The job fair season is once again upon us. For several years, I managed an outreach and education program for JobsInTheUS. As part of my responsibilities, I managed our event program, during which time we attended over 200 career events per year, and hosted several job fairs as well. During this time, I had the opportunity to speak with thousands of job seekers and hundreds (maybe thousands) of job fair exhibitors. I recently posted a ‘best practice’ outline for employers with keys to attracting the best candidates during a job fair. But preparation and positioning isn’t just for the employers. Here are some pivotal tips to help make sure you make a great impression. If you’re serious about landing that perfect job, the following advice will help get you noticed.
- Bring MANY copies of your resume. Need help learning more about how to build a great resume? Check out Resume 411, a post from guest blogger Debra Wheatman.
- Before attending the event, visit the website of the employers you want to work for, and check out both the careers pages and the News/Press Releases section. Employers want to hire candidates who are truly interested in their business, so study up on what’s going on inside the organization and be prepared to talk intelligently about it.
- Be patient and wait your turn so that you can have a direct conversation with the recruiter… no matter how long the line at their booth is. You’ve read all about the power of networking to find a great job, and it all begins with eye contact and a positive interpersonal interaction. Be confident, polite, respectful, interested, and appreciative. Make sure to get the recruiters FULL name, and an email address if possible; and make sure to provide your own full name so that they hear it.
- Be specific about what you’re looking for- avoid saying things like, “I’m looking for an opportunity with you” or “I’m open to anything” or “I’m really just looking to get my foot in the door”. Recruiters are looking for people with specific skills and aptitudes to fill specific positions. Research what jobs are available that fit your experience and education, and let the recruiters know why you’re a great candidate for that position, and what additional skills and abilities you can bring to the job or organization
Those are some tips to help get you started, here’s more from Neil Boorjian, event coordinator for JobsInTheUS, a recruitment media company that has exhibited at hundreds of career events over the past few years:
“There has been a significant increase in the number of job seekers attending career fairs. And we’ve seen a dramatic drop in the number of vendors attending shows. This likely will spell greater competition for job seekers, all the more reason to stay even more on top of your game at the next job fair you attend. Due to our economic climate, I expect to see the numbers continue to fluctuate here and there for the next couple of months, maybe even longer. If the economy gets on its feet and a lot of green jobs start popping up, there could be a swing in favor of the number of vendors attending shows, and thus offering more jobs to apply to…Remember, job seekers should always dress to impress. If you want an employer to take you seriously, you need to look neat and orderly.