Your Job Fair Strategy

You’ve already been keeping track of all the do’s and don’ts for building a successful job fair strategy – right? Just in case, here’s a handy list to keep nearby as you plan your next visit to a job fair. Let’s start with the mistakes you want to avoid.

DON’T…

…focus on job openings as your only goal, since many of the companies will not be hiring in your field on the day you attend the fair.

…rush through the fair, glancing at booths and grabbing handouts. A few quality conversations will yield more than a passing nod at dozens of booths.

…ask booth reps for applications to fill out. Unless there’s an ideal job currently open, why would you want to spend precious job fair time filling out pointless paperwork?

…overstay your welcome at any one booth, or use your conversation time to vent.

Okay, you’ve got the main Don’ts in mind. Luckily, there are a lot more Do’s that you can focus on, for a positive and proactive approach to your day at the fair.

DO…

…research upcoming job fairs before attending, to be sure it’s a good fit for you and to get a heads-up about the employers likely to be there.

…research individual companies that will be at the fair, to determine where you might fit in the organization.

…prepare your resume and print multiple copies to bring along.

…consider bringing business cards.

…choose a comfortable but professional outfit to wear, as well as a practical shoulder bag to carry your papers and keys.

…plan to stay at the fair at least two hours.

…organize your priorities for the fair, and the main conversation points you want to raise at key booths.

…focus more on making connections to follow up with later than on finding current job openings.

…take part in other offerings at the fair, such as seminars and mock interview sessions.

…organize your notes from each conversation as soon as possible, to capture your impressions and next steps.

…make a followup strategy to reconnect with the people you met at the fair, with the goal of setting in-person meetings whenever possible.

…get ready for your next job fair! Now that you have the system in place, why not make this a key part of your job search strategy? With planning, persistence and luck, you could meet several dozen – or several hundred – employers in the course of just a few weeks. Now that’s a strategic job search!

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