Archives – February, 2013
How you come across to others is too important to be left to chance. –Phil Geldart
If you’re attending the CPCC Career Fair, employers should know you’re excited about job opportunities they have, and see your enthusiasm for wanting to work for them.
Most importantly, they should know you: Your personality, skills and background that’s going to make them write “call for an interview” on the resume you hand them.
You accomplish this task – in less than one minute-by preparing and practicing your elevator speech. What do you want someone to know about your professional background in the time it takes for an average elevator ride?
There are three parts to a great elevator speech.
- Discuss your background as it relates to the company, industry or job. Examples could come from your education or related work experience.
- Focus on your skills and accomplishments that relate to the job.
- Convey why you believe you’re a qualified candidate for an interview.
- Include a “hook,” or a way to get the employer to take action. Examples include asking for a business card, inquiring about the interview process or mentioning a unique related experience that encourages the employer to ask questions.
- Start with a confident handshake.
- Maintain eye contact.
- Avoid talking too fast.
- Be conversational.
- Don’t let your speech sound unnatural.
- Use descriptive words and phrases.
- Write a draft of your speech.
- Rehearse your speech in front of a mirror.
- Time it, keeping between 30-60 seconds.
- Give the speech to friends or family and seek their feedback.
- Practice numerous times.
- Avoid memorizing to the point where the speech sounds unemotional.
Elevator speech example:
Let’s put together an elevator speech you might use for an employer attending the job fair.
Employer: Level One, LLC
Positions available: Marketing Associate
Recruiter’s name: Carla Rose
Step 1: Write down your relevant background (what’s important?)
- Earning A.A.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and Retailing
- Coursework in selling techniques and management
- Work experience: Sales Associate (Belk), Customer Service Representative (Time Warner Cable)
- Skills: Communication (interpersonal, public speaking); customer service; attention to detail; responding to customer concerns over the phone; administrative skills (computer, office equipment, etc.); working on tasks independently and in teams
Step 2: Research Level One, LLC (what do they do?)
- Contact solutions for multi-family apartment complexes.
- Helps lease apartment homes by answering emails and phone calls generated through advertising;
- Offer employee training
Step 3: Write down your opening greeting and elevator speech.
“Hello, Ms. Rose, my name is Danica Jones, it’s nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you, Danica. Can you tell me a little about yourself?”
“Yes, I’m excited to talk with you today about the marketing associate positions Level One is recruiting for. Having researched your company and learning about the customer service you provide to multi-family apartment complexes, I believe my background fits your needs. With over five years of experience in both sales and call center environments, I’ve developed strong interpersonal and customer service skills to successfully build and maintain strong client relationships.
Through my coursework in the Business Administration program here at CPCC, where I concentrated in marketing and retail, I’ve had the opportunity to take relevant courses such as selling and management as well as develop computer and team work skills. I look forward to the opportunity to speak with you about my qualifications. What questions do you have for me?”
Step 4: Practice!
Your job fair goal is to be considered for a follow-up interview. A well-developed and rehearsed elevator speech helps get you to that next step.
February 19, 2013
The guest list has just been posted! Check out the CPCC Job Fair link to find out which companies are scheduled to attend the event being held Thursday March 7. There are three reasons why researching the list and doing further investigating about companies you plan to visit is important.
1. Save you time. You can’t visit every employer at the job fair. With the variety of companies attending, you won’t want to. Take the time to research the companies attending that match your job search needs and goals. You can look for companies according to position type (full-time, part-time, internship, etc.), job category (accounting to writing and everything in between) and degrees sought (certificates, associates, bachelor’s etc.).
Hint: Don’t enter too many search criteria. Search criteria are based on information the companies provide when they register to attend. Searching for companies with too many criteria checked may eliminate potential matches.
