Friday, December 15, 2006

Finding the Perfect Job: Making the Most of a Job Fair

It's another week and that means we're posting more from our Job Seeker Survival Guide. This is a free publication from The Employment Guide® that can be picked up at any of The Employment Guide job fairs! Our first one is February 20, 2007 at the Westin in Charlotte. There are several career fairs taking place in 2007, so with this week's article we're helping you make the most of your job fair experience.

Making the Most of a Job Fair!

Before the Job Fair

  • Find out what businesses will be there: The more information you can gather beforehand, the more successful the job fair is going to be for you. Find out what businesses are going to be there and start doing some research about them. What types of jobs do they have open? What kind of people are they looking for? What kinds of skills do these people need to have?
  • Develop some questions you'd like to ask employers: Narrow down your list of businesses to include those who have positions you are interested in, or are businesses you think you might like to work for. Then list some questions you would like to ask the company representative at the job fair.
  • Proofread your resume - at least twice: If you don't already have one, it is a good idea to put a resume together for a job fair. It gives employers a blueprint of your skills and something tangible to remember you by. See our previous post on how to write a great resume.

At the Job Fair

  • Dress the part: As with a job interview, first impressions at a job fair are important. How you represent yourself sends an immediate message to employers about how serious you are in your job search. It isn't always necessary to wear a suit to a job fair - unless you're looking for a job that would require you to dress professionally at work. However, you should leave the jeans and t-shirts at home. "Business Casual" is usually the most appropriate - nice slacks and collared shirt for men, and nice slacks or a skirt and a blouse for women. Make sure your clothes are clean and pressed. Avoid wearing excessive jewelry or clothing that is too short or revealing.
  • Take time to talk to employers: Don't just drop off a resume and move to the next booth. Take time to get additional information and make an impression. The point is not to see how many resumes you can give to employers in the least amount of time. It is to establish some solid job prospects. Also, try to avoid approaching employers when they are crowded by a large group of job seekers. Approaching a crowded booth makes it difficult for employers to answer your individual questions, and they are less likely to remember you when they return to their offices.
  • Use your research to appear confident and knowledgeable: If you have done research before the job fair, you won't have to ask the question, "What does your company do?" If you have to ask, you are wasting valuable time. Instead, you could be asking questions about the position or department you are interested in. It works to your advantage if you can tell employers how your skills match what they are looking for. Employers want to hire people who are genuinely interested in their company. Do your homework!
  • Offer a firm handshake and maintain eye contact: Let employers know how serious you are. Greet the employer with a firm handshake, and maintain eye contact throughout your conversation. Showing interest and good manners is important, regardless of the type of job you are looking for. Every employer appreciates someone who is dedicated, conscientious, and attentive.

After the Job Fair

  • Follow up with a thank you note: Experts agree that follow up is an important part of attending a job fair. If you picked up a business card, or the name of the company's job fair representative, send a thank you note a day or two after the job fair. This is not only polite, but will let the representative know you paid attention, are serious about the job, and that you are the right person for it.

If you have further questions or suggestions on attending a job fair, please leave us a comment!

Keep checking back for tips from The Job Seeker's Survival Guide. To find that perfect job, pick up a copy of this week's edition of The Employment Guide at locations all over the Charlotte area, including all Petro Express stores, or go online at

For more information about The Employment Guide call us at: 704-676-0051 or 877-676-0051.

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