AgCareers.com staff has seen and heard some truly cringe-worthy moments at the many on-campus career fairs that we attend every year. Our employer clients also share some bizarre career fair stories with us. The results of these employer-student interactions were less than impressive, so here are a few mistakes career fair attendees should avoid:
Parents! A college student took along their dad for moral support and to listen-in to their kid’s conversations with employers at a career fair. Even if your mom or dad is a “helicopter parent,” insist they stay away for the day. They won’t be able to join you on the job anyway!
Poor dress choices. Think about the power of first impressions. We’ve seen students who look like they just rolled out of bed with wrinkled jeans, mismatched socks, and a bad hair day, chewing gum and intent on their mobile phone. Dress appropriately for the professional atmosphere, not like you’re ready for a night out. Ensure you can bend over without embarrassment! Shoes are a common problem, so make sure yours are clean and comfortable. Practice wearing your new dress shoes before the fair; stay clear of too-high heels or platforms that make you stumble.
The changing leaves brings in a new phase in recruitment, and that’s career fair season, and organizing internship opportunities for the coming spring. It may seem early, but if you need to secure an internship, summer job, or your make your first post-graduate career choice – the time is now. Most campuses are hosting career fairs in September-November each year, typically there is a different fair for each specific college. You should absolutely attend – even if you are returning to the farm this summer, it’s never too early to familiarize yourself with agricultural companies in your area. The companies have prepared, come early to set up their booths – and cannot wait to talk to excited and interested students – that’s why they are there! You have some preparations to make too – let’s take a look at how you can be the most impactful at the fair and how to approach employers properly.
Dress – The problem is that you’re usually going to go to their fair between classes. You probably don’t want to sit in class in polyester dress pants before darting off to the fair; but at least try to look professional. You don’t have to wear a suit, although some do. Even dark wash jeans with a nice top, or a blazer would set you apart from some of the other attendees. The number of students that we see at career fairs each year in Ugg boots, leggings, overly distressed, jeans, or work boots is sometimes overwhelming. It reflects badly on you and on your educational institution.
Between high school and college, most students have served some type of leadership position. It can be difficult to shine in a job interview when several of the candidates have the same experience as yourself. So, what makes you exceptional? Standing out to employers may be simpler than you think.
Utilize Your Resources
Ask a previous employer or an organization you were involved in to send a recommendation letter to a future employer testifying some of your key strengths or positive work attributions.
You have probably already heard this one a million times but I will say it again. Building connections is so important to establish relationships no matter what industry you are in. Employers talk and references are key, so take the time to establish contacts with anyone in the industry.
So, you’re on the hunt for a new job or you are a new graduate looking for your first start! Navigating job postings, career fairs and social media can be time consuming. When targeting your job search, how do you spot a great company to work for? It isn’t just the job description you should focus on, it’s also the company. Outside of your family, work is said to be the biggest thing to influence happiness and most of us spend most of our time at work. Also, the more comfortable you are in your workplace, the better you will likely be at your job. Here are some tips for honing in on that company with the culture for you and how to spot a great employer:
1. Internet research. Research the company. Look on their website and read about what they say about themselves and their employees. There are also a variety of websites and forums where current and previous employees can post about their own employment experiences with the company. Social media is also a great tool for researching companies and look to see what brand the company is showing through their social media channels. Does their messaging appeal to you?
Growing up, we were taught to use our manners and have proper etiquette for about every situation, but what about during our job search? We have all been there. Job searching can be extremely stressful and frustrating. Whether you are a fresh graduate, have moved to a new area or are anxious to leave your current employer, we tend to put extra pressure on ourselves and sometimes our sense of urgency clouds the way we handle ourselves throughout the process. With so many other job seekers looking for employment as well, how can you make a lasting impression so that you will be remembered? These 6 simple tips will help you stay ahead of the game by showing proper job search manners and etiquette.
The first thing we do before searching for a job is re-vamp our Resume. Selling yourself through your resume is key. A big mistake that is often made is having one generic resume for each job that you apply for. Going the extra mile and tailoring your resume to each specific job is important and will help your resume stand out from the rest. Also, make sure to proofread your resume before sending it out, you would not want to reference a certain position on your resume and send it to the wrong company – yikes!
Job searching: not for the weak. It can feel like fighting a Demogorgon while trying to save your best friend from another dimension and trying to hide a telekinetic from evil scientists…. Okay, maybe not quite like that. But job searching has more in common with the hit Netflix show Stranger Things than you might think. Have a read.
Disclaimer #1: If you haven’t seen Stranger Things, go watch it now, because it is great. Also, if you haven’t seen, this post likely won’t make a lot of sense.
Disclaimer #2: Some of these analogies are corny and far-reaching. Don’t judge me.
Digital organization is vital for today’s job search organization. Customizing your resume and cover letter for each job opening is essential to get your application noticed and make it through what can seem like a digital maze. However, that means it’s all too easy to attach the wrong file or an old version of your resume during the application process. Making that mistake can be an embarrassment and cost you the chance at an interview. This is where your digital organization skills become essential.
Here are three quick tips to simply organize your career search:
Video resumes have become an emerging trend over the last few years, but as with any trend you should evaluate if it’s right for you before jumping on the bandwagon. (I sure wish I would have done that with some of my early 2000’s clothing choices!) Is a video resume something that will entice employers or turn them off?
The jury is still out on what employers think of receiving video resumes from candidates. A survey by Vault Inc. discovered what while most employers are receptive of video resumes less than 20% have actually viewed a video resume. Some employers are leery of being accused of discrimination if they do not proceed with the candidate, as the video will clearly showcase gender, race, age and other characteristics. If you do create a video resume, simply include the URL on the information you share with the employer and they can choose whether to view it.
In a world where most anything can be found online, it is important to be aware of your social presence not only on a personal standpoint but a professional stand point as well. That first impression can make a huge difference in whether you will land the job interview. Consider what someone may find when they search for you on the internet. Ask yourself, what picture of me is going to pop up when an employer is searching for me? Is this picture what I really want my future employer to see and does it represent who I am on a professional level? It may be time to consider getting a professional headshot done.
Here are some things to consider when getting your photo taken.
I suppose it’s time to take my own advice from this blog to update my resume and online profiles! NO, I’m not looking for a new job, but I’ve realized my descriptors are tired, overused, and dated. Updating your personal introduction, social media profiles, resume or CV should be completed on a regular basis, even if you are happily employed. If you’re actively job searching, it can make all the difference if you delete old phrases and resume cliches and add a few powerful, action words.
Even though it may still fit, my “dynamic and driven professional” descriptor has evolved into a group of resume cliches. You know, those buzzwords that have become abused in the workplace? Synergy. Team effort. Strategic. Innovative. The words we are guilty of overusing in everyday life and conversations: excellent, very, good, love, great…and the list could go on and on.
Most of us on the road to career and self-improvement love (there’s that overused word again) lists of what NOT to do. I guess it’s easy for us to identify what we should be avoiding and make quick changes. By no means is this list exhaustive, but if you are wasting valuable space on your resume with some of these weak words or jargon, then you should consider replacing them soon: