A Recipe for a Successful Job Fair
Job fairs are excellent places to learn, network, and land a job; however, they can also be very overwhelming. Most people who attend job fairs are ill-prepared and truly don’t understand how to leverage this opportunity. If you are properly equipped, here are a few benefits of attending a job fair:
•You can talk face-to-face with HR professionals who are hard to reach through normal channels; i.e., telephone, e-mail, etc.
•You can meet and network with other job seekers. This is very important.
•You can focus on companies that are actively seeking new employees.
•You can make a positive, in-person first impression with an HR individual, something that a resume alone cannot do.
So, how do you prepare to be more productive, better equipped, and maximize your chances of obtaining a job?
•Pre-register. Some career fairs allow you to pre-register, which includes submitting a resume. The advantage is that employers get a chance to prescreen you.
•Research. Many applicants go to the job fair unprepared. You can take advantage of your competition by getting a list of the companies attending the fair and doing research on each company you want to interview with. This will allow you to make the best use of your time and also make an impression with the recruiter asking relevant questions.
•Prepare a one minute presentation. All of your selling points should fit on a 3X5 index card. Your selling points should mirror those that the company is looking for. Your presentation should answer the following question from the potential employer: “Why should I be interested in considering you as a candidate for this position?”
•Have targeted resumes. Make sure that your resume is written specifically for each company you intend to visit. You need a targeted resume for each company you intend to approach.
•Dress professionally. Dress as if you were going to an interview with that company. Dress for Success!
•Arrive early. Avoid the noon-4:00 pm rush. Most recruiters will be able to give you more time early in the morning.
•Collect business cards so you have the contact information of the people you spoke with.
•When speaking to the recruiters, focus on speaking through your appearance and body language.
When you get home, make sure to follow up on any promises you made with any of the recruiters. You will want to revisit your notes and send out thank you cards. Taking the time to send a thank you card after you spoke to a recruiter will help reinforce your interest in the position. You can use your thank you note or letter to address any concerns that the recruiter brought up. You can also use this opportunity to restate why you want the job, what your qualifications are, and how you might make contributions to their company.
Below is a link to the Maine State Library’s website where you can download a checklist that covers this strategy in more detail.
Feel free to leave any comments or ideas that will help others who are seeking new employment.