Dear Coach Joan: Career Advice
Calling on all Sonoma County job seekers….
This Thursday, May 4 is the Sonoma County Job Connections event. It runs from 4- 7 pm at the Graton Resort and Casino in Rohnert Park. The event is free. Visit pressdemocrat.com/sonomajobseekers to register or you can register on site. There will be nearly 50 employers on hand, and you will have the opportunity to meet directly with prospective employers and hiring managers.
A local job fair means lots of career opportunities right in your own backyard. It is a place to network, get to know your local employers, and perhaps find that next great job. And if you are not quite ready for a formal job search, you will also find experts to help you with resume writing and Linkedin preparation. You will have the chance to get lots of information about the local job market, ask questions directly of the hiring managers, and get a real pulse on the local job scene.
Here are three tips from me on how you can make the most of your time at a job fair:
1. DRESS PROFESSIONALLY: Make sure to dress to impress! Some say that showing up is half of success. Another aspect is showing up looking ready-to-go! That alone will differentiate you. Sonoma County is a pretty informal place but you will always impress potential employers by dressing a level up. For males that means putting on nice slacks and a button down shirt that is well pressed. For females that means nice slacks and a professional looking top or a skirt and blouse or a dress. No flip flops for anyone, please! Make sure you are well groomed; neat hair and for women, light or no makeup, and leave the bling at home. For people who have tattoos I suggest you cover up the ones you can. You don’t want people to focus on extraneous things- you want them to engage with you as a professional person, focused on work.
2. YOUR SALES TOOLS: Bring at least a dozen copies of a professional and clean looking resume. Please proofread your resume to make sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors. Ask a someone else to proofread it as well. And make sure all the information is up to date. Also make sure to include all contact information: your name, email, phone contact, the name of your town and your Linkedin address if you have one. List each job in chronological order from the present to the past. Use action words to describe what you did. If you are not happy with your resume, there will be specialists at the job fair to help you to improve it.
3. YOUR OPENING LINES: Yes, most people don’t practice this but just as dressing more formally can differentiate you, so too can a planned opening line help you make a great first impression. When you reach out to extend a handshake to a potential employer, look them right in the eye, say hello and have something positive to say about their company or organization. For example, if it’s a local retailer like Kohl’s you might say, “I’ve had really friendly and helpful salespeople whenever I’ve shopped at Kohl’s”. A positive comment about their company or establishment goes a long way in setting up a positive interaction. Additionally, have something positive to say about yourself. An example would be, “I’ve worked in retail for the last 3 years and really enjoy getting to know my customers and providing them with the best experience as possible.”
And I will be at the Sonoma Job Connections event, too. You can see many of my Dear Coach Joan: Career Advice articles in the event program and you can also review them online.
Please, please come say hello to me. I’ll be wearing a COACH JOAN name tag.
I enjoy meeting you, my readers, and are always learning from your questions and situations.
All the best, and onward to bringing the best of you to work.