Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Did you use one of these 10 most overused buzzwords in your LinkedIn profile this year?

Wonder what really makes people cringe when they look at your LinkedIn Profile? It’s those clichéd words and phrases. You know what they are — those ambiguous ones that really don’t tell you anything.

As we head into 2011 our Analytics Team decided to take a crack at finding the most clichéd and overused phrases for the past year using over 85 million LinkedIn profiles. Here are our 2010 top 10 buzzwords used in the USA.

Top 10 overused buzzwords in LinkedIn Profiles in the USA – 2010

1. Extensive experience
2. Innovative
3. Motivated
4. Results-oriented
5. Dynamic
6. Proven track record
7. Team player
8. Fast-paced
9. Problem solver
10. Entrepreneurial

Given the broad reach of LinkedIn across the world we went a step further and took a look at how overused terms are reflected around the world. While members from the USA, Canada and Australia tend to emphasize their “extensive experience”, Brazilians, Indians and Spaniards identify themselves as “dynamic” professionals. Members in the UK call themselves more “motivated” and the French, the Germans, the Italians and the Dutch see themselves as “innovative”.

Here’s a chart we put together that shows you the #1 most overused LinkedIn profile buzzword in each of those countries.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Blend in or stand out? – Job Search Networking Tips

What do you think is a more effective networking strategy? Going to an industry event with others in your same profession? Or going to an event in a totally different industry where you’ll stand out?

One of the best ways to stand out in job search networking is to be the only one in the room like you. Why not crash an event in another industry?

If you’re an accounting professional, you may find some industry contacts from companies or recruiters who are hiring at a CPA society meeting. These folks will likely be crowded by dozens or hundreds of other job seekers at the event – so you can expect a great deal of competition, with little opportunity to stand out.

What if you went to an engineering event instead, in a room full of professionals outside your own profession?

At the engineering event, you probably won’t find many other bean counters. If you break the ice and find some common ground with a few people, an event in a different industry may allow you to create a greater number of contacts valuable to your search.

If you’re a advertising professional looking for another job at a networking event, it can be easier to remain front of mind with others who heard of advertising jobs, if you’re the only advertising person at the event. At an event full of advertising people, it’s tough for even the most talened professional to stand out.

Both types of events have their purpose and value in your networking strategy…but because of the comfort factor and maybe a little fear of the unknown, we tend to stick with our own crowds and go to our own industry events. We tend to not explore events for other industries.

I know it’s counter intuitive, but as a tech professional at a marketing event, it’s much easier to differentiate yourself, because … you’re the only one like you in the room.

How many other-industry events have you crashed?

Original Article




Blog partner Phil Rosenberg is President of reCareered, a career coaching service and website. Phil runs the Career Change Central group, one of Linkedin’s largest groups for job seekers. An active blogger about social media and career change, Phil has articles that have been republished by Business Week, The Wall Street Journal, AOL, FastCompany, CIO, ZDnet, The Examiner, and the leading job/career/recruiting sites. Phil can be contacted at phil.reCareered@gmail.com.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Top 10 Job Hunting Tips of 2010

Posted by Lindsey Pollak

I absolutely love end of year lists, and swooned when I found Time.com’s list of The Top 10 of Everything of 2010.

Although Time’s list of lists is pretty comprehensive, ranging from apologies to new species to Twitter moments, I wanted to add my own top 10 list -- top 10 tips for job seekers. And so here are the 10 tips that readers found most helpful to their job search efforts this year.

1. Ask for honest feedback. Recruit a trusted relative, career services staff member, professor or friend to assess you honestly as a job seeker. Ask the person to list your best qualities and most impressive accomplishments. On the flip side, ask for constructive feedback on your weaknesses. Find out if the things you’re most concerned about — lack of experience, a less-than-desirable GPA, shyness, etc. — are legitimate concerns or if you’re obsessing over nothing. If your fears are unfounded, let them go once and for all!

