Imagine wall to wall anxious job seekers, tired recruiters and thousands of resumes exchanging hands. CNN Money reports that we have already lost 760, 000 jobs in 2008 and so it is no surprise that job fair attendance is clearly up.
If you are looking for work, one immediate way to quickly improve your career and industry awareness is to attend a career fair. Job fairs generally have the same format and layout, cost you nothing but a few hours and give you a really great opportunity to meet hiring managers and network. Some companies may even be doing job interviews and making hiring decisions on the spot.
If you are searching online for job fairs nearby, use different keywords to find upcoming events since the names might vary slightly. Here are a few alternative ways to find a career fairs which could be of interest to you.
- Location – eg Philadelphia Career Fair or Valley Forge Career Fair.
- Education or training – eg MBA Career Fair, Technical Job Fair
- Industry – eg. Sales Job Fair, Nonprofit Career Fair, Healthcare Job Fair
- Niche – eg Diversity Job Fair, Disability Job Fair, Veteran Job Fair, Skilled Trades Job Fair
*Don't forget to search for Virtual Job Fairs as well which are completely online events.
Make the most of these crowded events by:
- Registering ahead of time if possible. Many fairs allow you to register and upload a resume before the event. This way recruiters will get a chance to see you early.
- Identifying who you want to see and make those rounds first. Don't waste time in long lines, visit another employer of choice and come back!
- Planning that 30-second introduction. You don't have a lot of time to make a connection, so the better you handle that introduction, and speak of the position you want, the better it will be.
- Attending job fairs alone. Exploring the job fair is not a team sport. Leave your friends at the door and arrange a time to meet after making your rounds.
- Staying off your phone. Why are you there, if you plan to spend to all your time on your laptop or Blackberry?
- Talking to people. Do not just drop your resumes and run! You never know who you could meet at a job fair.