Twenty years ago, applying for a job meant making a special trip to the stationery store. Printing out your resume on regular white copy paper wasn’t enough, you needed the thicker, higher quality, more substantial – and of course more expensive! – resume paper to do the job.

Fast forward to 2018, and one wonders if stores even bother to stock resume paper anymore. Most job applications are done online nowadays, some with little more effort than uploading a resume, letting autofill take care of the personal details, and clicking send.

While there’s plenty to be said for the convenience factor, there are still parts of the more old-fashioned process that can help you land a job – and you don’t have to invest in resume paper to take advantage.

I’m talking about the face-to-face meeting. While most human resources professionals prefer to receive applications and resumes virtually – in many cases, it’s the only option – they’ll also tell you that candidates who take the time to introduce themselves in person tend to stand out. The reasons why are easy to understand.

No matter how good your resume, chances are it’s landing in an inbox filled with dozens, maybe hundreds, of other good resumes. And since resumes are by nature short and to the point, you don’t get a lot of opportunity to let your personality shine through: if it’s a choice between letting a prospective employee know about your on-the-job training or telling them about your friendly smile and firm handshake, you’re obviously going to choose the first.

But by meeting someone face-to-face, you get to share both. In just a few moments, you can tell your would-be boss about the experience and skills that makes you right for their company, while also giving them a sense of who you are.

For employers, it gets at the intangibles: Does the candidate present herself in a friendly and professional manner? Does he speak in a way you’d want someone to speak to your clients and customers? Quite simply, will he or she be a good fit for your unique workplace?

These are all things that are hard to glean from a resume alone. That’s why it’s so important for employers and prospective employers alike to seek out opportunities to interact with one another in person. Fortunately, one such opportunity is right around the corner.

This year’s Multicultural Career Expo will be held Monday, March 19 from 2-7 p.m. at Hilton Memphis, 939 Ridge Lake Boulevard. The Expo brings together the Mid-South’s top employers in a variety of industries with highly-skilled job seekers from diverse cultures and backgrounds. It’s a perfect opportunity for some face time, and while applicants are encouraged to bring their resume – guess you’ll find out if they still make resume paper! – it’s just as important that they bring their firm handshakes and friendly smiles.

For more information, visit www.multiculturalcareerexpo.com.

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