Making a Job Fair a Success

Attending a job fair can be an excellent way to get your job search started, or to re-energize a search that may feel stalled. It’s a great chance to get in front of many employers in a single day and see what companies are hiring. But in order to make the most of a job fair, it’s important to Job_Fair picbe prepared.

1) Research. Find out what companies will be there. Most job fairs include a list of employers in advertisements for the event. Visit the websites of those companies to check out current job openings. If there are opportunities you are interested in, take a minute to learn more about the company. Then when you speak with a recruiter at the job fair, you are able to talk about a specific opening or about their company’s business and really stand out from the crowd.

2) Prepare.  This is the one time you won’t be able to customize your resume. Since you will be presenting it to multiple employers for various opportunities, make your objective specific to the way you’d like your skills to be used and to the type of work environment you prefer. For this occasion, this is better than trying to specify a position or an industry.

3) Practice.  Do you have your 30-second commercial ready? This is one tool you absolutely must have ready for a job fair. Prepare it and practice it. A job fair is a great opportunity to end your commercial with a question; this will help you start a dialogue with the recruiter.
4) Attire.   Going to a job fair is a lot like going to a bunch of mini-interviews, so dress as you would for an interview. Often the setting for a job fair is casual, but don’t dress for the venue. Dress to make a great first impression.

5) Prioritize.  Rather than start at one end of the job fair and visit every single booth, determine your game plan before you arrive. Because you’ve done your research, you will know the employers you are most interested in visiting. Start with those. If the recruiters are tied up with a line of people waiting, it may be best to stop back. For some very popular employers, there may be no down time for the recruiters and waiting in line may be your only option.

6) Respect.   At a busy job fair, you need to be respectful of the recruiter’s time. If there are a large number of job seekers, you may not get a chance to do much more than introduce yourself and drop off your resume. Don’t monopolize a recruiter’s time with excessive explanations about your work history or with multiple questions about their openings. You want to be remembered but not as the person who talked excessively.

7) Follow-up.   Get business cards and contact information for the companies you are interested in and follow-up with them. A short, hand-written thank you note reconfirming your interest in the company or in a particular opening is a simple way to give a recruiter a reason to pull your resume out of the stack they have from the job fair.

Don’t be intimidated by long lines at job fairs or by the volume of resumes you see stacked on a recruiter’s table. If you play your cards right, you’ll be on the “first call back pile” and a new employment opportunity may find its way to you.

“Behind The List” with Allied Personnel Services

Source: Lehigh Valley Business

The job market in the Greater Lehigh Valley has steadily grown since the Great Recession of 2008.

More employers are hiring, and the unemployment rate has been dropping, which are building a stronger local economy.

There are agencies throughout the region designed to help employers find staff and to help jobseekers find positions in the workforce relevant to their experience and needs.

Here to answer this week’s “Behind the List” questions is Susan Larkin, vice president of Allied Personnel Services Inc. in Allentown.

Lehigh Valley Business: How long has Allied Personnel Services Inc. been operating in the Greater Lehigh Valley and what are its primary services?

Susan Larkin: Allied opened in 1984. Our client companies look to us for innovative workforce solutions to allow them to achieve their business objectives, and employees look to us for career opportunities, flexible work schedules or the chance to gain new skills.

We have three staffing divisions — office and professional, technical and light industrial. This business diversity and our partnerships with the top Lehigh Valley companies position our employees for success and are key factors in Allied’s long-term growth and achievement.

LVB: What have been some of the biggest challenges and opportunities that you’ve encountered throughout your years in business?

Larkin: Over the past 30 years, we have witnessed the evolution of the Lehigh Valley’s workforce from a blue-collar, industrial driven economy to a more diverse marketplace, where entry-level workers may work beside skilled tradespeople as well as degreed professionals.

As the face of the workforce changed, it became a challenge to convince all of these groups that staffing companies represented a viable and strong resource for their careers. Additionally, companies viewed contingent workers simply as a commodity.

By sharing our expertise, we have been able to show job-seekers the value a staffing firm can bring to their career, and teach companies that temporary employees are a critical asset and can be an integral part of their business strategy.

Most recently, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been a big challenge but also a tremendous opportunity. With the mandate for large employers to offer affordable health insurance that meets minimum value, it was a challenge to build a complete benefits package for all of our full-time temporary employees.

By making the welfare of our temporary employees a top priority, we were able to create a comprehensive and competitive plan. Offering fully-compliant benefits has created opportunities as well, allowing us to create unique staffing programs for our clients and to contribute to their business goals.

LVB: Have you seen steady growth in job placements since the economy starting bouncing back?

Larkin: The staffing industry is unique because our business is a leading indicator for the state of the overall economy. We generally feel the impact of a recession earlier than other industries, but we also see recovery sooner.

This most recent recession differed from previous ones because companies cut staff more drastically than typical and also were slower to respond as there was much uncertainty about the recovery.

Now that confidence in the economy has been restored, the demand for talent is huge. We are seeing growth across all sectors and have increased our internal staff in order to effectively meet the growing demands for our services.

We expect the labor market to continue to tighten as the unemployment rate drops and job seekers receive multiple offers.

LVB: How does Allied Personnel Services Inc. directly stimulate the local economy?

Larkin: As one of the 50 largest employers in the Lehigh Valley, Allied provides employment opportunities for thousands of people each year.

One of the most rewarding aspects of the staffing business is seeing our employees succeed and move into career roles with our clients.

We are experts in the local labor market, and the long-term partnerships we have with our client companies help them achieve business success and contribute to the overall economy.

