I spent some time updating the events section of the website today and I realized that as summer is coming to a close, job fairs and career events are beginning to pop up on the radar screen. With that in mind, I thought I’d spend a moment or two going over some basic strategies that will help you get the best return on your time investment!
Now, I know that we’ve done this before, but it’s that important that I want to go over it again. The most important thing I want you to keep in mind is that most likely, you will not get a job by attending a job fair. Wait—indulge me for a few moments, here. I know you’re wondering why on earth you would go to a job fair when there is not an expectation of getting a job. The reason you are going to a job fair is for the NETWORKING opportunity that can lead to a job.
That’s right, Kevin’s on his networking kick again—but I digress. I’ve participated in enough job and career events to know that hiring managers—the people with the job opening—do not always make an appearance at these things. However, their eyes and ears do, SO you want to be there to begin building a relationship with them and demonstrating your value as a potential employee! Sure your resume has all of the pertinent information, but nothing beats putting a face and a smile with your qualifications!
As you build your network through career fairs, let me share with you five simple steps:
- Dress professionally. Look at the fairs as a potential interview opportunity.
- Assess the list of participating employers ahead of time and develop a “short list” you want to focus on. Prepare targeted resumes for those companies.
- Make sure you have a supply of resumes and, if possible, business/calling cards with you. Carry everything in a professional looking portfolio.
- Develop more than just a single 30-second “elevator speech” to introduce yourself – make sure you know 10 and 20 second versions, too.
- Make sure you get a business card from every person you speak with and most important, follow up with them after the fair!
Also, keep this in mind - all career fairs are not created equal. Some may meet your needs and others may not. The key is to know what you are looking for. Make a list. Are the companies that will attend on your “target list”?
Finally,finding a position is all about building relationships, and going to job fairs is a good way to network and meet new people. You never know how a connection will play out! When you keep this in mind, you will be way ahead of the others!
Do you need help getting comfortable with networking or applying any other concepts to your career journey? Please contact me today at 888.522.8233 to schedule your complimentary Career Boost Strategy Session and we can begin to work on this together.