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How to Get a Job in a Job Fair

How to Get a Job in a Job Fair

Steve Berman | HRPeople

June 04, 2010

When you’re young and the world is seemingly your oyster, going to a job fair sounds like a no-brainer. A bunch of companies looking to hire? and All in the same place? As long as you bring enough copies of your resume and pass them out to everyone, you’re certain to get a callback. Right?

Not necessarily. Without the right approach, job fairs can be less than fruitful for those looking to hook up with their dream company, or any organization for that matter. Spending the time to travel to a job fair and putting in tons of legwork — only to receive no feedback at all — has frustrated many a job seeker. But don’t swear them off all together.

Here are six ways to take advantage of job fairs:

Tip No. 1: Look the part

Clearly you’re looking for work, but you don’t want to look too unemployed. You want to look professional, dynamic, and put together. Companies aren’t looking to perform charity work at job fairs. They’re looking to meet and snag the best candidates before their competition does.

What does that mean? Treat the job fair like an interview in all ways, including how you look. Women shouldn’t wear clothing that looks too casual or revealing, while men should leave the sneakers and five o’clock shadow at home. Part of the advantage of a job fair is that hiring managers are able to put a face to a name. You want to make the best first impression you can. In other words, wear a suit unless the type of work you’re seeking is extremely casual.

Tip No. 2: Be prepared

If you show up to a job fair with a bunch of resumes in your hand and nothing else, you’re doing it all wrong. A resourceful job fair attendee will appear to be a resourceful employee, too. Make sure that you bring more copies of your resume than you would ever plan on handing out, and make sure they’re in a protective portfolio of some sort. Bring different versions of your resume if there’s a wide range of companies at the fair.

Other things to remember include letters of recommendation, business cards, a notepad, and a professional looking briefcase to carry it all. If the recruiter or hiring manager hands you brochures or business cards of their own, you want to look like you’re taking special care of these documents and not simply shoving them in your pocket.

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