7 things you must do after attending EmployUP

EmployUP16 photoDid you attend last week’s EmployUP? Did you talk to recruiters about job opportunities? Did you give your resume to any employers?

If you answered yes to these questions you still have some work to do. Attending EmployUP is the first step in your job search. Follow these seven steps to increase your chances of being contacted for a job interview.

Send a thank you note. Thank you emails can make or break a job offer. Ideally your thank you note was sent to employers within 48 hours after the event. But it’s not too late. Your note should thank the recruiter for the conversation and reiterate your interest in their company and employment opportunities. Reference a specific conversation topic to refresh their memory of talking with you. If you didn’t get a business card from employers, check EmploymeNC, the Career Services online job board. Companies who attended EmployUP likely have their contact information listed here.

Contact companies you didn’t speak to at EmployUP. It’s also not too late to reach out to companies of interest that you didn’t speak with at the event. Check out the Career Services EmployUP Pinterest Board to find the list of companies that attended. Find the company in EmploymeNC and follow up.

Do as employers instructed. If employers asked you to forward additional information or requested that you complete an online application, get this task done as soon as possible.

Don’t panic. Employers attend many career fairs, collect lots of resumes and receive a huge volume of emails. It’s understandable that you’re anxious, but give employers time to evaluate the candidates. If recruiters mentioned a date you could anticipate hearing from them, wait until a few days past the date and politely reach out to inquire the status of your application.

Be persistent, but not pushy. There is a fine line between reiterating your interest in the job opportunity and harassing the recruiter. A recruiter may likely reject a candidate who sends multiple emails and phone calls, especially if the recruiter has indicated a hiring timeline.

Review your job search strategy. If you attended EmployUP, sent thank you notes and follow-up correspondence and still have not heard from employers, schedule an appointment with a career counselor. While it’s likely that you just need to allow more time for your job search, it can’t hurt to review your resume, job searching strategy and networking skills for areas of improvement.

Use other job search resources. A career fair is just one of many ways to learn about job opportunities. Continue using other options (networking, social media, online job boards) to increase your job search success.

EmployUP Week: 8 details and tips for this week’s event!

EmployUP headerEmployUP takes place this Thursday! Over 50 companies are attending, recruiting candidates for full-time jobs!

Here are 8 last-minute details and tips to be aware of as you prepare for this fantastic hiring opportunity.

1. EmployUP takes place Thursday, March 3 from 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Grady Cole Center, adjacent to the CPCC Central campus. Please see the parking map for location and parking information.

2. CPCC students and all veterans can show their student and/or military ID to use the VIP entrance and avoid long lines!

3. Professional dress is required for admission. Check the Career Services Pinterest Boards for information and sample photos that show what professional dress means.

4. Research companies attending. The list of participating companies provides information about each organization that will be on site, including the A.A.S. degrees they are seeking.

5. Bring copies of your polished resume. You’ll be giving them to company recruiters. Follow resume guidelines provided in the Career Guide. Review your resume for typos.

6. Practice your elevator speech. This is the introduction you’ll give to employers when you approach their tables. What you say and how confident you look when you say it is important!

7. Check out previous Career Services blog posts for detailed tips about what to wear, how to research companies and how to get your resume EmployUP ready.

8. Review the EmployUP Student Information Page that contains tons of tips and links to help you make this event successful for you. A great place to start is the EmployUP Tips Video.

EmployUP is going to be a great event! People are going to be called for job interviews and potentially receive job offers because of this career fair. Why shouldn’t it be you?

What to wear to EmployUP (and other tips about professional appearance)

When you attend next Thursday’s EmployUP, making a positive impression with company recruiters is key to being invited for a job interview. Your visual appearance and how you interact with employers should complement the standout resume you present them.

Your visual impact has two elements: Appearance and your mannerisms. Use the following checklist to help make sure both get the employers’ attention for the right reasons.

Professional Wardrobe

Professional dress is required for admission to EmployUP. This guideline is for your benefit: Recruiters look favorably on candidates dressed in professional attire.


