Job Searching During the Holidays: Make it Ho-Ho-Ho, Not Humbug

Although hiring activities may slow during the holidays, they certainly don’t stop. Companies are still reviewing applications and scheduling interviews. They still need to fill openings and maintain their operations. Forging ahead with your job hunt over the holidays will give you a head start on all those people who take a break from their search for employment during this time of year.

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Many companies post their job openings before the holidays, even though they won’t make any hiring decisions until the new year. So, you will again have a jump on all those people who have stopped looking.

Moreover, continuing your job search will enable you to keep the momentum going on the job-search work you have been doing, rather than letting it slow and perhaps even become non-existent.

So, if you are thinking of suspending your job search during the holidays, we urge you to think again. Here are a few tips on making the most of your job hunt over the holidays.

  1. Make a schedule and stick to it.

With all that is going on over the holidays – shopping, family gatherings, holiday parties – it is easy to lose focus and let the job search slide. One way to keep up your efforts is by making a daily schedule, where you block out time that is devoted exclusively to your search. It is best to do it the same time every day so you get into a routine.

Doing this should help prevent procrastination or avoidance because you have a definite time and date set up to do it.

People currently employed should especially make a job-search schedule because you will likely have vacation time available, some of which you can use for your job search if you plan well.

  1. Renew connections.

The holidays present a great opportunity for networking. You can send a card or email to your contacts with a holiday greeting. Then also mention that you are searching for a new job and would appreciate any information they could pass along.

If you don’t feel comfortable bringing up the job search with the holiday greeting, your card or email is also an opening to get reacquainted and to set up more conversations where you can bring up the topic later.

  1. Use holiday gatherings to network.

Whether the gatherings are work related or not, they are also great opportunities to do some networking and letting people know about your job search. Attend as many as you can. Talk to colleagues and any other professional connections, as well as friends and family, about your search.

  1. Use volunteer events.

Around the holidays there are also many opportunities for volunteering – with church groups, charities, and others –which can also be used as networking opportunities.

  1. Update your search materials.

This time of year is also a good opportunity to make sure your resume is current. Naturally , each resume you send out will be tailored to the particular job you are applying for, but you can still make sure your work history is up to date and that you have plenty of examples of your accomplishments to draw from when you need them.

It’s also a good time to review your social media presence and to make sure that it is current. Do you have a current picture of yourself posted on LinkedIn? You can also use the time to write a few blogs or engage in a few discussion groups to enhance your professional reputation and make contacts.

Our Clients Always Need Great People Every Day of the Year

Whether you’re looking for work during the holidays for some extra stocking-stuffer money, or you’re looking for a new full-time position, contact the Helpmates office nearest you for more information on our job opportunities.

Prepare for Your Career Talk with Your Manager

Have you ever discussed your career hopes with your manager? No? You’re not alone: too many employees, unfortunately, are not having these kinds of conversations with their supervisors. Many supervisors do not talk about career development with their employees during the performance review process.

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So, if you want to move ahead in your career, you need to take the bull by the horns and start the process yourself – and you don’t have to wait for your performance review to do it.

Preparation

The first step in this process is preparation. You need to have some idea about where you want to go before talking with your supervisor.

Begin by considering a few career issues. First, think about where you want to go with your career. As part of this, think about your values and whether they match up with your career goals. Review your strengths and weaknesses – how can you put your strengths to use in advancing your career, and what skills do you need to work on to move ahead?

What are your short-term and long-term career goals? For example, short-term – within the next year or so – do you want to move to another type of job or take on more responsibilities in your current position?

Longer term goals may be a bit more difficult to specify simply because of the time frame involved. But in general, you should be able to talk about what you want to accomplish in your career.

After you have contemplated all of these issues, develop a plan of action for achieving your goals.

Meeting with Your Supervisor

The first thing to do when you meet is to get some sense of how committed your supervisor is to helping you. You can begin by telling her that you want to talk about the next steps in your career, that you would like to advance within the company but are not sure how to make that happen.

