(Photo by Catherine Sontag)
Our annual career fair, NET/WORK Baltimore, is almost here!
We’ve designed the event to be low stress, laid back and fun — but with hundreds in attendance, you may only have a few minutes to make a meaningful connection with a potential employer. So we talked with hiring managers and decision makers from three presenting sponsors to create your game plan for making a good impression.
1. Go beyond the standard script
To make a lasting connection, ask questions that reveal a curiosity in the details of a company’s work and culture, and turn it into a conversation.
SmartLogic President Yair Flicker suggests taking the opportunity to find out more about the reps you’re chatting with questions such as: What’s your role at SmartLogic, or who are some of your clients. Flicker also stresses that you shouldn’t overlook the simple ability to find “that connection to somebody else or to the things you have in common — be able to hold a conversation.”
Kristen Shaab, Director of Marketing at Fells Point–based Rendia, says questions about her history with the organization, such as what accomplishments she is most proud of, resonate well with her: “’How did I get to Rendia? Why is Rendia a good fit for me?’ I think it shows a level of thinking about the job beyond day-to-day tasks,” she said.
Striking up a conversation by asking about a current project that’s important to the company or mentioning your own involvement in a similar project can be a great way to start.
“I think it allows for the conversation to mature faster.” said Rendia’s Shaab. “You can take the conversation beyond that initial introductory phase, and start talking about what you can bring to the team.”
“Those who have done their research know that there is enormous opportunity here. We want to know that you believe Agora is the place for you,’ Vaughn said.
2.Pitch the whole ‘you’
Take a holistic approach to “marketing” yourself to potential employers by showing off your non-work-related activities. Talking about side projects, passions and interests gives potential employers a good sense of who you are and shows that you’re well-rounded and engaged in a process of learning and developing.
“If you want to stand out as a strong fit, tell me about how you spend your free time,” said Vaughn of 14 West. “We like testing things, talking about new ideas, pushing the envelope — we genuinely love to learn. If you’re the type of person who leaves work and heads to a class at Betamore or out to a tech meetup, that’s a good sign.”
SmartLogic’s Flicker adds: “We’re looking for people that are fun and engaging — people that can teach us something, just as well as we can teach them something.”
3. It’s OK to play the long game
You’ve put in the work, and your search efforts have returned many great-fit organizations, but that perfect job opening is still elusive. Don’t lose heart! Even outside of the hiring timeline, employers are looking to make connections that they can develop into relationships over time.
During SmartLogic’s current hiring search, Flicker said the company’s team has been looking through resumes from as far back as two to three years ago.
Rendia’s Shaab adds that continuing networking efforts throughout the year is key to the company’s growth.
“It’s an important step for keeping us aware of the talent that’s in the area, and for keeping Rendia top of mind for prospective employees,” she said.
“Right now we are in major growth mode.” says 14 West’s Vaughn. ”14 West is always seeking great talent and if you make an impression on us, we will remember you.”
Don’t miss the chance to chat with these cool tech companies and many more! Snag your ticket for NET/WORK Baltimore — happening on Thursday, March 15 from 5-8 p.m. at Baltimore Studios.
Here are some of the jobs these companies will be hiring for at NET/WORK Baltimore:
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