What Employers Want You to Know at the Job Fair

By: McKenzie

Editor’s Note: McKenzie recently attended a C&IS student employee training featuring a panel of employers who regularly recruit UMD students. Here is what she learned.

Navigating job fair season can be a nerve-wracking and stressful time. Even seasoned pros get the jitters about all the career-related possibilities a job fair has in store. However, what if there was a way to ease the nerves? Turns out you are in luck because there is, in fact, a way to take on this task.

What employers want you to know at the job fair

Do Your Research
Employers unanimously agree knowing a thing or two about the company is completely awesome. It shows initiative and genuine interest in the company. When recruiters know you have an interest in the company, the conversation becomes more worthwhile and you can get better insight because of the questions you ask.

Ask Questions
If you have done your research then this one is a no-brainer. Trust me, recruiters have been giving the same spiel about their company all day so changing it up a little bit can go a long way. Not only does it help you learn more detailed information about the company, it also allows employers to gauge opportunities which may best fit you.

Recruiters Can’t Always Take Your Resume
This is a big one! I have heard it from recruiters myself. They may not be able to take your resume and this can be really confusing for students. Some recruiters can work with your resume to help you find matching jobs within the company, but even if they take your resume it does not guarantee you a position. Most companies have an online system they use for applications now so it is important to make sure you communicate with recruiters to learn the best ways to apply for opportunities in their company.

Fill Out the Entire Application
Although you may not apply for jobs online at the job fair, it is still important to remember to fill out their application completely. Many applicants do not fill out an online application to its full extent or put information such as, “see resume” and this is a really great way to end up at the bottom of the list of applicants. Be sure to fully answer questions on applications, even if it is the millionth job you have applied for today. Companies will not ask questions if they are not interested in the answer.

Dress For the Job You Want
It’s the age-old saying, “Dress for the job you want, not the one you have,” and it still tends to ring true. If you are attending the job fair to work in a business where you are expected to dress business casual daily then it would be in your best interest to dress for the job. It never hurts to set a good first impression.

Job hunting can feel scary, but it’s not. If you come to the job fair prepared with a plan then you are in for some smooth sailing. Whether it is your first time at fair or your last time, it is better to be there than not. You have already shown your interest by being present so get on it and get out there.

Of Possible Interest: 

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Job Search Tips – Part 2

By: Ellen (Career Counselor & guest blogger)

Here’s part two of the job search tips we sent out during the summer on our Twitter account. I should explain this briefly. We frequently send out job search related content on our Twitter account. This was a concentrated effort (with a hashtag & everything) to share a #JobSearchTip every day that we were sending out content on Twitter. If you haven’t checked out part 1 yet, do so.

Job Search Tips

I thought it would be helpful to have all those tips in one (or two) places. Today, I’m sharing all of the job search tips that we tweeted out during July. Even if it’s not July, these tips can be helpful for whenever you’re conducting a job search.

Bullet Journal Job Search Habit Tracker

There you have it. So many job search tips in one place. Go forth and conquer the job search process!

Of Possible Interest: 

If You’re Afraid of Networking then You’re Doing it WRONG

By: McKenzie

TRUE/FALSE: Networking is shady.
ANSWER: FALSE

TRUE/FALSE: Networking is scary.
ANSWER: FALSE

It came as a shock to me when I learned that many people I know perceive networking as a scary or shady activity. As I watched my colleagues engage with peers, professors, and community members I began to wonder, “Why do people associate such negativity with networking?”. Is the issue rooted in our fear of being rejected or possibly the media’s portrayal of the way to the top being a competitive game of knocking down others? I cannot say for certain where this fear comes from, however, I can say this: You are almost ALWAYS networking.

Networking. It's kind of a big deal.

