Preparing for a job fair

4:23 PM, Jan 21, 2020

LANSING, Mich. — Job hunting can be stressful. LCC’s annual job and internship fair can help! The event will return to the West Campus 2-5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20. Those who wish to attend can pre-register and view all attending employers at The fair is open to the Greater Lansing community, as well as current college students from all schools.

In preparation for the event, LCC’s Career and Employment Services is sharing best practices for attending job seekers.

What to wear and bring
Dress professionally and make a positive first impression.

Pick out the clothes you will wear, check for loose buttons, and make sure all items fit well and are ready ahead of time. Men and women typically wear a suit (navy, grey or black) as if going to a job interview; otherwise, wear business causal clothes. Many second-hand stores sell suits and business casual attire.

Examples of business casual clothes:

Men typically wear khaki or dress pants, button down shirt, shoes and matching belt. A tie may be worn as well. Wear modest jewelry and remove piercings not in your ears. Light cologne or after-shave may be worn.

Women typically wear dress slacks and a conservative, solid color blouse, a conservative skirt and blouse, or a conservative dress, and closed toe shoes (with 2-3” heels or flats). Suit-like jackets or cardigan sweaters are also appropriate. Wear modest jewelry and remove piercings not in your ears. Light perfume and makeup may be worn.

Bring a padfolio (available from office supply stores), if possible. A padfolio with paper and pen inside gives you a place to jot down some brief notes and store business cards you collect.

Research the employers and develop a plan
Choose the employers you want to connect with at the fair. View the registered employers on the fair’s website and decide which employers you would like to talk with the most, and rank order these.

Use your time well at the fair. Upon arrival, you will be provided with a map of where individual employers are located. Be strategic. If the line at your first choice employer’s table is long, you may want to visit your second choice’s table first and return to the other later.

Prepare one or more résumés and bring printed copies
For many fairs, one version of your résumé will usually suffice. It is recommended that you bring at least 20 printed copies. If you plan to visit with just five or fewer employers, you may want to take the time to develop a customized, or tailored, résumé for each one.

Résumé writing pointers:

Search sample résumés online before you get started (tip: search for “sample,” to avoid commercial websites). View résumés in each of the three common formats: Traditional (reverse chronological), functional or combination. This will help you decide which format may work best for you and guide you regarding the layout and style you would like to use.

Look up common key tasks and activities for the kind of work of interest to you by searching by job title. What relevant education and background do you have?

Résumés should be well organized, visually appealing and easy to skim in seven seconds. Your key information should stand out on the page and attract the reader’s attention. Place your categories (sections) and action verb statements on the page in order of relevance and importance to the job/internship you desire as much as possible.

Use action verb statements in describing your paid, volunteer and extracurricular activities. Do not write in full sentences on a résumé. Eliminate using “the,” “a” or “an,” possessives and abbreviations wherever you can. Avoid the use of contractions and slang/colloquial language.

Include your relevant “hard skills” (those specific to a job or career, often learned through courses or on-the-job training) and “soft skills” (those that transfer well from one job to another), areas of knowledge, and positive work traits.

Limit your résumé to one to two pages. Be sure to proof your résumé carefully. Employers do not like to see any spelling or grammatical errors.

Prepare an “Introduction of You” when meeting employers
When you approach an employer at the fair, introduce yourself and be prepared to present some information about your career interests, how you got interested in the career, and what you have been doing to prepare for it. Share your key qualifications and background, as well as what you are interested in learning more about from the employer (e.g., summer job, permanent job, or internship opportunities or career options).

Follow up with employers
After the fair, send a follow-up email or letter to each employer with whom you met, or at least to the key ones. Thank them for participating, mention how it was a pleasure meeting and talking with them, and add whatever else you deem appropriate and beneficial based on your conversation. If they asked for a transcript, writing sample, completed application, or anything else, send the item(s) requested promptly.

Additional reminders
· Give a firm, but not overpowering, handshake. Make good eye contact. Maintain good posture.
· Turn you cell phone off or to vibrate. Do not answer calls when talking with an employer.
· Be very polite and courteous. Wait your turn in line. Do not interrupt employers. Do not chew gum.

The LCC Job and Internship fair is 2-5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20 at LCC’s West Campus (5708 Cornerstone Drive, Lansing 48917). Parking is free and pre-registration is encouraged. Enter through the building’s main, south entrance to check in.

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