When it comes to optimizing your job search, your campus Career Services team can give you lots of good advice. Part of your search strategy should be to attend any relevant career fairs or job expos that you come across. Try events held in large hotels and conference centers, as well as online job fairs.
These events can provide a great opportunity to meet representatives from a variety of businesses and organizations in one convenient location; attending different fairs and meeting different people will also help you perfect your networking and interviewing skills.
Your Career Services department can help you identify the job expos that you should attend in your area. But there are some organizations that schedule fairs around the country throughout the year that you can check out online. For example, National Career Fairs hold more than 300 career fairs in 76 cities every year, while Women for Hire focuses purely on a female audience and includes online events.
As with all things, the better prepared you are the more rewarding an experience is likely to be. If you approach a job fair well prepared with the right attitude, it is difficult to leave without coming away with something of value…even if it’s not a job.
Before you go…
- Dress professionally. Treat a job fair like an interview, because while attending you may find yourself doing some on-the-spot interviews. Your clothes have to convey professionalism; but so should your hair, and wear minimal amounts of makeup (ladies!) and jewelry.
- Wear comfortable shoes. You’ll be on your feet for a while; lines could be lengthy and you should expect to wait to meet with certain employers. High heels or brand new shoes can soon become uncomfortable. Wear conservative shoes that you know are comfortable.
- Prepare your resume. You’ll need to bring a good supply to hand out. A portfolio or briefcase will add to your professional look, and give you somewhere to keep your resumes, as well as literature and business cards that you will pick up.
- Check your social media profiles. More and more potential employers look to social media sites to learn about potential employees. Ensure that your privacy settings are correct, and more importantly make sure that there is nothing that portrays you as anything less than professional.
- Prepare your elevator speech. Refer back to our ‘Tell me about yourself’ blog; think about your strengths, goals, and what you could offer the company. Keep it to less than a minute.
When you get there…
- Allow plenty of time. Plan to arrive early. You’ll need more time than you think to find the venue, park, check in, and familiarize yourself with the layout
- Don’t be shy. Network. Talk to as many people as you can while you’re there. And not just the employer representatives. Standing in line? Chat to the people next to you; they may know about opportunities or have met with employers that could suit you.
- Be confident. It’s time to be assertive; you want to stand out from the crowd (in a good way!) Shake hands firmly and smile, introduce yourself to recruiters when you reach the table. Display your eagerness and enthusiasm to learn more about their company and their job opportunities.
- Listen. Pay attention to the questions you’re being asked by employers and to the kind of information they’re offering. Ask insightful questions and try to refer key points that they mention to your strengths, skills and experience.
- Don’t be overwhelmed. Job fairs can be noisy, busy, and confusing events. There’s sure to be lots of people waiting to see the same employers, especially if they have great reputations, just stay calm and be patient.
- Explore your options. Don’t rule anything out until you’ve heard more. There will probably be a variety of companies in attendance, so expand your horizons; you may discover new avenues to explore
Your Career Services department can help you with all aspects of your job search; from information on local job fairs, to help with resumes, cover letters and interview techniques, speak to your Careers team for advice, help, and support. For more information contact your Career Services department, or call 1.877.206.2106.
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