What is a Job Fair? Simply put; a job fair, a.k.a “career fair” or “career expo”, is an event where employers, recruiters, schools and other training institutions meet with prospective job seekers. Usually there are tables or booths where job seekers can submit their resumes and cover letters, where they can fill out applications, and even have job interviews on the spot. Job fairs provide an opportunity for the job seeker to streamline their job search, while employers can engage with multiple job seeker in person and in a timely manner.
Preparation is essential to achieve success at a job fair. As the saying goes “you only get one chance to make a good first impression”. With that in mind it is valuable to know some key points in making the job fair experience a valuable one for you and for the prospective employer.
1. Resumes & Cover Letters
You will need to have resumes and cover letters for the companies that you are interested in prepared before you attend the fair. Most advertised fairs will let you know which companies will be present. Make sure to research the companies you are interested in. It is not necessary to spend time at booths of companies you are not interested.
2. Engage Recruiters
It is vital that you engage in conversation with the job recruiters rather than just giving them a resume and moving on to the next table. This is your opportunity to discuss your job objective and to tell them a bit about you. Be ready to talk about your work experiences, skills and abilities; you can do this by preparing as if you are going to an interview.
3. Dress The Part
Dress for success! Your attendance at the Job Fair is actually a job hunt, the same as if you were going out into the community and looking for jobs or attending an interview.
4. Collect Contact Information
Pick up informational materials from the booths where you apply, ask for business cards and write down whom you speak with so that later you can follow up with them as to the status of your application. This is essential for making the most of this networking opportunity.
5. Show Appreciation
Before you leave the job fair return to the booths of any of the companies that interest you, wait for a chance to talk to them again, and thank them for their time. Let them know that you will be in touch and that you look forward to speaking with them soon. Consider handing them a thank-you note with your contact information; it will definitely make an impact.
This is just a quick overview of job fairs and how to make the most out of them. For more information on this topic, there is a wealth of information on the internet and at job search program offices in your community. Take a close look at these and other ways to enhance your job search and find success. The competitive job search market does not have to look so overwhelming if you are always prepared to go the extra mile for yourself.
For more information on networking visit our website at http://www.myerc.ca/content/Job%20Seekers/Networking.asp
This article was written by Gail Winacott, a Career Development Practitioner working with youth in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. It was originally written for the BC Workinfonet Youth Site and is reposted here with permission.