The following post is courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap:
I have participated in many Job Fairs and Career Days and can tell you, as you may already know, they don’t always live up to what they say they will. That is not necessarily a bad thing, however, there are several things you should keep in mind that will help you maximize the benefit you get from attending them, which you should!
Lets start with Expectations. Don’t have any, simple as that. Think about the objective of companies that participate in Job Fairs and Career Days. They are usually multiple, such as:
1. To find qualified candidates to fill their positions (this is not their primary objective, although you would think so)
2. To build their database with candidates for future positions
There is a chance you may get an interview but it likely will not be with the Hiring Manager since few hiring managers actually attend Job Fairs and Career Days. The interview you do at Job Fairs and Career Days will likely be with a Recruiter, a Human Resources representative or someone from the department you would work in if you were an employee of the company.
The department representative you would likely interview with would likely be a non-volunteer asked, or told, to attend the Job Fairs or Career Days as a representative of the company. None of these people are likely a decision maker so any interview you do have will more likely be an audition to get you to an interview with the decision maker, whom is, the Hiring Manager. So, getting past the Job Fairs or Career Days representatives to get to the hiring manager should not be your expectation, it should be your objective.
You should Research the companies in attendance at the Job Fairs or Career Days. Many times you can get an advance copy of the attendee list, and, if you can, get that copy. Once you do, research your targets, the companies you want to talk to. Develop a planned strategy on approach, what you want to leave with them such as a cover letter and resume, what you want to say and the impression you want to leave with the representative you talk with from the company. In your research know what positions they are looking to fill so you have some intelligence to prepare for your approach to them. Know what they do, their product line and check news releases for the latest and greatest news on them. Collect what business cards you can and plan to do what follow up that is necessary. And, by all means, do a follow up contact with whom you talk with as you would a follow up to an interview. You will score big time if you do the right things.
Be a Participant in the Job Fairs or Career Days. The last thing you want to do is walk around, drop off resumes and not say anything to company representatives. You won’t get information or be able to present yourself if you are a non-participant. The only way to find out what’s out there that you may not know about is to participate. Talk to people, collect business cards and communicate what you are looking for. People will remember a personable friendly person they have talked to more than someone who just drops off a resume and moves on. Keep in mind that connecting with people leads you to other people, such as, hiring managers. Contribute information and ask questions. You will be much better off participating and not drop boxing your resume.
Keep in mind that Job Fairs and Career Days are just another means to an end in your Job Search. There are no guarantees on the success you will have with Job Fairs or Career Days. Look to them as another tool in your tool box and a means of networking, which is critical, in your Job Search. Work them effectively and you will find value in them. Maybe even get a job out of them. Attend for the sake of attending and you will likely be wasting your time.
Regardless of what you do in your Job Search and how you effective you are, what you must always keep in mind and do is:
Never give up, Never give in and Never quit trying!
So, go out there, seize the opportunities and seize the day!
For more information on Job Search watch for my other Blog’s on all topics Job Search at http://jobsearch-rsc.blogspot.com/ you won’t be disappointed.
Author: Ron Cottick, CPC, CHRM
Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by CollegeRecruiter.com, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.
Click Be Your Own Headhunter for info on my Job Search Seminar.