Will Newman’s Job Fair Success Guide

Just 18 days from now, you’re going to walk into the Bootcamp Job Fair ready to make a lasting good impression on the marketers there.

That’s your intention. But how do you get there?

It’s really not hard at all … with just a tiny bit of pre-planning.

So let’s walk through what you need to do to get the most out of your Job Fair experience. (This advice works for all potential clients … so please keep reading even if you aren’t coming to Job Fair this year.)

Success at Job Fair begins before leaving home …

As I write this, there are more than two dozen Job Fair Spec Challenges already posted on the AWAI Bootcamp website. There will be more at Job Fair. But if you spend a few minutes going over these Spec Challenges before getting on your way, you’ll be armed with a copywriter’s greatest weapons for success: Information. Knowledge. And ideas.

After going over these Spec Challenges and finding ones that appeal to you, go online. Research the company. Research their products. Research their competitors. Get as much info upfront as you can.

Then, when it comes time to speak with a rep from one of these firms, you’ll sound like someone who’s done your homework. Someone who’s eager to succeed as a copywriter. Someone who wants to write for them.

Don’t wait. Time is running short. Go to the AWAI Bootcamp website and start researching right now.

First impressions really do count …

I love Delray Beach in October. It’s warm, comfortable, informal. People walk around in shorts and T-shirts day and night.

But not at Job Fair. Your goal is to signal that you’re serious about meeting the marketers there, serious about making a good first impression.

Business casual is the mode of the day. If you’re not sure what business casual means, click here to get the excellent AWAI Job Fair resource Making the Most of Bootcamp Job Fair.

Make the most of your time …

Before even starting your interviews with the Job Fair marketers, make a plan of attack. Decide which marketers you really would like to work for. If you’re passionate about alternative health but the financial niche bores you, don’t waste your time interviewing with reps from the financial niche. Forget all your “just in case” justifications. If you’re not passionate about the niche, it’ll show in your writing.

Once you’ve decided who you’ll interview with, approach them with confidence. Extend your hand for a handshake and introduce yourself.

If your voice shakes from nerves, don’t sweat it. Marketers expect you’ll be nervous. But they’re trying to find copywriters, not public speakers. However, starting the conversation with something you know — your name — helps ease your nerves.

Will they want a resume? A business card? A sample of your work? It varies from marketer to marketer. Be prepared to offer all three if asked, but have a hassle-free system for quickly getting exactly what they want.

One system I’ve seen work is to have a business card, a resume, and work samples clipped together with a small binder clip. If you’re asked for just one or two of the items, they’re all there. Unclip what you’re asked for and slip the rest back into your briefcase, bag, or backpack.

(Backpack? Is that professional enough? If it works for John Forde, it’ll work for you.)

It’s all about you (sort of) …

Your visits with Job Fair marketers truly are about you … but only as it relates to you as a copywriter.

The marketers will describe their company and their products. If they’re offering a Spec, they may discuss that. At some point, though, they’ll ask about you. This is your chance to talk to them about your experience as a copywriter even if you’re just starting out. After all, you’re learning from the best — AWAI. Then tell them what you’re learning from AWAI. And your passion for what they do. (Briefly!)

This is not the time to talk about the challenges you’ve faced trying to start your new career. Or why you weren’t able to have your business cards exactly how you wanted them. Or about your sick aunt.

This is also not the time to tell them that you’ve seen their current promotion and think it stinks. Don’t even hint at it. If you’ve seen one of their promos, say something like, “I saw your Blue Danube package. I’d love to have the opportunity to show you what I can do for a similar promotion.”

Learn from my 7th and 8th graders …

Take a page from what I tell the 7th and 8th graders I tutor. I tell them, “Never say ‘I can’t.’ Never say ‘I’m not very good.’” Replace those words with “I’m still learning all the finer points of [you fill in the blank]. But I’m confident I can …”

The lasting impression you want to leave as you walk away is one of a professional copywriter, eager to work for them.

The one, immutable secret of Job Fair Spec success …

My guess is you’re going to Job Fair for three reasons. First, you want experience interviewing potential clients. Second, you want to make a good impression on marketers in hopes of getting work.

And third, you’re thinking of doing a Job Fair Spec assignment.

At Bootcamp, you’ll hear Katie say what I’m about to tell you. It doesn’t matter how good you are as a copywriter, you’ll never win a Spec assignment if you don’t do one thing.

Write and submit the Spec!

It’s amazing how many people go to Job Fair who don’t submit. There’s no way you can win … if you don’t submit.

Well, that’s it for today. Next week I’ll talk about what I feel is the number two most important secret about winning a Job Fair Spec.

Until then: Keep writing!

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Published: October 8, 2012

1 Response to “Will Newman’s Job Fair Success Guide ”

  1. Thanks for the great advice, Will.

    This is my first Bootcamp and I'm really looking forward to it. Hope to meet you there.

    See you soon!!!

    RNin2013October 8, 2012 at 8:52 am


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