Dear Matt: One of my goals for this year was to get out and network more instead of just sitting at the computer and sending out résumés. What’s the best way for me to do that?
Matt says: There is a great opportunity to do just that on March 17-18 at the Forum on Workplace Inclusion’s career fair at the Minneapolis Convention Center. While anyone can attend this free event, employers will be looking for candidates who hold or are pursuing a bachelor’s degree in accounting, consulting, communications, engineering, finance, government, health care, human resources, information management, information technology, management, marketing, operations and sales.
To take advantage of all the great resources you must preregister at www.stthomas.edu/workplaceforum. You will not only be able to submit your résumé for review by up to 50 participating companies before the fair, you can also take advantage of a résumé and interview clinic, elevator pitch practice, veteran career transition coaching and a job search clinic put on by representatives of the University of St. Thomas Career Services Center and volunteer HR and career professionals.
Job seekers attending career fairs should remember these three things, says Denise Felder (denisefelder.com/twitter.com/DeniseMpls), a Twin Cities-based career adviser:
1. Prepare in advance. Research employers at the event to find those that fit your career goals. If the job fair does not seem like a good fit for you, go anyway. It will give you the chance to explore career paths you might not have thought of and learn about companies you previously didn’t know about.
2. Create a game plan. Look at the companies expected to be at the career fair and rank which ones you want to connect with. Highlight up to four top companies and then 3-5 second-tier companies. Do not leave the fair until you have introduced yourself to representatives from all of your top companies.
3. Make it worthwhile. The real value is in the follow up. Send a thank-you note and another copy of your résumé to every employer you met. Remind them why you are a good candidate for a specific opening or department. Connect with others you met on LinkedIn and share hiring information with other job seekers in your network.
Events like these are motivating, educational and rewarding. This fair is also a great opportunity for veterans, people with disabilities, members of the LGBT communities and people of color, says Felder. “Events like these can help close Minnesota’s employment disparities by connecting employers who value inclusion with qualified candidates. Use these opportunities to get expert help developing a career plan, polishing your résumé and practicing your interview skills while connecting with future employers.”
Contact Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org.