I want you to think of your average day. Imagine yourself at your job or if you’re a student picture yourself at school. Consider all of the tasks you will complete, but more importantly, think about all the people who you have come into contact with today. Networking is not scary because we do it all the time. When the average person thinks about networking they often draw up images of stiff “networking” events where everyone stands locked to the wall staring anxiously at each other like middle schoolers at a dance. You came. You did nothing. You left. And you probably didn’t get much out of it. But the reality is that we are constantly networking. Unless you work from home and don’t contact anyone beyond sending your work in or you live a life of complete isolation, you are always creating contacts.

The hardest part of networking is taking the initiative to really get to know someone. Often times, our networks are full of people who have what we want or know someone who does. It’s just a matter of asking the right questions to the right people. I found a contact at Google because I happened to mention to my mom that I was interested in learning more about the company. She informed me that I already knew a family friend whose son works there and guided me to where I could find their contact information. It was then in my hands to take hold of the opportunity to reach out to them.

Getting rejected might be the scariest part about networking. I wasn’t sure that our family friend would agree to leverage her relationship with her son to get us in contact. When I messaged her I could only hope she would. And she did. The piece to always remember is that the worst thing someone will say is, “no.” and in the grand scheme of things that is really not so bad. It just means getting right back up and trying again. I have asked many people in my life to get me in touch with one of their contacts and I have only been told no once. It wasn’t scary at all. It’s a good trait to be curious about people’s lives and how they lead them. We can learn a lot from each other that way. If you aren’t sure where to start then try asking them for an informational interview because it’s pretty easy for people to talk about themselves and they anticipate that you want to learn more about them. I believe in you so get up, get out there, and start networking!

Of Possible Interest: 

Read McKenzie’s other posts

Job Search Tips – Part 1

By: Ellen (Career Counselor & guest blogger)

This summer we sent out job search tips during June and July on our Twitter account. I should explain this briefly. We frequently send out job search related content on our Twitter account. This was a concentrated effort (with a hashtag & everything) to share a #JobSearchTip every day that we were sending out content on Twitter.

Now that summer is winding down, I thought it would be helpful to have all those tips in one (or two) places. Today, I’m sharing all of the job search tips that we tweeted out during June. Even if it’s not June, these tips can be helpful for whenever you’re conducting a job search.

Job Search Tips

  • Set up job search alerts on the different job search sites you’re using.
  • Don’t job search from your couch. Go somewhere. Treat searching for a job, like a job.
  • Use GoldPASS as part of your search strategy – all you need is your UMD login info.
  • Do different job search related tasks throughout the day. Don’t spend all your time just surfing 1 job search site.
  • Research different career paths that go with your degree. This could introduce pathways you haven’t considered yet.
  • When applying for out-of-state jobs, make a point to include on your resume and/or cover letter your reasoning or plans to relocate.
  • Use social media to your advantage in your job search.
  • Attend local networking events and/or join young professionals groups. Meet the people instead of always being a number in the online system.
  • When you have an interview ALWAYS bring a printed copy of your resume for your interviewer.
  • Follow companies you’re interested in, on social media. See how they interact with customers.
  • Use the skills listed in the “qualifications” section of a job posting to help you figure out what to highlight on your resume.
  • Applying for jobs and getting no response? Your application materials potentially could use some work.
  • Google job search tips & tricks to guarantee better results. Via: YouTern
  • Have a disability you’re not quite sure if, how, or when you want to disclose it in the search process? Tips: on our blog.
  • Check out our Ace the Job Search Pinterest board for numerous articles/resources to help w/your search.

Ace the Job Search Pinterest board screenshot

Stay tuned for tips we sent out in July.

You Got a Job Offer! Now What?

By: Logan

We all know how long and grueling the job searching process is. You spend hours rewriting resumes and cover letters, reviewing multiple job posting websites nonstop, sending credentials out to potential employers, and attending interview after interview. But if you do it correctly, you will receive an offer. Congratulations! You better hurry and accept it right away before the offer is revoked, right? Wrong. There are still a few things to keep in mind even after you have been given an offer, and I will discuss these in this post.