2. Don’t be turned off by the terms “internship” or “part-time.” This tip came from Lauren Porat, co-founder of UrbanInterns.com. In a difficult job market, sometimes you need to be flexible and “settle” for a less-than-perfect opportunity, such as a non-full-time job. According to Lauren, many people have developed incredible careers by serving multiple part-time clients. Also, starting out this way may allow you to get your foot in the door with some very cool, interesting startup companies.

3. Overprepare. Think about your confidence level when you walk into a test for which you’ve studied really thoroughly versus how you feel walking into a test for which you’ve skimmed your notes for ten minutes the night before. Most people don’t realize that a job hunt is something you can study for. Before attending a job fair, spend an hour or two on the websites of companies that will have booths. Before a job interview, spend an hour reading the organization’s website (especially the mission statement, recruiting pages and recent press releases) and study the LinkedIn profiles of the people who will be interviewing you. Read e-newsletters and blogs from your industry to keep up with current events that might be discussed at a networking event. The more preparation you do, the more confident you’ll feel when you interact with recruiters and other professionals you’ll encounter during your job search.

4. Do not ask to “pick someone’s brain.” Okay this one is more about how not to ask me in particular for advice on your job hunt (or anything for that matter!). Some people don’t mind this phrase, but I definitely do. Why? First of all, I think it sounds kind of gross (think about it). Second of all, it is very one-sided: if you are picking my brain, what’s in this conversation for me? It feels as if I’ll be left brainless afterwards. My advice is to always request advice in a way that makes the ask-ee feel respected and like he or she will leave the conversation with something, too.

5. Clean up your online image. According to a Microsoft survey, 85 percent of HR professionals responding said that positive online reputation influences their hiring decisions, and 70 percent said they have rejected candidates based on information they found online. Make no mistake about it: your online image will affect your job search and your career. If you haven’t already, set up strict privacy settings on all social networks (often, including on Facebook, the default setting is for all of your information to be public, so check every setting!), take down any inappropriate pictures or content, set up a 100 percent professional profile on LinkedIn and Google, and think twice before posting any new content on Facebook, Twitter or a blog. In many recruiters’ minds, you are what you post.

Tips 6 - 10 and Complete Article

Help! I’m boring. What would I tweet about?

By jamessnider

I lead social media labs for job seekers in the Dallas – Fort Worth area. After we have spruced up their LinkedIn profile, we frequently move on to Twitter as the next social media platform of interest. I often hear the same objection, “My life is boring….my job is boring…I am boring….what would I possibly have to tweet about?”

Let me introduce myself to you, “Hi. I’m James Snider, semiconductor marketer.” You know, I can not remember the last time I saw an action movie where the main character was a semiconductor marketer. It is just not that interesting.

So what am I going to tweet about? I could talk about the cost of through-hole vias or applications where gallium arsenide makes sense. I would probably put together a network of about 5 super geeky followers. However, it is not the super geeks who are going to hire a marketer. It is upper management I am after.

I am going to tweet about where semiconductor production is ramping up. Hint, think “southeast asia” as in “Viet Nam.” How did I find this information? I went to a Happy Hour with a bunch of my former bosses (and boss’s bosses). They are all VPs, CEOs, angel investors and the like. I just asked the question and then tweeted what they told me.

Which semiconductor companies are starting to make money or held their own during the terrible 2010 market? I stumbled across a great list on the Yahoo! financial web site. I was checking to see if my shares of Google were making any money (getting closer…maybe in 2011) and read an article about what stocks are set to pop…and why. I tweeted it.

Which semiconductor companies are starting to hire aggressively? I read it on Twitter. Retweets are fair.

What sorts of people are interested in this sort information? CEOs, CMOs, VPs Marketing, Directors….all the sorts of people whose attention I would like to attract. By making myself a source of good information…the sort of information people in my segment would like to know about, I build a good reputation and make myself a “person of interest” to people who might like to hire me.

James Snider
Global Business Development and Social Media Marketing
jsnider1394@gmail.com
817-905-1394
Anyone can give you social media. I make sure it’s marketing.