Run through your achievements at the company during your time there and emphasize how much you have enjoyed working there. Then, observe the kind of feedback you get to gauge how supportive your supervisor is.

Talk to her about your goals for the coming years, giving her a general idea of where you would like to go professionally. For example, do you want to get involved with managing people or work more with clients? Also, discuss the skills you would like to acquire, as well as the knowledge you want to gain, and make sure to do so  within the context of how this can benefit the company.

If you are interested in a promotion, you have to let your supervisor know. You could ask her for ideas on what your next step should be. If the response is unbridled enthusiasm, you are off to a promising start.

On the other hand, you may simply get a blank stare, with little in the way of support or ideas. In this case, you will have to forge your own path if you want to stay at the company. Start by looking at other departments that can use your particular talents and where you can expand your knowledge and experience.

Check with colleagues at the company about possible opportunities, such as assignments or projects that you could get involved in.

Talk to your supervisor about what you would like to do and ask her to give his support to your efforts. If your performance has been noteworthy, she should be willing to do that. Review what your investigation has turned up and, working together, decide on a few possibilities that would be a good next step for your career and the best course of action to take. Ask your supervisor to take the appropriate actions to help you get started.

If you’re not sure where you want to go with your career, consider exploring a bit by working as a temporary associate with Helpmates. We have many terrific opportunities that can allow you to try out different industries and companies. What’s more, many of our assignments can turn into an offer of employment with our client (so long as both you think it’s a good idea).

Contact the Helpmates branch nearest you for more information.

 

 

Think You Don’t Need to Job Hunt Because You LOVE Your Job? You’re Wrong!

You always should be on the lookout for our next job. Yes, even if you absolutely, positively LOVE your current job. Even if there’s no hint whatsoever about a possible coming layoff. Even if your boss loves you and says again and again that she’ll never let you go.

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If things are so perfect in your current job, why should you always be on the lookout for your next one? Because things can change. And change quickly. What’s more, if you’re in a job we love, it’s too easy to become complacent and to just skate along. Yet if you truly want to advance in your career, you need to learn new skills and have new responsibilities. You’ll often get them much more quickly if you move to a new employer.

Take a look below for a deeper dive into why regularly applying for new jobs is wise.

  1. Things can change quickly!

You love your boss and your boss loves you. You love your duties: they are exciting and keep you engaged. You love your coworkers.

But bosses themselves leave and their replacement more than likely will not love you nearly as much. Your BFF at work can leave and be replaced by someone who soon becomes the fly in your at-work ointment.

Layoffs also can seemingly come out of nowhere. Yes, rumors often start flying weeks or months before layoffs are announced, but some employers are really good at keepingthis information  on the QT, surprising most everyone. In fact, some HR experts encourage employers to keep looming layoffs a secret.

  1. If you want to move ahead in your career, you often have to find another job.

Staying in a job you love often means you become complacent, even lazy. You’re not eager to learn new skills. Yet if you want to advance quickly, you’re going to have to learn new skills and stay abreast of changes in your field.

Some people do this as a matter of course, but many others need a “push,” and a new job often is just the push needed. And, while you don’t want to job hop too much, especially as you reach your late-20s, moving to a new position regularly often means you’ll progress up the career ladder more quickly.

  1. You’ll keep your job search and interviewing skills sharp.

Just because you go on a job interview, doesn’t mean you have to accept the job if it’s offered. But applying for jobs, participating in interviews, negotiating job offers, etc. keeps your job-search skills sharp.

In addition, as mentioned above, you may find your next perfect job, one that probably gives you a raise and helps you learn valuable skills.

  1. You’ll start clarifying what it is you want out of a job/career.

Interviewing and meeting people in other companies, hearing about what they do and what they can offer you helps you keep abreast of what’s going on in your industry, and how your professional peers and possible supervisors believe it’s evolving. You can start seeing how you might be able to advance within it, etc.

In a nutshell, always being on the job hunt means you’ll better be able to stay true to your career goals.