After you receive a job offer you are allowed to have a little sigh of relief. It feels good to receive the offer, but there are still some things to consider. You may have gotten the job, but is it the right job for you? Be sure to remember you don’t have to accept the first offer you are given! Also, keep in mind you have been offered the job, but there are still some tests you must complete. These include things like reference checks, background checks, and drug tests. This is where it is crucial that you have reached out to your references and informed them they may receive a call from your potential employer. It will reflect on you poorly if your new employer calls one of your listed references and the person you wrote down is not expecting it at all. If the person is warned in advance they have the chance to think of things to say about you. It is also a common courtesy to inform them so they aren’t blindsided by the call. It would probably be a good idea to do this even before you are offered a job.

You got a job offer! Now what?

So you got the job offer, but is this the right fit? There are quite a few things to consider when deciding on a position. In my experience, I was offered four positions so I was forced to evaluate each job in every single detail. One thing to think about would be location. Do you prefer a large city or a smaller town? Do you want to live close to home or do you want to have some distance? Would you be willing to relocate across the country? These are all things I’m sure were considered while applying for the position, but it is a very important part of your final decision. Right fit can also mean company culture, training provided, and opportunity for advancement.

There are also many things to consider as far as compensation. When I was offered my positions I had an understanding of the salary and how the pay worked, but I knew little to nothing about insurance and benefits. So I decided to have my mom review all of the jobs’ benefits packages and insurance. She then broke it down for me and explained which job had the best overall compensation. This is where it is important to reach out to someone you trust if you don’t know a lot about the subject. If I didn’t ask around I could have made a poor decision based on compensation. If you don’t have a close adult or friend who knows a lot about these policies you can reach out to the UMD’s Career and Internship Services office, or your local career office. The counselors would be happy to review the information for you and provide you with thoughtful, unbiased information.

There are many things to keep in mind while deciding on a position and it is important to put them all into consideration. Be sure to reach out to trusted friends and family for assistance when needed, but overall it is your own decision to make. Review all of your options and go with the position you think you would be the happiest and most successful in.

Of Possible Interest

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Photo source: Unsplash | Breather

Landing a Job or Internship

By: Logan

At some point in your college career you will be searching for either an internship or job. This process is far from easy and is a lengthy, exhausting process. Whether you are graduating soon or looking to gain some experience in your field, the job search is fast-paced, competitive, and very exciting. In this blog post I will be explaining the steps I took to decide which job I wanted to accept upon graduation, and I hope this post can help someone out who is in a similar position.

I have been lucky enough to receive multiple job offers during my job search, but these did not just fall into my lap. I was proactively searching and applying for jobs far more than any of my friends, and I believe this gave me an advantage. I started early (early February for a May graduation) before many people had even begun their search. This is one point I touched on with my last blog post, try to apply early before your dream position is filled! There were many other steps I took to get my name out there. I went to the job fair, I applied to positions on multiple databases, and reached out to relatives and friends who may have known of available positions. This is how I found the companies I was interested in and got my name out to employers.

One thing I learned recently was how beneficial Spring Break can be in the job search. Yes, I understand most people would rather be laying on a beach or going on a road trip, but if you are like me and are not able to indulge in these experiences you should make the most out of your time on break. After networking with employers online and through the job fair, I scheduled in-person interviews during Spring Break when I knew I had no class and would be closer to these companies. Over my Spring Break I attended 4 in-person interviews, one phone interview, and one Skype interview. Seems like a bit of overkill, I know. Not everyone needs this many, but I was proactive, curious, and wanted to see what was out there. Also, I had nothing better to do. Setting up these interviews early is crucial in the job search because you show your initiative and drive by reaching out to companies long before graduation.