Original Post

Thursday, December 9, 2010

2 Tips to Being More Referable

In spite of all the advice out there on how to network, I’m still seeing lots of people failing at two basic, yet vital elements to networking success.

The goal of networking is to get people to refer you. So, the big question is: Are YOU referable?

The way to increase the chances of getting referred is to do the following:

TIP #1 – Make it Easy

Your network members are busy. And quite frankly, getting you a job is not top on their list. So, if you want people to help you, you must make it simple for them to take action. It’s your job to research their LinkedIn connections to see if they know someone at the company you want to land an interview with. It’s also your job to create a short list of ideal employers that you can circulate so they can get a clear sense of what kind of organization you want to work for.

Watch this video to learn more PLUS tip #2

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Three Ways to Connect with Online Influencers

By Entrepreneur Staff at Entrepreneur.com


Over the past five years, connecting on social networking sites has rocketed from a niche activity into a phenomenon that engages millions of internet users. In fact, “member communities” are now visited by more than two-thirds (67 percent) of the global online population, including social networks and blogs, according to The Nielsen Company, a global research firm.

In today's networking space, you need to be efficient with your time and even more effective with whom you choose to connect with. There are two types of networkers online: the posters and the seekers. Your business is a poster, which means you actively post valuable information, resources, tips and offers. The seekers are your customers. They're actively seeking your products and/or services. You'll find seekers in discussion areas, forums, groups and engaging on fan pages.

Connecting with these seekers is a vital element to your small business's overall marketing plan. Here are three ways to connect with them.

Finding the 'High-Level Networker'
The top three social sites to first consider are LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Xing, a business networking for professionals, is another. These sites are massive online communities filled with potential high-level networkers. To get started, set up your profile and navigate to get familiar with the sites' offerings.

When searching for quality contacts to network with online, you'll want to look for high-level networkers (HLN). They're active online, have at least 500 connections and have filled out their profiles completely. Make sure these contacts have at least one of the three criteria before you connect with them online.

Some examples of HLNs would be decision makers, executives, the media and people you know as the movers and shakers in your industry. Don't let the fact that you don't yet know the person hold you back from sending an invite to connect. Whether you're offering help, sending them a resource, or introducing them to one of your connections, make sure your invite is about how you can help them, not how they can help you.

Target Your Connections
Target market connections (TMC) are a group of consumers at which your company aims its products and services. They're found by using keywords in the search section on social sites as well as in groups and discussion areas in your area of interest or focus. TMCs are mostly seekers that chat and seek out information by posting questions online.

The key is to join the groups and discussions where your target market is talking and engage with them. You can also send them an invite to connect. Make sure to let them know that you sent them the invite because you have similar interests and you're looking to expand your professional network.

Another way to find your target market is to investigate competitors' marketing methods. See where another business that offers the same or similar products and services advertises their links and posts on social sites. Searching in your field will often turn up places where your audience goes when they're looking for something in your industry.

Engage in Groups and Discussions
Even the most unsociable entrepreneur can interact on message boards and blogs. Groups and discussion areas on social sites are all over the internet and social media sites. It's important to find a dozen or so of these areas and not only join and monitor them but engage in the conversations as well.


Full Article With Additional Tips

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I’ve Regained My Confidence

Sherry Luft is a participant and founding member of the Job Seekers Club at South Metro Career Center.

Let’s start with what line of work you’re in. How and when did you become unemployed?

I was laid off after nine years as a receptionist/administrative assistant for an environmental company. Our contracts changed due to the economy, and I was officially laid off at the end of February.

So how did this job club get started?

Well, I did some research and found South Metro Career Center. It happens to be the closest career center to my home, and it’s also the largest. They have all these great workshops. So I started taking them once or twice a week. I ended up talking to some of the career advisers. One of them happened to be Shauna, who is the facilitator of this job club. She and Linda, the workshop coordinator, both had asked if I’d like to be an organizer of this job club. I said I’d be happy to. We had a couple of meetings beforehand about what we were going to do, how we were going to recruit members, etc. We started it in May.

What does the group do? When do you meet, and so on?

