5 Tips on How to Use Job Fairs to YOUR Optimum Advantage

Job FairJob Fairs are the perfect practice lab for you to execute your full range of job search strategies – you can find them on Google, by putting in the city where you live and then “job fairs.” Think of it as “speed dating” between you and prospective employers. With that being said, I offer you the following 5-step approach in order to reap results from your participation in job fairs, while you are honing your job search practices and interviewing skills.

#1)  Select Companies to Target

Since the Internet makes it easy to research prospective employers easily and efficiently, do the following:

  • Obtain a list of participating companies for the event you will be attending
  • Go to the website of each company that interests you – use a search engine to find recent relevant articles & news about the companies
  • Review the “employment” section of each company to see listings of currently advertised jobs; print any advertised positions of interest; and start a file for each company being researched
  • List the top 5 companies that are of most interest to you, and then the “second tier” – the next 5 companies

#2)  Craft a Job-Fair-Friendly Resume

Make sure your resume is very reader-friendly. Since the employers look at hundreds of resumes each day, you want to make sure yours really stands out – it needs to be informative and easy to read. You might even want to craft a one-page resume – that illustrates your value as it meets their needs

#3)  Practice Your 60-Second Commercial

Develop a brief statement that conveys the key value propositions you bring a new employer. Focus on three skill sets you have that you know the employer would want, and show how you have used them in your previous positions – these should be included on your resume, so you can point them out.

While you’re talking with the employers, make sure you are exhibiting positive body language, energy and enthusiasm. Be ready to answer questions based on the resume, succinctly making core points that you can back up with short stories about illustrative on-the-job accomplishments.

#4) Interacting with the “Top 5”

If you are nervous at the Job Fair, go to a “second tier” company first to practice your interviewing skills before hitting the companies that are most important to you. This way you have a chance to gather your thoughts and get more comfortable with the interview process. Focus each of your conversations on aligning your qualifications with the employers needs, and trying to find out as much as you can about the company.

Be sure to thank the interviewer at the end of the conversation, and reiterate your interest in the company. Most importantly, ask the interviewer about next steps in continuing the dialogue. Take specific actions cited by the interviewer as part of your follow-up activities. It’s important to take written notes immediately after each conversation, while your memory is fresh.

#5) Follow-Up, Follow-UP, Follow-Up

Sort through all your notes, brochures and business cards collected at the Job Fair and put them in files. Decide the top 5 companies you want to pursue after meeting with the various company representatives. Send a follow-up “thank you” correspondence as soon as possible following the fair. Also, set up a system for tracking contacts that have been initiated and schedule future, consistent follow-up.

Remember, while job fairs are only one component of an effective job search campaign, they provide excellent opportunities to:

1) initiate contact with multiple prospective employers,

2) identify companies that represent a mutual match, and

3) gain substantial interviewing practice – all of this adds up to “real world” practice for you.

***I want to make sure you have every opportunity to get calls for the jobs you want – in order to do this, you need to start with a stellar resume. I know what it takes to get results. Just email your resume to me at careerist@aol.com and put “Resume Critique” in the subject line. I will then give you a complimentary resume critique. I look forward to hearing from you.***

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