This is where the fun began. I ended up receiving four offers for jobs, and I had mixed emotions about this. Yes, it felt good to know my skills were wanted in the workplace, but how would I ever decide which one to take? This is where reaching out to all the resources you have available will benefit you. I made my decision by looking at each job from every angle. I thought about the environment of the workplace, do I feel like I would fit in? What is the typical age of others in my position? Next, I put compensation and benefits into consideration. I could understand the salary and commission pieces, but I didn’t know a lot about benefits and insurance, so I reached out to my mom and had her read it over and tell me what she thought. Since many of us students have never had a full-time job, we may know little about how good the benefits are, so it is a good idea to reach out to someone who has been through it before. I also put geographic location into consideration. Where can I see myself living? What is the cost of living in each of these areas? Do I have any family or friends in this area? And of course, you have to consider the type of work. Where do I have experience? What kind of work do I enjoy? Can I see myself moving up in this company? There are definitely many things to consider, and this made my choice very difficult.

I think the question that made me think the most and ultimately helped me come to my decision was, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” This made me think about how long I could see myself staying with a company, and if I could see myself doing this for a while, and it was something I hadn’t thought about very much. To come to my decision, I reached out to my parents, brother, friends, and spoke with a counselor at UMD Career and Internship Services, and altogether I got a variety of viewpoints and opinions. All of these viewpoints, combined with me thinking through each of the questions I stated above, helped me come to my decision. Ultimately, you are the only one who knows what you like, so you have to make the decision. It is also important to keep in mind most people do not find their dream job straight out of college. If you realize this is not the job for you, you can always begin the job search again.

Read Logan’s other posts

The Job Searching Process

By: Logan

Being that I will graduate from UMD in May, I have shifted my focus from strictly schoolwork and internships to finding an actual job upon graduation. This is an exciting and scary time for many graduates. Many people have never had a “real” job before, so once they get to this point they are unsure of the best practices. In this post, I will discuss my own journey and the steps I am taking to lock down a job before May.

job-search-process

Sometimes it is difficult to gauge when you should begin applying for jobs. January may seem too soon since you will not be able to work for several months, and if you wait until April you may have difficulties finding a job since many will already be filled. From what I have learned from my Career Counselors and my own experience, I have found mid-late February to be a great time to begin the search. It is early enough that many positions should still be open, and you are getting your name out early so you can begin making connections and exploring opportunities. One superb resource I took advantage of this year was attending the U of M Job & Internship Fair in Minneapolis. This job fair exceeded my expectations and introduced me to many great opportunities I was not aware of before. A job fair is a great place to make connections with companies, network with recruiters, and explore multiple career options all in one day. By conducting a bit of research before attending you will be prepared to succeed. We have multiple posts about job fairs here on the blog. There are posts about how to prepare, what to do when you’re at the fair, and what to do afterward.

logan-at-umjf
Logan at the UMN Job & Internship Fair

One important piece to remember is to not be afraid to really put yourself out there. Personally, I have applied for a large variety of jobs, even some jobs I did not expect to be interested in. It is important to put yourself out there and explore all of your options because you never know what might catch your interest. If your job search is too narrow you may find yourself having trouble finding opportunities. I’m not saying you should apply for jobs you are not interested in, but be sure to explore many opportunities. Your first job out of college is rarely your dream job, and sometimes you just need a few years of experience to add to your resume before you can land your dream job.

Right now, it seems the most common form of job searching is through internet databases. These can include sites like Indeed.com, Monster, GoldPASS, and many more. Last Spring, I wrote a blog post about different job searching sites and their pros and cons. What I have learned from applying to multiple jobs online is it is helpful to include as much information as you can. On sites like Indeed, you can supply minimal information, no cover letter, and a very simple resume. Although this is the fastest and easiest option, I have found applying to jobs using the bare minimum very rarely results in calls back. If you are going to use these services, make sure your resume is updated and current. Personally, when I apply for a job I am very interested in I attach my resume, cover letter (even if they do not ask for one), references, and sometimes a letter of recommendation if there is a space to add one. Adding these extra credentials will show you are really interested in this job and you put in extra time to apply for the position.

I have more tips on how to navigate your job search which I will continue in my next blog post. These tips can also be used by students looking for summer jobs or internships, this information is all relevant! Be sure to be professional and thorough, and apply early enough so the position you want isn’t filled. Good luck with your search!

Read Logan’s other posts

Photo source: Unsplash | Mari Helin-Tuominen