Archive for October, 2011
What is a Job Fair? Simply put; a job fair, a.k.a “career fair” or “career expo”, is an event where employers, recruiters, schools and other training institutions meet with prospective job seekers. Usually there are tables or booths where job seekers can submit their resumes and cover letters, where they can fill out applications, and even have job interviews on the spot. Job fairs provide an opportunity for the job seeker to streamline their job search, while employers can engage with multiple job seeker in person and in a timely manner.
Preparation is essential to achieve success at a job fair. As the saying goes “you only get one chance to make a good first impression”. With that in mind it is valuable to know some key points in making the job fair experience a valuable one for you and for the prospective employer.
1. Resumes & Cover Letters
You will need to have resumes and cover letters for the companies that you are interested in prepared before you attend the fair. Most advertised fairs will let you know which companies will be present. Make sure to research the companies you are interested in. It is not necessary to spend time at booths of companies you are not interested.
2. Engage Recruiters
It is vital that you engage in conversation with the job recruiters rather than just giving them a resume and moving on to the next table. This is your opportunity to discuss your job objective and to tell them a bit about you. Be ready to talk about your work experiences, skills and abilities; you can do this by preparing as if you are going to an interview.
3. Dress The Part
Dress for success! Your attendance at the Job Fair is actually a job hunt, the same as if you were going out into the community and looking for jobs or attending an interview.
4. Collect Contact Information
Pick up informational materials from the booths where you apply, ask for business cards and write down whom you speak with so that later you can follow up with them as to the status of your application. This is essential for making the most of this networking opportunity.
5. Show Appreciation
Before you leave the job fair return to the booths of any of the companies that interest you, wait for a chance to talk to them again, and thank them for their time. Let them know that you will be in touch and that you look forward to speaking with them soon. Consider handing them a thank-you note with your contact information; it will definitely make an impact.
This is just a quick overview of job fairs and how to make the most out of them. For more information on this topic, there is a wealth of information on the internet and at job search program offices in your community. Take a close look at these and other ways to enhance your job search and find success. The competitive job search market does not have to look so overwhelming if you are always prepared to go the extra mile for yourself.
For more information on networking visit our website at http://www.myerc.ca/content/Job%20Seekers/Networking.asp
This article was written by Gail Winacott, a Career Development Practitioner working with youth in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. It was originally written for the BC Workinfonet Youth Site and is reposted here with permission.
Volunteering has many benefits. As we learned last week, work experience is one of them. According to the National Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating by the Canadian Centre for Philanthropy and Volunteer Canada, there are nine main areas in which British Columbians tend to volunteer their time:
1. Organizing or Supervising Events
Every large and small event throughout the year requires a team of people to sort out the details.
2. Canvassing, Campaigning or Fundraising
This can be done door-to-door, by telephone, by direct mail, mall kiosks and displays. It can be a small effort or a large scale campaign. This is a great way to develop sales and marketing skills.
3. Sitting as an Unpaid Board Member
Elected boards of volunteers run non-profit societies. This is a great opportunity to have a say in how your favorite organization is run and learn some more about the democratic process. You will also learn delegation, cooperation and administrative skills.
4. Educating, Influencing or Lobbying
Non-profit groups have a mission that they are trying to advocate for. Get involved! Teach others about your organization and what they are trying to accomplish.
You guessed it, volunteers coach most sports teams! Community Centres often also have homework clubs or reading programs where you could get some experience teaching and working with children.
6. Driving for an Organization
Picking up and delivering items, putting up signs, picking up and dropping off people for medical appointments, delivering groceries, food or medication to people who cannot get out on their own is a great way to see your would enjoy being a professional driver or courier.
7. Providing Care or Support
Supportive volunteers assist people with mental illness, physical disabilities, young parents, teens, young children, people living with Cancer, MS, Parkinson’s, Heart Disease or other ailments. There are groups that support the patients and the families of those affected with these conditions. Working with these groups will help you develop empathy and supportive skills, as well as probably some new medical knowledge!
8. Collecting, Serving or Delivering Food
Often we think of “Soup Kitchens” or “Meals on Wheels” when we think of food and volunteering. There are many other places where you might serve food: a concert, a conference, a daycare, at a board meeting, or in a cooking class. This is great experience and sometimes the organization will provide you with FoodSafe or other types of food handling certifications.
Any organization that owns property or leases a space will have minor repairs and cleaning to take care of on a regular basis. Also, ecological societies and other recreational organizations may have cleanup and maintenance needed in parks or other locations. If you are a hands-on kind of person this may be a good way for you to help out.
No matter what your interests and abilities, there is a volunteer job out there for you! The most important thing is to find your passion, whether it is cancer awareness, drug prevention, protection of animals, arts, music, children, etc. Find the society that does what you are interested in and apply to be a volunteer. It is amazing the things you will learn and the skills that you will pick up along the way.
For more information about volunteering visit:
This article was submitted by career development practitioner Kirsty Peterson. It was originally written for the BC Workinfonet Youth Site and is reposted here with permission.
What is Volunteer work? And more importantly, what’s the point?!? Volunteer work is any job that you do without being paid, some people ask, “Why on earth would I want to work for free, when I can go out there and get a paying job?” According to the Canadian Centre for Philanthropy, 1 out of every 3 people in British Columbia over the age of 15 has volunteered their time to a charity or non-profit organization. So why do people volunteer if they aren’t being paid?
1. Learning Something New
Learning about a new subject or way of doing business is a benefit of volunteering. Most non-profit societies have a specific focus. (e.g. Cancer Societies, Boys and Girls Clubs, Environmental Societies, Seniors Centres). You can learn tons of stuff just by spending time working with a group of experts in their specific field.
