Apr 6, 2009
By Dr. Sean Harry*
Thank goodness for spring! You are looking for a job, and spring is Job Fair time. But before you head off to your next Job Fair adventure, there are a few things you should know
- There are going to be LOTS of people there and very few jobs . . . if any. You may be going to a Job Fair looking to find a job, but employers go for a completely different reason. Most companies don’t show up with jobs to offer. Companies are there to promote themselves and assess job seekers. They are seldom there to offer jobs.
- Company representatives will see dozens (perhaps hundreds) of job seekers at the fair. The chances of them remembering you from the Job Fair are slim. Your best bet is to get a verbal commitment for a conversation at some time in the future. Get a name and email address, and follow up immediately after the event.
- Take plenty of copies of your resume and business cards. Give them out liberally – even to other job seekers.
- Have a strategy, set goals, and know what you want to get out of the Job Fair. Since landing a job at a Job Fair is not realistic, your goals should simply be to make a certain number of connections that will lead to a face-to-face meeting within the next week or two. A good goal is to come away with 3 solid follow-up “leads”.
- Other job seekers might be your best bet for making contacts. Don’t neglect making connections with other job seekers. They can be a great source of information and support.
- Use the job fair to assess opportunities. While specific jobs may be few and far between, you can tell what areas of the economy are gearing up for growth. Companies are not going to waste their time or money by going to a Job Fair if they have no plans for growth in the near future. Be aware of the companies and industries represented. They may be hiring soon.
- Follow up. My mentor, Kathie Nelson says, “The money is in the follow up.” A Job Fair is a great place to meet people. If you want to turn those meetings into potential job offers you MUST follow up.
- Follow the advice of my good friend, Cleon Cox III – “Meet people, learn something, and have fun!”
Job Fairs can be a lot of fun and very instructive for your job search. Just be realistic about what you hope to accomplish from attending the fair, and you won’t walk away empty-handed. Go looking for a job and you will be disappointed. Go looking to make connections and you will succeed.
Dr. Sean Harry has more than 20 years of experience in training and motivating people to achieve their goals and reach their highest potential. He has helped accomplish this as a Career Coach, as a University professor, as a Pastor, and as a Motivational Speaker.
You can find him on twitter: @sharrypdx, and @careers20
*This is the first “Monday Staff Meeting” post by Dr. Harry, a new series to help job seekers in Portland Oregon.