2. Learn about the companies attending. When you enter the Grady Cole Center in three weeks, you’ll encounter a sea of companies. By taking the time to research the organizations, you’ll know which tables you’ll want to visit, as well as some information about the companies you’re targeting. By researching the companies, you’ll be ready to engage in conversation when it’s your turn to speak with the recruiter. Company recruiters can tell you all about their organization; but, they prefer to hear what you know and why you’re interested in working for them.
3. Prepare to ask some questions. After learning a bit about the companies you wish to speak with, what questions do you still have? Hint: None isn’t the right answer!
Asking questions shows the recruiter you’ve done your homework and are really interested in learning more about the company.
Questions to ask
What makes a candidate for your positions stand out?
The answer to this question lets you know what skills and qualifications to highlight.
What is the typical career path for employees who start in the position(s) you’re recruiting for?
In addition to learning about promotional opportunities, you’ll show the recruiter you’re interested in long-term employment.
What type of training is offered?
You’ll find out what’s expected of you before your first day and what on-the-job training takes place.
What is the application and interview process like?
This answer lets you know when to expect to hear about a potential interview.
What do you enjoy most about working for this company?
Find out the positives about the organization.
Questions to avoid asking
What does your company do?
If you’re asking this question, it tells the employer you either have no idea what type of job you’re interested in, or didn’t take the time to learn more about the company.
What are starting salaries?
It’s best to let the employer lead salary-related discussions, which usually take place during interviews. You can learn salary ranges for the occupations through sites like the Occupational Outlook Handbook and Salary.com.
What type of benefits are offered, including vacations and holidays?
Avoid asking about time off before you are involved in the interview process. Again, this topic is best led by the employer at a later time.
Remember, a job fair is an opportunity for brief face-to-face meetings with employers. Don’t monopolize their time. Present your elevator speech (details about this in next week’s blog), ask questions, ask for a business card, confidently shake hands and move on.
February 11, 2013
With Valentine’s Day just one week away, love is in the air!
With the CPCC Job Fair just four weeks away, it’s time to develop a resume that employers will love.
Use the following checklist to help write a resume that will stand out from others at the fair.
1. Develop a targeted resume.
Employers prefer resumes that are targeted to specific positions or industries. The list of employers will soon be available at the Career Services website. Once you identify companies to visit, target your resume to that profession or company. The objective is the first place to do so. Yes, you may have to write more than one resume. Yes, it will be worth your time!
2. Keep it to one page.
A resume highlights your qualifications, education and experience (work and/or volunteer). The job fair recruiter glances at your resume. Keeping the information to one page allows for a quick read. Quality of information is more important than quantity.
3. Begin phrases with action verbs.
Describe your job duties using action verbs that grab the reader’s attention faster. Avoid using personal pronouns. If you can say something in two words rather than five, do it!
4. Use bullet points.
- They effectively present your skills and job duties as talking points.
- Bullet points make the resume easier to read.
5. Avoid fonts that are too small, too large or too fancy.
Stick to standard font styles, such as Times New Roman, Arial and Calbri. Keep the resume text within 10-11 point font size. Your name can be slightly larger.
6. Keep the appearance consistent.
If you bold one job title, bold all of them. Don’t change font styles or sizes midway through the resume. Black ink is best throughout the entire document.
7. Check for spelling errors.
Spelling and grammar errors still top the list of reasons why employers reject resumes. Review your resume forward and backward, searching especially for misspelled words incorrect capitalization. Have someone else check it, too.
8. Use keywords and buzzwords.
What words or phrases are common in your profession of interest? Make sure you’re using these keywords, particularly in the Skills section and when listing your relevant job duties.
9. Have your resume reviewed by a Career Services career counselor.
Schedule an appointment or stop by during Drop In Hours (M-F 10 am to 2 pm) for a career counselor to review your resume. They can offer suggestions to best market your skills and qualifications.
*We’ve moved! The Career Services office has relocated to the new Student Success Services Center, third floor of the Central High Building. Stop by or contact 704-330-6551 for more information.
February 7, 2013