Still, the best reason to always be on the search for your next position is the first one on our list: things can always change quickly. And, because it’s best to find your next job while you still have your current one, regularly applying for new jobs and going on interviews means you’ll find your next position while still happy in your current one. You won’t be desperate and you’ll be able to turn down offers that don’t match your needs.

Take a look at our current opportunities and if one or more interest you, follow application instructions or contact the Helpmates branch nearest you.

Working Hard – or Workaholic?

We all believe hard work is necessary for success in life and in our careers. But even hard work can be harmful if we take it too far, because then it slips into something that can take over our life – workaholism. It is similar to an addiction, where we feel the need to work excessively and compulsively. We feel uncomfortable when not working

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And today, when technology has become ubiquitous and the boundaries between work and personal life begin to dissolve, it is easier than ever to fall into the trap of workaholism. People are tethered to their jobs by their smartphones, text messages and email. Here in the United States, more than half of those surveyed said they check email after 11 p.m. And more than 56 percent check it 5.6 hours every day, Monday-Friday.

Although workaholism is gaining more attention, there is still little data on how many people fall into the category of workaholic. Some estimates in the U.S. put the number as high as one-fourth of all workers. In Norway, where studies have been made, the number of workaholics appears to be a little under 10 percent of the workforce.

The Workaholism Scale

Researchers at the University of Bergen in Norway have developed a list of seven basic criteria for workaholism. If you answer “often” or “always” on four or more of the criteria, the chances are good that you are a workaholic. Here is the list:

  1. You are always looking for ways to free up more time for work.
  2. You usually spend more time working than you originally planned.
  3. You work to escape feelings of anxiety, guilt or depression.
  4. Your friends, family and/or colleagues have told you that you should cut back on the amount of time you spend working, but you generally ignore them.
  5. You get stressed out when you cannot work.
  6. Work is always your number one priority, crowding out other important activities in your life, such as hobbies, leisure activities, and exercise.
  7. You work so much that it has affected your health.

People may believe that workaholism is a way of being more productive, getting more done, getting ahead of the curve and so reducing stress. But the exact opposite is true. Working all the time, without taking time to recover and reenergize, leads to burnout, lower productivity, higher stress, and more health problems.

Fighting Workaholism

If you think you may be a workaholic, what can you do to get your life back on a more even keel? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Try to reduce the distractions when you work, so you get more done in less time. If you can, try working from home to reduce distractions. Or put on headphones or close your office door, if possible.
  2. Delegate more work to others.
  3. Put more emphasis on a healthy work-life balance. You can do this by trying to reduce your work time to a 40-hour work week. Try meditating. Take the time to exercise and socialize more. Set priorities – get the important stuff done first. Schedule a time period for your tasks and stick to it. Learn how to say no to people when they ask for help if you already have too much on your plate.
  4. Turn off the electronics when you leave work. Don’t check your email or send email.
  5. Develop a morning routine. This sets the tone for the entire day.

We’re always looking for hard workers (but not workaholics)! If you’re looking for a new job or just for work for a few days or weeks, contact the Helpmates branch nearest you. And make sure to check out our latest temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire job openings.

You’re the Boss of You

You have a terrific job with a stable company. You love your supervisor and your co-workers and they love you. The company is growing and things are good.

For now.

We can’t emphasize this enough: never become complacent. Things can – and too often do – change in an instant. Recessions hit. Companies get bought by larger companies and the buying company lays off most of the smaller business’ employees. Your beloved boss leaves and your new boss dislikes you. Really dislikes you. You turn 50.

Job stability is a myth. Let us repeat: job stability is a myth.

So who’s your real boss? YOU ARE.

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You know those entrepreneurs you admire? It’s time start thinking of yourself as a business: the business of you.

That’s right: even though it’s a hot, hot, hot candidate market today, the job market is unstable. It’s therefore best to think of yourself as a free agent. Master of your future. Self-employed. A business owner.

Here’s how to think like the owner of one-employee business.

