Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Making the Most of Your Job Fair Experience

Attending job fairs is a cost-effective and convenient way to uncover job leads and to promote yourself to a large number of potential employers. Job fairs also provide the opportunity to network with managers, recruiters, and other jobseekers. If you are considering adding job fairs to your job search strategy, check out these tips for making the most of your experience, as outlined by Lisa Parker, CPRW:

Research and Obtain a List of Potential Employers. Most job fair sponsors will publish a list of participating companies prior to the scheduled start date. Review this list and conduct research to learn more about the companies. To keep yourself on track the day of the fair, create a schedule that includes a prioritized list of companies/employers you want to meet with.

Identify Your Personal Career Goals. Take time to learn about the specific positions offered by the various companies and be prepared to explain how your skills align. Prepare a brief “sound byte” about your strengths, skills, and experience. Practice this sound byte prior to attending the fair so that you can promote yourself in a clear and confident manner.

Plan to Market Yourself and Network. Have numerous copies of your resume and business cards available to distribute. In addition to meeting with employers and recruiters, take the time to network with other jobseekers; these jobseekers may be able to provide you with leads.

Dress for Success. First impressions are important, so dress in business attire as though you were attending an interview.

Present a Great Attitude. To help distinguish yourself from other attendees, display a positive, enthusiastic, friendly and eager attitude at all times.

Be Courteous of Time. Be aware that you are being watched and judged by employers at all times. Also, be respectful of recruiters’ time. Once you have expressed your interest in the position and answered all their questions, move on.

Seek Input, Gather Information. Use open-ended questions to gather information about the companies and the positions being offered. Take notes and compile information from each employer that you visit. Be sure to carry a folder for storing company brochures and other materials. Gather business cards so that you can send personalized thank you notes.

Attend Workshops and Seminars. Job fairs often include opportunities for attendees to participate in training sessions on topics such as resume writing and interviewing. Enroll in workshops in developing your skills and remaining current on job-search techniques.

To access Parker’s full article, click here.

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