Monthly Archives: September 2012

The Value of Day Two at a Career Fair

Job seekers often ask how to maximize day two of a career fair.  If you have spoken to your choice companies on the first day, attended receptions, and possibly have interviews lined up for the second day, should you attend the second day of a career fair?  YES!  What can you do if you feel like you have already completed your list of companies to visit on day one?  Visit the company again.  Here are a few tips on how to make day two of a career fair just as important and effective as the first day.

1.  Stop by the booths of the companies on your “A” list first thing in the morning.  Verbally thank the person you talked to the day before should that be a conversation at the booth or a reception.  If you have an interview scheduled for later in the day, say hello and let them know you are looking forward to the discussion.

2.  Along with the initial stops at the companies on your “A” list, be sure to visit the other booths you visited on the first day to ask more questions.  At the end of day one, come up with a few more questions you would like to ask the employers.  It shows that you have done your homework and are prepared.

3.  Take time on the 2nd day to visit companies that were not on your list at all.  Remember that you don’t know what you don’t know.  Stop by the booths of companies without a line of people waiting.  In my experience, several great employment opportunities arise through these conversations.  Your dream employer may not be on your initial radar at all.  Be prepared!

Every minute a Career Fair is open provides opportunities for success.  Take advantage of this face-to-face opportunity.



Career Fair Confidence

MBA students from across the country are in Indianapolis this week for the National Black MBA Career Fair and then traveling to Orlando next week for the National Hispanic MBA Career Fair.  These events are packed with fulltime and internship job seekers as well as employers looking to meet potential candidates and market their organizations.

If you want to be successful at these national career fairs, you must bring your confidence “A” game.  Employers notice those who arrive late to the event, those who stand around trying to get their bearings, and those who become intimidated by the experience.  Employers want to talk with potential candidates who are confident of their skills and abilities coupled with a health dose of energy to learn and experience what is in the future.

Before you walk in the door of a career fair or any potential event with an employer, check yourself in the mirror first! Do you see confidence looking back at you?  Do you know who you want to meet first?  Do you know what you are going to say?  Are you ready to take notes?  Make this old adage your mantra during this Career Fair season:  “Plan your Work and Work your Plan!”   Make a plan of what you are doing to do, who you are going to see, and what you are going to say.   Walk in the door and walk that floor with purpose.  Be confident and prove to the employers you meet at Career Fair that you are the best and look forward to a future with their organizations!

An effective job search requires a confident marketing plan.

Career Lessons from Andrea Pool and Robin Roberts

Yesterday marked the anniversary (I don’t think anniversary is a good word to describe the day) of the passing of one of my dearest friends, Andrea Pool.  You might ask why I am writing about her on a Career Management blog.  The answer is that Andrea’s amazing story includes her inspiring journey in reaching her career dreams.  When I met her, she was a communications specialist with our beloved Texas A&M University. Andrea was extremely good at her job, but she always knew that there was something missing.  Then September 11, 2001 happened, and something inside of Andrea came alive.  She realized her passion for wanting to protect this amazing country.  Through the next few years, Andrea worked to pursue her dream.  Part of the details of her dream she shared with her friends and family; however, some of the details were kept private.  You see, my dear friend was preparing herself for a career with the Central Intelligence Agency.   While she could not share much of her career including her true employer, Andrea loved her work.  All of her friends knew that she was committed to her contribution to society.  She has a passion for what she was doing.  She was living her career dream.  She achieved her dream.  You can too!

Yesterday, I watched Good Morning America and listened to Robin Roberts report on her bone marrow transplant journey.  She was reporting from her hospital bed after days of preparing for her transplant.  One of her quotes resonated deeply with me.  “You’ve got to change the way you think in order to change the way you feel.”  If you do not feel energized in your life, your career, or your job search, I challenge you to ask yourself if your “thinking” is the root of the problem.  Robin Roberts is focused on positive thinking in order to keep this disease and her pain from taking over her life.  Even during my dear friend’s health struggles, she consistently focused on getting back to the work she loved so much.  She refused to let her disease define her life.

No matter your challenges or frustrations, focus on your dream.  If you feel the road is too tough to travel, look for inspiration to give you that extra push.

Dreams are attainable.  You have to build your resolve to succeed.  Learn from those inspiring stories.  Take today to re-energize!


Requesting LinkedIn Connections Rule #2

In my previous blog, I talked about personalizing the text for LinkedIn requests as opposed to using the generic text.  Rule #2 is to make sure your reason for connecting is professional development focused.  Wanting a job with the person’s company is not a good enough reason to connect.  That is short term thinking, and your approach will come across as selfish and one-sided.  Instead of making this mistake, change your focus.

If you find someone on LinkedIn you would like to get to know step back and ask yourself why?  If this person works for a company on your list of target employers, you are going to be more successful if you make sure you have not just a short term but also a long term reason for the connection.  More than likely, this target contact has had professional experiences you do not, connections to professional organizations that can help you strength your knowledge, and insight as to how you can succeed in your chosen profession and the target company.

Before connecting with anyone on LinkedIn, ask yourself if you have thought of long term mutual benefits for you and the person you are asking to connect.  Ask yourself not just what’s in it for you but what’s in it for the other person as well.  If you think long term, you will have a better chance of defining that answer.  Your connection requests will be more professional thus more productive.

Managing Career Fair Expectations

Career Fair season is upon us once again.  As a job seeker, what are your expectations?  Do you expect recruiters to have positions specific to your interest? Do you expect recruiters to give you an interview on site? Do you hope your visit to a company booth will result in an interview and then offer?  Wow!  Would that be nice or what?

So, have you decided what you are going to do if the company recruiter does not have a position, does not have an interview signup or dare I mention refer you to the company website?  You know that all three of these possibilities can very well happen right?  If not, decide what you plan to do should these be the scenarios to play out during your experience.

In order for you to leave Career Fair with a positive experience, you have to be prepared.  Be prepared to discuss available opportunities, be prepared to sign up for an interview, be prepared to give away paper resumes (this doesn’t happen as often as it used to), be prepared to talk about the company or ask questions if the recruiter cannot address your immediate interests, and be prepared to apply online.  Be ready for anything.

Last year around this time, I wrote a blog about overcoming Career Fair obstacles.  Every roadblock you face during Career Fair provides an opportunity.  Career Fair provides face-to-face conversations you would not have had if this company never attended Career Fair.

And, here is a huge tip:  Write down the name of the company representative.  Use this name and your conversation in a cover letter.

Create positive strategies around each possible scenario to ensure your Career Fair experience is valuable and exceeds your expectations.

Requesting LinkedIn Connections Rule #1

While LinkedIn has built in text for requesting connections, that is the worst text you can use. Why you ask?  It’s general. It’s impersonal.  It’s lazy.

Imagine you are at a party and someone walks up and asks for your phone number without saying hello first.  No introduction, no name, no reason.  Just “may I have your phone number”?  You would not respond in a positive way. My guess is that you would just walk away.  That is exactly what professionals do on LinkedIn when receiving these blanket requests.

Anytime you request a connection with someone on LinkedIn, always personalize the request message.  Include how you found this person, why you want to connect.  Give the person a good reason to respond to you.

The foundation of networking is building relationships.  Start strong by personalizing your “hello”message.