CareerQuest Newsletter
Job Fairs

April 2009
My dear friends, colleagues, clients and students:

Richard Nelson Bolles, author of What Color Is Your Parachute?, best overall career guide, reviewed Career and Life Counseling From the Heart, and has this to say: "Don Sutaria is one of the career counselors I most admire, in the U.S. He talks about things other career counselors don't, like 'your soul.' Now he has written a book I like a lot, with brilliant short chapters you can digest day by day. I recommend it unreservedly to everyone."

The editor of Biz4NJ, Bart Jackson, reviewed Career and Life Counseling From the Heart. The full review is on their website. Here's a small excerpt: "After a lifetime of successfully coaching individuals into the best and highest paying jobs, author Don Sutaria has stepped back and offered a new dimension. His self-professed goal was to present the public with "...a career coaching guide which would be akin to 'Chicken Soup for the Soul.'" And indeed, those who are out of work will find in this volume plenty of sympathetic stroking and encouragement."

Our book, Career and Life Counseling From the Heart (Your Career is a Pathway to Your Soul!), has received excellent reviews from our readers. Take a peek inside at Amazon.com!

In our desire to help as many people as we can, we have launched a new program called Career Stimulus Package. In essence, we have cut our fees for all services by 50%. You pay for one counseling hour and get the second hour FREE! This special offer has been extended to June 30, 2009, and may not be repeated again! To get your free hour of counseling, visit our Services page today!

CareerQuest has been invited to present an evening seminar at the Institute of Industrial Engineers - Raritan Valley (Central NJ) Chapter, on Wednesday, April 15, 2009. The topic is Making Yourself Marketable in a Down Economy (How to Make Your Job Recession-Resistant). Location is The Cranbury Inn Restaurant, 21 North Main Street, Cranbury, New Jersey 08512.

We are planning to join a discussion group, Pumps and Ties Career Empowerment Group, which meets every Monday at 8:00pm, at Barnes & Noble, in Springfield, NJ. The main objective of this self-help group is to assist one another through networking and advice. Participants may be unemployed, under-employed or looking for a job change. Attendees are requested to bring their resumes and business cards.

CareerQuest is also in negotiations with Browning Associates to be listed on their Executive Career Advisory Network, to provide telephone consultations to their clients.

Career Doctor Don Answers Your Questions appears as a regular feature in the International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE) - New Jersey Chapter newsletters. Visit www.ispe.org to read more.

Until we meet again, through the magic of email.

Peace! Love! Shalom!

Don Sutaria, MS, IE (Prof.)
Founder, President & Life-Work Coach
CareerQuest


How to Work a Job Fair
Not too long ago, while being an observer at a job fair, I overheard the following comments between two visitors who were exiting:

"This job fair was a total waste of time!"

"I got a lot out of this job fair."


Well, what do you think of these two extreme opinions?

Which group would you like to be in, the first one or the second one?
The preparation before attending a job fair is very important.
My guess is that the first person had not prepared for the job fair but the second one had. You cannot expect to stroll through a job fair as if it was a country fair and expect to land a job! Less than 10% of the attendees truly prepare for a job fair. The people who prepare have a 90% probability of success.

Many of my clients ask me the same question: "Should I attend the upcoming job fair?"

My answer is always a qualified, "Yes!"

What do I mean by that?

The preparation before attending a job fair is very important.

First and foremost, study the list of companies which will be present at the job fair. This type of list is usually available online, or in print - usually newspapers. You must first determine if these companies represent the types of jobs you are interested in. For example, if the population of companies is in the field of banking or insurance, you probably won't want to attend if you're an engineer.

You need to have an agenda or a set of goals when attending a job fair. It is perfectly acceptable to have "networking" and "obtaining experience in working a job fair" as your immediate goals.

Before attending the appropriate job fair, you need to pre-register so that you don't waste valuable time waiting in line to fill out forms at the last minute. Try to get as much information as you can on the exhibiting companies. Go to their websites and look at their open jobs in their careers section. A systematic attack on prospective companies can yield better results than plodding through the entire fair. You may not even have enough time to go through the whole fair. A targeted approach is better than a buckshot one.

Have at least 50 of your original-looking resumes. Make sure they are totally error-free! Put together a portfolio of your past work, if appropriate. Make sure you use 'sanitized' copies in this portfolio, without exposing the names of companies you worked for. If you don't, it means that you don't respect company confidentialities. The new prospective companies take this as a danger signal, and may not even call you in for an interview, even if you were the most qualified.

Your personal infomercial (30/60/90/120-second elevator speech or sound bite) should be down pat, and must sound natural. Think through carefully all the answers to typical and atypical interview questions. Many good books are available on this subject.

Have a list of relevant and intelligent questions to ask about the company.

Make sure you are well organized the night before the job fair, including proper business attire. Don't even dream of jeans and sneakers!
You get only one chance to make the first impression.
To obtain maximum benefit from the job fair, it is imperative that you arrive a little early and get oriented to the layout, prior to entering the fair. The interviewers and the candidates are more alert during the early morning hours. A slump is usually experienced during lunch hours and the last hour before closing. It is a mistake to hurriedly drop off copies of resumes and pick up business cards during your lunch hour, if you are employed. You may really need to take a day off, with or without pay, since attending this fair is an important event to advance your career.

The old adage, "You get only one chance to make the first impression" is so true! You need to be courteous, polite, and engaging with your body language. A firm handshake, a smile, and looking directly into the interviewer's eyes, go a long way! A positive, enthusiastic and optimistic attitude needs to be conveyed. Make sure you have all the contact information before you depart from the company's table. Take copious notes and find out the next steps in the hiring process. A word of caution. Do not discuss salary and benefits issues. They come much later in the game.

Don't be a lone wolf or an island! This is a perfect opportunity to network with other professionals who are job-seekers. You never know when you will receive an excellent job search tip, or are able to make another person's day by completing their jigsaw puzzle.
Don't be discouraged if you don't get a job offer after attending a single fair. This is a numbers game! Take a salesperson's stance and attend the next job fair.
Your work is not over yet!

The same day of the fair, at night, you need to write separate thank-you notes to each and every one of the recruiters you met. It is not just a bread-and-butter note, but your last chance to market yourself by citing another one or two examples which you may have forgotten to bring up, but are relevant to the job you are applying for. By writing these notes, you will stand out from the herd! You would be surprised to hear that these thank-you notes can make or break you, because so few candidates write them. These can be emailed or sent through regular mail. Handwritten notes make an even better impact in modern times. Neatly organize all materials in individual folders by company. Develop a follow-up plan to stay in contact with the company recruiters. A phone call every week or two is not inappropriate, because it shows your continuing interest in the company.

Don't be discouraged if you don't get a job offer after attending a single fair. This is a numbers game! Take a salesperson's stance and attend the next job fair. Good luck!



Don Sutaria, also known a "Career Doctor Don", is Founder and President of CareerQuest. He has been quoted frequently in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, on radio and television and has taught at various colleges. He is the author of Career And Life Counseling From The Heart (Your Career is a Pathway to Your Soul!).