5 Keys to Making the Most Out of a Career Fair

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An article by contributor Dixie Somers.career-fair

Career fairs are a staple at any university campus. Schools, cities, states even businesses host regular career fairs, not only as an opportunity to network in their communities, but to scout and recruit local talent. Career fairs are great place to find leads during your job search, but you still need to put in some effort of your own if you want to get the most out of it. Here are just five things you can do that will help you during your next job fair:

1. Do Some Research Before the Fair

Most job fairs have a website that will tell you what organizations will be present. Do some research into these groups before the fair to find out which ones would best suit you. if you have a particular company or industry in mind, follow their marketing and PR folks on social media, to find out where they will have booths setup. Some will be perfect for your chosen career path, while others would be better left alone.

2. Dress to Impress

Just because the fair is on your campus is no excuse to go in pajamas! Treat a career fair like a job interview, and dress how a [prospective employee would.  You might be able to get away with a business casual look, but you’ll make a much better first impression if you dress one step higher than your chosen industry does.

3. Give Yourself Plenty of Time

A job fair shouldn’t be something you check out if you’re passing by. Make fairs a serious part of your job search efforts, and devote an afternoon to networking. You should plan to spend at least a couple of hours at a fair, even if you aren’t interested in every organization there. With some luck, at least a few employers will want to speak to you, so give yourself plenty of time for a discussion.

4. Prepare a Pitch

Employers go to job fairs to find potential new employees, so you should give them a reason to consider you as a candidate, or at least remember you later. Prepare a pitch that includes your career interests, your academic achievements and anything that could make you look like a valuable addition to any organization. Have plenty of copies of your resume handy to pass around as well, and some questions to ask the reps you meet.

5. Take Plenty of Notes

Of course, it’s not enough to just speak to employers and listen to what they have to say. You should be writing details such as names, telephone numbers, job openings and any other information about any organizations that interest you. This should absolutely include any dates about other presentations and job fairs in case you want to follow up with any employers and learn more about opportunities they might have. Collect business cards from the booths you find most promising (and even ones that don’t!).

Job fairs are often offered near colleges such as UC Clermont College, as well as in local convention centers. It’s often easy to find one scheduled online in your area. Getting the most out of a job fair is really about paying attention to everything around you. Even though you won’t be interested in all of the employers who are present at the fair, there should be at least some that will be perfect for your chosen career path. Keep your eyes open at all times, and good luck with your job search.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband. You can follower her on Twitter @DixieSomers.

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