When working with clients, we constantly emphasize the importance of professional networking. Networking is one of the most critical components of a job search. Firing your resume into cyber space through online job sites is commonly described as “cold and impersonal.” Online applications alone very rarely result in employment. The key is personal contact!
Although you can’t attend a career fair and expect to walk away with a job offer, they are a great resource for networking with employers and learning more about possible opportunities. Here are a few ways to maximize your career fair experience:
1. 1.) Research the list of registered employers prior to attending the career fair. This will allow you to strategically target specific companies and employers that match your target industry.
2 2.) Prepare and practice your “30 second commercial” or “pitch” in advance. A strong and confident introduction gives a positive impression. You will likely have a limited amount of time to spend with each employer, so you want to make your first impression a lasting impression. Ask yourself, “What do I want this employer to know about me? What will help me stand out from the crowd?” Include your name, demonstrate your knowledge of the organization or company, express interest in the company, and highlight how you will be an asset to the company.
3. 3.) Dress to impress. Treat a career fair much like a job interview. Professional business attire is recommended. Carry your resumes in a leather portfolio or folder, and have a nice pen and paper. Greet everyone with a smile and firm handshake. Be confident, enthusiastic, and respectful.
4. 4.) Ask Questions. Prepare intelligent questions to ask the company representatives. Avoid asking questions that could be answered by simply looking at the company’s website. This will demonstrate your knowledge of and interest in the company.
5. 5.) Relax and be yourself. Career fairs provide an opportunity to meet new people and expand your professional network.
The UK Career Center’s Spring 2012 Employer Showcase is just around the corner and alumni are welcome to attend. More than 120 employers have already registered for the February 14 and 15 event. Click here for a list of attending employers.