A few weeks ago I posted some tips to implement when attending a job fair, and would like to expand further by discussing some tips and things not to do when networking at places like job fairs. As technology continues to expand, new blood is needed to fill positions all the time. Hopefully you will find some of these tips useful as you go out to seek a technology position.
Resume: Your Story Condensed
I may have touched on this before, but it is important that you know everything you have listed on your resume. It is all about you, and should represent you accurately. You need to be able to quickly and easily conform the contents of your resume to the conversation, applying your specific skills to the needs of the contacts you speak with. Don't be distracted from keeping the conversation fluid, by fumbling to look at your resume to remember things you have there. The resume is a bunch of outlined facts about your experience and skills. Turns those into a relevant conversation that sells you to the representative.
When standing and talking to a representative, pay close attention, but if at all possible, do not seek to take notes or fumble with stuff during the time. Pay attention, and when the conversation is over, spend a few moments jotting down relevant points that are worth recalling in the future when you do your follow up. Obviously if you speak with many representatives from many companies, it will be easy to get all the information jumbled in your mind. Making some concise notes and details about each company you spoke with will go a long way in assisting you to remember points about each meeting.
Not every contact will lead to a job, but every contact can be a networking lead for future use. It is a good idea to follow up with those you have met. Keep your name in their mind, and you never know where it might lead. There are many networking sites for business people just for this purpose. Make contacts - make associations and friends with others in your career field. You can never have too many friends in your career field, so network for the future.
It is a good rule of thumb to follow up within the first 48 hours after the meeting. Drop them a quick email note outlining your previous conversation so they too will remember points about you. Making sure you do this in a relatively short amount of time after the discussion will not only help them to more easily remember your meeting, but it will show them you are still active and interested to continue discussions. So many people these days go to these networking sources, drop resumes, and sit back and wait to be called. Take the initiative, network, follow up, and keep active in your career search.
Jeff McCormack resides in Virginia Beach, VA. where he works as a web designer by day. In his off time he is a husband, father, mail order book store manager, and musician. Aside from being a freelance writer for this Tech Careers blog, he also seeks to assist in career choices and information by contributing to other Nexxt blog sites.