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Career Fairs: Are They Worth the Time? Part 2
In the first article on this topic we covered how to prepare for job fairs in order to make them worth your time. You cannot just show up at a job fair and expect it to be worthwhile if you have not done your homework before hand.
Having followed the steps in CareerFairs: Are They Worth the Time? Part 1, you are now prepared and ready to go to the job fair. What do you do now?
What to do the Day of the Career Fair
- First things first, dress for success. Dress professionally for the career fair. Dress for the job you want or the boss of the job you want. Don’t dress so good that you look aloof or cocky, but dress at least as well as the job you want would require.
- Get to the career fair early. Not only will you be sharp and at your best first thing in the morning, so will your recruiter. I spent many years as a hiring manager and attended my fair share of job fairs. The longer the day went the less sharp I was and this will be the same for the recruiters you see. The candidates that will be remembered most, whether good or bad, will be those the recruiters see at the beginning of the day. The highest quality discussions between candidate and recruiter are likely to occur in the morning.
- When you arrive: Take the program, sit down and take the lay of the land. Take note of where the companies that you researched are located and make a map for yourself. Start with the companies that you prioritized and then work your way around the room, interviewing with everyone you can. Try to get to everyone but don’t wear yourself out. Spend your energy on the most important companies and recruiters.
- Take advantage of the free items that are being distributed by the companies. Spend time in the candidate lounge and gather as much information about your target companies and recruiters as you possibly can.
- As you meet with recruiters make eye contact, draw on what you prepared and what you know about each company. Watch the interviewer’s body language and listen intently to what they are saying. Get the recruiters business card and be sure to leave your resume with everyone there, whether you talked to them or not.
- Before leaving, stop at the candidate lounge and prepare hand written notes to the recruiters of the priority companies and put them in their drop boxes before you leave.
- Try to accomplish as much of this as you can by lunch time. The after lunch sessions are usually very crowded and both candidates and recruiters are getting tired. Try to avoid the 1- 4 pm timeframe.
Remember why you came to the job fair and be focused on your goals. Follow these steps while you are there and in Career Fairs: Are They Worth your Time part 3, we will look at the steps you will want to take after the fair is over.