  • Business suits
  • Khakis or dress slacks
  • Collared or button-down shirts
  • Professional dresses and skirts
  • Navy, black or dark grey colors work best
  • Neutral or matching panty hose
  • Closed-toe shoes (no sandals!)
  • Minimal jewelry (avoid long dangly earrings, bangle bracelets and excessive necklaces)
  • Groomed hairstyle
  • Light makeup and perfume
  • Neatly manicured, clean nails

Low-cut shirts, short skirts and tight fitting clothes make an impression, but not the right one.


  • Suit (solid color, preferably navy, black or dark grey)
  • Long-sleeve shirt (white or color that coordinates with the suit)
  • Belt and matching tie
  • Dark socks and matching conservative shoes
  • Little or no jewelry
  • Neat professional hairstyle
  • Limit aftershave and cologne

Make sure your suit is properly fitted.

Other appearance errors to avoid

  • Wrinkled clothes. The night before or morning of the interview, iron your clothes.
  • Bad breath. Bring breath mints instead of gum.
  • A loud cell phone ring.  Turn off your cell phone or set it to vibrate.
  • Exposed body parts. Avoid mid-drift tops or muscle shirts.
  • Tattoos. If your arms are covered with art, cover them.
  • Food in your teeth. Check a mirror to make sure your smile won’t be distracting.
  • Piercings in other places besides ear lobes. Remove facial and tongue rings.
  • Unique hair color or nail polish. Stick to traditional conservative colors.
  • A backpack. Carry your resumes in a binder or folder.

The Career Services Professional Dress Pinterest boards provide great examples of professional dress, as does the EmployUP tips video. Check both of them out!


From the moment you shake the employer’s hand you’re being evaluated. Use these tips about nonverbal behavior and you’ll be fine.

  • Offer a firm handshake (but don’t crush the recruiter’s fingers).
  • Maintain eye contact when speaking and listening.
  • Smile and show an engaged facial expression. Otherwise the recruiter might think you’re bored.
  • Avoid excessive hand gestures and twirling your hair.
  • Don’t carry a pen or other item if you’re inclined to play with it while talking to the recruiter (clicking pen, twirling it between fingers, etc.).
  • Don’t take calls from your cell phone (or even look at it) during your conversation.





Talking to EmployUP recruiters doesn’t have to be difficult

Employers attending EmployUP on March 3 at the Grady Cole Center will talk to job candidates who approach their booth. But they’re more likely to offer interviews to candidates who know how to interact and what to say.

So how do you talk to employers at career fairs?

  1. Wait your turn. If there is a line of people waiting to talk to the recruiter, be kind and wait in line. You would appreciate the same courtesy.
  2. Greet the employer with a firm handshake and a smile. This makes an impression before you say a word.
  3. Introduce yourself. “Hi my name is_______.” Don’t wait for the employers to introduce themselves – show enthusiasm and get the conversation started.
  4. Have an elevator speech prepared. What you say about yourself makes or breaks your chances of landing an interview. Practice ahead of time talking about your skills, academic background and interest in the company. The Elevator Speech info page in the Career Services Career Guide can help you write this short introductory speech ahead of time. What’s most important is practicing before the event.
  5. Ask appropriate questions. Employers like candidates who ask questions. But make sure the questions you ask are appropriate. Never ask “What does your company do?” It shows you didn’t do your research and aren’t as interested in the company as you say.
  6. Be prepared to answer questions about your resume. While a career fair conversation isn’t a job interview, a recruiter might ask questions about entries on your resume. Be prepared to talk about why you chose your field of study, your previous work experiences or any other items listed on your resume.
  7. Don’t take the free stuff unless offered. Employers bring all sorts of goodies, from water bottles to stress balls to candy, to get applicants’ attention. But don’t ruin the great impression you’ve made by asking “Hey, can I have this?”
  8.  Ask the employer for a business card. You’re going to need his or her contact information when you send a follow up email after the event. Don’t be upset if they say no – some companies have policies against handing out business cards at recruiting event.
  9. Be respectful of time. Interactions with employers at career fairs are brief. Remember, it’s not a job interview. Understand that the employer wants to talk to other candidates (just like you want to talk to other companies).
  10. Say thank you and leave with a firm handshake. It seals the deal, letting the employer know that you enjoyed your conversation and look forward to following up.

