Career fairs are designed to provide job seekers with a way to explore many companies and career opportunities at one location.
As a job seeker, you should definitely take advantage of these fairs to put yourself ahead in the market. It’s a great way to learn about job openings, research hiring companies and practice your interview and networking skills. So what should you do to make sure you get the most out of your next career fair?
Spend a little time researching the companies that will be attending and the positions they have available – the more you know the better. Employers love talking to candidates who are familiar with their company and industry. More knowledgeable candidates come across as intelligent and genuinely interested. It is important that you also spend time researching the positions you wish to apply for. For those of you planning to attend a hiredMYway’s Career Expo, all of the companies attending and their available jobs will be posted on hiredMYway.com, making this process especially easy.
After you finish your research, identify and prioritize the top companies you definitely want to visit during the career fair. Make sure you know which available positions you qualify for at each of those companies. You can’t expect success by walking blindly from employer to employer saying, “I want a job!”
YOUR RESUME & ONLINE PROFILE
Refine your resume before attending a career fair. This is very important, and even if you’re not attending a fair, you should never be dusting off your resume for the first time in months. Have a specialized resume just for the event and for the primary job(s) you are vying for. Print off many copies of your resume – unless you’re attending the paperless hiredMYway Expo, in which case just make sure your most updated resume is uploaded at hiredMYway.com. You should also know by now that employers aren’t only looking at your paper resume, so make sure your social media profiles are cleaned up and professional as well. Before the hiredMYway Career Expo, you will also want to make sure you have a complete profile on hiredMYway.com.
Many career fairs are going digital, meaning all information, including employers attending, is available online. Sometimes pre-registering can help you skip lines at the event, find out which companies have openings you qualify for, and offer specific tips on succeeding the day of the event. You can pre-register for hiredMYway.com’s September 14th, 2011 Career Expo HERE.
Come up with a thirty-second introduction to yourself that summarizes your skills, goals, and experience relevant to the type of position you are looking for. Practice until you are comfortable using it as your opening. Meeting an employer at a career fair is like a mini-interview, so you need to be prepared to make an impression. Anticipate interview-like questions and practice your responses. Have a friend or family member grill you the day before and practice, practice, practice. You want to show you’re a seasoned pro and not stumbling for words.
You should also prepare a couple of questions for the recruiters. There won’t be a ton of time to ask as many as in an interview, but one or two is a good start, especially to begin a conversation with an employer. For example: “Hi, I’m John Doe, and I’m interested in your opening for (job title). What are you looking for in a candidate for this position?”
Dress professionally – absolutely no shorts or sandals! Use good judgment in what you wear and project professionalism. You should dress like you would if you were attending an actual interview with the recruiters. Do not undermine your resume with an unprofessional appearance at a career fair!
Here are some extra quick tips to help you succeed at any career fair:
- Upon arrival, see if there are any companies that signed-up last minute and read up on them to see if they interest you.
- If you find a company that interests you that you did not research, eavesdrop on conversations they have with other applicants before approaching them yourself.
- Try to acquire some company literature from the tables while waiting in line.
- Remember first impressions: shake hands, smile, stand up straight, and thank them for their time!
- Practice your approach with recruiters from companies that you are not as interested in to build confidence in selling yourself hard and fast.
- Always take a business card from every recruiter you speak with.
- Within one to two business days, follow up with any employer that interests you and has a copy of your resume on file. Send handwritten notes to the people you spoke to, thanking them for their time and reiterating your interest in working for their company.
- Network with other job seekers at the event. You may be able to find a job through a mutual connection, or help someone else in need. Remember, your network isn’t only for helping yourself, but also for offering your help to others.
hiredMYway.com’s first paperless Career Expo is on September 14th, changing the way career fairs operate. Don’t miss out on what is sure to be an exciting, invaluable experience! Find out more information and register by going to hiredMYway.com and clicking on EVENTS. Hope to see you there!
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- The Unwritten Rules of Getting Hired From a Job Fair
- 5 Tips for Turning Your Resume into an Interview
- Is Your Wardrobe Interview-Ready?
- 10 Reasons Why You Need a Job Search Mentor
- How to Succeed At Asking Questions In An Interview