The job fair is one of the great tools available to the job-seeker. Job fairs occur rather frequently in major cities all over the United States and afford the job-seeker an opportunity to network with potential employers, check out the job market or employment outlook, and are a great place to hone job-seeking skills. Here are a few tips regarding how to find a job fair, and what to do once you are ready to attend.
- Your first step should be to consider where, geographically, you want to work. Since job fairs happen all over the country, a college graduate, for example, could attend one in the city in which he would like to live. Websites like careerbuilder.com or nationalcareerfairs.com are a great place to start your search.
If you are not planning to relocate, or have settled on a city or region in which to work, you can avail yourself of the local Department of Labor. They not only list job fairs in the area, but often host job fairs of their own.
Often companies or industries will also host job fairs. If you are looking to work in a particular field, consider investigating the websites of companies in that field for job fair listings. Insurance and financial companies, tech companies, and even the government frequently host job fairs, as do other companies.
Once you have located a job fair, it's time to act. The following is a guide to optimizing your job fair experience.
- Dress for success. The company representatives attending the job fair will see dozens, perhaps hundreds of job candidates. Make sure you are not summarily dismissed because you didn't present professionally.
Bring copies of your resume. Many companies will ask you to fill out a job application, but a resume presents a professional image. It also gives you a quick reference if you do in fact fill out an application.
Speak with a company representative. That's why these folks are there! They want to meet potential candidates and begin their screening process. This is your opportunity to "get your foot in the door" and create a favorable impression. Company reps will earmark the resumes of those candidates who impressed them in order to call them for a more in-depth interview. Speaking with the rep is also an opportunity for you to learn more about the company in order to perform better on an interview, or to help you decide if this is the company for you.
Get a business card. Most company reps will have a card - if they don't, get a name and contact number. This is your contact person for future communications with this company. When you call them back, you now have a better chance of breaking through that first barrier of the secretary or receptionist, gaining access to a person who might be able to help you get an interview.
Sometimes employers offer "on-the-spot" interviews at career fairs. Be prepared for this as well, and your job fair experience might turn into a job great experience.