The Art of the Job Search – The Job Fair

ImageThe job fair is an excellent opportunity for job seekers and recruiters alike. Potentially months of networking and learning can be done in a single day and in one location. Here are some tips for finding success at your next job fair.

Do your homework. Job seekers can obtain lists of employers who will be at a job fair ahead of time. Study which companies you want to speak with at the job fair, based on your industry, the company reputation and what types of positions they are currently recruiting.

Dress for success. Wear interview attire and comfortable shoes for standing in line, and carry a portfolio to keep your paperwork handy.

Practice your introduction. Facing a long line of prospective employees, a recruiter may only have a few moments for you to make an impression. Come up with a quick introduction highlighting your experience and enthusiasm for their company. This is the opportunity to have your questions about the company and position answered, so be sure to prepare them ahead of time as well.

Bring extra. Be sure to have extra copies of your resume, pens and notepads, and your business card to provide your name, email and phone numbers to recruiters.

Arrive early. Arrive before the job fair opens to get through checking in and get in line for your first company of choice sooner.

Make contacts. A successful job fair experience may be measured by the amount of contacts you make. Collect business cards from every recruiter with whom you speak, as well as other job seekers in line. You never know which contact could help you land your next position!

Attend any workshops or seminars. More and more job fairs have seminars for job seekers, with topics such as resumes and interviewing. Seminars are another great way to seek advice and network with recruiters. Many job fairs also feature schools that offer continuing education opportunities. To stay ahead in your field, talk to these representatives to learn about courses and certifications they offer.

Follow up. After the job fair, be sure to write a brief thank you note or email to the recruiters you meet. The note will remind the recruiter of the time and location of your introduction, and further demonstrate your enthusiasm for their company.

Job fairs are excellent opportunities to be seen by recruiters in person and learn about opportunities in your field.

Fredericksburg, Virginia Job Fair Note: will be featured at the Employment Fair at the Riverside Conference Center on Thursday, May 8, from 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. We will offer job seekers and employers valuable tips on finding the best area positions and candidates!

For more information on the Fredericksburg, Virginia Job Fair, please visit our Facebook page to learn more.

The Art of the Job Search – Finding What Matters to You


This week, we continue our series “The Art of the Job Search” with a checklist of what to consider as you research employers. These factors can help you determine if you would be a good fit for the company, and if the company would be a good fit for you. Does the company match your preference in these areas? In your own research and in the interview process, finding out if your preferences align with the employer will help you determine if they are a good fit for you, and vice-versa.

Company reputation
Is the company well-known in your area? If so, check reviews online and by word-of-mouth to determine how they treat customers and business partners.

What kind of company culture do you want? Please keep in mind that a company can encompass more than one categorization.

  • Family-oriented, with a focus on mentoring and nuturing the careers of its employees
  • An entrepreneurial spirit, with a focus on taking risks and experimentation with products and services
  • The primary focus is the competition and the results each employee produces
  • A structured and controlled environment, with a focus on efficiency

What is your ideal type of job description?

  • Very clear – You would know exactly what tasks you are responsible for in your position.
  • Somewhat clear – While you know your overall responsibilities (example: database maintenance), you are flexible with the specific tasks assigned to you.
  • Vague is fine – You don’t need a job description, as you are willing to take on whatever tasks are required at the time.

Location, location, location
How far are you willing to travel to work? Are there public amenities (access to public transportation, restaurants and stores) or is the company in a remote location?

Opportunities for advancement
Does the company provide annual reviews to discuss your performance and possibilities to move within the organization? How are raises considered?

Autonomy of the position
Especially as telecommuting positions become more prevalent, determine if you want to work on your own or as part of a team. This also speaks to the company’s privacy policies. Would you be working in a closed office or a collaborative work environment?

The more you know before accepting a position, the better off you will be. The interview process for some positions can be lengthy, so it is best to know ahead of time if the company would offer your ideal environment beforehand. As you begin talks with an employer, the research you have done will reflect your enthusiasm for the position. The interview process is also the time to learn as much as you can about a company and further gauge if the company or organization is a good fit for you.

The Art of the Job Search – Digital and In-Person Networking

This week, we begin a new series entitled “The Art of the Job Search.” Each week, we will discuss topics job seekers face in their job hunt, and will provide some useful information for employers looking for their next hire as well. Our first installment in this new series will focus on networking – both digitally and in person.


As you begin or continue your job search, you may be spending your time searching and applying for jobs that match your experience and ideal career goals. While these are important steps in any job search, building relationships with people in your preferred industries is also important. According to a report by U.S. News & World Report,* some statistics show as much as 80% of new hires were based off referrals within the company. In this digital era, job seekers and recruiters alike must capitalize on
both in-person and online networking opportunities to build those relationships.

