Two weeks ago I found myself in a sea of job and career seekers looking to be hired for one of no more than about 150 positions in areas of administrative support and IT related jobs featured by local universities in Washington DC. I would estimate that at least 2,500+ persons attended this Job Fair!

I happened to ask a couple of young men very much unprepared for this occasion “are you looking for a job or a career?”

I noticed within seconds a blank stark-like response enveloped on their faces as if I had said something wrong.

To my amazement they both replied,” I really don’t have a response for you.” My conversation led to sharing with them the definition for each word.

It really makes a difference about what you are seeking when attending a Job Fair. These companies and institutions are going out of their way to seek potential employees. Keep in mind that they are bringing the jobs to you!

Career (as defined in Wikipedia) is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as a person’s “course or progress through life (or a distinct portion of life)”. It is usually considered to pertain to remunerative work (and sometimes also formal education).
The etymology of the term comes from the Latin word carrera, which means race (as in “rat race”.

A Job (as defined in Wikipedia) is a regular activity performed in exchange for payment. A person usually begins a job by becoming an employee, volunteering, or starting a business. The duration of a job may range from an hour (in the case of odd jobs) to a lifetime (in the case of some judges). If a person is trained for a certain type of job, they may have a profession. The series of jobs a person holds in their life is their career.

It doesn’t matter how much time and money you invest in your résumé because if you have not defined for you what you’re attempting to carry out then you’re not going to be one of those successful candidates attending.

Quite frankly, I want you to get hired and to get noticed at you’re your next Job Fair visit.

Let me suggest a few tips for being competitive and successful in your approach to getting hired:

* Research job and career trends

* How does your skill set(s) match with the job posted

* Think long-term

* Re-educate an update your training for that specific posting if necessary

* Ask the employer about other job possibilities that may be coming up that’s not advertised at this particular Job Fair.

* Are your values congruent with the position you’re seeking?

* Stay positive and don’t ever give up

* Seek advisement from a career coach or counselor

Lastly, make sure you get your questions answered at those Job Fairs and leave on a positive note because now you have learned and you are much closer than you were before today to getting hired!

Curt Canada is Executive, Career, and Leadership Development Coach at FindingYourZenith in Washington DC. He holds a MSW in Social Work from the University of Iowa MAT in Teacher Education from the American University. Mr. Canada is a member of International Coach Federation and Christian Coaches Network.


We all know that there are gazillions of friends, strangers, and neighbors that for some known and unknown reasons are simply out of work. Many of them are diligently reworking their cover letters and resumes as we speak. To no avail most of the resumes will simply not make it past the proverbial wastebasket or trash file on some HR person’s data base.

Alarming I must say especially after a conversation I had with my friend (who’s one of the top persons in her profession) who had sent in her résumé to this company on the yes, fourth day. That’s already history if you ask me. Nevertheless, she managed to do some homework or networking which is paramount in being successful at finding your next job. They say that job hunting is a job in and of itself.

Anyway, she managed to find someone she knew within the firm to (it is a who you know world and don’t forget it) get  her mentioned in a conversation with the person that was in charge of hiring this particular candidate. Fortunately, he wrote a stellar letter of recommendation for her which got her in the door “so to speak”.

Well, put it this way, HR had already cutoff accepting resumes at the 50th person. I was told by my friend that even though they have narrowed the process for interviewing potential clients, they would pull her résumé and save it for other positions.

Let me tell you that you can send all the resumes and cover letters and re-write them until the cows come home, this will not get you a job. Do you hear me loud and clear!

Consider these action steps to increase your chances of getting in the door because you are not the only one with  an exceptional employment history, looks, and intelligence!

1 Google and use Linkedin and yes Facebook your butt off
find out something about this company and the person that’s directly associated with this particular job offer

2 Get your résumé and cover letter out there on the first day! Within the first hour!

3 Make sure it arrives at the destination

4 Six degrees of separation Who knows who that knows who etc. Focus on getting your résumé on that person’s desk!

5 Stay away from the Secretary or the Administrative Assistant…they have already been
informed to block such calls and inquiries

6 I am going to stop here because it is time I let you know that you ‘re up against resumes on top of resumes and persons with great track records… you must shine and stand out …be assertive and aggressive however don’t forget to be emotionally intelligent

7 So you didn’t get that job…don’t stop now.

8 Send a thank you note to this person via a message box at Facebook or on Linkedin. Stay away from the employer’s letter opener or virtual assistant

9 Take a deep breath in and out in and out …stop before you pass out and forget all these action steps that I think may help you land your next job!

10 Begin with step 1-9 all over again…believe in yourself…you will be successful.

* You might ask why I left out networking which I would list as the most important action step you can take. Well , This is exactly what I was referring to as a part of Action Step No.1  Find those persons that are directly associated with the place or department you’re seeking to get in the door.  You must never stop networking whether you’re seeking employment or if you’re presently gainfully employed!

I’m sure there are a thousand tips for finding your next job(career) and I may have left an important action step or tip from this article. Let me know your thoughts in my comments section. It’s competitive and you must find your uniqueness! Perhaps an investment in a career coach is your next step!

Curt Canada is an Executive, Career,and Leadership Development Coach at FindingYourZenith in Washingon DC.

 “According to BLS Bureau of Labor Statistics last reported in the month of February an unemployment rate of 9.7% based on the overall percentage of the labor force.”

You recently lost your job and finding a new one in this economy is tough… at least you thought! ….reality hasn’t quite set in for some of you who were recently let go…. still re-inventing yourself……. Your self-esteem has plummeted…..two early un-expecting family events have come up ….your whole world has suddenly turned upside down….the drive to work was so stressful….. you need some time to think about whether you’re going to look for a job or re-think a career change…

Unexpectedly you receive…

 A text message that says, congratulations, you have the qualifications we’re looking for…would love to schedule an appointment for  Monday ….

 Quite frankly, you have heard of the old adage, “what you wish for you may just get.”  That’s exactly what happened to one of you saddened, distraught, penniless, rejected, hopeless unemployed persons this past week.

  Sorry, but your transitioning period has come to an abrupt halt….the how you hate your former supervisor….question yourself about why you didn’t save more for a rainy day ….all the bills you have…..that there’s no food in the house….who would hire me now attitude…. you’re the lucky one…worry no more.

 Get the picture… have an important decision to make… your wishes, dreams, and prayers have been answered.   I don’t know but some of you may have considered starting your own business…saying no to this opportunity ….retire all together…. return to school or move somewhere else. Let’s just say that you said yes to the job offer and were hired.

 If this happens to you I suggest that you consider the life you had imagined a few days ago when you were daydreaming… go ahead and rearrange your travel plans…. visit those persons you haven’t seen in such a long time…take that vacation you always talked about… join that yoga class… meet with that scheduled career or life coach….count your blessings… And most importantly, don’t drop that volunteer work that you signed up for…finally, support the people you met who are still networking and beating the pavement each day to find a job. 

Curt Canada provides Executive, Leadership Development,and Career Coaching in Washington, D.C.  He holds a Masters degree from University of Iowa and The American University in Social Work and Teacher Education. Visit Curt at