3 P's for Job Fair Success
Have you ever thought, "If I could just gather 50 employers in one room and hand them all my resume, I would walk away with more job offers than I could entertain?" Most of us are not this blindly enthusiastic but many job seekers still expect to walk into a Career Fair and walk out with a job. Unfortunately, it does not work this way. In fact, some statistics show a less than 5% rate of success for landing a job at a job fair. So, is it worth your time? Yes! Just adjust your expectations, think of it as a networking and learning opportunity, and follow this advice.
Thinking about attending a Career Fair? If you want to be successful, you need to practice the 3 P's:
- Purpose: Understand why you are going to a Job Fair and adjust your expectations.
- Preparation: Remember Seneca's quote: "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
- Plan of action: Think Black Friday meets the Classifieds... you're never going to make it without a strategy!
What is the Purpose of the Job Fair? It's NOT to get a job... Surprised?
Instead, expect to...
obtain company and industry information
distribute your resume (when possible... some companies have policies about when and where they can accept a resume)
network with recruiters, other job-seekers, career professionals (this is the most important part!!)
learn about jobs or internships from employers and recruiters
gain experience in how to communicate your brand
How to Prepare for the Job Fair:
Pre-register when possible to avoid any delays, misinformation, or unexpected requirements
Identify and research employers that you are interested in before going to the job fair. Most job fairs will have a list of participating vendors. Identify 3-7 employers you really want to meet. Go online to research these companies using resources like Reference USA (linked below) and www.GlassDoor.com.
Get organized the night before (clothes, resumes, portfolio etc.)
What is Your Plan of Action for the Job Fair?
Map out a strategy for who you want to meet: If there is no map provided, walk around to figure out where your target companies are located and then zone in on the 3-7 places you want to make sure to hit. Do not expect to meet everyone... it's too much.
Know your resume, work history, and be ready to explain. This is the time to really sell yourself. If you get the chance to make a first impression, make sure you are ready to make a good one!
Prepare questions to ask in advance and practice your interview. Just like in a scheduled interview, always have questions for the company.
Bring extra copies of your resume and reference page.
Also... How to follow-up after the Job Fair:
Mail a thank you letter to the employers that you spoke with.
If you completed an application, call to confirm that it was completed and if they need any additional information.
Follow up with the company to inquire about the status of your resume/application.