Resumes and Job Fairs: How to Best Use Free Resume Review Services At a Job Fair

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How To Best Use Free Resume Review Sources At A Job Fair

A resume is one of the most important tools you use to get a better job.  It is also one of the most difficult tools to use effectively, because no one edits their own work perfectly. A resume is a reflection of one's job history and identity, so many people are reluctant to show it to others.

At a job fair, career fair or hiring event, one of the longest lines is the free resume review line. Everybody knows they need a good resume to get a job and since there is a crowd, people tend to be more confident handing their resume over to a reviewer.  That's good, because the first step to improving your resume is to have someone thoughtfully review it.  To get the best resume advice for your time, taking the right steps before you hand over that resume is crucial.

Step 1: Know Yourself. If you know what you've done in the past and your skills and abilities, you'll be able to quickly put the advice of resume reviewers on your revised resume.  Don't forget that your work history includes everything you've done in paid work and volunteer work and the skills you used to get the task done.

Step 2: Be In the Right Frame of Mind. To receive the best advice, you need to be ready to listen.  The resume review experts at the job fair are generally volunteers, be they from community organizations, job-search groups such as Sacramento Professional Network or resume coaches donating their time. Volunteers will provide general advice on improving your resume, including some that may contradict what you've been told before. Listen to not just what the reviewer is saying but why they recommend that change to your resume.    Reviewers aren't judging you, but they are trying to help you put your work in the best light, so they may say that a resume doesn't look strong. If you hear criticism, understand that it is intended to help you do a better job showing just how good you are!

Step 3: Bring A Resume For A Specific Job Type. Your time is at a premium at a job fair, and so is that of the reviewers. A resume tailored for a specific job type allows the reviewer to focus on how to help best show your qualifications for that job. So, if you are applying for call center customer service positions, bring a resume emphasizing your call center customer service skills and experience.

Step 4: Be Ready To Answer Questions.  Resume reviewers tend to ask you a lot of questions, which may seem odd since they are giving advice. If you recall that a resume is your history of work experiences and skill development, being asked by someone you just met what you did isn't odd at all. Resume reviewers find it easiest to get you to fix your resume by getting you to think about how you wrote something. They also can learn about your industry and help you sell your accomplishments if they understand it. So, if you know yourself, the reviewer can help you turn your work experiences and skills into strong statements an employer wants to see.

Step 5: Be Considerate of Other's Time.  While the amount of time a reviewer devotes to your review varies, resume reviews at job fairs are brief. Some fairs limit the review time to five minutes per resume and even those that don't want the line to move. While in line, don't be pushing for a spot-the reviewers will get to you. Be ready to take your place when called. During the review, avoid long stories which don't tell the reviewer what they need to know. As your time is ending, wrap it up so the next jobseeker can get their turn.

Step 6: Listen for Follow-Up Review Options. Resume reviewers know you need more resume help than they can provide in  few minutes. So, they often discuss other resume review service options. Listen carefully so that you know where those options are.

Step 7: Take Advantage of Follow-Up Review Options.  Improving your resume is a lifelong process, until you land your dream job and it is secure from the economic vagueries of this life. So, be certain to take advantage of the resume review services mentioned by the reviewers if you need more help.

Resume reviewers are there because they know a good resume helps you land a better job. So, if you come in with a professional mindset that allows you to help them learn about you and your skills, accept their advice on how to better show those skills to an employer, and the follow-through to improve your resume, you'll  be one step closer to the interview. A resume helps you land an interview, which helps you land the job.

Look for further posts from the Sacramento Professional Network Resume Committee on how you can make the resume portion of your job search toolkit a fine tool.  Good luck in your job search!

Andrew Franklin
Sacramento Professional Network Job Fair Coordinator
Sacramento Professional Network Resume Committee