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Archive for October, 2015

Getting The Most Out of a Job Fair

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

You spend days preparing for that big career fair, where you’ll meet your dream employer who will throw lots of money your way because YOU are the one they’ve been waiting for. However, the reality is that many people who attend job fairs are left disappointed, frustrated and jobless.

Here are some pointers to help you get the most out of your job fair experience.

Don’t expect to get a job at a job fair. The description “job fair” is a misnomer. Typically, a recruiter at a job fair will glance over your resume, spend about five or ten minutes talking to you, and then move on.

The job fair is like a dance — it’s an opportunity to scout what’s out there and pursue what’s interesting. It is not a place for the candidate or the recruiter to fall in love with each other upon first sight.

1. Don’t be afraid to leave your resume at every table.

    The human resources representatives present at job fairs typically do all the recruiting for their respective organizations. If the company isn’t offering anything in your desired field, it doesn’t hurt to leave a copy of your resume in case something opens later. Think of it as performing a mass broadcast delivery of your resume in person.

2. Bring along a cover letter.

    Remember, at most job fairs, recruiters see dozens, if not hundreds of candidates. A cover letter keeps your name fresh in their minds, and helps the recruiter better place you within their company, especially later on if they want to share notes with managers within their companies.

3. Don’t grab the goodies.

    Many companies offer a small premium item to keep their name in front of candidates. If you’re a collector, think for a moment about the message you’re sending. If you show up at a table with a bag full of goodies that you’ve gathered from other tables, it makes you look as though you only came for the giveaways. Still worse, if you approach a recruiter with chocolate, or some other flavored treat clearly visible on your teeth, lips or breath, do you think a recruiter is going to take you seriously?

4. Know what you want.

    When times are tough, it’s not uncommon for the person who’s been unemployed a while to be less discriminating about the employment they’ll accept. In reality, your willingness to do “anything” the company has to offer is more frustrating than you realize. You can’t expect the recruiter to read your mind and find the perfect role for you; you need to meet them halfway by offering a hint as to where your interests lie.

Career fairs are an excellent way to network, not just with recruiters but with people who might be able to help you advance your career. Make good use of your time and you’re bound to get positive results from a career fair.

The Art of Career Planning

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

Career planning is an exercise that is well worth the time invested in it because it sets you going on the path that leads to where you would like to go. This exercise provides you with a lot of clarity regarding your career objectives as well and it best done before you embark on your job search.

Often most people get stuck at the very beginning of the planning process itself. There seem to be too many choices that are throwing themselves at you with all kinds of material gains, fame and wealth, comfort and luxury, glamour and beauty. From acting to singing, writing to banking, software programming to business, choices confuse you. Naturally feelings of self-doubt might creep in at this stage. Am I good enough for that, you may ask, or how do I become successful at this. After some time of pondering over many career paths you may end up thinking that maybe you are no good for any of these things after all.

Here is where a bit of career planning helps. There are two ways of starting off. One is to find out what you really like doing and do it irrespective of the gains and growth patterns and the second is to find out what really motivates you, find out which among the careers gives you what you want and build up competencies for it. Either way you will get what you want – in the first method the journey itself is your reward (though many will discourage you on this path, but don’t worry, many have tread this path and quite successfully at that too) and in the second you are carefully working your way to your reward which could be clearly spelt out to be a consequence of your work or occupation.

Whichever path you choose, it is most important to know your individual strengths and weaknesses. Sit down and assess yourself honestly. Think of all your accomplishments, of all the compliments you got, of all the work that really inspired you, of the times when you worked with passion at and jot them all down. You will find that as you note down your victories, your achievements etc a pattern will emerge. You can find that you are good at organizing, at making people comfortable, at leading, at solving puzzles, at physical activity, at playing music or games. Each of these represents a career option by itself or throws up some characteristic in you – qualities that could be good assets in your future career options.

Now list out things that motivate you, that you aspire for, your dreams – things you would want more than anything else in the world. Find your fit between the person you are and the dream you wish to achieve. As this picture gets clearer you become more aware, confident and purposeful. Attributes that serve you well along the way. You have now formed a sharp picture of yourself with specific saleable qualities.

Based on your aspiration level and your aptitude, you can also identify the careers that offer the kind of lifestyle or returns that you wish. If you wish to frequently travel and be in command of a dynamic business you can zero down to careers in marketing with a goal to set up your own firm or to head a large company (the same may not be possible if you inherently like to paint for long hours).
It is best to be honest with yourself at this stage because most people take decisions based on glamorous misconceptions about certain careers and later change them. For example if you wish to be an airhostess, check out the sources available to the kind of work that is associated with being an airhostess. Only if you really enjoy doing that kind of work and the rewards that come with it must you opt for it. Else look further for what really fits you. Growth, rewards, recognition and most importantly job satisfaction and a good quality of life come from one thing -loving your job.

Having decided on a particular direction, build competencies. Specific careers need specific education and training. Whichever area you choose to be in, you will fare well if you strive to be the best in it. Leave your individual brand on it. Learn the ropes by acquiring information, by taking up courses, by taking up internships and summer jobs, by learning the economics of the job, by adding special skills that help in handling the job with greater proficiency.

All careers without exception would certainly require a good writing and verbal communicating ability so please work on that, a pleasing and well-mannered personality, a professional work ethic and good inter-personal skills. Work on these important soft skills along with as you plan your career.