With an economy that has seen better days and an unemployment rate that continues to rise, there has been a spotlight on career fairs to help job seekers find work.
Typically, you can get more information by attending a job fair than you can from surfing the Internet or making cold calls on your own. Job fairs offer a chance to meet a variety of potential employers in a single day and an opportunity to talk to them face-to-face.
To make the most of a job fair, you need to prepare before you go, have an objective while you’re there and follow up when you leave. To help you succeed, check out the first part of this three-part series on how to get the most out of a job fair.
What You Need to Do Before You Go
Know the participants. First, find out who all the participating employers are. You can find a list of attendees in your local paper in the classified job section or business section, or call the host of the fair. You can visit a job fair’s website or the host’s website for more details.
Decide who to talk to. Next, compile a list of potential employers you would like to talk to. Then, research the company. Find out all the information you would need as if you were heading off to your first interview. Then you’ll be able to talk to potential employers about your qualifications and what you can offer their company.
Prepare a résumé, cover letter, and short pitch. Finally, update your résumé, print several copies, and take them with you. Write a different cover letter for each employer you want to specifically target and tailor it to that company. Also, have an “elevator” speech prepared for when you meet a potential employer. This is a 30-90 second self introduction that highlights who you are and what you can offer to the company.
Dress the part. Now that you have prepared yourself for the job fair, pick out and press your business attire to ensure that you look your best for your first impression to potential employers.
Learn what to do at a job fair in part 2 of this series.