With all of the new ways people are looking for jobs (online job boards, social networking sites, etc.), many people forget that job fairs are just as popular as ever in today’s employment market.
Job fairs normally offer employment opportunities at companies in your local community. They are full of small companies and large corporations looking to recruit new candidates. Thinking about relocating to a new area? Larger corporations may also be willing to discuss opportunities at other locations, as well.
Job seekers are just as likely to be able to secure an interview at a job fair as they are posting their resume online. Better yet, some job fairs offer on-site interviews during the job fair. A good candidate is a prepared candidate. Research in advance which companies are at the job fair and decide which ones you need to spend time with. Have plenty of copies of your resume with you and dress in professional attire. If you have business cards, pass those out as well. Networking is key in any job search!
The next time you see a job fair advertised in your area, take the time to attend. Being active in your job search does not mean just sitting by your computer or phone waiting for someone to reach out to you. Check your local news stations, newspapers, and professional organizations to find job fairs in your area. You never know where your next employment opportunity may come from.
Many of you know that I was at the Detroit “Good Morning America / Women for Hire” job fair the other day. There were about 25 résumé evaluators and approximately 5000 job seekers. They literally were lined up outside the doors at 3:30 am. Talk about motivated people. Wow. What a busy, productive and fulfilling day.
It was televised (GMA and local ABC news crew) and there were camera people everywhere. Sort made us feel like movie stars except the cameras really weren’t on us, and we didn’t get paid. But still.
I was really impressed by the amount of professionalism, ambition and previous success that most of the folks had. There were just a few people that could have used a few pointers. So in case you think you might be one of those people, here they are:
1- DRESS AS IF YOU ARE AT AN INTERVIEW. Appropriate dress is really a MUST at a job fair. I know you already know this, but I thought I’d mention it again. You know the saying, “First Impressions are a Must”, well they really are. I saw some people that looked gorgeous and really ‘wow’ed’ me. THAT is how you have to look. Not saying you have to go spend a fortune on new clothes. You can put together a new outfit from what you have. Wash your hair, do your nails, trim your nose/ear hair, you know… the usual. And if you have dread-locks, tuck them into your suit.
2- HAVE A RÉSUMÉ PREPARED. (and if at all possible, have it professionally done). Yes, I saw many, many résumés and only about 5% of them were impressive. Remember, lead with your accomplishments, not your job description duties. The Microsoft Word résumé template was used in about 80% of the cases (yuck) I saw at the job fair. Remember, that is a template that doesn’t allow much give, so you may be cutting some significant info out because it won’t fit into the “template”. DON’T USE IT.
3- PACK BUSINESS OR NETWORKING CARDS-A great idea is to bring along your business or networking cards. Business cards work well because they have your name, address and phone number on them. If they have a previous company name on them, better rethink handing them out. You can always make some inexpensive cards on your own home printer for just this occasion. Another idea is networking cards. Networking cards are business card sized cards that hold significant career information along with your contact information. 2 or 3 of your top accomplishments really stand out on networking cards.
4- BRING A SMALL BAG, TOTE OR BRIEFCASE. You will be bombarded with giveaways (pens, company trinkets, business cards, candy, brochures, etc.). It will be easier to carry everything and your résumé portfolio.
5- GET A BUSINESS CARD FROM EVERYONE YOU SPOKE WITH. You might want to follow up with something you talked about. Even better, after you’ve talked with them, write down some key things you spoke about on the back of the card so you will have it to reference when you call, or if they call you!
6- KNOW THE COMPANIES. Find out what companies will be there and get to know a little about them. Nothing impresses companies more then when you display the knowledge you have about them. Show off a little bit. Impress them!
7- GET INTO A GOOD MOOD. I had a few folks come sit down with me who were shaking and scared to death and I wasn’t even the hiring person! People can tell if you are nervous, distracted, moody, having a bad day, etc. That isn’t the best first impression to offer. Instead try to relax, smile, speak slowly and clearly (vs. rushing through what you want to say), and remember, the HR person knows you are nervous and understands. So try to relax and enjoy yourself. Fake it if you have to.
Job Fairs don’t have to be a bad/scary/nerve wracking thing. Remember, it’s just another avenue to try out in the midst of your job search You get to meet new people, learn a few things about different companies, and have free coffee.
Get ready to get hired because National Career Fairs and Monster.com have joined forces to put together over 350 job fairs in 77 cities. Now is the time to dust off your nicest outfit and update your resume. Head on over to the nearest job fair and talk with an employer who is looking for YOU! Don’t let another job pass you by. Click here, or copy and paste the link into your browser: