To make the most out of the Diversity Career Fair on Aug. 18 – 19, here are some tips on what you can do before, during and after the fair.
BEFORE THE CAREER FAIR
Read the list of participating companies for workshops and presentations (www.naaapconvention.org). Choose which ones you want to focus most of your time with. Research the companies you feel are the most promising in terms of possible future job opportunities. Basic information is the minimum required: products and services, company headquarters, number of employees, size and company history. Practice a 30-second introduction about yourself: career interests, experience and skills. Company recruiters will know you are confident when you sell yourself well. Avoid arrogance. Being clear and concise will show you are an articulate person. Tailor your resume to fit the company’s current job offering. Speaking with company recruiters should provide information for minor adjustments in future resumes. Carry a large supply of your resumes and business cards. Bring your appointment calendar and a pen to fill out applications. Business attire is the standard dress code.
DURING THE CAREER FAIR
Use the information you find in your research to create specific questions. Avoid general questions that are seldom effective both in getting important information and showing your professionalism. You create a favorable impression – a firm handshake also helps – when company recruiters see you’ve taken the time to learn what makes their company unique. Listen closely for any new information the company recruiter may provide. Hearing and listening are different – the latter more effective when combined with direct eye contact. Read about workshop leaders in your convention booklet. Learn their interests and background ahead of time. Take notes on their key points and to-do items that will create an immediate action resource. Ask questions after their workshops, if more convenient, or meet them during an extended break. Take brief personal notes or write down references on the back of your business cards. Relax and enjoy the opportunity to meet new people from different NAAAP chapters and companies around the U.S. and Canada. Make new acquaintances and network with people from different industries. Meeting well-connected people is key in finding career success.
AFTER THE CAREER FAIR Carry out your to-do items. Take advantage of the new ideas you’ve learned. Receiving helpful information is one of the best benefits of a national convention. Follow up. Write thank-you letters, send e-mails and make phone calls within 7 days of the convention. Procrastination is a favorite excuse among those least successful in the job hunt. Once potential employers forget you, you’ve lost a valuable opportunity. Share your newly acquired knowledge with others at your company. This kind of workplace interaction will build good workplace relations.
-Excerpted from the NAAAP Seattle newsletter by James Tabufunda..