I recently attended a career fair in Los Angeles and I had very interesting encounter with a would-be candidate that has spawned the idea of “How-to” for this week.
How-to Make the Most of Attending a Career Fair(disclaimer this may come with a bit of sarcasm but please understand that I find life’s encounters so exciting that sarcasm is just to point out life’s funny-isms.)
1.) Know what types of jobs you are looking to target.When I say types, I am referring to what job functions: sales, customer service, accounting, etc. Career fairs are not meant for personal career exploration. There are great online services or even job service centers that can help you dial in what areas you should focus on. If you don’t know what you are looking for, you will always be unemployed.
2.) The saying goes, “first impressions last a life-time.” This is also the case with meeting employers at career fairs. Often companies send reps to scope out the candidates because most of their interview process is over the phone. As shallow as this sounds, companies try to visualize you as one of the people that represents their company; dress for the job you want, present yourself as if you were auditioning in person.
3.) Business cards are better than resumes. Now I may be blasphemous here, but hard-copy resumes are ok, but personal business cards are better. Most companies have some kind of online application or personality profile where you are going to attach your resume anyway, no need to kill more trees. Provide the recruiter with the essential contact information with a business card, this helps focus the interaction with the recruiter on you the person, not you the person on paper. If you don’t have personal business card, you can create them very inexpensively either at home or at a local copy shop.
4.) Resumes are not to be recited. Recruiters and company reps will eventually read your resume, but I believe that people are deeper than just what they put down on paper. There are few companies out there that are what I call “spaghetti companies,” where they hire tons of people, throw them against the wall and hope they stick. The “spaghetti companies” will basically hire anyone that have a pulse and will burn through new-hires. Do you really want to be one of the ones that falls victim to that company, even if they are a large, well-known company? You deflate your self-worth by only sharing your at-work identity. What I mean by this is; resumes show experience, but who more often it is who you are that peaks the recruiter’s interests. Show recruiters who you are by not making the resume the focus of the conversation.
5.) The recruiters are people. We like to get to know people, we like sports, have hobbies, etc. Finding ways to break the ice with talking “news, weather and sports” is a good way to start the dialogue. If you try to cut right to the chase, you may waste valuable face-time to build rapport.
Career fairs can be fun! I have lots of anecdotal research and stories that I have collected as I have participated in countless career fairs. I feel that if you can remember these Fab5 tips, you will find your experiences at the event more valuable and enjoyable. If you have others to share, I would love to hear from you. Happy hunting!
“Bret j Nelson is the All-Star Sales Recruiter and Super Hero Coach for one of the top commercial insurance brokerages called Leavitt Group, he always is on the lookout for All-Star Salespeople.”
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