At this point we meet twice a month, for two hours on the first and third Wednesdays. We discuss different topics that pertain to job searching. One day we talked about the letter of introduction you might use to contact someone you don’t know personally, but with whom you’re looking for an informational interview. We also share personal stories of the job hunt, and we practice our public speaking skills. We talked about body language for interviews once. That was fascinating.

So, when we meet, we have an agenda, which is my responsibility. I welcome the people and make sure everyone is on the same page. And then I lead the group in the different topics. Sometimes we have a guest speaker. Sometimes we have presenters from inside the group. The last one happened to be from a member who gave us a brief tutorial on LinkedIn, and showed us how to navigate it for job searching.

What are you looking to get out of it?

We’re looking for job leads, for one. I’m in administrative, for example, so someone else in the job club who’s not looking for that occupation may have a suggestion for me to try this hospital or this field. We do information sharing. That’s part of it.

All of us need the support of the other group members. It’s almost like we have a collective power among our peers. It gives us optimism. We can believe we’ll find the work we’re looking for. Obviously, we’re all going through the same thing, so we all understand what we’re going through. And it gives us focus. Some of us have become very good friends.

Tell me about some of the people in the group. What’s the age range, and what kinds of professions are they in?

We have young people all the way up to those of us who are more mature. It really depends on the week. We have several people from administrative. We have medical people, financial people, a software programmer. There are all different types. Typically, we have 15 to 20 participants in each meeting. But, like I said, it varies. If someone gets a job we call them graduates.

We’re aiming for a mix of ages and industries and experience. We want it to reflect the real world. Most of us are unemployed or underemployed.

Tell me something important you’ve gotten out of this group.

As an organizer, I’ve regained my confidence in talking to people. My speaking and writing abilities and my creativity are kept sharp from the work I do with the job club.

It’s also helpful to see the different perspectives that the outside guest speakers bring.

Can you give me an example of a job-related success you’ve experienced?

Well, the networking has helped me for sure. One of the men in finance introduced me to another person with a possible job opportunity. So this means that instead of sending my résumé to the email universe, I actually get to send it to a person with a name. It’s in process right now. We’ll see what happens.

What would you say to someone looking for work?

I’d say to take the workshops at South Metro and the other career centers. I’d also say to come to our job club. But I want to emphasize that networking in general is really important, even if you’re not in a job club. You have to use every opportunity you can to land work. I think having business cards is also important. That was my first homework with the club. I always take my business cards when I go to all meetings, to the grocery store, wherever I go. They make networking nice and simple. You never know who you’re going to meet.

Original SanDiego Reader Article

Monday, December 6, 2010

What Twitter Chats Can Do For Your Job Search

If you’re on Twitter, you’ve likely at least heard about Twitter chats before. You may have even lurked in on one or two before. But until you actually participate in them, you’re not likely to get much out of a chat besides more job search or career advice—which you likely don’t need at this point because you already regularly read blogs and books on this very topic.

You may be wondering: What else can I get out of an online chat?

Connections. People to add to your professional network and create mutually beneficial relationships with. As you know, networking is still one of the most effective ways to land a job, and that’s because other people can introduce you to key influencers and inform you about unadvertised openings. Career chats involve all types of students and professionals that can benefit from building a relationship with one another.

Specific advice from people who do the hiring or recruiting. In many of the chats focused on the job search, you can submit questions for the experts to answer formally during the chat. Because it’s in real-time, you can ask for clarifications or specific tactics to go along with their advice. You can also talk directly to the experts during the chat. Where else do you get opportunities like that?

Visibility. When you regularly participate in a chat, other regulars take notice of you. Many even have Twitter lists dedicated to different types of job seekers they’ll add you to. Also, if an employer looks for you online, they will see that you’re serious about your job search.

Dedication. Just like blogging shows dedication and professional growth, a Twitter chat can do the same. With the tens or hundreds of different experiences or opinions flying around during the scheduled time, you’re likely to learn something new each time. You may even realize that you can improve some aspect of your search in order to better yourself as a professional.

