Jobs and the economy

The Job Fair

The other day I went to my first job fair. As those who have heard my tale of woe or read earlier postings, AAA Michigan gave me the boot in August after 23 years of service–and eight months short of qualifying for retirement. So I’m out in the job market and attending job fairs.

As anyone who has experienced a job fair, it is not a pleasant experience. The closest thing I can liken it to is speed dating. Only in speed dating, both sides are on equal footing and hope there is mutual attraction. At a job fair, you are already attracted to the company; that is why you are waiting in a long line for your 1 – 5 minutes of face time. You just hope the company’s representative finds you more attractive than the other 50 people still behind you in line or all those who came before you.

This particular fair was hosted by Right Management. It is an international manpower firm and was contracted by AAA to help me and others axed with me prepare resumes and search for a job. Right did a nice job and the fact that I am still pounding the pavement is more a testament to my sampling retirement, cleaning up some stuff at home and updating some current skills, than to the quality of its work.

Anyway, a portion of Right’s job fair brochure provided a good summary of what to expect (I bolded what I consider the major point):

“You need to have a different focus for Human Resources recruiters [at job fairs] than you would for hiring managers. They are looking to screen you out, not qualify you in. Your objective should be to show that you not only have all the necessary basic requirements, but are also an appropriate candidate for their work environment.

Consider their focus. Whenever they make a recommendation for further action, they are putting their “stamp of approval” on the person. The last thing they want is for a hiring manager to come back to them and say, “why did you give your okay on that person?”

They want assurance that company resources will not be wasted in taking the next step with you. Ideally, they should be able to visualize you as someone who could eventually become “part of the team.”

Words of wisdom that anyone who attends a job fair needs to take into account. It can help one prepare and help one avoid disappointment. And I suppose some of the information might also apply to speed dating .

That’s it for now, folks

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The Importance of Social Media and Marketing 2.0

I subscribe to a number of groups through LinkedIn.   One of them, Web 2.0 for Non-Profits, referenced a video about the growing importance of social media, and asks the question whether social media is a fad or the biggest shift since the industrial revolution.   The video is entitled  Socialnomics (please note this is the abbreviated 2:30 minute version).

In any event, here are some stats to consider:

  • by 2010 Gen Y (born 1977-2002) will outnumber baby boomers (born 1946-1964).
  • 96% of Gen Y will have joined social networks.
  • If Facebook was a country, it would be the 4th largest in the world.
  • While it took radio 58 years to reach 50 million people, TV, 13 years and the Internet four years, Facebook added 100 million members in less than nine months.
  • 78% of consumers trust reviews from their peers; only 14% trust advertisers.

So what does this mean for those who need to sell products and services, or raise funds for programs?  What works and what doesn’t work in this new world of blogs, podcasts and viral marketing?  It’s easy for a business or a non-profit to start a blog, to tweet, to set up a site on Facebook or MySpace.  It’s hard to get noticed and even harder still to incentivize readers to action.

In his book, The New Rules of Marketing & PR, David Meerman Scott (whom I admire) says that in the past, reaching consumers was a matter of “interruption and coercion.” Now it’s all about relationships and providing content that buyers want to consume.

And while making sense of all that might keep CEOs and marketing execs up at night, that’s part of the fun for those of us who are communicators and are excited about Web 2.0.

That’s it for now, folks.

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