The Nine Keys to Success at Career and Job Fairs
1.Pre-register for the Fair: Some career fairs allow job-seekers to pre-register for the event, which usually includes submitting a resume or summary resume. With more fairs going to the Web, pre-registration will most likely become even more common. The idea behind pre-registering, of course, is that employers get a chance to prescreen applicants and possibly make note of applicants they want to meet at the fair.
2. Research information: Research information about the participating companies and organizations prior to approaching the recruiters. Use the Internet, news sources and career fair materials to learn about the companies' booths you plan to visit. You can impress a recruiter by knowing about his or her company and can discuss its current situation.
3. Take Multiple Copies of Your Resume: Bring lots of resumes to the fair -- at least two for each company for which you have an interest. If you have multiple interests or job objectives, make sure you bring enough of each version of your resume. You should also bring scannable versions of your resumes.
4. Consider Bringing Your Portfolio: More and more career experts are emphasizing the importance of career portfolios. These portfolios should include copies of your resumes, a list of references, and samples of your best work. While most career fair interviews are fairly short, there may be opportunities for discussing your portfolio with a recruiter -- either over a short break or meal or during a second interview on-site. It is best to always be prepared no matter what happens.
5. Wear Appropriate Attire: Conservative business attire is essential, even for those Spring Break beachside career fairs because image and first impressions are critical. Know what is the expected attire of your profession and dress accordingly.
6. Develop Fair Strategy: You need to devise a strategy or plan of attack for the fair. You've already done the first step by researching the companies you are interested in. The second step is seeing if any new companies have registered when you arrive at the fair. The third step is surveying the layout of the fair and determining an order of interviewing.
7. Prepare for Interviews: You may only have two to five minutes to market yourself. Many experts suggest that you develop a one-minute "commercial" that highlights the key benefits that you can offer the organization -- and then use it at the beginning of the interview. Also remember the three keys to all interviews: make eye contact, offer a firm handshake, and show enthusiasm.
8. Manage Intangibles: Don't waste your time interviewing with companies you have no desire to work for; do make sure to interview with all the companies you do want to work for.
9. Network : Build a network with the recruiters this task is your most vital. However, you can also network with your fellow job-seekers in terms of sharing information about job leads, companies, and their recruiting strategies and styles.