By: Mariam Khalil
Whether you are a younger student curious about the job market or a mature student seeking out legitimate work and networking opportunities, you have got to book tomorrow off for Hamilton’s largest career and networking fair!
This incredible opportunity takes place at the FirstOntario Centre features over 140 employers hiring for full time, part-time, summer, co-op and internship positions. You can find the address here or use the shuttle bus service from McMaster to get there.
I won’t bore you with flyers, or employer information (because you could find out all of that on their official website anyway). Instead, I’m here to give you insider tips on the business do’s and don’t’s. As a fourth-year student who has attended multiple job fairs, I’ve got you covered! All here, in one post, so that you can be on your smoothest career-ready grind.
Statistically speaking, you should know that most employers hire as follows:
- 7% based on what you actually say
- 38% to your confidence level and level of grammar
- 55% on your appearance and how you approach them
So as superficial as this sounds, your non-verbal cues are highly significant. Employees can usually decide within 90 seconds whether they would ideally hire you or not before you even open your mouth! Ha… no pressure. But like I said – I got you!
- Touch your face or hair too much – this indicates a sign of nervousness.
- Cross your arms over your chest – this indicates aggression or an unwillingness to be open.
- Have bad posture – indicates laziness, disinterest, poor health, or low dedication.
- Hide your hands (in pockets, under desk, etc.) – conveys you probably have something to hide.
- Carry too many things (bags, coats, loose papers) – might seem unorganized and irresponsible.
- Chew gum! – might be disrespectful; you can achieve good breath in other ways beforehand.
- Talk in a mumbling tone, lie or exaggerate information – confidence and trust are key attributes.
- Tweet about your experience (as much as you want to!) – This is unprofessional. Enough said.
- Get a good night’s sleep and eat a nutritious breakfast for optimal health and ‘awakeness’
- Research the company you’re interested in beforehand – this is an impressive trait that will almost always make you stand out from the crowd!
- Update and clean up your social media (especially Linkedin!) profiles – employers often look at these after meeting you to determine if your interests are a “good fit” for their company.
- Maintain constant eye contact with whomever you are speaking to, addressing ALL recruiters (if there are more than 2 employers talking to you at the same time).
- Smile and Enthusiasm? – Stern faces seem unapproachable, but then again over-excited smiles seem too eager. Find a happy medium. If you make eye contact, however, definitely SMILE. (:
- Handshake – According to the Daily Mail scientists, “The human handshake is one of the most crucial elements of impression formation and is used as a source of information for making a judgment about another person.”
- Carry ONE professional folder, with a pen and paper for jotting down important information.
- Bring multiple copies of your resume!
- Turn your cell-phones off! Don’t answer calls and texts – you may miss gazes with potential employers – Make an effort to remember names and titles. (Hint: jot them down!)
- Ask questions about the company – Questions about career advancement opportunities show that you are in for the long-haul and make you a valuable team candidate!
It’s important to sell yourself, qualities, personalities and skills verbally, but without overselling. A great tip I learned is to practice an “elevator pitch” that you can answer to the common question “So, tell me about yourself.” This is usually a verbal statement of 1 or 2 sentences that briefly explain who you are and why you are passionate, what you are looking for, and what you can offer the company.
Some more tips…
- Make sure to introduce yourself clearly
- Choose words that incite feelings of positivity, enthusiasm and professionalism
- Listen more than you talk – we have two ears and one mouth for a reason!
- Talk of things outside of work (if the opportunity arises) – this is what builds genuine human connection!
- Don’t overstay your welcome – leave them on a high note, so they may want to continue a conversation with you later!
Mariam Khalil blogged for the Student Success Centre from 2016 to 2017.