Patra Frame: Cleared Job Fair Job Search Questions





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Published on May 5, 2009


Common job seeker questions at a Cleared Job Fair.

Interviewer: Patra thank you for joining us today. It's been really great having you at this Cleared Job Fair. We have had over 575 job seekers come through so we really wanted to see your impression throughout the day, some of the big questions that have been on job seekers minds. You've had an opportunity to do 3 seminars today, you also did the resume reviews and I was just wondering if there are one or two key questions that came into ajob seekers mind? I think I remember sitting in on one of your sessions and someone asked what the value of coming to a job fair was and what was your response to that question?

Patra: Well that's actually a fairly common question. Many of the people who have come are not really sure that those employers have jobs. Maybe they've been to the kind of a job fair where some of the employers do and some of the employers just there as a community service. But I always talk to them about the fact that job fairs do play a significant role in terms of a good job search because at a job fair like this where our company is sponsoring it and all people come had to pay to get, in had to give up a lot of time and energy of their people to be here, that they do have jobs first of all. It's a great source of market intelligence. A way to learn more about what's going on. What are the buzzwords you want to have in your resume and so on. So that's pretty much what I told folks today.

Interviewer: And I know that when we have been at other ClearedJob Fairs one of the big questions that job seekers ask is how often should they follow up with the recruiter and what is the proper way to follow up after a job fair or after an interview with a recruiter?

Patra: And that was a big question today. A lot of people were surprised that I suggested that they send a thank you notice right away and that it could be done by e-mail. But that they should really send that note out quickly. Then people asked about how often is too often? How many times can I do it? And why not? I say there is no absolute certain timeframe that I have but certainly if you remember to ask the recruiter when they expect to make a decision and that period of time has gone by, then you can follow up. If you haven't asked that question then contact me after 3 to 4 weeks and then generally whether you do it by voicemail by actual human contact over the phone or by e-mail, three or four follow ups is plenty. If you haven't gotten a response in that time you don't want to start stalking the person. Of course if you get a response then it becomes a natural type of a conversation and you follow it to its logical end.

Interviewer: And one of the big things that you always tell people is to do preparation but I was sort of noticing today that people weren't as prepared as we thought they might be. I need the comments about preparing for a job fair or advance preparation a job seeker should do?

Patra: Well interestingly enough your whole process of doing all those videos and stuff clearly had made a difference with a lot of people. Lot of people had seen the recruiters. Some of them had seen my videos. But one of the things that most of them don't make the link from is you tell them who is going to be here, then look at those company websites and decide where are the ones that are really most of interest to them. What are the ones that they want to be sure that they know something about so that they can see them while they are here and so that they have good questions to ask the recruiters. I'm always surprised to have few people do that in advance of this Cleared Job Fair or any job fair where they might have the chance to know who was going to be there because that makes you come across as so much more interested and professional. It's an easy thing to do with the internet, but lots of people wait until they get the Job Seeker Handbook. It's a great book but it's not as good as being able to do the advance preparation.

Interviewer: And one of the things that you are so gracious in doing is spending time with the job seekers looking over their resumes. What are some of the key things that you saw that people needed to modify on their resumes?

Patra: That's always actually a lot of fun and you do see some great resumes. Unfortunately the common errors still keep happening and you kind of wonder why. First they're too long. I saw a lot of 3, 4, 5 page resumes today. Two pages max. So what I tell everybody if they want more information from you they'll ask. Secondly you see those people who have other job responsibilities but they don't tell you what they have actually done, so I have a lot of focus in my conversations with people about achievements and for some folks especially like intelligence community job seekers they say I can't really talk about it.

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