If you’ve been to job-hunting fairs, you know how competitive they can be. The long lines, the bins where you’ll toss your resume, the moment you’ll have to ask a company hiring representative a quick employment question – all of it can seem so impersonal. And it is, unless you make an effort to personalize the experience as much as possible.
Especially when you’re re-entering the job force and you’ll need some flexibility in your work arrangement, you can learn how to focus your job search from the experts at Mom Corps, a staffing agency that specializes in flexible staffing. They can also advise you on how to get through networking opportunities, job fairs and industry events, as well as the mechanics of the job-hunting process in general.
Having a counselor that can match you to the right job-hunting events as well as direct contact with companies that may offer jobs for moms who want to blend a career with family responsibilities will zero in on your goals and address your personal concerns.
Get your mind in gear
Start preparing your job materials and mindset before you enter an employment or industry event. You’ll be dealing with people who are trying to find experienced professionals for their companies, so you have to come across as just that person.
Presentation is everything during the initial contact because you don’t know when you’ll have another chance to make an impression that will last. Dress professionally from head to toe without looking drab. Use a little color to lift basic black or gray up a notch in style. Don’t go for anything garish, just simple, tasteful attire for your job-hunting duds.
Ready your job materials
Along with your resume, have business cards printed up in a classic font and elegant design. If you’re artistic, come up with a personalized logo or search the internet for free clip art. Again, keep it simple and sophisticated. Highlight a list of skills that relate to the type of job you’re interested in obtaining.
Rather than rely on a traditional chronological resume, which works best if you’re applying for a job in your existing field, try a functional resume that stresses the skills and achievements you’ve attained. If you have a particular industry that you’ve decided to concentrate on, outline your expertise as it relates directly to the needs of that industry.
Practice your conversation
Going beyond an online job search with one-on-one contacts at employment events – however brief the connection – will broaden your job-hunting opportunities. Practice your verbal skills with friends in a role-playing exercise or in front of a mirror, but don’t go to a professional event without some practice.
Try to keep your nerves in check when you introduce yourself, whether it’s to a company representative at a job fair or someone you’re networking with at an industry event. Make good eye contact and remain focused on the conversation rather than distractions of the noisy event around you.
You never know who you’re going to meet, so have a 30-second elevator pitch ready that sums up your experience, skills and type of position you’re looking for. Cut down any unnecessary details so you have an effective and informative delivery.
If you’re aiming for a particular company or industry, do some homework on both so you can ask an intelligent question of a company recruiter. If you can get the person’s business card or at least a name for a follow-up contact, send an email or short note as soon as possible to show you’re interested in any job openings they have.