Are attending job fairs still useful in this electronic age of resume posting? (Part 2)

Are attending job fairs still useful in this electronic age of resume posting? (Part 2)

Part 1 ( imparted knowledge about why employers attend job fairs, and this article will explain why job seekers should attend, even though they think they are a waste of time.

Job fairs are common in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and Chesapeake.  Some folks travel from other places to attend, or they drive to Washington, DC or the “triangle” in North Carolina for what they think may be a good venue.  I’ve hear many job seekers complain that a job fair wasn’t up to snuff, they wasted their money, employers didn’t have any jobs, no one accepted resumes, or wanted to interview them. Walking in, have zero expectations, but prepare for positive actions you can take to make it worth your while, regardless of the number or type of employees and their interest or number of current job openings.

What to take to a job fair?  Hard copy resumes for those few companies decide to review it or keep it.  Make sure cell and/or home phone numbers and an email address is at the top.  If you can obtain some business cards (with a concise list of capabilities on the back of the card and your website URL for your resume), provide those at each booth.  Dress for success at these events – do not walk in the door in sloppy clothes, leisure wear, or beach get-up.

Actions to take at a job fair to get that return on investment and make yourself memorable:

  • Speakers and special presentations for free to attendees – soak up the knowledge for even the tiniest golden nugget you can carry away
  • Visit every booth – regardless of whether you have an interest in or have even heard of the company
  • Talk to and listen to each employer representative – ask if the company has subsidiaries/partners, who might not be at the job fair, who may have job openings
  • Recognize that many employer representatives at job fairs are non-HR or non-recruiters who were told to be there to man the booth and may know little about any job openings or even about the company itself
  • Ask for names within the company; and if you know anyone in the company – ask about them, their health, how you can get in touch with them (see part 3)
  • Ask representatives to glance over your resume for any advice they can offer if they won’t take the physical hard copy at the job fair event (most prescribe online posting)
  • Get a business card from everyone in the room (see part 3)
  • Practice your elevator speech – you have 60 seconds to make yourself memorable
  • Research every company by picking up company information you will need later (see part 3)
  • Talk to other attendees – if someone notes they are leaving XYZ company – there’s going to be a job opening soon (see part 3)
  • Find out if the company is looking for candidates for now or further down the road; are contracts ending or beginning; are the company ranks expanding or shrinking
  • Don’t expect any interviews at job fairs – usually there are too few reps manning the booth to afford quiet, to-the-side mini-interviews
  • Soak up the give-away goodies offered at the job fair – if for nothing else, to walk away with something useful (flashlights, yellow highlighters, refrigerator magnet clips, thumb drives, etc.) – but don’t grab and run – make sure you do spend time with rep, ask politely what they are giving away, and thank them for the item

Make the time you spend at job fairs memorable, useful, and work for the return on investment (ROI) and you will gain that new job sooner rather than later.

Stayed tuned for Part 3 in the next article.  Tell your friends to read these articles!  Share the information and fun!

For more related articles by this author:

Why attend a Job Fair? (Part 1) –

Why attend a Job Fair? (Part 2) –

Why attend a Job Fair? (Part 3) –

How many types of resumes should one have? –

Dawn Boyer, Small Business HR, Career, and LinkedIn Social Media Coach

D. Boyer Consulting, Va. Beach, VA  23464


Follow me on Twitter: @Dawn_Boyer


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