By Sharon Aschaiek
Special to The Sun
Job hunters seeking to break into the burgeoning home furnishings and decor market may find their lucky break at the Home Show Canada job fair, on now until July 6.
The furniture, mattress, electronics and appliance superstore will be hiring 70 to 100 full-time and part-time staff to work at its upcoming third
location -- a 110,000-sq.-ft. retail store due to open in Mississauga this August.
"Our company is growing, and we need reliable and competent staff to grow with us," says Corrie Briscoe, advertising manager.
Taking place at 3025 Ridgeway Dr. in Mississauga, the job fair is looking for individuals to work in sales, customer service, merchandising, in its office and in its warehouse.
The opportunities are a gateway to a potentially lucrative career in home improvement -- a thriving retail sector that was one of the most profitable in 2003.
Briscoe says job candidates should be self-starters and committed team players.
"They should have excellent motivational skills, be high energy, have a positive attitude, be able to provide excellent customer service and have top-notch people skills," she says.
Briscoe says that those who are eventually hired will enjoy many benefits, including exceptional and ongoing product knowledge training, flexible work schedules, a positive work environment and opportunities to grow with the company.
"The big thing for our company is the development of our staff," Briscoe says. "We make sure we understand where they want to be, and we support them in obtaining their goals."
So how can you ensure you'll put your best foot forward at the job fair? Follow these four steps of essential job-fair etiquette.
Dress for success
Critical to the pre-job fair legwork is deciding on the image you want to portray. Dress in a way that's professional, conservative and shows you take care of your appearance.
"A lot of times we're judged by our appearance. People will remember you as the person wearing something flashy or inappropriate," says Jacqui Mills, a career assessment consultant at Office Workers Career Centre, a Toronto-based career planning service. "Dress the same way you would if you were going for a job interview."
That also means remembering the small details, such as ensuring your hands are clean, your hair is neat and you're not chewing gum.
Since you can expect to tread a lot of floor space for a good chunk of time, wear comfortable, but appropriate, shoes, and carry a bottle of water to stay hydrated.
Prepare several copies of your resume to bring -- ideally ones with cover letters that target specific departments or managers. Make sure to also bring plenty of business cards. If you're currently unemployed, create your own business card highlighting your specific skills and expertise.
As well, be sure to bring a pen and notepad to document leads, contact names and comments from HR and hiring specialists.
Develop a one-minute ad or presentation that lets you concisely and adequately tell hiring managers about you, your major professional achievements and your career ambitions. Create your ad ahead of time, and then practise in front of the mirror and even before friends and family until you sound natural.
"You have to be able to quickly cite your accomplishments, versus your job functions," says Rob Hosking, manager of Toronto operations for Accountemps, a leading financial staffing service. "It's not, 'I was an accounts payable clerk for five years,' it's 'Here's what I accomplished at ABC Company as an accounts clerk'."
Don't be dissuaded by the crowds of anxious job hunters at the fair. Instead, view the experience as an opportunity to network -- you may leave with some useful leads.
"Make sure you're in a good frame of mind physically and mentally," Mills says. "Don't think of all the competition. Tell yourself that you are the most qualified person, and if the company has an opening, you will get that job."
To find out more about the Home Show Canada job fair, call 416-675-5181, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.homeshowcanada.com
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