Career expert shares tips for job fair

As of Friday, 35 employers had signed up to participate in the first Randolph County Job Fair, slated to take place later this month.

Now, the Randolph County Development Authority – the lead sponsor of the event – is hoping that job seekers are just as enthusiastic about attending the event as employers have been about registering.

“Employers are excited. They think it’s a great idea,” said Robbie Morris, RCDA executive director. “All of the comments we’ve gotten have been along the lines of, ‘why haven’t you been doing this years ago?’ All we need is potential employees to come out.”

The RCDA is joining forces with the Elkins-Randolph County Chamber of Commerce, Davis & Elkins College and The Inter-Mountain to host the fair, which will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 26 in the McDonnell Center for Health, Physical Education and Athletics at D&E.

So, what should potential employees know before they go?

Lisa Reed, director of career management at D&E, recently shared some tips for making a stellar first impression on future employers.

“I would say first and foremost, first impressions are extremely important,” Reed said. “The way people dress, the way they carry themselves is very important.”

What does proper dress entail? If you’re seeking a manufacturing job, Reed says dress business casual, but if you’re looking to land a management-level position, opt for business professional.

“Shaking hands with a good firm handshake, making eye contact, smiling, as well as the way people carry themselves – good posture demonstrates confidence – all of those things make good first impressions on people,” Reed said.

“(Potential employers) have made up their mind within the first two minutes of meeting you, so those first two minutes are very important,” she added. “Your nonverbal cues are as important as what comes out of your mouth.”

In addition to having a proofread resume in hand, job applicants should also prepare what Reed dubs “an elevator pitch,” which is a 60-second introductory speech about a person’s assets.

“It should be all about education, experience and what a person has to offer a company,” Reed said. “Stay away from anything personal – nothing about age, marital status or children.”

Resumes should be printed on sturdy resume paper, and fairgoers should bring several copies of them, preferably in a portfolio. Reed also recommends that people research the companies that are coming and tweak their “elevator pitches” to show how their strong points meet the needs of those businesses.

“The good thing is we have a good assortment of companies that are coming,” Reed said. “Several companies have jobs in hand… most of the companies are not coming for PR reasons.”

Morris wants every job applicant to know he or she is invited and encouraged to attend the April 26 event.

“The Randolph County Job Fair is free to the public and free to employers,” the RCDA executive director said. “We encourage anyone looking for a job and any company looking for employees to attend this exciting event.”

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