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Monthly Archives: February 2010

Don’t take chances with your chances

I say this time and time again, but I will say it again.  The more people that know you are looking for a job and what kind of job you are looking for, the better.

Here’s a success story.  A recent grad came to me a few months ago on a drop-in basis.  She was somewhat depressed about the fact that she hadn’t yet found a job.  I assured her that it wasn’t her fault and that many people from her graduating class were in the same boat.  By the time she left my office she said she was feeling better and more confident.

Over the next several weeks, I helped her connect with a couple of recruiters, gave her some advice on writing an e-mail to a networking contact and tried to buoy her spirits whenever I could.

Yesterday, a recruiter from a national corporation came by my office and talked about what her company looks for in candidates for their management training program.  The recruiter happened to be from exactly the field my new grad has been looking for work in.  This recruiter was in town to conduct on-campus interviews and was also doing an informational session last night.  When I asked if she would consider a May grad, she said right away that she would, gave me her card and suggested that I invite my new grad to the informational session.

After passing along the information, I heard back last night from my alum that she just finished an interview with said recruiter and had been selected for a second round!  You can imagine my excitement when I heard this news!!

The moral of this story is, talk to people.  Go see someone in your career center.  Talk to your former colleagues, classmates, friends and family.  Let them know what you’re looking for.  For every person you talk to, you increase your chances that an opportunity will arise that they can connect you with.   It may seem a coincidence that a recruiter for the exact type of job my alum was looking for appeared in my office.  But it wasn’t a coincidence.  What happened was a direct result me having the information I needed when I met with this recruiter.  If the new grad had never visited my office, I would never have had the opportunity to connect her.

People want to help you.  Give them the chance.

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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College Career Fair Preparation: How to Make the Most of What’s Offered

I am writing my very first ever blog post as a response to a post by Rich DeMatteo of Corn on the Job fame. Since I work in a college career center, I wanted to add my two cents to the conversation.

First, I totally agree with trying to make connections with employers ahead of time. You really have to make yourself stand out in one way or another, and making a personal connection in advance is a great way of doing that. Our career center lists all of the employers who will be attending on our website, as they register. No need to come by the office to pick up a piece of paper. Just check the website. Make sure to keep checking back, though, because employers register all the way up to the day before a career fair (sometimes the day of).

While you may (and I emphasize MAY) be able to get the contact information for the person who registered the company for the career fair, it won’t do you much good. Most companies list their recruiters as TBA and decide on who will be attending at the last minute based on staffing needs. Alumni are often sent to recruit at their alma maters, no matter what type of position they hold within the organization. Better to try to make some connections with alumni at the company through your college career center, alumni relations office or LinkedIn.

I agree with Rich that you should make sure your LinkedIn profile is in order prior to connecting with any potential employers. Internet savvy (and who isn’t) recruiters and alums will google you before they decide whether or not they will return your call or make the connection. Hopefully you realize that LinkedIn profiles come up very high in search results. Having a great LinkedIn profile that isn’t just a recitation of your resume will give them a good reason to want to connect with you.

Connecting with company representatives prior to the career fair is essential. Many companies will hold information sessions or other special events the evening prior to the career fair. These are not just ‘fluff’ events. They are excellent networking opportunities! So few students take advantage of these events because they don’t understand what they’re about. There are also business plan competitions and dinners and other professional settings in which to get yourself noticed. Most of these events are sponsored by companies because they are aware that the connections made at the career fair itself can be nebulous. They are actually handing you the opportunities to make more meaningful connections: take advantage of them.

Trying to meet with recruiters post-event may be difficult. In my experience, most recruiters are on the first plane out after a long day at career fair. Only if they are on campus for multiple days and you haven’t had the opportunity during scheduled events would I advise this.

Finally, I can’t stress enough how important follow-up is. Send that e-mail, or better yet, send that hand-written thank you note. The biggest complaint I hear from alumni mentors and recruiters is that students don’t follow up. What else can they conclude but that you aren’t really interested? Following-up is another really simple way to make yourself standout. You’d be surprised at how many people don’t take the time to do this.

As a student, what types of events are attractive for you to meet with employers? And employers, what makes an impression on you outside of career fair?

Is this where you want to connect?

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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