  • Always be learning. Learning new skills, both hard and soft. Get certified in something. Repeat. Get a degree (choose carefully). Learn online.  Read about your industry and the position you hold within it.
  • Look for new clients – um, employers — often. If you were a self-employed person what do you think you’d be doing a great deal of? Finding clients! You need to do the same as the boss-of-you because your only current client – your employer – could disappear quickly. And it’s better to find a new employer while you still have this one. You don’t have to take a new job if it’s offered, but keep networking, keep seeing what’s out there. Keep talking to potential “new clients.”
  • Start a side hustle. You should do this for two reasons: if you do find yourself unemployed, your side gig can help pay some bills and also because with a lot of work nights and on weekends, it could grow so that you could leave your employer and be a true self-employed dynamo. (Hint:  self-employment can be a way to have real “job stability.” Why? Because it’s much easier – and quicker—to find clients than it is to find a new employer.)

If you do find yourself suddenly free of your current “largest client,” Helpmates can help you keep earning while you look for your next “one client” (or as you build your own business).

Take a look at our current openings. If you find one or more that interest you, follow the job description’s instructions or contact the Helpmates branch nearest you.

The Art of Posting Engaging Comments on LinkedIn

Do you often comment merely “Good point” or “Great article!” when one of your LinkedIn connections posts something interesting on the platform?

Well, blah, blah, blah: you might as well have not commented at all, so little is your reply going to help you build a professional network. (Although it sure will make your connection feel good, so there’s that, at least.)

LinkedIn is an incredible tool for building your professional brand and it’s not hard at all to “work” the social platform to do so. Plus, it’s enjoyable!

Buena  Park recruiters

Take a look below for how to comment on LinkedIn in ways that result in engagement….and growth in your professional brand.

LinkedIn’s algorithm loves it when you provide engaging comments and shows its love by giving your profile more visibility. The more your profile pops up in other members’ feeds, the better for your visibility on the social platform.

But the key words here are “engaging comments.” The “Good point” gets you nowhere.

In other words, if you put in the effort to comment and so long as those comments provide – ahem – value to your network, LinkedIn pays attention….and helps you rise up in your connections’ feeds as well as their connections. Your presence on LinkedIn thus grows exponentially, as does your brand.

What types of comments are engaging and provide value?

Those that reply to something in the original post and then add an opinion or fact to the conversation.

For example: let’s say a connection posts that they’re having a tough day with a client and that they did such and such to make the day better.

A good comment for you would be to acknowledge that what they did was brilliant. And then to add your own reasoning as to why their successful action worked.

Notice that you didn’t give an example of when you had an unhappy client and what you did to make him feel better. Instead, you kept your comment focused on your connection’s success and then backed up their genius with a reason why it was genius.

Another example:

Let’s say someone comments/complains that they’ve noticed that new connections always seem to ask them for a meeting or a conversation as soon as they become a connection!

A good reply would be to commiserate: “Sheesh, that’s annoying!” and then add that you’ve noticed that those who provide the best value on LinkedIn usually try to build rapport with a new connection first before asking for a sale. This way you don’t denigrate any who one who does ask for a sale immediately and you infer that your connection is the type who would never do that (of course!).

Additional Types of Engaging Comments:

  • Ask a clarifying question of the original post or commenter.
  • Add a link to relevant data that backs up your comment, if applicable (the link should not go to your own work).
  • Mention your own success applying the technique/advice in the post.

General LinkedIn Commenting Guidelines:

  • Always keep comments professional. Always. No matter what.
  • Never slander or insult other commenters.
  • Keep your comment relevant only to your area of expertise.
  • Focus your comment on building up the person who started the conversation.
  • Be polite and gracious.
  • Never use ALL CAPS.

Have you looked at our job opportunities lately? If not, take a look and if one or more look interesting, follow the instructions on the job posting and/or contact the Helpmates branch nearest you.

Is 50 the New 65?

Why There’s a Good Chance Your Career Could be Over in Your 50s

If you’re nearing 50, older than 50 or plan on being 50 someday, you need to read this: ProPublica.org published a story in late December – one backed up by rigorous research with the highly respected Urban Institute – that said 56 percent of people older than 50 are being “pushed out” of a “longtime” job “before they choose to retire.”

