Job Fairs: How to Land a New Job
After the Divorce, 12 Tips to Help You Find a Job Quickly When at a Job Fair
If it’s become necessary for you to land a new job after a divorce, you’ll quickly discover a multitude of ways for finding opportunities with employers you have an interest in working for. To find the perfect job, however, you’ll probably have to utilize a few different job search strategies and be persistent until you ultimately find and apply for the job you get hired to fill.
As a job seeker, you’ll face competition, other job seekers who are as qualified, or more qualified than you are, who will be applying for the same job openings as you. Thus, you’ll need to focus on setting yourself apart by showcasing your education, skills, experience and personality.
While many job seekers have success finding unadvertised job openings by tapping their networking skills, another useful technique for quickly finding opportunities is to attend job fairs.
Job fairs are constantly held throughout the country and are sponsored by colleges, newspapers, job fair coordinators, and specific industries. These events gather together multiple employers who have immediate openings and allow job seekers to meet with representatives from those companies in an informal manner, without a prior appointment.
Some job fairs cater to specific types of job openings, such as entry-level, retail, hospitality or IT/computer-related positions. Thus, it’s important to find events that will be attended by employers offering the types of positions you’re qualified and interested in filling.
You can typically determine if a specific job fair will be appropriate simply by reading a description of the event and reviewing a list of companies being represented. Once you decide to attend a job fair, the following 10 strategies will help you impress potential employers and make the most of the time you invest at these events:
1. Research what companies will be attending the job fair in advance.
After you determine which potential employers you’re interested in meeting with, do online research about each of them. This will help you make a positive first impression with each company at the job fair. Follow the same preparation steps as you would for any formal job interview for each employer you hope to meet with. Some employers will make hiring decisions on the spot, so be prepared.
2. Arrive to the job fair on the first day of the event, when it first opens.
Plan on staying for several hours. If you wait until the end of the day, or the last day of the event, the representatives from the companies participating will often be tired and less attentive, or will have already filled many of their immediate job openings with people who attended the fair earlier.
3. Depending on the size of the event and the number of companies participating, bring plenty of copies of your resume.
Each resume should be printed on good-quality paper – not photocopied.
4. If you’re applying for different types of positions, bring along several versions of your resume
Each listing a slightly different Objective,” for example. Each resume you distribute should be tailored to the position you’re applying for.
5. Focus on approaching the employers you’re most interested in first
Keeping in mind you might have to wait a while for a face-to-face meeting with someone, based on the fair’s attendance. Be patient and professional, but persistent.
6. Arrive at the job fair prepared to participate in actual job interviews right on the spot.
While an employer might meet with you briefly and ultimately invite you for a more formal interview to be held later, many make their hiring decisions on the spot, or at least formulate that all-important first impression.
7. When choosing what to wear to the job fair, select an outfit that’s appropriate for a formal job interview.
While these are often casual events, it’s important to dress like a job applicant, not someone who walked in off the street wearing jeans and a T-shirt. Again, making a positive first impression is essential, regardless of what type of job you’re hoping to land.
8. Unlike when you reply to a help wanted ad or online job posting, when you attend a job fair, it’s you who makes the first impression
Not your resume or cover letter. Thus, you’ll need to showcase a positive and up-beat personality, and quickly be able to verbally summarize your skills, education and experience, plus demonstrate why you are the perfect applicant for a job opening. Your resume will then back-up what you say and the presentation you make. Your in-person meeting at the job fair replaces the need for a cover letter that would typically accompany your resume.
9. Since time is limited with perspective employers at job fairs, develop a well-researched two-minute speech
About yourself that introduces you to the employer and summarizes your credentials, plus shows off your personality, qualifications and excitement about the job being offered. You may find yourself giving this mini-presentation about yourself dozens of times, but each time it should come across as if the employer you’re meeting with is your first choice in regard to where you’d like to work.
10. Depending on crowds at the job fair, you may only have three to five minutes with each perspective employer, during which time you’ll need to make a positive first impression.
Show off how prepared you are by being ready to answer common interview questions, like “Why do you want to work for this company?” and “What skills do you possess that’ll help you meet the requirements of this job?” Also, be prepared to reply when the interviewer says, “So, tell me about yourself.” Demonstrate your knowledge about the company.
11. During your interviews, avoid discussing your recent divorce, the fact that you’re a single parent raising kids
What your salary requirements are, or asking how much vacation time you’ll receive if you get hired. Instead, focus on discussing why you’re qualified for the job and explain in no uncertain terms how you can utilize your skills, experience and education to help the employer achieve its goals and overcome its obstacles.
12. Collect a business card from every person you meet with.
After your meetings, follow up with handwritten thank you notes within 24 hours. Within your notes, remind the recipient who you are by mentioning something specific that was discussed during your in-person meeting. Also, state that you’re excited about the job opportunity and specifically ask to be hired or for a second, more in-depth interview (depending on how things left off).
To learn about job fairs in your area, contact the career guidance office at any local colleges or universities, check for event ads in the Help Wanted or Careers section of your local newspapers, do a Google search online (using a search phrase like, Job Fair, [insert your home city]), and look for event listings in industry-specific newsletters and magazines.