How to Get the Most Out of a Job Fair

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You’re an engineering grad and you’re eagerly looking for a job. You heard that attending job fairs can be fruitful, that they're an ideal place to make contacts and learn about job openings--before they land on job boards and want ads. So you crank out a few resumes, get a haircut, conceal your tats and put on a tie. You’re ready, right? Not quite. Some things you need to consider:

Do some research. Companies at job fairs are usually listed in the flyer, poster or bulletin board you found at school. If you’re lucky, they even list some of the positions currently open. Leverage this bit of knowledge by researching the companies you like. Find out what they do, who the key players are, any challenges they may be facing, and what their plans are for the future. You need this info to “position” yourself in the best light.

Rehearse your “elevator pitch.” Tighten it up so that your experience and your accomplishments dovetail with the company’s objectives. The pitch should be geared to those three or four companies you’re dying to work for. Face it, you’re going to be compared to the dozens of other engineering candidates looking for a job, so you’ve got to “outsell” them.

Bring resumes. About 30 copies should do. Bring some that are general in nature. But have some that are specifically geared toward those half dozen firms you really want to work for.

Be concise, take notes. Bring a small pad and pen and jot down key points you covered in your brief meeting. These notes will come in handy if you are called in for a follow up interview.

Follow up. Ask for a business card and contact the rep with an email, letter or short phone call no later than two days after your meeting. Ask what steps you should take to be considered for any open positions.

For an added perspective, check out this video:

Got any thoughts on job fairs? Include them in the comments section below.

Alex A. Kecskes has written hundreds of published articles on health/fitness, "green" issues, TV/film entertainment, restaurant reviews and many other topics. As a former Andy/Belding/One Show ad agency copywriter, he also writes web content, ads, brochures, sales letters, mailers and scripts for national B2B and B2C clients. Please see more of his blogs and view additional job postings on Nexxt.


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