Torrance careers

It doesn’t matter what your salary is, what profession you’re in, if you have a college degree or not, whether it’s a recession or a boom: if you’re 50 and over, you stand a very good chance of leaving your job earlier than you’d like to. What’s more, according to the article, many of those this happens to often suffer “financial damage that is often irreversible.”

Yowza!

The study took a look at data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), considered to be a top source of information regarding aging in America. From 1992 to 2016, the HRS followed what the article calls a “nationally representative sample of about 20,000 people from the time they turn[ed] 50 through the rest of their lives.”

In other words, the study followed people 50 and over through boom, bust, boom, bust, and so on. Through the first tech/Internet boom and the most recent. Through the Great Recession and the current stock market rise and jobs boom and found that between the time someone “entered” the study and when he or she left paid employment, 56 percent “are laid off or leave a job under such financially damaging circumstances that it’s likely they were pushed out rather than choosing to go voluntarily.”

And what happened to them once they are out of work? “Only one in 10 of these workers ever again earns as much as they did,” the article states. “Even years afterward, the household incomes of over half of those who experience such work disruptions remain substantially below those of workers who don’t.”

We urge you to read the entire article. It’s a long one, but it goes into great detail about the different ways people are told/”encouraged” to leave and who is most liable to be let go. It’s an important eye opener.

Bottom line? Leaving work before you’re even eligible to take advantage of Social Security and Medicare – even being able to start drawing down your 401(k) without tax penalty – is a real possibility for anyone.

It’s obvious this definitely is a form of age discrimination/ageism. The right thing to do is to call your California and Congressional representatives and ask for stronger age discrimination and hiring protections.

Still, understand that leaving your job at mid-life before you’re ready appears to be something to anticipate, as sure as we anticipate that the sun will come up tomorrow and we we’re going to need to eat again a few hours after lunch.

In other words, be prepared to retire in your 50s, rather than your 60s.

Don’t think it can’t happen to you because it can. What will you do if it does? What will you live on? Do you have savings? What’s your debt load like? Will you be paying college tuition for children? Do you have a mortgage?

If you’re 45 and younger (especially if you’re in your 20s or 30s), knowing that this is a real possibility gives you plenty of time to prepare. If you’re close to 50 or already in your 50s, it’s probably wise to sit down with your family and figure out some possible contingency plans.

Being forewarned means you can become forearmed.

If you do find yourself laid off or “encouraged” to leave your employer in your 50s, don’t forget about Helpmates. We can help you keep income coming in while you look for another position. We also can help you find that next position. Contact the Helpmates branch nearest you.

So You Trashed Your Career When Young

Let’s say you were – like all of us – young and foolish. Let’s also say that you were so foolish that you trashed your career in some way:

Carson careers

  • You told your boss you were sick so that you could take the day off to see a ball game, but who should you see at the game but your boss (who took real PTO) and she fires you on the spot.
  • Or you weren’t “foolish” per se: bad things do happen to good people: you went through a nasty divorce and couldn’t function well at work and got fired, for example.
  • Or you took a youthful chance and cashed in all your retirement savings at age 29 to start the company you told yourself you always would before you were 30….and it failed, leaving you with pretty much nothing and a big gap in your work history.

Things, in other words, happened, and you need to pick up the pieces and put the trashed part of your job history behind you.

Here’s how to do so. Take a look below.

  • When you have pretty much nothing but bad job references.

If you were fired for cause (as in the first trashed-career example, above), or if you’ve left jobs too soon, too often, and/or before they could fire you, you probably have few if any good references. You’re going to need decent former-employer references to land a decent job. What to do?

You’ll need to both ‘fess up and find different references.

If applying for a job that requires references as part of the application process, be ready. You should talk to friends who know you to be of good character who can speak of that good character. List them as references.

