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Job Fairs

Job Fair Participation Tips

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DETROIT, MI - APRIL 23: A woman seeking employment fills out an application at a job fair at the Matrix Center April 23, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. Several local organizations and businesses from the Detroit area looking to fill approximately 50 entry level and white-collar jobs participated in the job fair.
Joshua Lott / Getty Images

If you are looking for a new job, a career fair or job fair (the terms are usually used interchangeably) is a good option to include in your job search plan. Career fairs can range from "real life" multi-employer events to online job fairs.

Attending a job fair allows you to meet with employers at a convenient location, usually a large hotel or conference center. Attending a job fair will give you the chance to meet with representatives from a variety of companies - like "one stop shopping" at the mall. The company representatives will provide information about general career opportunities as well as specific details on current openings.

Find a Job Fair

There are some companies that have job fairs scheduled throughout the year. National Career Fairs, for example, runs fairs at over 300 locations. While other organizations, such as LI Works, have an event once or twice a year. Still others, including Women for Hire, focus on a particular audience.

Job fairs can be overwhelming with many people waiting to see the same employer, on-the-spot interviewing, noise and sometimes confusion. However, they can be a valuable tool and a good way to meet company representatives face-to-face. Before you go, review some tips on participating which will help make your Career Fair experience a positive one. Then take a look at some upcoming fairs in your city or state, or try out a virtual fair.

Job Fair Tips

Wear comfortable shoes. Because lines are frequently long and you should expect to wait, don’t wear uncomfortable high heels or brand new shoes that haven’t been broken in. Consider pair of conservative, interview appropriate shoes that you know are comfortable.

Dress Professionally. Job fairs are like interviews, so make sure your attire is interview appropriate. Wear professional clothes, style your hair conservatively, and ladies should wear minimal makeup.

Bring Resumes - Bring a supply of resumes to hand out to the companies. Take a portfolio or a briefcase to hold resumes and corporate literature.

Prepare a "one minute commercial.” Think about your strong points, your goals, the company and where you want to go within the company. Be prepared to talk about these aspects with your employer.

Be prepared to discuss your career goals. Be ready to talk about where you want to work, what you would like to do, and your relevant skills.

Arrive early. Plan on extra time for checking in, parking, and getting orientated with the layout of the career fair.

Network. While you are waiting in line, talk to others. You may hear about opportunities of which you were unaware.

Be assertive and show initiative. Shake hands and introduce yourself to recruiters when you reach the table. Act interested in the company and their job opportunities.

Be enthusiastic. Employer surveys identify one of the most important personal attributes candidates can bring to a new position as enthusiasm. This means that employers want to see you smile! So, do smile and project interest in the company.

Remain calm. There will be many applicants approaching employers at the same you are, but don’t be overwhelmed by the experience. Keep a positive attitude and concentrate on the benefits of the experience.

Explore options. A wide variety of companies will normally participate. This is an excellent opportunity to browse and indulge your curiosity.

Find a Job Fair

List of Job Fairs
Job Fairs at locations around the United States.

Job Fair Success

Finally, heed this advice from Women for Hire's Tory Johnson "Keep in mind that all is not lost if you don't land a job. Career fairs also offer great practice in perfecting networking and interviewing skills. Talk to as many people as you can; never underestimate the value of face time with recruiters from leading companies.

And, just as importantly, listen to them, too. Pay attention to the questions you're being asked and to the kind of information they're offering. It's impossible to leave without something of value. " Here are more tips from Tory on how to successfully participate in a job fair.

Read More: Tips for Attending a Job Fair

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