When searching for a job, people usually try to get as many contacts as possible. Workforce Solutions staff often discuss in detail the importance of networking and building relationships with employers. It’s stressed so much that part of our training and development includes a networking segment devoted to its effectiveness. One section discussed during the training is hiring events and job fairs. Many of us know that hiring events and job fairs are where people go to speak with employers about jobs offered.
Often the terms job fair and hiring event are used synonymously, but they are different; hence, there are different ways you should prepare for them. Hiring events usually involve one or two employers, hiring for specific jobs. Companies that are looking for a big response and need to hire several people quickly will conduct hiring events at several Workforce Solutions locations. If there is a particular company that you want to work for, try visiting the employer’s website to see if they have posted any hiring events coming up. Even if you have already applied online, you should still attend the hiring event so that you can meet the employer face to face.
Job fairs, on the other hand, consist of multiple employers that may be hiring for multiple jobs. Job fairs have several employers looking for several people with various skills and abilities. For instance, you may go to a job fair that is looking for engineers, teachers, bus drivers, janitors, or medical assistants. The opportunities available at many job fairs are vast and can provide a great opportunity for you to meet a few employers that are looking for your skillset.
With an understanding of the differences between job fairs and hiring events, your approach to them may be completely different. However, with both events, you should dress appropriately. I recommend dressing at least business casual for both unless otherwise stated differently on the invitation or flyer. Business casual attire tells most employers that you are serious about the job search and you aren’t taking the opportunity for granted. If you dress too casually you may seem as if you weren’t actively looking for work but just stumbled upon the event. You want your attire to show purpose. When it comes to a job fair, there may be a great deal of walking so make sure you wear comfortable shoes. Those high heels may look great but after walking 20 minutes on hard floors you may start to feel the burn.
When attending a job fair, there will be a lot of employers, so you want to make sure you have several copies of your resume available. Just having a couple of resumes may be fine for a hiring event but when it comes to job fairs, there are often multiple employers that you want to leave your resume with. So gage how many resumes you should bring by the number of employers attending the job fair. Also, with hiring events, you can usually find out what employers are hiring for and target your resume appropriately. With job fairs, there may be multiple employers hiring for similar roles that you qualify for so your resume may not be as specific for the job. If there is a way for you to know which employers and positions are available, you may be able to create resumes specific for that employer. That may be a great way to stand out from the pack.
Both hiring events and job fairs have differences, but they can each be effective in reaching your goal of obtaining employment. Never discount hiring events or job fairs as a waste of time, because you never know when or where that next employment opportunity may come from. For a list of the hiring events and job fairs scheduled at the various Workforce Solutions career offices, visit Workforce Solutions under the “For Individuals” tab and select “job fairs & hiring events.”
Cornelius Booker is a senior member of the Regional Navigator team and a graduate of Oklahoma State University where he received his Bachelors in Marketing and later received his M.B.A with a focus on Business Marketing and Management. With his personal experience and passion for the disabled community, Cornelius’ insights are an invaluable asset to the Workforce Solutions organization.