Once in the interview, the hiring manager or recruiter undoubtedly will ask for some on-the-job references. Here’s where you tell the truth and you make it totally your fault. Tell the interviewer you were young, you were foolish, you were cocky, you made some doozy mistakes. Tell the interview how you “paid” for those mistakes (fired, demoted, had to take lower and lower paying jobs always quitting jobs, and so on).

Then be sure to tell the interviewer what you learned from these mistakes and how they’ve actually helped you: you’ve matured, you’ve seen how being arrogant before proving oneself (even AFTER proving oneself) is never a good thing, and so on.

Then offer references at former employers who can speak well of you.

You can bet that the company will try to speak to your former manager, so having backup references of former colleagues who can sing your praises will be a big help.

  • When your life blew up, you didn’t handle the stress well and your boss ended up letting you go.

Very similar to above: tell the interviewer you were young, your personal circumstances took a turn for the worse, you didn’t handle it well, and you’ve paid the price. Let the interviewer know what and how you’ve learned from the experience, and so on. Keep those reference of non-former-boss people who speak well of you handy.

  • When you took a big risk that didn’t pan out.

This is where you explain your lack of current job references and the gap in your history to as the fact that you took a risk to follow a dream. Most hiring managers understand the impatience of youth and will cut you some slack for following a dream that you probably didn’t plan well enough for. Take full responsibility for the disaster and tell the interviewer what you’ve learned from the experience, making sure to add how your new-found wisdom and skills will help his company. (They will, by the way: failure is a terrific teacher.)

Need to get your career back on track after some self-administered or “life” setbacks? Helpmates can help. Many of our temporary assignments can help you get your career back on track rather quickly. Contact the branch office nearest you to register with us.

You Got the Job Offer! Should You Take It?

You applied for a job opportunity. You were called in for an interview. You aced it. You were called in for another interview. Ditto. The hiring manager tells you she’ll make her decision in a week and in that week you hear from her and she offers you the job!

You’re excited, naturally. Flattered, of course! Proud of yourself, natch!

But just because you’re offered a job in no way means you should actually take it.

careers in cerritos

Take a look below at four things you should consider before accepting any job offer.

  1. Do you know what constitutes success in the job?

In other words, has your potential new boss spelled out clearly what she expects of you? If in doubt, take a look at the job description and go over it with her, asking her for clarification and – more importantly – asking if there’s anything she expects that’s not in the description.

Taking a job with ill-defined expectations can be a prescription for disaster. If your boss says “I’ll know when you’re doing a great job when I see it” also could end up meaning “Your idea of what  ‘doing a great job’ means is not mine.”

  1. Do you think you and your boss and new coworkers will have a respectful, friendly relationship?

If you think you can be respectful but not head over heels in “like” with your boss/coworkers, that’s OK. Respect is far more important than liking each other because if your boss/coworkers don’t respect you, chances are great they won’t “like” you much either.  A lack of respect means they won’t trust you, won’t have your back, will second guess you, etc.

Still, having respect for and liking each other will make your working relationship much more enjoyable and will go far in helping you succeed in the job. But if there’s no respect, your working life will be miserable.

Another important aspect of respect/like: do you think you’ll fit in with your department’s/company’s culture? It’s probably best to go with your gut on this one: what was the vibe of the department when you visited/met with colleagues? If your intuition is saying there are red – or even yellow – flags ahead, it may be best to turn the job down.

  1. Does the position fit in with your overall goals?

Many of us see our career going in a certain direction. While it’s sometimes necessary to go sideways or even move “down” a bit in order to get ahead, if the new position isn’t going to at least teach you new skills or put you in front of new challenges – especially if they can help you move to the next step upwards – it may not be a good idea to take the job.

For example, let’s say you’ve been working in as an account executive in finance but want to move into marketing. It may be a good idea to take a “step down” and work as a marketing assistant in a finance firm that has a marketing department. But if it’s a lateral move with a salary increase to another finance company – but one that has no marketing department and no chance to learn marketing skills – you may want to turn it down.

Which brings us to the last thing to consider when deciding whether to take a job offer…

  1. Money isn’t everything, but it definitely IS something!

We put the salary question last because while money is an important consideration when mulling a job offer, it’s not the most important thing.