So often job seekers say “if only I could speak to recruiters in person, they would see what a great candidate I am!” EmployUP is your chance, so prepare for this opportunity.

6 easy steps for investigating companies you want to talk to at EmployUP

EmployUP is less than one month away! Don’t miss out on this great opportunity for face-to-face time with recruiters who are hiring candidates for full-time jobs. The event takes place March 3 from 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Grady Cole Center (adjacent to the Central campus).

Career fairs can be overwhelming, but they don’t have to be. The key is knowing ahead of time which companies you want to talk to and why. Doing this will make EmployUP seem more manageable and help you make a positive first impression with employers.

Follow these six steps for learning about companies and mapping out a successful career fair strategy.

1. Find out which companies are coming to EmployUP. Check out the list of attending companies. This page is organized by AAS programs, making it easier for you to see which companies are recruiting students with your academic background and skills.

2. Check companies recruiting complimentary academic programs. Students in the Culinary Arts program may also want to check which companies are recruiting Baking and Pastry Arts students. Companies looking for Mechanical Engineering Technology applicants may also be interested in Mechatronics Technology students.

3. Make a list of companies you want to meet at EmployUP.  When you arrive at the event you’ll be given a floor plan showing where company tables are located. Bring your company list and a highlighter so you can quickly locate your targeted companies.

4. Log onto EmploymeNC and apply to jobs posted by your target companies. Employers are directed to post their job openings in EmploymeNC. Applying to posted jobs before attending EmployUP shows your high level of interest in the company.

5. Research your target companies. This is a critical step. Employers are interested in candidates who know about their company.

  • Learn the company’s mission, products and services.
  • Visit the company’s social media sites to get the latest, up-to-date information.
  • Know how your skills and qualifications match the company’s needs (hint: Next week’s blog post will focus on how to market your skills to employers, so stay tuned!).

6. Prepare a list of questions to ask. Having a set of questions ready shows you’re prepared. Our list of questions can help you get started.

Researching companies ahead of time is extremely important for success at EmployUP. Schedule time over the next few weeks to accomplish this step.

Get your resume EmployUP ready!

Is your resume EmployUP ready? Bring copies of your professional resume to EmployUP, CPCC’s career fair that takes place on March 3 from 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Grady Cole Center. You’ll be submitting them to employers in hopes of receiving an invitation for a job interview!

What makes a resume EmployUP ready? 

  • No typos. Carefully review your resume for grammar errors and typos.
  • Consistent font style and size. Choose a traditional font style (Arial, Calibri, Times New Roman and Verdana are examples). Use a size that is no smaller than 11 point. Keep sizes consistent for each entry. Whichever size you use for one category title, for example, should be used for all category titles.
  • Bullet points. Avoid long paragraph descriptions.  Employers don’t read them. Use bullet points instead.
  • No “I” statements. Complete sentences aren’t necessary. Start with action verbs to describe your job duties.
  • One page length. Keep the resume to one page. Unless you have extensive relevant experience that justifies two pages, resumes should not exceed one page.
  • Targeted to specific industries or companies. Research your companies of interest beforehand, and develop your objective and skills sections to match what the companies are seeking.
  • Easily identified Education section. Make sure employers can easily see the degree/certificate/diploma you are earning (or have earned). Employers attending EmployUP are looking for specific programs – be sure yours is highlighted.
  • Contact information listed at the top of the page. Don’t forget your phone number and email address. If you have a LinkedIn profile, list the url.

How can Career Services help you make your resume EmployUP ready?

Resume reviews. Career Services counselors can review your resume in four ways:

  1. Schedule a resume appointment with your campus career counselor.
  2. Email your resume to career.services@cpcc.edu and receive feedback within 24 hours.
  3. Stop by Central Campus Drop In Hours: Wednesdays and Thursdays 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a resume review (no appointment necessary)
  4. Upload your resume to your EmploymeNC account and receive feedback within 24 hours.

