A Great Day at the National Naval Medical Center (Part 2 of 2)

Posted by Kathleen Smith

Part 1 of 2 of this blog post:  A Great Day at the National Naval Medical Center (Part 1 of 2)

So, as I was sharing my experiences at the National Naval Medical Center (NNMC) in the first part of the my blog post, here I am excited to fill you in with what happened at the two amazing workshops we conducted at the center.

The first was How to Work a Job Fair as many in the room had never been to a job fair let along spoken with a corporate contact. Not much is really said about how to approach a job fair or how it incorporates into your overall job search strategy. Many tend to look at these events as something unpleasant and time consuming – both on the job seeker and employer side. But as with everything it is how you approach a job fair that determines your success or failure.

Entering a job fair is akin to going to your first high school dance …

  • What is it going to be like? Who is going to be there?
  • Am I wearing the right thing?
  • What if no one likes me?

Many come into a job fair, give it a few moments and walk out, but when you look at the job fair as part of a strategy rather than a waste of time it can provide you with not only market intelligence but also a confidence booster. 

Finding a job fast: A company would not send its representatives nor invest in a job fair unless they had jobs that there were hiring for especially in this economy. Now this might not be the position that you are right for but you can find out from the recruiters there what they are hiring for or who would be the recruiter that would be the best for you to be in contact with.

Networking: Good recruiters know that they need to keep their pipeline filled with good candidates. Meeting a recruiter at a job fair is a great way to add them to your network and you to theirs. A good network is vital to a job search.

Networking (again): How about networking with the other job seekers in the room? They can be part of your network as well. They will also have information on companies that they have worked with or interviews that they have gone to – all that could be helpful information to you. In this community, you will more than likely cross paths with many professionals and the more you can add to your network the better off you will be.

Feedback: While your resume is your advertisement, sometimes it doesn’t relate exactly what your experience is. The best way to find this out is to ask the recruiter at the job fair. Most will tell you things that you need to put in your resume or ways to rewrite your resume to better tell about your experience. There will also be tidbits of information that will be shared with you by a recruiter that can help with your next recruiter encounter.

Practice: A major part of your job search is going to be telling your story over and over and over again and refining this story to get the points across. The only way that this is going to be perfect is to practice this and practicing in front of a mirror is not the same as practicing in front of a live person. There will also be hard questions that a recruiter will ask you on the spot at a job fair and this kind of practice is good preparation for the interview.

Finally many say that a job fair is a waste of time because the recruiter always tells me to go to their website. Well this is something that a recruiter has to tell any job seekers based on OFCCP which is a Department of Labor ruling that states that all defense contractors have to track the applicants for any positions that they hire. So while you may be having a great conversation with a recruiter, they will need you to fill out a profile either on their corporate site or on a OFCCP compliant job board like ClearedJobs.Net. For more information, hear from a recruiter.

The other presentation that we gave at the NNMC was Using Social Networking as Part of Your Job Search. While many in the room were somewhat familiar with the social media tools many were not familiar on how main stream Twitter, Facebook and YouTube had become and the ways that these could support them in the job search.

Twitter streams are helpful for getting up to date information from a company or if the company has a job feed, you can follow the job postings directly from a company. You can also directly search for all the postings from a company using the Search function within Twitter.

Facebook is now being used by companies as an active way of posting information rather than their website and to integrate photos and pictures. Fan pages are also ways to connect with a company to hear about open positions. Many networking groups like AFCEA and AFFIRM are using Fan pages rather than websites to share information about their events and posting the registrations for their events on these sites.

LinkedIn – If you use only one social networking platform during your career search it should be LinkedIn. Between building your profile, connecting with former colleagues and searching for positions in the Groups – LinkedIn supports not only your career search but your overall career development.

Much of this information was not only new to the audience but also a little unnerving as many have been continually told not to use social networking especially if they have a security clearance. As I say over and over again, social networking is key to a job search but also to overall career development. These social collaborative tools are used in major corporations – over 79% use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn – to communicate with their customers but to also communicate internally with employees and clients. Social media like tools are used by many defense contractors and federal agencies to collaborate on projects, and share intelligence. If a security cleared jobs seekers does not know how to use these tools, they are limiting themselves in their career opportunities.

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 24, 2010 11:30 am

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