How to prepare for career fairs and get a job

This article gives some handy guidance tips on how to be prepared for a career fair. There are some great career fair tips for students and professionals. After all, getting good advice for attending a career fair could land you that much coveted job!

Once you have completed your education, the next big milestone to reach is to get a job. Perhaps due to recession and/or general desperation to get just about any job, some people often land a job in a field that doesn't really interest them or use their skills. Generally, though, an individual would definitely prefer to get a job in a field for which he has acquired the necessary educational qualifications and which he is keen on working in. For example, a qualified MBBS graduate would prefer to work in a reputed hospital rather than merely be a medical representative selling medical equipment!

One of the best ways to get recruited in a career that interests you is to attend a career fair. Basically there are two types of career fairs:
(1) A career fair which encompasses diverse sectors and
(2) A career fair which encompasses a specific sector such as health or hospitality or engineering.

Furthermore, it is at a career fair that you get to network a lot, connecting with people in various fields. At one fair you may make no headway, but if you have succeeded in connecting with others you could just get that all-important call one day!

Top 6 success strategy tips when visiting a career recruitment fair

Be aware of the registration process

It is very rare for the organizers of a career fair to have an open house, meaning it is unlikely to be a walk-in. They are more likely to have an online registration process or a procedure whereby you send an email or call up and register your name for the career fair. This is done when there is anticipation of lots of people visiting the career fair so the organizers may decide to keep limited entries.

This does not mean that if you have passed the deadline for registration you should give up hope. Sometimes the organizers do give leeway to last-minute registrations, especially if a few people have cancelled their registrations. So be persistent!

Be prepared

Remember that the aim of visiting the career fair is to get a job & not to stroll around aimlessly like at a general entertainment fair. Hence you must always be prepared to submit your resume on the spot to a potential employer. Carry a folder with two dozen resumes. "Why so many?", you may wonder, if you know that there will be only 2 or 3 recruiters in your field of interest. Well, suppose each of these ask for more than one copy of your resume? Who knows – you may even come across somebody who casually mentions to you that he knows of a job opening suitable for you & could send your resume to the HR dept. of that company as he knows the people there. That is why it is a good idea to be always ready for the unexpected.

This preparation also means brushing up on communication and soft skills as well as being prepared with career fair questions to ask recruiters.

Regarding your resume, it is a good idea to put in your general interests and languages you know. A job may entail the need to be able to speak a foreign language or to have an interest in social work.

Be punctual

If the career fair is going to begin at 11a.m., be there at least 30mins. before that time. If you casually stroll in hours later, you're likely to miss out on some fantastic recruitment opportunity due to some recruiter already selecting a few lucky individuals who came earlier. It is not as though at a career fair only resumes are handed out to recruiters. There is always a likely possibility of on-the-spot interviews and hiring.

There is also the possibility of a recruiter having to leave the venue early or of the organizers unexpectedly closing the fair early. As I said earlier, be prepared for something unforeseen to happen.

Be presentable

The word 'fair' does not mean that it is some venue where you can go casually dressed. It is best to be formally dressed (for men this means complete outfit with tie) and squeaky clean footwear. Don't walk in with shirt tails out, top buttons opened, shoelaces undone. Sloppy dressing immediately puts a negative mark against you, no matter how impressive your resume may be.

Besides your clothes, personal grooming is a must – neatly combed hair, properly trimmed beards & mustaches, nails not long & pointy, etc. Also, avoid wearing all that shiny bling (especially pierced lips, eyebrows and what-not!!) which looks fine for a rock band group but is completely out of place when you are presenting yourself to a potential employer.

Be nice

It is neither a good idea to talk loudly and gesticulate wildly with your hands nor be aggressive, trying to wrangle into getting a job. Talk politely & don't use slang or obscene words. Be assertive for sure to project yourself positively, but do not behave like you are some top-shot superior person. Start with a firm handshake and end with a smile and the most important words: Thank You (even if you don't land the job).

Be natural

It is annoying to a recruiter to see somebody putting on a fake accent & projecting himself/herself as somebody else that is not his/her real self. If a recruiter asks you if you know French and the only French you learned was actually just the basics, then be honest about it. Don't pretend that you know the language very well & that you can speak it fluently.

Readers are welcome to give suggestions and narrate their personal experience of visiting a career fair. Just sign up at our site New and share ~ you will get paid too!

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