Make Career Fairs Part of Your Job Search Strategy
By Greg Simpson on June 19, 2013
When conducting a job search, any and all opportunities to get in front of hiring managers and recruiters should be leveraged. But some job seekers temper their enthusiasm about attending career fairs. Remember, people hire people. If you’re spending all of your time online – scouring job boards and social media sites – use career fairs as an opportunity to gain some face time and talk about who you are and what you offer. Armed with a clear focus and strategy – along with realistic expectations – job seekers can make the most of a career fair by using it as an opportunity to expand their networks, gather intelligence and practice their interviewing skills. Use these tips to prepare:
- Go in with a plan. Secure a list of the companies that will be attending (often on the career fair promoter website) and identify target companies with whom you want to connect.
- Resumes aren’t dead yet. Take multiple copies of your resume on high-quality resume paper. (Plan on two or three resumes per company.)
- Stay on message. Prepare and practice your 30-second introduction.
- Practice your interview responses prior to the fair. The job fair is an excellent opportunity to become more comfortable with interview questions in a low-stakes environment.
- Dress in business attire and project a professional demeanor from the moment you enter the venue. Recruiters often observe behavior as the participants work their way around the room.
- Introduce yourself to other participants. Discuss targeted companies and find out what they’ve learned about other participating companies. Ask for referrals.
Career fairs provide job seekers with the unique opportunity to connect in person with hiring managers and recruiters. While you may not get an offer, you’ll hone job search skills, make new connections and build confidence – a nice return on your time investment.
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