Making the most of job fairs

Career fairs can be a great place to meet a huge number of potential employers all in one day. But it is just a day out if you are not prepared. Here is a list of things to do to prepare for your next career fair:

• Find out what companies are going to be at the fair.

• Look on their websites can see if you can figure what they might be hiring for. If you can’t find the specific jobs, then at least figure out what kinds of employees they might need.

• Prepare a cover letter and a resume for every single company you think you might like to work for.

• Arrive early at the job fair. After a very short time, the people at the tables will have seen lots of people. They are more likely to remember you if you are among the first at their table.

• Don’t interrupt them if they are still setting up. Being early or on time is good, but don’t prevent them from being ready for their day for your own priorities.

• Over-dress. This doesn’t mean to wear a tux, but if your instinct is that most of the people at the job you want will wear jeans to work, you should wear at least a tie or a dress to the interview.

• Be brief. They are only trying to meet people, not marry them. They will not be hiring on the spot.

◦ Have an elevator speech – An elevator speech is a complete speech that you can give in the time it takes to ride an elevator a couple of floors. It might sound something like this, “Hi, my name is John Doe. I have my Bachelor’s degree in computer programming. I specialize in XML and web design. Here is a copy of my resume with all my contact information and the details of my education and experience.  Do you have a card so that I can contact you tomorrow?”

◦ Call them “tomorrow.” Make sure that you take the next day reminding them who you are and that you are truly interested in.

• Thank them for their time and be sure that you find a reason to compliment them. “What a great display.”

• Be enthusiastic. This a huge issue for people who have been looking for work for a long time. Every person who meets you is meeting you for the first time. They don’t know that you have been hunting for work for months or years. Treat them like they are the very first person you have met.

• If you smoke, don’t just before you go in. Chew nicotine gum or whatever, but don’t meet all these new people smelling like cigarettes. There is a lot of people who dislike the smell and might be put off by it.

Job fairs are fill of possibilities and hope. To get the most out of them, you need to prepare yourself and your documents.

Good luck and have a good time.

By| Bob Peryea

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