Twitter Chat Schedule Plus Original Career Rocketeer Article

To make a strong impression, avoid e-mail; network in person instead

Debra J. Johnson lost two jobs in as many years — and she’s still unemployed.

The first job loss was in 2007, when the distributor where she had worked as an event manager for 15 years laid off 50 employees. Two years later, the nonprofit that she was working for eliminated her position as a senior events manager when federal funding dried up.

“At the time, I felt like my left arm was cut off,’’ said Johnson, 48. “And now it was happening again. I felt like I must have done something really bad in a former life.’’

At first, Johnson took her new joblessness in stride, getting additional training and being optimistic about her search for work as a project or events manager. But now, after spending the better part of the past year and half unemployed — she had one temporary, part-time job during that period — the Halifax resident is beginning to get discouraged. So, she applied for a Boston Globe Career Makeover.

When she met with Mark Newall, senior vice president at Keystone Associates, a Boston area career management consulting firm, Johnson said she had been applying for at least 10 jobs a week, networking with “anyone who will speak to me,’’ and using LinkedIn and Facebook to reach out to former employees and co-workers. But she had only landed six interviews.

“Nothing seems to be working in getting my resume and experience in front of hiring managers,’’ she said.

“Networking is a learned technique,’’ said Ne wall, who recommended phone calls and in-person meetings — not e-mails — as the communication tools to uncover the hidden job market. “Reluctant networkers need to step out of their comfort zone and have the important conversations that differentiate you from the competition. You’re selling yourself: the most important thing you’ve ever sold.’’


****

DEBRA J. JOHNSON
Goal: Find a job in events or project management that uses her experience in events and corporate strategy and planning.

Problem: “Events management’’ title is pigeonholing her in a narrow field, but her leadership skills are applicable to any project management position.

Recommendations from career adviser Mark Newall
■ Networking is a learned skill and, in addition to e-mail correspondence, requires in-person meetings or phone calls to help sell skills.
■ Forget the artificial sales pitch — successful networkers establish trust and confidence by developing personal relationships that win people over and make them want to assist in a job search.
■ Don’t be afraid to bring up compensation, since information is power while job-hunting and employers might be making assumptions about salary.
■ Keep LinkedIn profile current by including photo and crucial keywords that can help recruiters find your profile.

****

Read The Rest Of The Article

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Are you a passive candidate?

I wanted to clear something up because there seems to be some confusion out there about active versus passive candidates. Surprisingly, the confusion is often from candidates themselves regarding their own status as active or passive. There is also quite a bit of confusion from the folks that work for the job boards about the difference between an active and passive candidate. It’s a pet peeve of mine, so I decided it was time to write about it.

What is a passive candidate?

One thing everyone seems to understand is that, deserved or undeserved, passive candidates are the most desirable to employers. Employers pay headhunters large fees to find the elusive passive candidate. Company recruiters pay top dollar to attend training to learn how to find passive candidates. All of this buzz about passive candidates has created an elite status for anyone who holds that label. Everybody wants a passive candidate so everybody wants to be a passive candidate.

And this has led job seekers to refer to themselves as passive candidates. Read that last sentence again for me: this has led job seekers to refer to themselves as passive candidates. By definition, if you are seeking a job, you are not a passive candidate.

If you tell me, “I’m a passive candidate,” then your resume should not be in my system. If it is in my system, it’s not because you put it there, it’s because I put it there after spending a significant amount of time tracking it down. In fact, if you are truly a passive candidate, you may not even know I have your resume; and honestly, I may not even have a resume that you created, it may be more of a profile of you that I’ve cobbled together from the little pieces of information that I could find on you while doing my research. If you are a passive candidate, your resume can’t be found in databases like Monster or CareerBuilder. If you are a passive candidate, you are not interviewing with other companies at the same time you are interviewing with me. Frankly, if you are a passive candidate, you are not reading this blog post (or any other blog about job searching).

