In this age of high unemployment and “cutbacks” that reduce staff numbers dramatically, it is absolutely essential for people of all experience levels to head to any local job fairs. These are places where companies of all sizes and all kinds will actively recruit for new employees.
Yes, there will always be a fair share of “entry level” positions being filled at career and job fairs, but there are also many ways of finding executive level or high paying career opportunities in such places. The important thing is to prepare ahead of time and to then make the most favorable impression possible.
The first tip we can offer is that you will want to do the research. Most career fairs have temporary websites that list the firms that have purchased tables or space, and this is a wonderful way to give yourself a sneak preview of the companies that may have an interest in your skills or experiences.
The next tip is to prepare. You may think that you won’t be asked to fill out an application during a career fair, but this is not an uncommon event at such times. In fact, you may notice that there are a few areas in which people can sit down and tackle a basic application for employment! Why not make the strongest impression and application possible by toting around a folder full of pre-printed resumes or relevant materials that you can attach to any applications you submit?
Preparing documents like this is a wise idea if you have a strong work history or experience relevant to the different firms that you know will be in attendance. If your resume is not so fantastic or impressive, you may want to book a visit with a career counselor or professional writer who can improve the resume and provide you with a document that is likely to attract positive attention.
When you get to the career fair, be sure that you have business cards to hand out and which give your email, phone, and perhaps a website or social networking URLs. Be sure you carry a pen with you and if you have had a valuable conversation with someone representing a company of interest to you, jot a note on the back of the business card before handing it over. For instance, if you discussed a specific office or project simply jot down something like “re: project name” before handing it over. This gives the representative a clear notation of the conversation and will really help them to follow through with you.