These days, digital channels are great ways to reach new industry contacts and obtain networking advice before you meet face-to-face. With social media sites as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+, you have the ability to search for hiring managers in companies you’re interested in and what events offer the opportunity to meet them.

Some quick tips for digital networking include:

  • Search for hiring managers and other key staff at a company’s social pages including their own website. Connect with hiring managers on as many channels as possible to build that relationship.
  • Be sure your resume includes any professional networking links, including LinkedIn and your professional blog if you have one.
  • Likewise, be sure to hyperlink your resume to your social networking sites. If you are not currently employed, let people know you’re looking through posts including your resume.
  • Complete all stages of each social media profile. For example, completed LinkedIn profiles appear higher in search engine results. These searches are another way hiring managers research a potential employee before meeting with them.
  • Join the conversation for your desired industries on Twitter’s industry chats and LinkedIn Groups. You not only stay on top of the latest industry news, but you will receive priceless tips from people working in your field. Your contributions to the group may be noticed by a hiring manager ready to meet you!

One of the goals of digital networking efforts is to land the face-to-face meeting with the industry contact. Some of the places to network include job fairs, Chamber of Commerce meetings, and industry events. Some great sites exist that may help you find industry events in your area, including Facebook, LinkedIn Groups, Eventful and MeetUp.

After you network in-person, it is best to always be the person who follows up. Never assume a contact will reach out to you. Instead, be proactive and ask for a business card or contact information, as well the method they prefer to stay in touch. After the meeting, be sure to send a follow up email or make a call to keep the communication flowing. Your contact may have spoken to a great many people at a single event, and this is a great way for your discussion to stay fresh in their memory.

As you control your digital presence and utilize more networking tools online, you will be set above the crowd, helping you land the coveted face-to-face meeting sooner!

* U.S. News & World Report, “Tips to Succeed With In-Person Networking,” January 2013

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Job Boards – Still the Kings of Online Career Tools

ImageNow is the time to look for the job you want.

A recent statement by the Department of Labor* shows the U.S. job market experienced higher-than-expected growth so far in the first quarter of 2014. With more employers looking to fill positions, now is the time to begin or revive your job search. is here to be a resource for you in each step of the job searching process.

Job boards still rule the online career services market. and other job boards are experiencing significant growth in people visiting the site and becoming registered members. Career services and development sites had over 64 million visitors in February.** In a joint survey conducted by and, 31% of users were unfamiliar with professional networking sites beyond job boards. When it comes to finding job listings, career advice and services, and learning more about educational opportunities, job boards are still king for job seekers and recruiters. has all the tools to help you find the right job now.

Here are some ways to get the most from your account.

  • Put yourself in front of recruiters and employers advertising positions through job postings.  You can search for jobs by title, location, or both.
  • Find the hidden job market – those employers not currently advertising positions – by posting your resume. Employers search our resume database every day for potential candidates. offers a range of resume tools to help you create your resume and promote it with recruiters.
  • Sign up for email job alerts. We send you jobs that match your profile directly to your inbox.
  • Read The Job Blog and follow on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn for even more career tools and news.

*United States Department of Labor OPA News Release, March 7, 2014; “Statement of Labor Secretary Perez on February employment numbers”

** comScore Media Metrix, February 2014


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Spring into the New Season with a New Job

ImageToday marks the first day of the renewing season of Spring.  Now is the perfect time to mirror your professional journey after nature, starting the season with a refreshed focus on achieving your career goals.

As the temperatures rise, here are a few industries that have increased their hiring.

Home Improvement Stores – Whether you want to turn to Big Box giants such as Lowe’s or Home Depot, or search for work at your local hardware store, now is the time to apply to their jobs.

Amusement and Theme Parks – Many parks located in Central and Eastern time zones reopen for the season between March and April so they’re going on massive hiring sprees now.

Lawn Care and Pest Control Services – Warmer weather means greener grass, flowers that bloom and all the critters that come with them.  That’s why now is a great time to find opportunities with companies like TruGreen, Terminix or Permatreat.

Hospitality, Leisure and Recreation – While hotels and vacation resorts are great places for work all year long, many popular hot spots are gearing up for summer vacation season throughout these cooler months. Look no further than your local area attractions to see who’s hiring, including your local Parks and Recreation Department.  Here you will find positions ranging from Athletic Coach and Events Manager, to Grounds Supervisor and Security Officer.

Don’t have a green thumb?  No problem!  Other top industries for jobs include:

Industries to Watch in 2014

Forbes magazine recently released information about the top fastest-growing industries in 2014.  The information comes from Sageworks, a financial information company that analyzes the performance of privately held companies and finds trends in profitability and expansion.  What do the findings mean for job seekers?

Manufacturing and farming on the rise – For anyone with experience on an assembly line, with certain types of farming, or in the front office, jobs in the manufacturing and farming fields may be a good next step.  These fields are diverse, as is the amount of experience required for each position.    

