Cyber Job Fair Success

Posted by Nancy Dunham

Attending a job fairWant to succeed at a cyber job fair?

Follow the rules.

You may be a tech hotshot, carving new paths in school or at your current job but employers at job fairs have screened, hired and likely even fired, a glut of hotter shots than you.

And if you don’t plan for the fair or, worse, flaunt the rules employers ask participants to follow, they may immediately eliminate you from consideration.

“If you don’t pay attention to or follow the instructions in the application process, the employer assumes that you’re not really interested—or that you won’t be able to follow instructions if you work for them. So whatever they ask you to do (as long as it’s ethical and legal, of course) do it,” wrote Katharine Brooks, Ed.D., in Psychology Today.

Sound like a hassle? Experts note job fairs are still the prime places to get a leg up on other job seekers and land a prime job.

“Meeting and interacting with recruiters face-to-face is still a critical part of the job search process,” reported Jacquelyn Smith in Business Insider. “Career fairs offer job seekers a unique opportunity to make personal connections that are impossible when submitting a resume online.”

So just how do you make sure you get the edge on your competition? Consider these ideas:

Don’t ignore the basics. Professional clothes, including decent shoes and socks, professionally prepared resumes, a portfolio and an “elevator speech” are givens, wrote Veteran Employment writer Charles Livings in Still Serving Veterans. Don’t neglect those essentials.

“Job fairs are typically large events with a lot of people, and you’ll stand out by your well-chosen wardrobe,” Brooks told Business Insider. “If you’re not dressed professionally, that’s just one more hurdle you’ll have to overcome. Employers notice details; some complain about wrinkled ties, scuffed shoes or inappropriate jewelry.”

Research the companies. Employers want to know how hiring you will benefit their companies. You won’t be able to tell them that if you don’t research the companies and understand their histories, philosophies and culture. Screeners and hiring managers are also quick to disqualify job seekers that don’t know anything about the company or ask questions about details that are readily available online. Do your research.

Know your interviewer. If you’re given the name of the person or people who you will meet at the job fair, research their background. LinkedIn, the company website and sites you find through Google searches will provide you background. If you mention that you and the interviewer are from the same small town or have the same alma mater, they will know you did your homework.

Know what you want. Introduce yourself with briefly and concisely with who you are, what you’re looking for and what interests you at their company. Do your homework, find the positions you’re interested in, and communicate that to the recruiter.

“And if you’ve had a rough time recently (maybe you’ve been unemployed or had a difficult family situation for awhile) the representative doesn’t need to know that right now,” Brooks shares. “If an employer asks where you’re currently working (and you’re not) just say, ‘My most recent employment was with…’ and move along with describing your skills or what you learned on that job.”

Ask questions. You always want to have a few specific questions to ask a recruiter, noted Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D., in Quintessenal. You can gather ideas for questions when you research the company before the job fair. Of course you won’t ask about pay, benefits, lunch hours or vacation times. It’s also wise to avoid those obvious points mentioned earlier that you can find on the employer’s web site.

Don’t rule out any employers. You may have an opportunity to talk to employers that aren’t your top choices or that you may not be familiar with. “Take the time to explore.  Consider less traditional employers and think beyond job titles to skill sets,” recommended Livings.  “Open your lens to the opportunities that may be out there.

Show enthusiasm. Again, employers want to know that you will benefit their companies and others will enjoy working with you. “This is not the time to be laid back, casual and cool,” wrote Brooks. “Demonstrate your interest with a firm handshake, good eye contact, a smile, and a good conversation with the company representative. You want to appear very interested but at the same time, not desperate.”

Never forget to thank the recruiters. Thank the recruiter when you leave and then follow up in writing with individual emails that mention specifics of your talk. Not only is a follow-up a professional expectation, but it will remind the recruiter of your conversation and qualifications.

The competition at job fairs can be daunting to even the most seasoned job candidate. Those that prepare to discuss their education and professional backgrounds with employers who they have researched, have a leg up on the competition.

This entry was posted on Monday, October 02, 2017 6:08 am

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