As mentioned above, it may not be worth it to take a job that offers no new challenges even if it pays more. It also may be advantageous to your career to take a job that pays a bit less so long as you the new position challenges you and helps you get where you want to go.

Still, you do want to feel that you’re being fairly compensated and you also want to look forward to the benefits package offered. (Remember: if you’re not happy with salary/benefits, the only time you can easily negotiate them is before you accept the job offer.)

If you’re looking for new opportunities – whether temporary, part-time or direct-hire – check out our job openings here with Helpmates. See one or two you like? Follow the instructions on the posting and/or contact the Helpmates branch nearest you.

Hacking the College Job Fair

Yep, it’s February. If you’re a college senior, you’re busy. And one of the things your busy with is getting ready for your campus’ college job fair this spring.

jobs in carson

What? It’s not on your radar!!! Why not!? College job fairs are a terrific way for you to land job interviews with potential employers. Understand that you’re not going to get a job offer at a career fair: your goal instead is to line up job interviews with different potential employers.

The great thing about college career fairs is that employers come to scope out potential employees. They want to talk to you and, if it you looks like you might be a good fit, set up a full-fledged interview at a later date.

So sign up for the career fair!

Yes, dozens if not hundreds of your classmates are going as well. But they may not have read this blog post. YOU have and in this post are three hacks that, if you follow them, will get employers to ask you in for a job interview.

Warning: these hacks will take some time and a good bit of effort on your part. But if you want to stand out, put in the time and you’ll be rewarded.

Take a look below for our three college job fair hacks.

  1. Study the list of companies coming to the fair.

See what companies are coming and then go research the ones that look interesting to you. And almost all of them should look interesting to you because even though, for example, you’re looking for a marketing job, just about  every company has a marketing department, so don’t automatically say no to a bank or a manufacturer, etc. Still, it’s OK to designate your top 10-15 companies and then focus on them

By study we mean, research. Take a look at its website. Look it ALL over, not just the careers or jobs page. Read as much of the site as you can. Take notes about things that pertain to your degree field.

Read everything you can about the company.  Google it and see what others say about it. Check out Indeed.com and Glassdoor for reviews.

  1. Decide what skills and experience you bring to an employer that bring value.

Remember: employers hire people to solve problems. What problems do you solve? What value do you bring to an employer?

Yes, you have little to no real-world experience in the field you want to enter. But do you have initiative? Are you a member of the dean’s list? Have you worked full-time while going to school full time (that shows you know understand what hard work is and that’s highly valuable to an employer)? And so on.

Write down the skills you have that the field you want to enter requires. Have professors, managers at internships, etc. commented on how great these skills are?

You’re going to need to know what problems you solve/value you bring because now you’re going to….

  1. Write a custom cover letter and resume for EACH company you intend to visit at the career fair.

That’s right: one cover letter and one resume for EACH company. No template cover letters/resume for you. And, while many people say there’s no need to bring a cover letter to a college career fair, writing one specifically for each company helps you stand out. And standing out is what you want.

Yowza, this is going to take work! Yes. It certainly is.

But understanding what particular skills and background you provide to a company and then showcasing how they bring value to a particular company shows a recruiter you understand why an employer hires people.

Any time you look for work you should make it as easy as possible for an employer to hire you.  Presenting how you help solve a company’s problems, etc. makes it a lot easier for a recruiter to see how you match a company’s needs (she doesn’t need to read between the lines) and you’ve made it much easier for her to ask you in for a formal interview.

We can pretty much guarantee that very few – if any – of your classmates are going to customize a cover letter/resume for each company at the job fair. Few – if any – of your classmates are going to be able to talk to a recruiter with as much information as you will because of your deep-dive research. Perform these hacks and watch how well recruiters will respond!

Want some real-world experience before you head to the job fair? Take a look at our job opportunities here at Helpmates and if one appeals to you, follow the instructions on the opening or contact the branch office nearest you.

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