What you need to know about successful job search at career fairs

What you need to know about successful job search at career fairs

Are career fairs relevant in today’s 2.0 job search? A young client emailed to find out what she needed to know to be successful at a career fair. Would her new value-driven resume work even though it was two pages. I decided it was time to do some research and asked my colleague, Barb Poole, Multi-Certified Professional Resume Writer and Career Coach of Hire Imaging and Amy Lang, Recruiter of National Accounts and Claims Talent for Sentry Insurance to offer insight and tips from their unique perspectives.

Do you really land jobs at career fairs?

While only about 3% of job seekers land via job fairs, I think they can be great as one of your strategies. It never can hurt to get out there for multiple reasons. You never know who you may meet. You can learn about employers in the area. You can network etc. One thing to keep in mind is that employers are often using these fairs more to market themselves than to hire. Not always but sometimes it’s the case. ~ Barb Poole

Resume or LinkedIn career fair tips

When we attend, we will accept resumes. We are really trying to connect with our applicants via LinkedIn to create a future talent pipeline for various openings we have. ~ Amy Lang

Business card advice for career fairs

Another tip is that typically the host of the career fair lists tips for the attendees as far as what to bring. Some individuals have handed us business cards with their contact information and links to their LinkedIn Account. ~ Amy Lang

Barb Poole shared a blog post she wrote giving details to how best to create a business card for a job search: Business Cards – a must have in your networking. She suggests:

That is the networking business card! You should always have an updated business card as a job hunter! It will not often be practical to have a résumé on hand. And even if you do, who will typically carry that around for you? But a card is a wonderful marketing tool to pass on…and on…and on! Your business card doesn’t replace the résumé, but it provides a convenient capsule of information that will impress a specific level of hiring value.

Being prepared is key to all facets of job search.

Research — This means that if you choose to go to career fairs, do the company research first. Typically,Job Fairs and Career Fairs are announced in advance by the organizers. Watch for both traditional (newspaper, television) and social media announcements for future opportunities for career fairs. Review the list of companies and determine which ones hit your job search target. (No, they don’t all fit!) Select the companies that you would like to work for and that have the type of job you want to do. Find out about the companies, research them from Google (Go beyond the company website) to learn about mergers and acquisitions, market expansion plans, new product launches, and growth plans.

Collect Contact Information — Gather business cards from the employers and follow-up by sending them a message the next day via email or better yet, snail mail.

Be innovative — With your business card in hand, you can let people know who you are and give them something to remember you by. Another potential networking tool is the Value-graphic. Clients and I are exploring ways to develop a value-graphic resume, one used as a networking tool, with more graphics and images infused to catch attention. This doesn’t replace the traditional resume but might offer a handout for career fairs or networking events.

Land your next role! I can help you win new positions by using my interactive coaching style of resume writing to create your new resume and help you use multiple tools such as LinkedIn to propel you to success in your job search! Learn more here


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Julie Walraven, Design Resumes

Julie Walraven

Professional Resume Writer

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