Friday, September 28, 2007

Job Fairs: Looking Good on Less

You don’t need big bucks to avoid looking like a job fair horror. It’s unfortunate, but these are events where first impressions count—a lot. Not beauty necessarily. But certainly Neat and Tidy.

While writing this, job fair horrors from the past float through my mind. Rumpled and crumbled clothes. Wild and wind blown hair. Random resumes sticking out at odd angles. Nothing, however, that could not be fixed with an iron, a comb and a folder. You get the point. Finesse the small things for a put together look. Neat and Tidy opens doors.

Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 09/28 at 10:19 AM

Job Fairs 101

October 10. Big crowds. Meet and greet. Schmooze. Introduce yourself. Gulp. It’s enough to make the most intrepid extrovert freeze.

So here’s a tip on breaking the ice at job fairs, especially helpful if you’re a new-bie.

Upon entering, take a deep breath and pause long enough to survey the room. Invariably, there are a few lonely recruiters. Tables with no student lines where recruiters sit or stand in lonely and sometimes bored attendance. Start there. Whether or not you’re interested in that company is not the point. The point is breaking the ice and establishing a toe hold in a sea of new faces. And, chances are, that lonely recruiter will welcome the chance to talk with someone. Who knows, you might learn something new along the way.

See you at Careerfest. Wednesday, October 10 from 2:00-6:00 at the DeVos Convention Center in downtown Grand Rapids.

Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 09/28 at 10:02 AM

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Major Selection: a long distance view

I started the morning with a question for my Brain Trust, a group of professionals I see on a regular basis. What career regrets do you have? A number of them said that they were doing exactly what they had always wanted to. One always wanted to be a nurse and that’s exactly what she’s currently doing. Another said she would be doing something else if only she could make enough money doing it—which resulted in a sizable tangential discussion of exactly what that other non-lucrative job would look like.

Yet another friend came up with the follow gem. She said that she wished she had not given up so easily on her college dream. It seems that during the summer following her junior year, she took a few pre-law classes at Stanford. One of them, a course on argumentation, turned out to be a beast, leaving her with the impression that law consisted entirely of adversarial encounters within a court room. As she later discovered, the legal field is extremely broad and filled with multiple options for using a JD degree. By then she was well on the way to another less satisfying direction.

So for all of you undergrads hitting a few bumps in the road, talk with someone who knows your dream job well before you give up its pursuit.

Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 09/16 at 04:15 PM

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Job Search Traps: What To Do With a History Major

I find this particular mental trap frequently expressed by recent graduates. It runs something like this: “I majored in chemistry so should find a job in the science field.” Well, that may be true—but then again, maybe not. If that were always the case, what would those with more esoteric majors such as philosophy do?

To set yourself free from the Major=Job trap, I would suggest getting some insightful feedback on what others see as your abilities.

By way of illustration, consider Toby (name disguised), a guy with personality plus. He enters a room and the room comes alive. Everyone knows he’s there; and if you were to ask his friends about his skills, the word charisma would come up more than once. So what does Toby choose to major in? Public relations? Psychology? Business? No. He chose history. So Toby upon graduation found himself puzzling about what to do with that history major. “Hmmmmm,” he often mumbled. “Exactly what was I thinking when I chose THIS major? And Now what am I going to do?”

Fortunately for Toby, he listened to positive feedback from others—career counselors included—and landed a job in sales where his personal charisma is valued as an asset.

Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 09/05 at 05:01 PM
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