Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Making Career Fair Conversations Count!

In the September edition of Career Hot Spots, we discussed How to “Crush It” at a career fair by preparing, performing and persisting.  In this edition, we want to briefly discuss a bit of preparation for your recruiter conversations that will help you maximize your time, feel confident, and make a good impression at the event.

Below are five career fair tips that recruiters want you to understand.
1.      Time Matters – Give yourself plenty of time at the career fair.  This means arriving at the beginning of the fair when the recruiters are fresh rather than toward the end of the event.  
2.      Divide and Conquer – When attending a fair with a friend, divide and conquer!  The recruiters want to talk to you, not your friends.  Make a plan to meet your friend at a certain time and share what you learned from various recruiters.   
3.      First Impressions – Practice your greeting and don’t let the first words out of your mouth be, “So what does your company do?” Your first 30-second introduction with the recruiter can decide whether you get an interview later. Remember to make eye contact and smile. Show them you are interested in their company. 
4.      Ask but You Might not Receive – Ask for a business card but don’t take it personally if the recruiter doesn’t want to give you one. Recruiters get 100’s of emails after career fairs. They just don’t have time to respond to that many people. But, if you are given a business card by a recruiter, make sure that you send a brief, customized thank you note, a customized LinkedIn message or email after the event. (career fair follow-up tips)
5.      SWAG “stuff we all get” – Yes, you can take one, but don’t grab more than one and don’t take so many things that you look like you’re on a shopping spree.
Use the career fair tips above to help you land that internship or job interview you’ve been dreaming of!
For more tips on how to make the most of a career fair, visit your campus career center.

Written by:  Derek Solheim, Wartburg College
Pathways Center Director 

Edited by:  Angela Wolfe, St. Ambrose University 
Assistant Director, Internship & Recruitment Coordinator

Monday, February 1, 2016

Searching for a Job? Make the Most of your Social Media Presence

You’re likely using Facebook, Instagram, or many other social media outlets during your free time. Why don’t you make the most of your social media presence as you search for a job? Here are a few ways you can start right away:


Catch the company’s attention through creativity and planning.

Nine Mufleh’s Airbnb campaign is a great example of how to capture attention through creativity. According to Mufleh, the campaign’s “reach spread wider than I had expected and opened doors to opportunities I had only dreamed of.” Mufleh’s campaign includes a detailed analysis of potential markets for Airbnb and reasons why she believed she belonged at Airbnb. Even though Mufleh was not hired by Airbnb, she had many interviews with other companies before landing a position with Upworthy. Reflecting upon her experience Mufleh writes, “by forcing myself outside my comfort zone, by pushing past rejection and focusing on my own goals, I was able to unlock opportunities I would have never had.”  Mufleh gives a lot of great tips in her whitepaper about how her campaign found success.


In your own job search, how can you step outside of your comfort zone and think creatively about how you’re engaging companies? Perhaps you’re not ready to do a detailed analysis of your dream company’s markets and build a website showing why they should hire you. However, research and a little creativity might help you to reach your goals. What if you:

  • Start a campaign on Instagram where, with each image you post, explain why you’d make a great fit for the company while sporting their merchandise?

  • Create a blog series on your already-established blog where you try out your dream company’s products and write honest reviews on them and include ways that you would make improvements to the products?

  • Establish a hashtag campaign where, with each tweet you write, you explain creative ideas that might help the company to grow?

It might work; it might not work. But you’re not going to know until try!

Use social media to build relationships with and engage companies and employees.

Perhaps you follow your dream company on Twitter or regularly check their LinkedIn company page for updates. You know all about their products, when their company was started, and even what the employees do for fun. However, when you eagerly sent your application materials in, you never heard back. What gives?


Knowing a lot about a company isn’t the same as engagement. Engagement takes action. The way to successfully network is to reach out and actively connect.


Looking for a way to engage with companies in a more meaningful way? Consider taking advantage of a LinkedIn Premium account. Among the many benefits of having a LinkedIn Premium account, you can send InMail to people that you’re not directly connected to.


Now, it’s not a good idea to send InMail to every employee at your dream company and ask to be hired.  But, what if an employee at your dream company graduated from your alma mater and your professor has spoken highly of her? If you have a Premium account, you can bravely reach out to this employee; you might even ask her if she’s willing to get a cup of coffee and talk about what it’s like to work at your dream company.


Not sure how to write a great message or InMail in LinkedIn? Check out these helpful tips on how to start a conversation using LinkedIn.


By using your social media to build relationships, you’re more likely to positively engage with a company and its employees. There is no guarantee that individuals you contact will respond to you let alone that you’ll land a job with your dream company, but you’ll likely learn something new and grow as a professional.


Stay resilient and positive about your job search.

There’s no guarantee that any creative approach to the job search through social media will work. In fact, using social media to stand out in the job market can feel risky. That’s why it’s so important to develop resilience and to understand that social media is just one of many tools you can use on your path to reach your career goals. It’s unlikely that you’ll immediately land the job of your dreams; you might find that you have to apply for multiple positions before you land an interview. However, if you are persistent and develop great job search strategies, you will likely find success.


No matter how tough the job search gets, don’t voice your frustrations on social media. Don’t state in a status update that you’re annoyed that an employer hasn’t gotten back to you after your initial interview; don’t assume that your privacy settings on Facebook or Twitter are infallible. Instead, if you want to vent, talk about it in person with someone you trust. Your social media presence should remain positive and professional throughout the job search process.



What are other ways that you might make the most of your social media presence as you search for jobs?
Written by:  Sarah Moss, Dordt College
Career Development Coordinator

Edited by:  Anne Funke, University of Dubuque 
Career Service Program Assistant-Advising and Career Center