Online resume resources. Use the following online resumes to help you develop your resume:

  1. View the Career Services Resume Tips video.
  2. Check out the Resume Info Link on the Career Services webpage.
  3. Review the resume guidelines and samples in the Career Services Career Guide.

EmployUP is just over one month away! Don’t delay in getting your resume ready for this hiring event.


Get ready for EmployUP!

It’s just over one month away, taking place March 3, 2016 from 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

It will be held at the Grady Cole Center, adjacent to the CPCC Central Campus.

“It” is EmployUP, the largest hiring event of the year for CPCC students, alumni and community members.

Previously known as the CPCC Career Fair, EmployUP aims to connect job seekers with Charlotte/regional businesses and organizations that are actively hiring. But this is not your typical CPCC Career Fair.  Check out what you can look forward to at this year’s event:

  • Employers hiring for full-time job opportunities: Over 50 companies are attending this year’s event. All of them are hiring for full-time positions.
  • Companies targeting A.A.S. programs: Attending companies are hiring students and graduates specifically from CPCC’s A.A.S. programs.
  • Networking opportunities for undergraduate and transfer students: Undergraduate students and students who plan to transfer to four-year institutions can meet and network with regional employers who you might be working for someday.
  • Free professional photos: CPCC students and alumni can have their professional headshot taken to be used on LinkedIn, your online portfolio or professional website.

Take time before EmployUP to prepare for the event. Over the next month plan to:

Check back to the Career Services blog each week from now until EmployUP for detailed tips on how to make this event a successful job search strategy. Stay tuned to Career Services on Facebook and Twitter for more up-to-date information. Check out the Career Services Pinterest page for helpful boards that include details about attending companies as well as resume, interviewing and professional wardrobe ideas. Bookmark the Career Services homepage for helpful information, too.

It’s time. Get ready for #EmployUP16!

6 steps to complete the week after the Career Fair

If you attended last week’s Career Fair, there’s still work to be done. Follow these six steps to increase your chances of landing an interview with the employers you spoke with.

Send thank you notes. If you haven’t done so already, take the time to send a thank you email to the recruiters. Hopefully you secured a business card before leaving their table. If not, check EmploymeNC, the Career Services job searching database, to see if the company’s contact information is listed. A thank you note can make or break employment opportunities.

Contact employers you didn’t speak to. If you weren’t able to talk to every employer on your target list, it’s not too late. Check out the Career Services Career Fair Pinterest board that highlights every company who attended the fair.

Don’t panic if you don’t hear back. Recruiters receive many emails and can’t reply to every single one. If you don’t receive a reply to your thank-you note or follow-up correspondence, it doesn’t mean the door is closed. Allow time for employers to evaluate the resumes and applications received. If recruiters mentioned a date of when you might hear from them, follow up within a week after that date if you still haven’t received any correspondence. Persistence is good, just use moderation.

Follow employers’ follow-up instructions. Whatever additional steps employers requested – sending additional information, applying online, contacting them – do it. And do it this week.

Review your strategy. What worked and what didn’t? If you don’t receive follow up from any employers, consider meeting with a career counselor to review where your approach could be improved.

Continue to use other job search methods. Job searching isn’t reserved to a one-time event like the Career Fair. It’s important to continue using other resources (networking, online job boards, social media) to maximize your job search.


11 ways to create a career fair-friendly resume

When you attend the CPCC Career Fair next month, bring enough copies of your resume to give to employers of interest.

Career fairs are busy. Recruiters won’t have time to read your resume. They’ll glance at it – six seconds at the most.

Follow these tips to help you create a resume that will catch employers’ attention in a short timeframe.

Target the resume to the company: Research companies ahead of time to know which ones you’re interested in. Your objective and skills sections should match the positions and skills the company is seeking.

Use an Objective to specify your career interests and qualifications: An objective that includes the position of interest, company name and a quick mention of your background snags the recruiter’s attention.  

Create a skills category: Employers already know the skills they’re looking for. By doing company research you can know which skills they’re seeking. Make sure your skills category reflects this information.  

