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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:

  1. Purpose: Understand why you are going to a Job Fair and adjust your expectations.
  2. Preparation: Remember Seneca's quote: "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
  3. 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.
  • Ready to try out the 3 P's of Career Fair Success?

    Midlands Job Fair is this Friday, November 15, 2013, 9am-12pm at SC National Guard complex in Columbia. Some participating employers include BCBS, CMX, Wendy’s, Agape Senior, USC, Time Warner, State and local government, and many more! Go to midlandswork.org/jobseeker for more information.

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