2. Valuable Experience
Volunteer work is a great way to gain valuable experience for your resume. The cool thing about volunteering is that often you will get training in new skills, and it actually counts as work experience on your resume. Volunteering can also show commitment and motivation to a potential employer.
Giving back to your community is a great way to start networking. Many of the people, who volunteer for one organization, are also involved in other organizations. It’s a great feeling to know you are a part of a bigger network of socially involved people; people who may hire you in the future.
4. Show Who You Are
Volunteering is an opportunity to be true to your personal values and beliefs. It’s one thing to say what you believe in, but volunteering is a way to really show people what is important to you, and how hard you are willing to work to achieve a goal or a dream.
5. Build Self-Confidence
Volunteering builds your self-confidence. Sound cheesy? Maybe… but the fact is, the more skills and experience you have, the more confident you will feel!
Volunteering helps you figure out what things you like doing and… maybe not so much. There are good parts and bad parts at every job. Find out if the good parts at the job you are interested in outweigh the bad parts, or if the bad parts are bad enough to make the job not so much fun anymore!
Whatever your reason for volunteering is – just do it! Next week we will talk about where you should volunteer.
For more information about volunteering visit:
So you’re looking for a new job, and you’re filling out application forms and going to interviews. You’ve perfected your cover letter and resume, and have the right outfit picked out, but have you remembered the one last key ingredient to a successful job application? That’s right, your reference list.
In your resume and cover letter, you’ve probably included some combination of your strengths, skills, experience, training and education. But how can an employer be sure that what you’ve said in there is all true? They look to those people who have worked with and know you, and who can comment on your abilities, experience and personality. So, what does this mean then? It means that your references can have a very big impact on whether you get the job…or not!
On that note, it’s time to think about how you go about choosing the right people to be your references.
1 - Who should be a reference?
In choosing appropriate references, you want to keep in mind what kind of relationship you have/had with them, whether or not they would say good things about you and whether they are qualified to speak about your skills, abilities, personality traits and so forth. Remember, you want to choose those people who you believe will speak about you in a positive light. One way of finding this out is by simply asking possible references what they would say about you and/or if they would give you a positive reference.
2 - Kinds of references
There are three main types of references: work, academic and personal/character references.
Work references should have worked with you as your supervisor or manager, and who have seen you in action. In the case where you are looking for a new job while still currently working, it is not always a great idea to use a supervisor from your current job, unless they know and don’t mind that you are looking for different employment. In the case where your current supervisor doesn’t know you are looking for other work, you can ask a trusted co-worker to be your reference.
Academic references should be from teachers, instructors or professors who have known you for some time and who can comment on your personality and the quality of your academic work.
Personal/Character references are usually only used if you are applying for your first job or if you have limited work experience. They should be adults who are not related to you but who can vouch for your good character and can discuss your personality traits. People to consider would be adults who you have worked with in a volunteer setting, a leader from your place of worship, neighbour, a long-time family friend or the parents of a close friend.
3 - Don’t forget to ask for permission!
So you’ve thought of some good people to act as your references, there’s just one more thing to do… ask for their permission. You need to make sure that they are willing to act as a reference for you. The best way to ask this is with a lot of “pleases” and “thank-yous,” letting them know just how thankful you are for their time and effort. In the end, you want to have at least 3 or 4 references.
Once someone has agreed to vouch for you, you need to ask them for the contact details that they would like potential employers to use in getting a hold of them. Keep in mind that they may not want you to give out their home phone number, personal cell phone number or personal email, so make sure that you have the appropriate details.
It is also very helpful for your references if you send them your most up-to-date resume. This way they can have a better idea of what you have done in your past, including work, volunteer and hobbies. It also helps to jog their memory when they receive calls about you.
4 - Get your list ready
Now that you’ve finalized your references, it’s time to prepare a neat list of their contact details. Do not include your references on your resume, but instead put “references available upon request”, or write nothing, most employers will assume your references will be available when they ask. The reason for this is that:
a) you have yet to go in for an interview. You still need to see if the job is for you and whether or not you want to give them access to find our more about you.
b) If you are applying for a large number of jobs, you don’t want your references to be exhausted from having to speak on your behalf 30 times or more! There is a limit to what your references will be willing to do for you.
Also remember you are only using those numbers, addresses and emails that your references have given you permission to use! For each contact, you should include their name, relationship to you (i.e. manager, professor, etc), job title, contact phone number(s) and email (if applicable).
You will present this list after a job interview or when asked by an employer. If asked in a job application to include references, you can include their name and relationship to you; however you should not include their contact details. You can simply put “further details available upon request”. This ensures that you have control over which employers call your references and when. No employer should call your references without your permission and giving them a list of your references is in effect, doing just that.
5 – Stay in Touch and Say Thank You
Keep your references in the loop about how your job search is going and don’t forget to thank them after they have given you a reference, as they are lending a helping hand in your job search and will be more willing to act as a reference in the future.
6 - What kinds of questions will employers ask your references?
Here are some examples of questions employers might ask your references:
How long did he/she work for you?
What were his/her responsibilities?
Did he/she need close supervision?
How did he/she get along with others?
How well did he/she work as part of a team?
Why did he/she leave your employment?
Is there anything you can tell me that might disqualify him/her from this position?
Can you think of anything that I should know about him/her that I haven’t asked about?
There you have it…
Now the responsibity of having “references available upon request” just got a bit easier. Please share with us if you have any questions about references.
This post was written by Verity Buskard, a career development practitioner. It was originally written for the BCWIN Youth Site and is reposted here with permission.