Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Job Fair Season

Well it’s a New Year and I’m happy to say a new start for a number of my clients who are in Second Career. A bunch of them have already started their courses this month and I have another 6 – 7 who will be starting in the next few weeks. Having spoken to them I know how excited they are and how much they are looking forward to getting their qualifications. I have been asked by a few people what makes a successful applicant for Second Career and while there are guidelines that have to be complied with, there are a few extra things that individuals can do to help their case. So one of the things I am working on at the moment is a blog posting focused on Second Career.

For right now though I want to share some tips regarding Job/Career fairs. We are rapidly approaching that time where it seems that everyone is having a Job Fair. My agency is hosting one in March and Niagara College has theirs in February to name just a couple that are rapidly approaching.

One of the problems though with job fairs is that a large busy job fair resembles a chaotic human bazaar. Because there are so many people present, when you do meet with an employer you have only a short amount of time to make a positive first impression and try to ensure that it is not lost amongst the others.

Like most things in the world of job search, the keys to success at a job fair depend on the time you take to prepare, execute and follow-up. The following are some simple tips that everyone can use no matter the size of the job fair they attend.

How to prepare

-          If you are exploring new occupations that fit with your career interests, look over the list of participating companies to determine which ones are a good match.
-          Do you home work and research the companies in advance. The more you know about a company the better you will be in marketing yourself to that organization.
-          Prepare your resume. Is it up to date with recent qualifications/experience. Be sure to include contact details like a daytime phone number and your email address.
-          Anticipate questions they might ask, for example: why do you want to work for us?
-          Practice how you want to present yourself. You should look and act professionally when meeting recruiters. If possible, dress in business attire. At the very least, good grooming is essential. When you shake hands make it a firm, friendly handshake and be sure to make eye contact to establish rapport.
During the Job Fair

-          Offer the recruiter your resume.
-          Sell yourself. Be ready with a short summary of the skills and talents that can set you apart from others who are competing for the same job.
-          Ask about the application process.
-          Listen to what they're saying.
-          Convey interest, enthusiasm, and confidence.
-          Be aware of the time. At a job fair there maybe others waiting behind you.
-          Ask for a business card from the person you are talking to.
After the Job Fair

-          Wait a few days to allow the employer time to process the resumes that they received then call to follow up and express your interest in working with them.
-          If an on-the-spot interview was conducted, follow up with a thank you note or e-mail.
-          Continue to check the employer’s websites (usually included on business cards) for additional job openings.