Thousands of people will attend the Black Press Extreme Education and Career Fair today starting at 11 a.m. in Kelowna at the Rutland Soccer Dome, behind the Rutland YMCA, 705 Dodd Rd. The best way to set yourself apart from the hordes of applicants is a well-tailored resume and preparation.
Vernon WorkBC marketing and community liaison Leeann Wilhelm said a little bit of homework before the career fair on March 12 will go a long way and give any hopeful candidate a leg up on the competition.
“Find out which employers are attending the fair,” she said. “Check their websites and see what positions they’re looking to fill.”
Go beyond Googling their websites, she said. Learn something more about the company. What’s their mission statement? What are their values? What community events or organizations do they support?
“Then, when they ask, ‘why do you want to work for us?’ That’s where you can bust out something you know about them,” Wilhelm said. “Employers just truly want to make a connection.”
With your research complete, a well-tailored resume is the next step.
“A tailored resume strengthens the chance that you will get a call back for an interview,” Wilhelm said. “It sends the message that you want to work for this employer. It tells them you have identified what they are looking for by preparing a resume specifically for them.”
She noted a generic resume is obvious to any employer and could raise red flags.
“If you go handing out a generic resume, it’s demonstrating that you’re lazy,” she said.
If job-fair attendees can’t tailor each resume to a specific company, at the very least, Wilhelm said, tailor the resume to the specific industry of interest.
A tailored resume provides details of relevant or related skills that would be of interest to a potential employer, she said.
“It’s a matching game—pairing up your skills and qualifications with the skills required in the job description.”
A well-prepared resume should answer the questions: What can you do for me? and What is it about you that would make you a good fit for this workplace.
Gone are the days of long, drawn-out work histories. Wilhelm said employers don’t have the time anymore to read about every aspect of every job you’ve worked. Keep details short, sweet, and most importantly, relevant to the specific job being applied for.
“Don’t wing it,” Wilhelm said. “Get help at your local WorkBC Centre. I would encourage anyone who is job searching to access the services at WorkBC. We offer several employability workshops that can help get those resumes looking fantastic.”
Applicants should also look fantastic.
Wilhelm said dress the part before visiting any career fair, but don’t overdress, underscoring the old cliché: dress for the job you want, not the job you have.
“Know your audience,” she said, noting researching workplace culture is a good way to uncover what appropriate attire may look like.
And finally, Wilhelm said it’s important to brag a little bit.
“Don’t be arrogant. Be confident. Confidence goes a long way. Use words like, ‘I have been recognized for,’” she said.
A little elbow grease, homework, thoughtful questions and a well-tailored resume will have any job-fair attendee ready to leave a lasting impression on any employer.
The Black Press Extreme Education and Career Fair is a free event open to the public from 11 a.m. till 3 p.m. today March 12.