Due to extreme competition for jobs, it pays to make a lasting and positive first impression with a company representative by attending a job fair. Also, it beats the loneliness of sending out resumes from home and then sitting around all day just waiting for the phone to ring.
Labor analysts have recently reported that where unemployment is high, companies are still hiring. Instead of placing an advertisement online or in local papers, many companies are relying on employee referrals, whether informal or formally, to target their recruitment efforts. At job fairs, recruiters and managers are aware of jobs that are “coming down the pipe” but have not been formally approved for hire. From an employer perspective, job fairs are used as a medium to passively source talents pools. So bottom line is this: you need to attend job fairs. In order to make the best first impression, you’ll want to implement the following tips.
1. Do your research. Know in advance the companies and the name of the recruiter or company representative that will be attending. Prepare informed and innovative questions that are beyond the obvious. I cannot tell you how many times that I’ve spoken to a job seeker at a fair and been asked “So, what type of jobs are you hiring for?” With the proper research, you should already be armed with this basic information about the company.
2. Stay upbeat and energized as you navigate a job fair event. If you appear frustrated, tired, and discouraged, the recruiter will “see” and “feel” this type of negative energy around you and pull away from it. Nobody wants to be around someone who is not positive and uninspired. Enough said on that.
3. Let the person you meet know without a doubt the value you bring to the company and/or the type of problems you can solve for the organization. Prepare a short two minute speech about you and your professional value. Try to capture the recruiter’s interest by telling them something unique to remember you by.
4. Follow up after the job fair by sending a cover letter and another copy of the resume you gave to the job fair contact. Thank your contact for taking the time to speak with you and reiterate your value proposition to the organization.
5. Understand that the job fair should be one prong in your multi-faceted job search strategy. Get excited about the fact that you now have new resources and leads to add to your network because you attended the job fair.
Please don’t be discouraged; instead be persistent in your pursuit of a new job. Career opportunities can come from the least expected places at the most unanticipated moments.
Torski Dobson-Arnold is CEO and President of Your Career Confidence, LLC (www.yourcareerconfidence.com), an elite resume writing and career services firm dedicated to promoting career professionals in their career search endeavors through services such as resume writing, interviewing and job search strategies, and career coaching. Dobson-Arnold qualifies in this arena with extensive exempt-level experience, specifically in recruitment, training, workforce planning, and compensation administration that complements her 10-year background in human resources management. Along with running her own firm, Torski speaks in high schools all over the country with Monster.com’s Making High School Count Program and received the Rookie Speaker award for the 2008 fall semester.
Previous roles in the HR field include stints with The Commonwealth of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, and the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Torski completed her graduate studies in Human Resource Management at Troy University in Alabama and received her undergraduate marketing degree from Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, VA. She is also a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR).
Her most notable affiliations include The National Resume Writers’ Association (The NRWA), The Association of Online Resume and Career Professionals (AORCP), The National Association of African-Americans in HR (NAAAHR), VP of Programs for the Richmond Chapter, The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), and The Richmond Human Resource Management Association (RHRMA).