Benefits of Attending Career Fairs
Have you ever been to a career fair? I’m not talking about the one that you may have been forced to attend in school. I’m talking about a public hiring event where employers gather at a large venue and interview on the spot. If you haven’t had the chance to attend a real career fair, consider expanding your horizons and see which companies are currently hiring. Here are a few helpful pointers on finding career fairs, what to bring, and what to expect.
Where do you find out about career fairs? Depending on the size of the event, major broadcasting television or radio stations may advertise the time, date, and location in your city. Local newspapers and billboards advertise local hiring events and you should look on the bulletin boards at libraries, community centers, shopping malls, colleges, workout facilities, career offices, or online job boards. Hint: Look for fliers.
What to bring and what to expect? First thing to remember about career fairs is that it’s a great way to seek out various employment opportunities in a one stop shop. It’s your opportunity to browse different employers, network, and make contact with recruiters and hiring managers. Bring several copies of your updated resume in a clean, organized folder. Attending employers will be willing to meet with you face-to-face, so dress for success in your best business suit and be prepared to interview. (Avoid bringing along your family and friends; this is your opportunity to job search with as little distractions as possible.)
Since it is an event open to the public, you can expect it to be time consuming. It’s always a good idea to research in advance the companies you are especially interested in. Most companies will provide written information about their company and open positions, so take all of the information you can before you interview. Prepare some questions and be patient; interview lines may be long. Keep in mind that interviewers are very busy, so don’t waste time asking obvious questions like, “What does your company do?”
Companies may give out promotional things at their booths. It’s ok to pick up a few items, but don’t leave the impression that you are on a shopping spree. The main impression you want to make is that you are very interested and qualified for a job.
Last, but not least, make sure to either grab a business card or write down the name and contact information for your interviewer. If all goes well, you will want to follow up with either a letter or email thanking them for their time; reiterate the points you discussed from the interview. This is a great tip that will help you stand out from the crowd they will meet throughout the day.