Recently, I participated in a career fair. I wanted to experiment with the benefits of being high energy with a good self-pitch, but without having a printed resume (verses being low or mid energy with no self-pitch and a printed resume). Also, I wanted to test my individual brand selling and networking tactics with recruiters.
I conducted my experiment using the same three steps with ten diverse companies and individuals:
(1) I hunted the crowd for a typical candidate (nervous, low energy, over-dressed, equipped with tens of freshly printed resumes, and covered in desperation).
(2) I observed how they engaged with recruiters from one of the ten companies I selected to see if the candidate was able to gain the recruiter’s email or business card.
(3) If they failed, I immediately went to the same recruiter with my high energy selling pitch and without any resume to see if I could get the recruiter to give me her email address or business card.
My hypothesis proved right every time. I went to ten companies and left with ten business cards.
The question here is why me and not you? There were many reasons. I will highlight a few, but first let's identify what the purpose of a recruiting fair is and what the dynamics of a recruiting fair are. The purpose is to get yourself a job or at least a contact. But the dynamics are even more important: these recruiters are tired from their two-week or two-month recruiting roadshow. These recruiters see hundreds of resumes daily and thousands of candidates each year. They are bored with the “typical candidate.” They are silently screaming for a spicy, fun, motivated applicant, a go-getter!
Don’t worry you can change and become a “spicy” candidate yourself. This is how:
(1) Understand that you are also there to interview these firms and the hiring process is not a one-way street, so challenge them by conducting your own interview.
(2) Try having a conversation with the recruiter, before you get down to business. Find a common ground, know your added value and talk about that instead of the generic stuff. Companies are not looking for another accountant, but a dynamic, spicy, go-getting, and self-motivated accountant!
(3) Bring your work! A resume is great, but real work says to your recruiter that you are not just a good talker, but you can actually dive in and get the job done. If you have a PowerPoint presentation or any portable project that makes you look dynamic and qualified, then bring it, share it and get hired with it. Tablets allow you to show your innovation and tech savviness on the go, which is key for most jobs today!
Forbes writer and author of “She Got the Promotion. You didn’t! Here’s Why” Susannah Breslin, provides concrete suggestions on how you should be presenting yourself when engaging with recruiters and managers:
(1) Become your own brand manager (separate who you are privately from who you are as a product) and sell the product!
(2) Think like a manager and meet those needs (the actual job description doesn’t matter, as most managers don’t write them).
(3) Be a unicorn (know yourself and sell your unique added value).
(4) Be annoying (don’t give up, you have them in front of you, so become a go-getter, present solutions, and share your ideas).
For sure, these are all things that the everyday extrovert can master, but for you introverts, I would say make a checklist, pick two things to work on and get to work until you are a well-trained go-getter. It is not your boring, flat and unoriginal resume but you being high-energy, knowing how to brand yourself, and understanding your added value that will get you the job you want! So, get to selling!
Harlem Williams, a native New Yorker living in France, has been in HR Management for 15 years. Having earned a BA in International Political Science, a MsEd., a Ms. in World History, a MBA and working on MS. in HR and Organizational Design. She is able to spearhead organizational change and innovation to create a renewed corporate culture and innovation. Having traveled to 85 countries; she also tries to feed her other passions by exploring diverse macro and micro cultures.
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