Why a Job Fair?Many will think that a job fair is notpart of an overall job search strategybecause so much of a job searchthese days is online.However, there will be a point in yourjob search when you will actually“talk” to a live person on the phoneand better yet for the interview “talk”with them in person.Probably several people – multipleinterviews, panel interviews.And the one thing that seems to bemissing from our job search skills setsis how to talk and interact withothers.A job fair is where you will refreshyour interpersonal skills to enhanceand support your job search.
A Job Fair as Part of YourOverall Job SearchYour job search will have many layersonline and offline; research andapplying; meeting and thanking.Job Fairs which are relevant to yourindustry and career goals are one partof a job search plan.As you research the job fair, you honeyour knowledge of the market andspecific employers.A job fair will also give you anopportunity to practice yournetworking.A job fair will give you an opportunityto meet with recruiters in yourindustry. They may not have a job foryou now, but good networking meansyou will stay in touch.Who knows what they may have in thefuture?
Goals for a Job FairWhat do you want to achieve? Whileit is great to be single focused,remember there are manyopportunities open to you whenattending a networking event like ajob fair.Some goals may be –•Learn more about currently openjobs.•Meet contacts at companies youhave targeted.•Find an immediate job opportunityyou do not already know about.•Find out about companies in thecommunity that I might not befamiliar with.•Learn from other job seekers theexperiences they have had and anytips they can share.•Share my experiences and tips withothers.
How To Be Successful at aJob FairResearch and Preparation is key!Many job fairs publicize who isattending beforehand.• Check out the company websites.• Identify the companies you aremost interested in.•Also check the other companiesattending to uncover newopportunities.When checking out employers:•What questions do you have thatyou can answer in advance?•What do you need to learn at theevent?A prepared applicant who knowswhat the company offers and asksgood questions is every recruiter’sideal candidate at a job fair.
Presenting Yourself to EmployersMini-introduction: 30-45 seconds:What type of work you are seeking,your relevant experience andpersonal attributes‘Presence’: Think positive, shakehands, and breathe.Attend in business attire or militaryuniform.Job fairs offer only a few minutesgenerally to talk to a recruiter, somake the minutes count for youand for them.
Making the Meeting CountWhat questions do you wantanswered? Based on the employerresearch you have done.Asking ‘good’ questions shows yourprofessionalism, so make themrelevant.The Two Critical Questions if youare interested:1. Ask for contact information: To send ‘thank you’ notes and follow up.2. Ask for time-line on when you will hear from them.So you know what to expect andcan follow-up as needed if do nothear anything back.
Following Up with After theJob Fair with EmployersSend an immediate thank you emailfor the meeting you had with them.Maybe include another point abouta skill that will be of benefit to theposition that you discussed.Even if there was no positiondiscussed, still follow-up and thankthem for their time. Very rarely doesa recruiter get a thank you note fortheir time. This is a good way tostart your networking with arecruiter in your community.Connect with them on LinkedIn bysending them a customizedinvitation that mentions that youmet at the job fair.Follow-up professionally, don’t stalk.A thank you note and then a followup a few weeks later.
Networking with Your Peers atthe Job FairOne largely overlooked opportunity at a jobfair is the opportunity to network with yourpeers.Too many people feel that this is a competitiveenvironment rather than one that can besupportive for all the professionals seeking anew position.This is a way to learn about otheropportunities, what it is like to interview withother companies and other companies’culture.You have the opportunity to:• Meet others with similar interests.•Learn more about market and who is hiring.•Connect with people at your targetemployers.But how?•Introduce yourself to other attendees.•Use your mini-introduction.• Ask what they are interested in and sharewhat you are interested in.• If interested, exchange contact info andconnect on LinkedIn.
Thank you and good luck! If you are a security cleared professionallooking for a new opportunity, please check out www.ClearedJobs.Net