DC, March 15, 2018
Job fairs are never easy - for either employers or job seekers. Employers are hopeful that they will receive one or two resumes that they can work with. They hope to meet a few people who might be good candidates for openings at their business. They are looking for seekers who meet the level of professionalism the company needs their employees to have. According to Brian Prudhomme, Recruiter from Essentia Health, "Employers are always looking for candidates who leave a strong first impression and show the willingness to follow up. The job fair provides the seeker a very strong lead but not a job."
The job seeker is looking for an opportunity; the opportunity to meet employers who have openings they might be interested in. Job fairs are excellent networking opportunities, maximize them!
So, what are some job fair best practices?
- Dress for the positions you are looking for. Business casual should suffice for most opportunities. However if you are looking for more professional positions you need to dress for them.
- No sweats or "jammie pants" ever.
- Research the companies in attendance ahead of time - remember that job fairs include government and nonprofit agencies as well. Be prepared to ask questions.
- Have an elevator speech or at least be able to answer questions about yourself. Because of the limited amount of time you have, make sure that your answers are succinct and well thought out.
- Bring 15 - 20 resumes. Research the companies you are most interested in and target your resumes to those companies. Be prepared, many companies cannot accept resumes and will ask you to apply on-line.
- Collect business cards and follow up!
When you are looking for work and have the opportunity to attend a job fair take advantage of it. Having many employers together and available to you is a great opportunity! Remember, if you want to catch more fish, use more hooks, and a job fair is a great place to go fishing! Be prepared to succeed by researching and coming prepared to talk with employers who have the opportunities you want to take advantage of.