Navigating a Job Fair
Walking into a Job Fair can be an overwhelming experience, a sea of people and tables. Cutting through the chaos and coming prepared to navigate your way through the maze, will help to calm any anxiety and lead to a successful job fair experience. Here are a few tips we have gathered through the years...
When applying for a job online, the résumé serves as your first impression, but at a Job Fair your appearance initially speaks louder than your qualifications. Leave the jeans and t-shirt at home. Come dressed in a professional outfit and carry your résumé in a folder or brief case. Men should wear a suit and necktie. If you do not own a suit, wear a collared shirt and necktie. Women should also wear a suit (pants or skirt); otherwise a nice blouse and dress slacks are appropriate. Business attire can be affordable at thrift stores and outlets.
Advanced notice of the employers participating in the Job Fair is publicized on the PA CareerLink Facebook page. Take some time to research the employers before the Job Fair, learn what positions are open and anything else you can find out about the company. Knowing which employers have positions that correlate to your job skills will help you use the Job Fair to your advantage.
We talked last week about the résumé and its importance for communicating your skills. The Job Fair is the place to distribute your résumé directly to human resource representatives. Come with enough copies of your résumé to distribute to your targeted employer list, and some extras in case another employer catches your eye.
Many employers will ask you to complete their online application process, even if you left a résumé with them. Make sure you follow their instructions. Employers frequently tell us that job seekers do not follow-up after Job Fairs and complete the steps they have requested. Another good follow-up idea is to collect a business card from the representative and send him/her a thank you note. Your goal is to stand out to the employer with your qualifications for the job, ability to follow through, and communication skills.
Job Fairs are your opportunity to meet directly with employer representatives, use the time to make a memorable impression that will translate into a job offer. Please share any additional ideas on our Job Fair event page on Facebook.
Job Fair Preparation: Résumé
It's the document by which your skills and accomplishments are measured and judged... the Résumé. For some the very mention of the word makes the room spin and the palms begin to sweat. For others, the opportunity to document their accomplishments for all to see is something to relish. One thing remains true; the résumé is your opportunity to catch the attention of an employer.
As you prepare for the upcoming PA CareerLink of Lancaster County Job Fair on March 13, 2013, here are a few things to keep in mind while writing (or revising!) your résumé.
- Spelling matters! Just as you expect to read a newspaper or magazine without errors, an employer expects the same from a potential employee's résumé. No matter how many words you put on your résumé, make sure every one is spelled correctly.
- Accurately report on your accomplishments. Fabrication should be kept on the manufacturing floor, and not be used to describe your accomplishments. Tell an employer about your accomplishments, include specific numbers when possible (they really like that stuff). Just be sure to keep it accurate, overstating the sales figures may be tempting, but it won't pay off when the employer investigates.
- A résumé is not your job description reiterated; it should show what you have accomplished in your previous jobs. Previous accomplishments are a good indication of future success.
- Outside perspectives are good. Get someone to read your résumé before you submit it to an employer. Having multiple eyes reading your résumé to give feedback will ensure you have clearly explained your accomplishments. If your proofreader doesn't understand, chances are the employer won't either.
Not sure where to get started? We have a few templates on our website. To get you started, click here.
Writing an effective resume can be a daunting task, even for those that enjoy writing. But for those that find it less than enthralling, constructing their resume can be downright frightening! Fortunately there are great resources available. One is to visit the PA CareerLink and participate in the Résumé Workshop (held weekly on Tuesdays and Fridays). Another resource is the internet; there really is some valuable information out there (see our Facebook and Twitter pages for some great links).
The Job Fair is fast approaching, come see us soon to get working on developing a great résumé.
Together We Reach Employment Goal
People enter the doors of the PA CareerLink of Lancaster County for a variety of reasons. Some come for Ready2Work in order to gain a nationally recognized certification for proving their skills to future employers. Others initially come because they were directed by Unemployment Compensation. Perhaps you came because you wanted to take advantage of a workshop on résumé writing or completing job applications. Regardless of what brought you to the PA CareerLink and what service you sought, the goal remains the same for all customers... every program, service, and partner agency has the goal of guiding all customers towards employment.
A story was recently shared in a staff meeting that exemplified the PA CareerLink purpose and mission. Andrea Berube entered the PA CareerLink through the EARN program (a part of the Department of Public Welfare) to begin her path towards employment. After family circumstances forced Andrea to enter the job market, she realized she was lacking marketable skills and a work history to smooth her transition into the job market.
Through the EARN program, Andrea was provided with a skills assessment and a plan for obtaining the training she needed to land a job. Then, she worked her way through the PA CareerLink's Ready2Work program and gained the nationally-recognized National Career Readiness certificate. By completing Ready2Work, Andrea became eligible for additional pre-employment trainings. Her goal was to gain a job in the healthcare field, so she chose to complete online trainings through Metrix Learning. In just two months, Andrea completed almost 100 health care-related online trainings!
Meanwhile, the Business Services Team at the PA CareerLink connected with ProStat Healthcare, a professional homecare services agency, to begin filling their current job openings. As many local employers do, ProStat advertised their open positions on Job Gateway, the state's labor exchange database (www.jobgateway.state.pa.us). Employers may also use the PA CareerLink as a recruiting site for on-the-spot interviews and as an application drop-off site, so on January 30, 2013, the PA CareerLink hosted ProStat Healthcare for an open recruiting session.
Andrea, with her nearly 100 certificates of completion in hand and a positive, can-do attitude, entered the interview ready to prove she could do the job. Despite Andrea's limited work experience, she was able to show that she was eager to learn and was taking steps to gain the necessary knowledge in the home health industry (she was schedule to begin Certified Nurse's Aide training in less than a month). After ProStat completed their initial screening, Andrea was offered a job as a Home Health Aide.
This is just one example of the many ways people enter and exit the doors of the PA CareerLink. Through the services of the 14 partner agencies and the personal efforts of our customers, many are finding employment and exiting through the doors of success!
Credentials received by PA CareerLink staff
Lancaster: Recently, three PA CareerLink staff received credentials as Career Development Facilitators from the PA Workforce Development Association and the National Career Development Association. These are the first three staff to take part in this training in this area. Three more staff from the PA CareerLink will be participating in the next training dates scheduled in March 2013. The PA CareerLink of Lancaster County is committed to having the best trained staff in career development, assessments, and labor market information.
The Career Development Facilitators receive in-depth training in career development areas by a nationally trained and qualified instructor. After completing 12 career development competencies and a 30 hour independent study project, participants are recognized as Career Development Facilitators and have the ability to go on and get the nationally recognized credential as (GCDF) Global Career Development Facilitators.
We would like to congratulate the following PA CareerLink staff for their accomplishment:
As pictured from left to right: Karen Lindquist, Team Lead - Job Search and Placement; Anna Ramos, Site Administrator; An'Dionne Smith, EARN Program Manager