When you are looking for work, you will more than likely hit all the usual resources: friends and family, other members of your network, classified ads and job boards. But there is a very important resource you may be missing: job fairs.
Job fairs can either be held in real life or virtually online. They resemble what you might expect to find at a country fair or craft fair expect the vendors are really companies trying to recruit employees. Each company present will have a representative or more on hand to talk about the company, its mission, its style of management and job opportunities. They might have literature to give prospective employees and most will be will to talk with you and take your resume.
Job fairs can go on year round. Some companies participate in numerous across the country all year long. There are organizations in business simply to organize and facilitate job fairs. These affairs tend to attract large national companies with job sites in many locations. You could apply in Dallas and if they have an opening suited to you, could find yourself in New York. If you are interested in relocating to find the right job, consider attending job fairs being hosted in locations further from home. You can also let the representative know you would be interested in other locations. Just make sure they understand you’re looking for a better life!
Job fairs conducted locally usually represent businesses in your area. Some you may already be familiar, some you may not. It is still worth your while to attend, even if you believe you have applied to most of the companies participating. You never know what new connections you might make or whose eye you might catch. You never know if this may be your chance to reach your “American Dream.”
If you attend a job fair, dress professionally but comfortably. You could end up standing in line for quite some time if a large number of people are all interested in one employer. There is a lot of walking and standing involved in a job fair so wear comfortable shoes. Carry a briefcase and stock it with plenty of copies of your resume.
Be prepared by knowing what you want to say. Have an idea of what your strong points are, where you want to go within the organization and what type of work you want to do. Treat this like an interview because it is one. This is the biggest value of your visit.
Let your demeanor talk for you. Shake hands warmly. Be enthusiastic. Introduce yourself to everyone at the booth. Smile and show that you are interested in the company. If there is a crowd, stay calm, be patient and show a positive attitude. You can win more people over by being in control, friendly and optimistic than you can by becoming anxious, hostile or overwhelmed.
Remember in the end, even if you don’t walk out with a job, you will have practiced your interviewing skills and hopefully developed some new contacts to help you network. Attending a job fair can be a win-win situation.