Career Fair Do’s and Don’ts

In a previous article, I talked about having that game plan so that you know how to tackle the Internship/Career Fairs. Let’s talk about the day of, and issues I have seen with how candidates approach employers.

Do’s

Listen

When you are waiting in line to speak with a potential employer, listen to the information that is said to other candidates. They might be passing some information along that you did not even think about asking. This effective listening tactic will allow you to implement what you hear and understand more about the company before having your exchange.

Firm Handshake

Your appearance, handshake, elevator pitch, and whether or not you made eye contact are the first things that recruiters notice. Whenever someone gives me a weak and limp handshake, I get this weird feeling and think “what the heck was that? ” It does not matter what setting you are in; you should never give anyone a weak handshake. Well, unless you notice they just did something gross with their hands, then you just avoid it altogether. Remember, that a first impression is a lasting impression.

Network

Always take these events as an opportunity to expand your network. Just because you do not make a connection with one of the companies you speak with, does not mean that somebody else there will not be able to put you on the right path. Talk to the other candidates and companies outside of your industry and make sure you grab business cards. Networking has started a lot of careers. Leaving a memorable impression on everyone will help them remember you if something comes up in the future. There are countless times that I have had random conversations with people and ended up referring them to somebody else that had a need for their services.

Don’ts

Using the Group Approach

You are at an internship recruiting event, and you want to stand out from the crowd, why would you want to approach a recruiter with a large group of friends? When I talk to candidates, I am taking mental notes or writing a quick note on their resume. Then, I put a symbol on the resume and place it in a pile. If I do not speak to just you, and all of you hand me resumes at the same time, then I am not making any notes, and your impression is even less. Recruiters are talking to candidates all day, and some conversations give them a quick idea of whether or not you will be a good fit. The resumes of the candidates that I get a good feeling from during these conversations are the ones that get looked at first.

Not knowing what you want

At every event, me or one of my colleagues always has an interview with a candidate that plays out exactly like this:

Candidate: I just wanted to see what you guys had available.

Me: What job interests you?

Candidate: I don’t know. What you got?

Me: *Here we go again. Mentally throws resume in the trash*

“What you got?” Really? Is that how you expect to get an internship or start your career? If I am looking for a candidate to develop software, and you are an elementary school teacher, then there is no point in me breaking down what we have available.

Seek a position you are unqualified for

We also get candidates that try to force their way into a position. What I mean by that is that they have not even had a class that pertains to the work, but they want to change their whole career path with an internship. Most places are not providing on the job training, and telling me you will do anything when you are a sales person trying to switch to software development will not work. If you think of a cup Java instead of Java code, then you probably will not be a good fit.

Karl T. S. Jackson is a Project Manager and frequently speaks with students from middle school through college about personal development and how personal choices affect their future. He enjoys writing about business, young professionals, personal growth, and personal experiences. You can also connect with him on G+.

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Be Ready To Rock Internship and Career Fairs

“Confidence comes from knowing what you’re doing. If you are prepared for something, you usually do it. If not, you usually fall flat on your face.” – Tom Landry

 

Internship and Career Fair season is stressful for both attendees and employers. The employers must make sure that they have all the information for any handouts, materials for table setup, presentations, and of course the marketing swag that some attendees grab even if they do not visit with that company, so you need to do your part and show up prepared as well. A few years ago, I started working for a new corporation and part of my reason for accepting this offer, instead of the others, was that it would allow me to start an internship/mentorship program and speak to local high school and college students about starting their careers. Having been on both ends, I have a different perspective on how to approach the situation, although one size does not fit all.

This article is intended to help you prepare to arrive ready to show up and show out meaning you are confident when speaking, and able to captivate potential employers. You do want to be memorable, right?

What is the game plan? Continue reading

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Always Run from Risks. Said No One Ever.

Freddie Marriage

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” T. S. Elliot

Failure to innovate or take risks can eventually take down the most successful companies. Throughout history, there have been countless companies on top of their industry that did not stand the test of time. The same time that allowed competition to take advantage of and adopt new technologies. Although Blockbuster met its demise for several reasons, failure to innovate would be in the top three. In 2000, the CEO of Blockbuster was approached by the founder of Netflix with a proposal to form a partnership. Blockbuster was doing so well, and they already had their recipe for success, so they did not do the analysis and failed to connect the unseen factors. When companies are consistently increasing revenue with little to no change in the business model, it is often harder for them to embrace strategic thinkers. How long will the success of your current strategic initiative prevent you from failing? Continue reading

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Reaching & Teaching Across the Aisle: A Solution to Construction Labor Shortage

“We can raise the talent bar, but you have to do something different. You can’t do what you are currently doing today.” – Lou Adler

A continuing downward trend for the construction industry has been the lack of skilled labor workers. The recession cost hundreds of thousands their jobs between 2006 and 2011. Looking for more stability, most of those workers went on to other industries, while others struggled to find work years after being laid off. If you look at the unemployment rate, many people are looking for a job, but why does the construction industry continue to struggle?

There was a time when construction industries had to worry about not having the work available to keep employees busy; now they struggle to bring in workers to fill jobs. This industry challenge tributes to the number one concern for the construction industry: not enough qualified workers. During the 50s and 60s, unskilled labor was the norm, but was down to less than 30 percent by the time the recession hit. Per the AGC of America, construction firms are pushing for more qualified workers.

“Construction firms seem particularly concerned with the quantity and quality of local construction education and training programs. Nationwide, 55 percent of businesses say the local pipeline for preparing new craft workers is below average or poor. Meanwhile, 35 percent of firms have a low opinion of the local pipeline for construction professionals.”  Continue reading

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Three Construction Trends to Think About in 2017

Construction industry professionals have slowed down with the winter months. It is the time of year to start focusing and strategically planning on how to get the most out of the opportunities in 2017. Let’s look at three trends to watch this year.

With the continued growth in the economy, nonresidential construction will continue to grow as well.

In 2017, the forecast for nonresidential construction is predicted to go up 6.5% compared to 5.6% in 2016. Although there has been continued growth in the economy, there is still a lot of uncertainty in how long it can be sustained. As stated in the new U.S. Construction Outlook Heading into 2017 from ContructConnect, this is partially due to the presidential election. Job growth is expected to go up in the

U. S., especially with the push to bring jobs back from overseas. Combine that with low-interest rates and continued population growth, the need for more construction will continue to increase.

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