There is more competition in the job
market than there was a few years ago, so it pays to get
out there. Attending a job fair beats sitting at home
waiting for the phone to ring. If nothing else, it's a
place to schmooze and find out what's happening. Your
approach to the fair may make a huge difference in
whether you achieve satisfactory results.
Joe received his layoff notice on a
Friday. After a week at home, he knew he had to get out
and make some contacts. He found and landed his last job
at a job fair, and soon discovered on the Internet there
was a tech fair in his area the following week.
Armed with several copies of his
resume, Joe set out with an air of confidence. His
confidence got a blow when he arrived at the site and
saw the long line of people waiting to get in. This was
going to be a very different experience than his last
job search. As he walked down the line, he met friends
and former coworkers. He tried to find out what was
going on inside and how to deal with it. Some of his
friends were veterans of the system and were glad to
share some survival tips with him. Here are 10 of those
- Once inside, get a list of
participating companies and choose which companies
interest you. Spend your energies on them rather
than wandering from booth to booth.
- Check out job openings for
each company of interest, typically found on a
listing sheet. Or use a computer, if provided, to
look up individual companies.
- Get a floor plan map --
usually at the entrance or information table. Plan a
route to move around the floor quickly, visiting
your companies of interest.
- Stay upbeat and energized.
Try to make an impression through your enthusiasm
about the work. Also try to engage the company
representative in conversation about the company,
and listen to what the rep has to say.
- Try to talk to the hiring
manager or senior member of the team, if possible.
Recruiters can be helpful regarding the company and
what they are seeking, and human resources personnel
can give you information on the hiring process and
the company, but the hiring manager is the one with
- Let the person you talk to
know what you have to bring to the company. Be
prepared with a short statement about yourself and
your background -- less than two minutes. Try to
hook the interviewer's interest with something
unique about you.
- Try to get a name or business
card from anyone you talk to so you can use the name
as a reference when you follow up.
- Follow up by sending a letter
and another copy of your resume to human resources
and the hiring manager. Mention that you talked with
them, or a company representative, at the fair. Tell
them how excited you are about the position. Let
them know you are the solution to their problem --
you can make a difference and add value.
- Follow up in a week or so
with a phone call, inquiring about the position and
the hiring status.
- Use the job fair as one of
many sources in planning your job search. Do further
research on participating companies by visiting
their Web sites and checking for additional openings
Try not to be overwhelmed by the
size of the job fair or the number of job seekers in
attendance. Keep focused on the companies you want to
interview with. Don't be discouraged if you don't go
home with a job offer or formal interview lined up. This
should be just one step in your research and networking
Consider any new contacts you meet
or information gathered at the job fair as a positive
addition to your resources. Be persistent in your
endeavors -- job opportunities sometimes come from the
least expected sources at the most unexpected times.
Carole Martin, America's #1
Interview Coach is a contributing writer for Monster.com.
Carole will coach you at her
Live Speed Interview Coaching Event.