Avoid fancy fonts: They’re distracting. Standard fonts such as Times New Roman, Arial or Calibri work best.

Keep it to one page in length: Unless you are a seasoned worker with years of relevant experience, your resume shouldn’t exceed one page.

Make sure the Education section clearly shows the college’s name, what you’re earning (degree, certificate, etc.), program (Criminal Justice Technology, Cosmetology, etc.) and graduation date:  Employers searching for candidates from specific programs immediately look for this information.

List your contact information at the top; don’t forget your phone number and email address: If you have a LinkedIn profile, this would be a great place to list your LinkedIn url.   

Use bullet points instead of paragraphs: Employers don’t have time to read a paragraph describing your job duties. Use bullet points that quickly summarize the same information.

Ditch the “I” statements and start with action verbs: Employers want to know what you did so don’t waste any time telling them. Use a variety of action verbs to convey duties and responsibilities.

Plug in numbers wherever you can: Numbers visually break up the resume presentation. Additionally, they can market your qualifications. List a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Mention the number of calls you field in your current call center job. Discuss the amount of sales you contribute to the restaurant in your server role.  

Check for typos: They’re still one of the biggest reasons why employers reject candidates.

Use sample resumes as guidelines. Have a CPCC Career Services career counselor professional critique your resume before the Career Fair to make sure you’re clearly and concisely marketing your qualifications.

Don’t believe these 8 myths about Career Fairs!

Attending a career fair can seem intimidating. Events like the CPCC Career Fair host many employers and attract thousands of job seekers. But often the intimidation stems from myths about career fairs. Let’s set the record straight.

Myth #1: Career Fairs are only for graduating students and alumni.

Reality: Many companies attending the CPCC Career Fair are looking for interns and part-time employees. Current students, this means you! Additionally, undergraduates attending the fair to meet employers and begin networking in their field make a great impression on recruiters.

Myth #2: None of the companies attending are hiring for my program/career interests.

Reality: With over 95 companies attending this year’s event, it’s quite likely your career interests are represented. Use the link that lists attending employers to research which programs companies are targeting. Programs in business, health care, hospitality, technology and more are in great demand.

Myth #3: Professional dress isn’t really necessary since this isn’t a job interview.

Reality: Not only is it necessary, it’s required. Job seekers will not be permitted into the Grady Cole Center unless they’re dressed professionally. You want to make a positive impression at the fair to be contacted for a job interview after the event. Professional dress makes or breaks this impression.

Myth #4: I can just show up the day of the event, no preparation is really needed.

Reality: Students who come to the event unprepared aren’t as successful as those who do. Three key ingredients to career fair are a top-notch resume, a solid employer pitch and effective company research. The Career Services career fair tips page offers ideas for all. Email your resume to a career counselor for a professional critique or schedule an appointment to meet in person.

Myth #5: People don’t get job offers after talking to recruiters at a career fair.

Reality: While job offers aren’t typically given the day of the event, solid candidates can expect follow up emails or phone calls inviting them for interviews. With so many job searching resources out there, career fairs are still ranked as one of the top recruiting tools by students and employers alike.

Myth #6: If I attend, all I have to do is give my resume to the recruiter.

Reality: This approach guarantees your resume gets placed in the “no” pile. With a confident smile and firm handshake, introduce yourself and offer your elevator speech that explains both your interest in the company and your qualifications for the job opportunities. Doing so catches the recruiter’s attention.

Myth #7: With over 90 companies attending, it’s too overwhelming and pointless.

Reality: The idea of visiting over 95 company tables is overwhelming. But a targeted approach makes the event more manageable. Not every company has opportunities that you’re interested in or qualified for. Research companies ahead of time. Figure out which ones are recruiting your background. Use this information to map out a plan of recruiters you’ll talk to.

Myth #8: My skills and background don’t match what companies are looking for.

Reality: Don’t judge a company by its name. You might be surprised where your qualifications match.  And you won’t know unless you attend.

Preparation is key to a successful career fair. Now that your career fair fears have been dispelled, get busy getting ready for next month’s event!