Northeast Minnesota Office of Job Training
Dave Cook, Career Counselor
March 14, 2019
I remember going to my first job fair when I was in college. We were all shuffled onto a bus in our new suits, resumes in hand (brief case if you had one), and headed to Minneapolis. Stepping off the bus at "City Center" we were immediately surrounded by what felt like thousands of people who were dressed in the same suits, providing the same resumes (in brief cases if they had them). There were a few people who were successful, but most of us got back on the bus, after four hours, frustrated with the results and simply looking forward to getting out of our suits.
Looking back on it, the ones who were successful, the ones who stood out from that crowd, were the ones who were focused on just a few companies and were very prepared for them.
The Iron Range Job Fair is Friday, March 29th, in Virginia, and the 2019 Spring Job Fair is Wednesday, April 10th, at Black Bear Casino in Cloquet. Be sure to check them out. While job fairs have changed, two things remain:
1. They can be intimidating.
2. The people who are successful will be prepared.
Actually, I suspect those two things go hand in hand. If you are prepared, you will be less intimidated. So, how do you successfully prepare for a job fair? Here are a few thoughts:
1. Look through the list of companies in attendance. Pick two or three you are very interested in - call them group A.
a. Take the companies from group A and spend time researching them; see what positions they have open and craft a resume and cover letter specifically to those openings.
2. Once you have targeted your "A" group, look for a number of other companies you would like to connect with. See what they do, but you do not need to be as detailed and thorough with your research. Get a feel for them. Call these your "B" group.
a. Have a more generic resume available for them. Know what they do, and have an idea what types of positions they hire for. Touch base with them.
3. Consider the rest of the field your "C" group.
a. If you are interested or have heard something about them, now is a time to find out more. Please do not expect to talk to everyone though; there will be places you are not interested in for sure.
Remember that most people do not leave the job fair with a job. They leave with good impressions and contact information for follow up. Make sure you get a business card from the representatives of the companies from group "a," and some of the more interesting companies from group "B." Then FOLLOW UP with each person - each business card you acquired. In fact, right before you leave the job fair, go to one or two of the companies you feel most positive about and tell them you appreciated their time and are excited to continue the conversation!
Good Luck and be awesome!