Just because passive candidates are desirable does not mean that active candidates are undesirable

I am NOT saying that active candidates are bad. The reality is, the large majority of people who get hired in any economy are active candidates. They have a few advantages over the passive candidate – they are more readily available, much easier to find and more agreeable to work with. Generally speaking, active candidates return my phone calls, they are usually polite, and they have one thing going for them that you almost never find in a passive candidate: they are eager for the job.

With passive candidates, you have to twist their arm, plead with them, and woo them; hiring managers find this absolutely annoying. Conversely, hiring managers love it when they find someone that is genuinely excited about their job, and this level of excitement is often found in active candidates. So rather than pretending to be a passive candidate (which is pretty transparent by the way), embrace your active status and let your enthusiasm, passion and excitement for the job shine through. That is your secret weapon.

Let’s be honest

Be careful when you use the term “passive candidate” with me. Don’t tell me you’re a passive candidate because you think I’ll like you better because of it. Don’t tell me that your friend told you about my job posting, because of course you weren’t looking for a job and would have never known about my job posting unless someone else brought it to your attention. Don’t wait a few days before returning my phone call because you think it makes you look busy or more interesting. I’ve been doing this a long time, I can see through it, and frankly, it’s insulting to my intelligence when you try to play me like that.

You can be (and should be) selective in your job search. People often tell me, I’m only willing to make a move for the right opportunity. And that’s wise. But, let’s be clear, being selective and smart about your search still does not qualify as being a passive candidate – it simply means that you are looking for the right opportunity. Passive candidates are not looking at all; this is why they are so hard to find and so difficult to recruit. That is why headhunters get paid such big fees to do the hard work of finding and recruiting them.

And for the job board companies who claim to target passive candidates, I get what you’re saying. You place advertisements in places where a person who is not actively looking for a job might see it. That person is then compelled to click on your link, and then the next thing you know, they are on your website and then the next thing you know, they are registering with your database. And you think you just snagged a passive candidate and now you can go market your product to people like me and charge me money to access your database that is chock full of these passive candidates.

It’s funny how, once I’m in your exclusive database, I’m finding candidates who are also in Monster, CareerBuilder, and even my own system. Access to your database is expensive, so you can only imagine how irritated I am when I look around and find a bunch of people I already know about, when you told me there would be passive candidates there. If you really think you have something special, give me some kind of trial – whether it’s a free peek or a big discount to take a closer look inside. If it’s as great as you say it is once I’m able to look under the hood, I’ll buy more.

Personally, I think we’ve all given too much weight to the value of the passive candidate, and this focus has given active candidates an undeserved lower status. I’m interested in great candidates, whether they are active or passive. Great candidates are always hard to find, but I’ll save that topic for another post.

As a contract recruiter, I am actively looking for great candidates (both active and passive) for my Washington DC based client. Visit my LinkedIn profile to learn more about my recruiting work: http://www.linkedin.com/in/lauriebartolo

Orignal "An Honest Day's Work" Posting

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Create Your Own Brand

By GLORIA LAU

Recently, PricewaterhouseCoopers' Paula Loop was at an event talking to MBA students trying to get noticed. "Those who had unique stories and personal brands still stand out in my mind," Loop, the U.S. and global talent leader for PwC, told IBD. "Everybody else ... a recruiter might not remember at all."

People at any point in their careers, not only those just finishing their master's in business, should develop a professional identity and use it to promote themselves, she says. Loop, based at PwC headquarters in New York City, and Ignacio Gallardo, associate director of career services at the University of California, Santa Barbara, share tips on building such an identity.

• Craft an elevator pitch. "Being able to do this well is invaluable," Loop said. Draft five sentences. The first two should highlight your background. Your middle sentence should cover what you've done recently and show your interests. If you spent the summer managing an orphanage in Thailand, mention it. The final sentences should address what you're seeking in a job and career. Keep it succinct, persuasive and memorable.

Loop suggests this approach: "My background is in consumer products. I've always worked in industries where I sell products to children. Recently I went to an innovation conference and saw all the great toys coming out. I want to join one of those companies to help bring their products to market."

