Topic of the Week All's Fair - How to Get the Most Out of a Job Fair
Job Fair Success:
• DO pay attention.
• DO get contact info.
• DO bring resumes and business cards.
• DON’T treat interview casually.
Your Rant: I’ve never been to a job fair before. How can I make it work for me?
Job Fairs are a great chance to connect with a lot of businesses in one day. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it can be tough to stand out from the rest of the crowd of job seekers. Which reminds me of Harry Long. My father owned a car dealership when I was growing up and Harry was one of his top salespeople. Harry would do anything so that people would remember him. I once saw him take off his shoe on hot summer day, put his nose right into his shoe and take a deep breath. Disgusting, crazy and impossible to forget.
You probably don’t want to take off your shoes, but you do want to be memorable. That’s why I’ve listed three Do’s and one Don’t below to get more out of your next job fair. For more strategies check out Oscar Adler’s book, “Sell Yourself in Any Interview (McGraw Hill, 2008).
DO pay attention. While you’re on line, listen to the questions that the interviewer asks other candidates. Listen to the answers and note how the job interviewer responds. Job Fairs can provide a unique opportunity to not only see your competition, but to learn from them. But only if you’re paying attention to what’s going on around you. Who knew that standing in line could be so valuable?
DO get contact info. You want to get as much contact information as you can from all the companies that interest you. Names, titles, email and phone numbers are all important items to walk out of the fair with. I also like to jot down notes on the back of each business card, anything that will provide insight about either the person, the company or the opportunity. Many job seekers assume that they’ll just remember but it’s hard to keep details in your head after you’ve talked to fifty people.
DO bring resumes and business cards. I know it’s easy to email resumes to the interviewer after the event. But you don’t want to lose time and interest. So pack along plenty of business cards and resumes for each job fair. You might even want to bring thank you notes in stamped envelopes so you can respond immediately after talking to an interviewer. Again anything you can do to stand out from the crowd will help.
DON’T treat interview casually. An interview is an interview. You need to treat them all seriously and give them your full attention. Sure it’s just a door opener at a job fair, but it’s a lot easier to get in the organization when the door is opened. So try to get a list of the companies that will be there and do some online research before the show with your best prospects.
Follow these tips and you’ll make a more than fair showing at your next job fair.
About the Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. If you have a question for Bob, contact him via firstname.lastname@example.org.
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