Most people overlook careers fairs as a viable resource for the job search. Despite the inconvenience of having to travel to these events, fairs are one of the best places to find a job.
Careers fairs are effective because participating companies will have spent time, money and effort trying to persuade job seekers to join them. Therefore, companies are pre-sold on the idea of giving you a job, so it's up to you to seize the opportunity. It’s also a great place to find a job because some of the best companies will be in attendance and will be vying for your attention.
Plan Your Day - Decide what you want to get out of the event before attending. This will give you time to prepare and make a list of the companies you want to see. Preparation is key if you want to make the most of your visit.
Do Your Research - The organizers of the event will post a list of participating companies on their website. This will give you an opportunity to research the companies and look at vacancies. Find out about the company's products and services, mission and culture, and the position(s) you are qualified for.
Target Your Resume – If you find any positions you would like to apply for, target your resume to individual positions by interweaving your skills in a way that shows how you meet the requirements of the job. Also take along some copies of a generic version of your resume just in case.
Dress to Impress – Dress as if you are attending an interview. You never know who you will bump into. The next time you see them could be at an interview, so use the opportunity to make a good first impression. Always view the person(s) manning the booth as screening agents. They will bin your resume if you make the wrong impression.
Impromptu Interviews – Before attending the event, prepare as if attending a conventional interview. This will mentally prepare you for any on-the-spot interviews that may arise, which is always a possibility. At the very least, prepare a short sales pitch that sells your skills and achievements. Remember to review your notes on the company before approaching their booth.
Keep a list – List all the companies at the career fair that received a copy of your resume. This is an excellent networking opportunity, so use it to collect business cards and brochures from as many companies as possible.
"Warm" Contacts - Business cards provide names and positions of people who may be happy to receive your resume, or at the very least, will forward it on to the appropriate department. This is invaluable information for your list of “warm” Contacts.
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