How handy are you? There is significant growth expected in the personal and household goods repair and maintenance field.  If you have the ability to fix furniture, lawn care equipment, and even jewelry, there may be a position for you.

Calling all IT professionals – The IT infrastructure plays a vital role in the success of any business, so IT professionals are in extremely high demand.  In this field you have the flexibility to work in an array of environments and industries.

Do you like helping others? Employment services professionals specialize in the placement of temporary workers to business executives.  Working in this field, you would help companies and job seekers alike. 

A good time to be an entrepreneur – As the housing market continues to improve, real estate agencies and broker offices are expected to continue their growth in profitability.  Now is a great time to enter the field, and a great first step is finding a local real estate class information session.  Entrepreneurs could also look into opportunities to provide services to any of the growing fields listed among the findings.


Fastest-growing industries (privately-held companies only) – Growth between December 2012 – December 2013

  1. Support activities for mining – 21%
  2. Oilseed and grain farming – 20%
  3. Beverage manufacturing – 20%
  4. Agriculture, construction, and mining machinery manufacturing – 20%
  5. Other crop farming – 18%
  6. Computer systems design and related services – 16%
  7. Offices of real estate agents and brokers – 16%
  8. Chemical and allied products merchant wholesalers/distributors – 16%
  9. Personal and household goods repair and maintenance – 16%
  10. Employment services – 15%

Source: Forbes “Industries To Watch In 2014: The 10 Fastest-Growing Fields” December 29, 2013

Top 5 Apps to Help You Find a Job Fast

There's an App for that job search of yours

There’s an App for that job search of yours

Now that the New Year’s dust has settled, it’s time to get serious about keeping your resolution to find a better job. With the busy lives that we all lead, it can be difficult to carve out time each day to work towards accomplishing our goals. That’s why the team did a little research to identify the top 5 mobile apps that will keep you motivated, and keep your 2014 job search on track:

1. Clear – This is for all the organization freaks out there. This mother of a to-do-list management tool let’s you check off your completed tasks by swiping them away, send emails with a shake, and label different lists for job apps, follow-up reminders, and interview schedules.

2. Evernote – Think of it as the Pinterest for your mobile job search. With Evernote, you can sync all your saved research articles, notes, to-do-lists, and job application reminders across all your digital devices. You can even consolidate your job search related tweets in this do it all app!

3. MindNode – Don’t want to pigeon-hole yourself in to one type of job? Use this app to identify the industry or company you’re most interested in and begin brainstorming the variety of jobs you’d be great at within said industry or company. Before you know it, you’ll have more found job opportunities than you’ll know what to do with.

4. Mailbox – Inbox flooded with countless emails from all the job boards and career sites you signed up with? Mailbox helps you clean out your email so that you can easily identify the most important job related mail you want to keep, while swiping away the less important messages to archive or trash.

5. Pocket – Pocket is perfect for storing all the information uncovered in your job research, all in one place. Whether you’re hanging on to a video about interviewing tips or you need to reference an article about the company you’ll soon be interviewing for, you can save it all: web pages, articles, and videos, for easy access later.

Do you know of any Apps that have helped to keep your job search organized?  Share them with us now!

Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014

300x250_NewYear_2012_SunriseIf you’re like many job seekers across the country, your #1 New Year’s resolution isn’t to lose weight, quit smoking, or get more organized.  It’s to find a new job.  Lucky for you, the start of the new year means the beginning of hiring season for companies across the country.

To increase your chances of landing a great job fast, we’ve compiled this quick checklist to help kick start your new year’s job search:

  • Update and post your resume  – If you want to increase your chances of landing a great job, a well-written resume is a must.
  • Customize your cover letters – Many companies require a cover letter along with an application, so make sure each cover letter you submit speaks directly to the job you’re applying for.
  • Network – In addition to applying to jobs online, be sure to also reach out to all your connections on and offline to learn of potential job opportunities.
  • Follow-Up – Some companies list their HR Department’s contact information on their website. If you’d like to express further interest in a job you’ve applied to, you can humbly inquire over the phone.

In addition to having a professional resume and cover letter, you can also speed up your job search by applying to jobs in industries that are showing the most growth.  Check out our listings in these top industries that are hiring in 2014 today!

At, Christmas is about the Toys

On December, 19th the team ventured out to volunteer for the Quantico, Virginia Toys for Tots campaign.  The program’s warehouse is headquartered in Fredericksburg and this is the most critical time when volunteers are needed. With shipments coming and going morning and night, the team was able to successfully sort, count, unload and reload THOUSANDS of toys.  It was a day filled with fun, laughter and good old-fashioned team work.

Check out this article for more information about the Quantico Toys for Tots campaign.

For general information about the Toys for Tots organization, visit