
  • Prepare a "one-minute commercial" and practice introducing yourself, demonstrate your knowledge of the organization, express your interest in them and state what you have to offer.
  • Develop a list of questions you would like to ask employers. Do not ask questions that are obviously answered on their website.
  • Bring plenty of résumés printed on quality paper.
  • Dress professionally. Recruiters should see you as a potential professional, not as a casually-dressed student.

Communicating with recruiters

  • Prioritize employers you want to meet, but be open-minded about meeting others.
  • Do not wander around aimlessly, and do not walk around with your friends. You want an opportunity to talk to recruiters one-on-one whenever possible.
  • Introduce yourself with a smile, firm handshake and good eye contact. Be enthusiastic.
  • Ask the questions that are most important and relevant to you as you consider a particular company and employment opportunity.
  • Be proactive by affirming your interest in the company and connecting your background, skills and interests to the employer's needs. Your interpersonal skills, both verbal and nonverbal, are critical.
  • Offer your résumé to the recruiter.
  • Ask for recruiter's business card and company information.

Follow-up after the fair

  • As soon as possible, write a short letter to recruiters you met, thanking them for the introduction to their company.
  • Use their business cards to ensure that you have the proper spelling and titles.
  • Ask additional questions, reiterate your interest and provide details as to why you would be an asset to their organization.

Reasons to attend career fairs

  • One of the first steps toward achieving your career goals.
  • Efficient and effective way for employers and students to connect and discuss career opportunities.
  • Explore careers and gather information about a variety of fields.
  • Opportunity to polish interviewing skills.
  • Expand networking contacts.
     

Understanding Interviewing Strategies

Interview structure

Much of how your interview will be structured is based on the job requirements, the organization's philosophy, the work environment and the interviewer's personality. The following are some of the most widely used interview techniques.

Question and answer

This has been widely used in the past and is the most common interview technique. Basically, an employer asks similar questions of each candidate and subsequently compares and distinguishes the candidates from one another.

Behavioral

The behavioral interview is gaining popularity with many employers. This approach to interviewing is based on the premise that past behavior is a likely predictor of future behavior. During behavioral interviews, each question will probe more deeply to reveal details on your approach to past situations and the results of your efforts. A typical line of questioning in this interview type might be: "Tell me about a time when you had to use your communication skills to influence someone's decision." What challenges did you face? How did you gain support? What happened next? What results did you achieve?

The best response to behavioral questions is to use the "STAR" technique to demonstrate your behavior.

  • S = Situation – Use a story technique to make a brief statement about the situation.
  • T = Task – Explain the tasks to be accomplished.
  • A = Actions – Explain the actions you took.
  • R = Results – Detail the outcomes of your initiatives.

Case approach

Employers use the case method to pose a problem relevant to their business. In this method, the candidate is asked to propose logical steps to address a situation. The case approach is used to assess your organizational, analytical and problem-solving approach in unfamiliar situations.
 

Making Networking Work for You in Your Career Search

Defining networking – Networking is the art of connecting with others. There are several variations of networking:

  • Affinity/trade/business networking: there is a common connection between people, such as sharing similar interests or belonging to the same industry and trade organizations. Contact can be face-to-face as well as electronic (email, chat rooms, internet groups).
  • E(electronic)-networking: internet groups, also referred to as social networking, such as Facebook or LinkedIn. Some of these sites are more common for career networking, such as LinkedIn. Use common sense when you post anything on the Internet. Always consider whether you would want a potential employer to see it.
  • Social networking: churches, neighborhoods, clubs – those you come into contact with as you go about interacting with people in your daily life.

Why Networking is Essential to Your Career Search - An estimated 75 to 95 percent of job vacancies are not advertised. The 2008 Sources of Hire study, conducted by the consulting firm Career Xroads, indicates that referrals (from employees, employee alumni, vendors, etc.) made up almost 29 percent of all hires. Those referrals are made through networking. Studies show networking is the most effective way to get a job. When those you network with are aware of your intentions, then they can share that information with others. This is how you find out about positions that may soon be open. To effectively utilize networking opportunities, you have to let others know you are interested in exploring career options and what your capabilities are.

Ways to Network

  • Join and participate in campus organizations. College provides one of the best networking sources that you'll find. You're mingling among the brightest and the best, and that student sitting next to you in class may one day be the owner of a multi-million dollar company.
  • Attend professional or trade association meetings.
  • Talk to your friends' or classmates' parents or your parents' friends.
  • Visit with members of your social clubs or religious groups or when volunteering.
  • Engage in an exchange of information online with others (e-networking). There are many sites devoted to business networking. Professional associations, alumni organizations, message boards and other online communities are all places that you should visit with e-networking in mind. Recruiters consistently visit these sites to look for job candidates.

The opportunities are endless – everywhere you go, everyone you talk to – there is potential for meeting someone who may be a link to your future career, so network wisely.
 

Skills Inventory

There are certain skills and traits that most employers seek in potential candidates. Is your college experience providing you with the skills inventory employers are seeking? Review the following examples and see how many are true for you. Think about how you can add to your skills set by participating in campus organizations, class projects, and volunteer work. Ascertain how your experiences are developing these skill sets. During interviews, you will be able to demonstrate how you used these skills and traits in these experiences.

Communication skills
When I receive an email or phone message regarding a project I'm working on, I reply promptly. When having a conversation, I listen to what the other person is saying, rather than thinking about what I want to say.

Ethics
I can be trusted with confidential information. I am very careful to track all transactions when having access to money for an organization.

Leadership
I get involved in organizing and managing meetings or activities for organizations to which I belong.
I typically am willing to take the lead on group projects and utilize persuasion skills to guide people.

Organization
I effectively use a daily planner.
I practice time-management skills and can prioritize and handle multiple deadlines.

Self-motivation
I set goals for myself and work hard to achieve them.
When I have a task to accomplish, I prioritize my workload to make sure I complete the task on time.

Teamwork
I take an active role on teams I'm involved on and contribute to make sure goals are met.
I am open to my teammates' ideas and opinions.

Thinking skills
I consider the consequences, positively and negatively, when making decisions.
If I question the accuracy of something important that someone says, I check out the facts before making a decision.