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.

If These Folks Changed Careers Mid-Stream, You Can, Too

Let’s say you’re over 30. Or 40. Even 50 or 60. And you’ve come to the realization that the career you’ve chosen isn’t the right career for you. Or you’ve decided “I only live once, and it’s time to follow my dream.”

But you feel old. You’ve been in this career for 10 or more years – perhaps even three decades – and you fear it’s too late, that the proverbial ship has sailed.

Or you may be very successful in your current career and you Just. Don’t. Want. To. Start. At. The. Bottom.

All are legitimate concerns: it won’t be easy to change careers. If older than 45 (or even – gulp! — 35), people probably will look at you as “too old.” If switching to a career that’s completely different from your current one, you more than likely will have to start at a level – and salary – below what you’re working at now.

But don’t let that stop you: at least explore the idea of a career change. After all, if the people showcased below can change careers mid-stream, you can, too.

From Senior HR Professional to Professor – in His 50s

Phillipe Gaud worked in HR for 25 years, eventually reaching senior level roles in “high profile companies.” He left that career, he says, even though there was no “real reason to abandon a career that was developing very well. No real reason, that its, except one, crucial one: I wanted something different.”

Orange County careers

He realized at the time that he could be making a huge mistake, but he now works as an affiliate professor at HEC Paris. It appears he took a huge risk, turning his first career’s knowledge into a teaching career. Doing so – making a career out of teaching all of your accumulated expertise – can make the career change easier.

Left a $500K Salary to Follow a Passion

That’s right: Susie Moore left a very lucrative position to become a life coach. She didn’t do it cold turkey, however: she started feeling restless as she approached 30 and so went for training as a life coach and started her coaching enterprise as a side hustle. Now that she’s coaching full time, she also helps other people start side hustles, even if they never want to transition the 2nd income stream into a full-time one.

Moore mentions she has helped an accountant build a side business as a Christian life coach and someone else who works as a social media director start a matchmaking service.

Starting a side business or even working part-time in your chosen next career is a wise move: you won’t have to worry about finances as you build the business and/or you lessen the risk of moving to the second career and then finding you don’t enjoy it!

Fulfilling the dream of Fighting Fires, at Age 56!

Firefighters tend to be in the 20s and 30s: after all, it takes a lot of physical strength and stamina to work a fire line. Firefighters still in the game in their 40s and 50s tend to become  captains and, well, they lead those who fight fires; they may not actively battle them as much as they used to.

Plus, if you’re a woman, it’s all that harder to become a firefighter, even when young!

But Robin Nesdale went through the grueling training to become a volunteer firefighter at age 56.

Now you may be thinking, “Well, that’s not a really a career change. After all, she works as a volunteer; she doesn’t get paid.”

So while it may not be a true career change, take note: if you can’t make your dream into a career, it’s never too late to turn it into a great hobby. Dreams don’t need paychecks attached in order to be fulfilling

If you’re thinking it’s time for a change in jobs or careers, Helpmates can help! Take a look at some of our current openings and contact us if one or more appeals to you.

 

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