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Saturday, February 18, 2006

How to Work a Job Fair

As this is the "season for hiring", let me share with this blog a "real" question from a "real" career seeker regarding "Career Fair Management 101." I hope you find the solutions helpful.

ASK THE CAREER ENGINEER! http://www.thecareerengineers.com Francina R. Harrison, MSW

Q: I have attended area job fairs in the past and have felt totally lost. This may sound like a strange question, but what should you do exactly at a job fair?

A: When I attend job fairs I do the following:

1. Research the companies prior to the job fair. Most sponsors will advertise in advance to let the public know which companies are coming. Use your Internet sourcing skills to research company history/culture, current job postings, upward mobility and compensation programs.

2. Develop your market – have a Plan A, B, and C. Every company that attends a job fair may not meet your initial skill sets. So find those 10-15 companies that may be an exact match to what you are looking for (make those your Plan A companies). The remaining companies should be classified as your Plan B, C and so on. I recommend you go to every table to learn first hand about specific employment opportunities. Never assume you know…go find out.

3. Make a personalized cover letter, combined with your resume, for your Plan A companies and go to those companies first. This is something that I have done in the past and it helped me to stand out from the competition.

4. Meet the managers/recruiters and sell your skills and what you bring to the table.

5. Be prepared to deploy your resume at a moments notice. A recruiter should not have to “pull teeth” to get your resume.

6. There is a time for shyness…this is not it (blow your horn).

7. Interview the companies. Now is the time to ask questions that may make you feel uncomfortable in the interview chair like (salary, schedules, and how does the representative like working there).

8. Take all company literature and business cards for follow-up and future employment search activities.

Comments:
Very good tip, particularly the 2 nd one.Can you elaborate, maybe in the coming posts, on it.
 
I agree 2 is good but so is 1. I usually pick out those companies with positions that I really want but also match my skills well. No point in spending too much time trying to get something where you only have half or some of the skills/experience they require. However sometimes you can convince a Company in these job fairs that you are a fast learner and they will give you a chance if you're confident and can give them at least one good example of where you rapidly learned a new skill previously. You have to sell yourself!
 
Selling is the name of the game. I think career seekers should think like a "business." When you think like a business, you will calculate your steps expecting a return on investment, delete time wasting activities and will promote your golden moments.

It's about closing the deal, maximizing what you have and minimizing what you don't. Number 2, on the Job Fair article, means the career seeker has to "Work" before and after the career fair. Find your top 10%, then 20% etc. and really put your "A" game on the 10%. Make contact with the others, but really "work" you A,B, & C. I hope this helps someone in blog land :)
 
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