The Career Spectrum Blog

Archive for January 17th, 2010

Would you buy a new car sight unseen? Probably not given the type of investment you’d be making. So why take a similar risk with your career by posting your resumé on a job web posting board where anyone with an account – legitimate business or scammer – can access YOUR personal information?

Job boards serve as a good starting resource for people in the market for a new career direction, but they shouldn’t be your only source. Here are some safety tips:

  1. Bookmark job sites listed in ads and verify that they are legitimate links to the companies. Many of the Fortune 500 organizations have their own employment databases and some even allow you to upload your resumé to their database.
  2. Check for a telephone number. There’s no harm in calling for more information – and making sure the company is legitimate – in order to make an informed decision about whether to pursue employment with the lead.
  3. If you do post your resumé on a public job board, limit the amount of personal information you show. For example, instead of listing your address and telephone number, list an e-mail.
  4. Mask any potentially identifying information, such as current or most recent employer (you could put COMPANY CONFIDENTIAL in place of the name). Once you determine that you’re dealing with a legitimate recruiter, release your information.
  5. Finally, if an ad sounds “too good to be true,” it probably is.

You spend days preparing for that big career fair, where you’ll meet your dream employer who will throw lots of money your way because YOU are the one they’ve been waiting for. However, the reality is that many people who attend job fairs are left disappointed, frustrated and jobless. That’s because they come unprepared to take advantage of all a job fair has to offer.

Here are some pointers to help you get the most out of your next job fair experience.

  • Lower your expectations. Very rarely do people get hired for jobs at job fairs on the spot, which is why the description “job fair” is a misnomer. Typically, a recruiter at a job fair will glance over your resumé, spend about five or ten minutes talking to you, and then move on to other candidates. The idea is to make a positive first impression and get a dialogue going.
  • Do some scouting.  The job fair is like attending a singles dance stag — it’s an opportunity to scout what’s out there and pursue what’s interesting. chances are you’ll be given some type of floor plan identifying which employers are attending. Before you start walking round, you might want to make a list of those employers that are most appealing and visit them first because you’re more likely to be “fresher” at the start of a job fair as opposed to later on, when you’ve been walking around in uncomfortable shows all day.
  • Leave your resumé with every employer, regardless of what they’re looking for.  The human resources representatives present at job fairs typically do all the recruiting for their respective organizations. If the company isn’t offering anything in your desired field, it doesn’t hurt to leave a copy of your resumé in case something opens later. Think of it as performing a mass broadcast delivery of your resumé in person.
  • Bring a cover letter to go with your resumé. Remember, at most job fairs, recruiters see hundreds of candidates. A cover letter keeps your name fresh in their minds, and helps the recruiter better place you within their company, especially later on if they want to share notes with managers within their companies.
  • Don’t grab the goodies. Many companies offer a small premium item to keep their name in front of candidates. If you’re a collector, think for a moment about the message you’re sending. If you show up at a table with a bag full of goodies that you’ve gathered from other tables, it makes you look as though you only came for the giveaways. Still worse, if you approach a recruiter with chocolate, or some other flavored treat clearly visible on your teeth, lips or breath, do you think a recruiter is going to take you seriously?
  • Know what you want to do. When times are tough, it’s not uncommon for the person who’s been unemployed a while to be less discriminating about the employment they’ll accept. In reality, your willingness to do “anything” the company has to offer is more frustrating than you realize. You can’t expect the recruiter to read your mind and find the perfect role for you; you need to meet them halfway by offering a hint as to where your interests lie. Further, unless you really mean that you’ll do anything, including standing outside in inclement weather wearing some funky costume to promote a company’s event, don’t put yourself in a position where you’ll have to backtrack.

Career fairs are an excellent way to network, not just with recruiters but with people who might be able to help you advance your career. Make good use of your time and you’re bound to get positive results.


So glad you stopped by. The Career Spectrum is a place where you can find links to career-related articles, commentary, original articles, quotes, statistics and answers to your career-related questions. If you’d like to send me a question, please contact me. I’ll answer as many questions as I can. I look forward to hearing from you!

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