• Highlight desires. "Passion is attractive to recruiters and demonstrates traits such as commitment, well-roundedness and enthusiasm," Loop said. "Do some soul-searching. What excites you when you work? ... What made you feel good about your job this week? These are your passions. When you walk out the door, they're still running through your head."

• Maintain links. Your network begins with family and friends, old schoolmates and folks from prior jobs. Schedule an hour every week to call, e-mail or meet contacts. Force yourself to do this regularly.

• Manage your online brand. Having an appropriate online presence can give colleagues and potential employers a good impression. Google yourself to see what pops up and put together a thoughtful profile, including what you've accomplished, on career networking sites such as LinkedIn, the privately held Mountain View, Calif., company. Keep it updated and invite others to join your network. Said Gallardo: "When I go to networking events, I collect business cards, look the names up on LinkedIn and invite them to connect. I customize the invitation to include something we discussed. ... I also use LinkedIn to connect to people I haven't spoken to in a while."

page 2 and the original article

Create Your Own Career Fair

I really liked this idea and I think it could be done even if you aren't in school.


By Heather R. Huhman

If something is not available to me, I’ve always been one to go out and create it myself. When I was in college, I hosted my university’s first (and possibly to this day only) public-relations career fair. It was an incredible success, with more than 200 students and 30 employers in attendance.

How can you duplicate this effort?

Contact the president of your professional association’s student chapter on campus. It is probably best for a student organization, such as the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) or Association of Student Accountants (ASA), to plan and run the fair. While the event can be done fairly cheaply, there will still be associated costs. Plus, numerous volunteers will be needed.

Set goals and expectations. How many students do you want to attend? How many employers? Should you charge attendees, and if so, how much? I don’t recommend charging students or employers, unless you really need to generate cash to make up for the cost of the event. You don’t want to exclude potential participants.

Recruit volunteers. Form a committee to plan the event. Depending on the size of your event, you will need approximately five volunteers during the career fair: two people to “register” students as they walk in (so you can keep track of how many people attended), two people to set up and take down the room and one person to walk around during the event in case anyone has questions or other needs.

Pick a date and time. I recommend beginning at 10:30 a.m. and ending at 2:30 p.m. These four hours of the day are most likely to attract foot traffic. With regard to the time of year, career fairs are almost always held in October and/or March. If you want to catch recruiters on their regularly-scheduled travel throughout the country, you should hold yours at the same time. However, if you don’t want to compete against other events, you might want to think about holding an “out of season” career fair in November or April. October and November fairs should be planned in April or May, and March and April fairs in August or September.

Book a room in a central location on campus. Another good reason to plan a career fair through a student organization is that these groups have the capability to book rooms on campus for free. Pick a location that is easy to find and access and has the capacity to support up to 40 employer tables.

Arrange free campus parking for employers. I was able to purchase parking passes through my university close to my event for $5 each, which helped entice employers to travel from up to two hours away.

Feed your employers. It doesn’t have to be a large lunch, but make something available for the employers in attendance to eat and drink. I ended up making plenty of water runs because I didn’t factor this into the equation!

Raise funds. With an event of 40 employers, for example, expect to pay approximately $20 to $25 per employer (to cover costs such as food, drinks and parking). At the maximum, that’s $1,000. Again, partnering with other organizations on campus can offset these costs if they have a budget allowing for this type of event; however, they likely will need you to raise some money. Consider calling local restaurants to set up a date for a fund-raiser. They typically offer organizations 10% to 20% of the proceeds from the agreed-upon day to help raise funds. If they allow it, organize a raffle or silent auction and sell tickets, too.

Invite employers from the surrounding area. Create a database of all the potential employers in your industry within a two-hour drive using tools like LinkedIn, Gist and Twitter. Call the organizations to inquire about the most appropriate individual to receive your invitation. Then, send your invitations via e-mail and snail mail, offering a simple way to RSVP. Be sure to indicate that employers not currently hiring interns or entry-level professionals are welcome to attend to conduct informational interviews. (Do this two to three months before the event, with the RSVP deadline one month before the event.)


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