Making the Most of Career Fairs

With Daylight Savings coming this weekend and the calendar officially showing the first day of Spring, I think it's safe to say Spring is just around the corner (the 60° temps help, too). Spring always brings an influx of career fairs, including ours! Start preparing now by selecting a few of the tasks below to begin working on today to get a head start on making the most of spring career fairs. Come Prepared. Most career fairs will have a list of employers who are attending. Spend some time compiling background information on your target companies so you are ready to ask specific questions. You'll look good, and you'll have something to talk about - win win. Bring many copies of your résumé. You may not apply to every employer at the career fair, but be ready to hand them out. Free résumé templates. Get business cards. List your name, contact information, and either your career area or key skills. Having business cards will help you stand out from the other attendees. Dress appropriately. We cannot stress this enough. First impressions matter. Think of this as an interview. While you may not need to wear a suit, dress in business casual. What Business Casual Really Means. Give yourself adequate time. Arrive as early as possible. You may have to wait in line to meet with employers, so be sure to prioritize the employers you are most interested in. Introduce yourself and give your "elevator pitch." An elevator pitch is a clear, brief message or "commercial" about you. It communicates who you are, what you're looking for and how you can benefit a company or organization. The Perfect Elevator Pitch. Take notes. The representative may not be able to answer all of your questions so you will want to write down the names and contact information of the other staff whom you can contact later. Network. Career fairs are about networking! Don't rule out your fellow job-seekers. You can share information about leads, companies, and strategies. You're all in this together. Simple Ways to Network. Be polite! Don't ever just walk up to a booth and interrupt a current conversation; wait your turn. Follow up by email. Ask for a business card so that you can connect with employers by email and say thank you. Additional articles of interest: 9 Career Fair Tips to Get You Hired... Gianna Sen-Gupta Career Fair Do's and Don'ts... Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D. Learn to Work a Career Fair... Peter Vogt, Monster Senior Contributing Writer


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