Stories From The Arch

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Career 101

Are you an undergraduate student seeking literally any type of employment? Well, 2017 is the year of opportunity!
So, whether you are a younger student curious about the job market or an older student seeking out legitimate work and networking opps – you have got to book tomorrow off for Hamilton’s LARGEST Career Networking Job Fair!

This incredible opportunity takes place at the FirstOntario Centre, this Thursday, February 2nd, from 11:00 a.m to 3:00pm, and features over 140 employers, looking to hire full time, part-time, summer, co-op and internship positions. You can find the address here or use the shuttle bus service service from McMaster to get there.

I’m sure you’ve heard much about it, so I won’t bore you with flyers, or employer information (because you could find out all of that on their official website anyway).

I’m here to give you insider tips on the business do’s and don’t’s. From attire and etiquette to professionalism and networking, as a 4th 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, and 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 GOTCCHHHUUUUUU !!!


1. Touch your face or hair too much – this indicates a sign of nervousness.
2. Cross your arms over your chest – this indicates aggression or an unwillingness to be open.
3. Have bad posture – indicates laziness, disinterest, poor health, or low dedication.
4. Hide your hands (in pockets, under desk, etc.) – conveys you probably have something to hide.
5. Carry too many things (bags, coats, loose papers) – seeming unorganized and irresponsible.
6. Chew gum! – seen as disrespectful; you can achieve good breath in other ways beforehand.
7. Show visible or explicit tattoos and piercings – yes, we are in 2017, but be mindful.
8. Ask about money, pension plans, or benefits, (until you actually get the job that is).
9. Talk in a mumbling tone, lie or exaggerate information – confidence and trust are key attributes.
10. Tweet about your experience (as much as you want to!) – This is unprofessional. Enough said.


1. Get a good night’s sleep and eat a nutritious breakfast for optimal health and ‘awakeness’
2. Research the company you’re interested in beforehand – this is an impressive trait that will almost always make you stand out from the crowd!
3. 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.
4. 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).
5. 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. (:
6. 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” Since scientists literally have it down to a formula of trust and respect building (wow, who knew it was such a big deal!) you should take a quick peak at this article [for the link, just skip to the orange box if you aren’t much of a reader!
7. Carry ONE professional folder, with a pen and paper for jotting down important information.
8. Put on a moderate amount and scent of perfume on, with max 2 accessories for a polished look.
9. Bring multiple copies of your resume! – Even though most employers prefer E-copies nowadays.
10. Turn your cell-phones OFF! Don’t answer calls and texts – you may miss gazes with potential employers – Make an effort to remember people’s names and titles. (Hint: jot them down!)
11. 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!

This is a career event so we should wear business clothing. Since 60% of employee’s say that clothes can be the deciding factor between two eligible candidates, here’s a series of tip-filled photos that you should try to follow for optimal success.

Hint, hint: this requires absolutely NO JEANS or LEGGINGS!

***Remember that appropriate attire depends on the industry and company you are seeking out.

It’s important to sell yourself, qualities, personalities and skills verbally, but without over selling. 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.

A couple 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 2 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 (:

Goodluck Marauders!

Keep your eyes open for the POST-career fair article this Friday, highlighting tips on how to follow-up with potential employers, resume and cover letter writing and more!

Keep grinding,
Mariam (:

Picture of the new Water Cooler Gossip blogger, Mariam. Linked.

About the Author

Mariam Khalil blogged for the Student Success Centre from 2016 to 2017.

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