LVB: What does the future look like for Allied Personnel Services Inc. on a local level?

Larkin: The future of employment will continue to evolve as both employees and companies seek increased flexibility and innovation in the contingent work arena. As we have done in the past, Allied will adapt to meet those demands, adding programs and services that enhance the employment experience for all of our customers.

Strong community involvement is a long-standing, core value of Allied, and we will continue this commitment through leadership roles and corporate support for organizations such as Communities in Schools, Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board, Valley Youth House, Third Street Alliance for Women and Children, Humble Hearts for Hope, Musikfest, Lilly’s Hope, March of Dimes, Boys & Girls Club of Allentown and the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Our passionate staff is committed to maintaining our position as the leading staffing resource in the Lehigh Valley, and we are looking forward to an even brighter future.

Myth Busters! Common Resume Misconceptions

 

  • “It’s okay not to include dates on my resume.”

MYTH! If dates are omitted, a red flag is raised to the person reviewing your resume. A recruiter will wonder what you might be hiding and may pass over your resume altogether.

  • “My resume can’t exceed one page.”

MYTH! Ideally, resumes should never exceed two pages in length. One page is fine if you can fit all of the needed information without crowding the layout. Anything over three pages can be excessive and may be disregarded by a potential employer.

  • “I can use the same resume for every job I apply to.”

MYTH! You need to look at the requirements of the position and your resume contents closely. While you don’t need a completely new resume for every application, sometimes you’ll want to tweak your resume to draw stronger attention to certain skills depending on the job. The best advice we can give is to customize it every time you send it.

What Is A “Business Casual” Dress Code?

Congratulations! You got the job! Your new boss tells you to dress “business casual” on your first day…and the confusion sets in. The phrase business casual has become difficult to define in recent years. Typically, business casual means a type of attire worn by business people that is less formal than a business suit. A simple enough definition, but with a struggling economy many people have been forced to change career paths or re-enter the workforce after many years out of work. Brushing up on business casual basics can help prepare you for your new job.

Why is this issue of what to wear or what not to wear so important? When you come to work each day, you are not only presenting yourself as a competent, professional, and reliable worker. You are also representing the company you work for. Understanding your company’s culture, or core values and image, is essential in knowing how to come to work dressed appropriately.

man with clipboard

DO: wear clothes that are tidy, clean, and conservative.

DON’T: Wear flip flops, jeans, or revealing attire (spaghetti straps, low pants, and plunging necklines).

Ladies, the following attire would be considered business casual:  a collared shirt, blouse or sweater, paired with dress slacks or a knee length skirt. Always wear knee highs with slacks and hose with skirts. Gentleman:  try a button down or polo paired with slacks or khaki pants. Business casual shoes should always be close toed.

Your 30-Second Commercial

 

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Seneca (3 BC – 65 AD)

elevatorThe term “30-second commercial” can be used to describe the brief sales pitch someone gives about their company when they bump into a prospective customer. Also referred to as an “elevator speech,” a 30-second commercial is intended to provide all of the key information about something in a short period of time, while also piquing the interest of the listener. If you are searching for a job, you need to make sure you have your 30-second commercial prepared. You never want to miss an opportunity to sell your product—yourself!

Content

Make sure that you include all of the key information about yourself. Your experience, your strengths and key accomplishments can easily be fit into 30 seconds. If you’ve worked for some large, well-known companies, mention them. Don’t forget to include anything unique about you or your career.

Qualities

The most effective 30-second commercials use short, declarative sentences. Be careful not to use any jargon specific to your career field unless you are certain that your audience will understand it. You want to try to grab the person’s attention, so be passionate and engaging. Even if your job search has you feeling bitter or frustrated, don’t let those emotions come through. Ideally when you deliver your commercial it will be part of a dialogue, so it’s good to end with a call to action or a question. For example, if you are speaking to someone about your IT experience you could end with: “How does your company handle software development?”

Key Points to Remember

The delivery of your commercial is crucial to its success. Speaking with confidence will convey credibility and will impact the listener. Remember your audience and tailor your message so that it has the most impact. Most importantly, keep your commercial to 30 seconds. Use the first 15 seconds to engage your audience and the last 15 seconds for wrap up. Don’t forget to practice so that you are comfortable with the material. You don’t want it to sound overly rehearsed or memorized, but it needs to flow easily.

 

A polished, professional 30-second commercial is an invaluable tool when you are looking for a job. You never know where the next opportunity is going to come from, and you never know where you might meet someone who can help you. In the next few weeks we’ll share some more hints on how to structure your job search and some of the other tools you need to make it successful.

 

Allied Personnel Services Wins Best Employment Agency Award

Readers Choice Logo 2015

The 2015 Morning Call Reader’s Choice Award winners were recently revealed and for the 9th time Allied has won for Best Employment Agency.

We take special pride in this award because it comes from the votes of our clients and our dedicated field employees. We will continue to work hard to provide exceptional service to our clients and to provide our employees with the best employment opportunities.

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Why Apply with a Staffing Firm?

Have you ever experienced the frustration that comes with job searching? Sending out dozens of resumes, scouring the internet, going to interview after interview without ever getting a second call. It can be overwhelming and discouraging. As a recruiter in the staffing industry, I’ve met many candidates who’ve had these experiences before hearing about the opportunities available through staffing firms. Working with a staffing firm can offer job seekers many benefits, especially when it comes to finding jobs that can’t be found elsewhere. Staffing firms have the unique advantage of offering opportunities job seekers would not be able to find on their own. Here are a few examples why a position might only be available through a staffing firm. Continue reading