Today the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the United States unemployment rate is now 6.2% nationwide. If you remember, the rate hit a high of 10% in October of 2009, so things have improved quite a bit in the last 5 years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reported that over 200,000 jobs were added to the economy in July alone, the sixth straight month of job growth over 200,000. A great place to learn about these newly available jobs is by attending a local job fair in your area. Here are some preparation tips for your next job fair:
–Dress the Part: Make sure to treat your next job fair like you are going for an interview. Business attire will make a good impression with the potential employers and show you’re serious about landing your next job.
–Research the Companies: Most job fairs will provide you with a list of companies that will be in attendance ahead of time. Research the list and prepare yourself with questions or notes about the ones that interest you most.
–Bring Supplies: Make sure to have many copies of your resume, business card, and cover letter to leave with employers. Print the documents on appropriate resume paper and fine tune the content of the documents before attending. You’ll also want to have a pen and pad of paper for note taking throughout the fair.
–Develop your Pitch: Prepare a brief overview of yourself to relay to the employers you’re meeting with. Try to sell yourself and explain what type of role you’re looking for, why you’re qualified, and what attributes you bring to the table.
–Take Notes: While at the fair, write down relevant details about your conversations with the companies you speak with. Use these notes to help you prepare thank you notes or follow up messages with individuals you meet.
–Ask Questions: Much like an interview, make sure to ask questions and learn about the companies you may be interested in. Figure out if the company’s environment and the prospective job’s responsibilities align with your goals and experience.
–Network with Others: While it’s very important to meet and greet the company representatives in attendance, it’s also advisable that you interact with other attendees. Collect business cards and see if you can help others out in any way or vice versa.
–Write Thank You Notes: The final tip is to write thank you notes to the individuals you spoke with and reiterate your interest to the companies that you felt were good fits for your career. If you were directed to apply on the website or asked to provide any specific follow-up materials, be sure to follow the instructions as accurately as possible.
Attending job fairs should be just another part of your job search portfolio. Job fairs help you accomplish one of the hardest parts of a job search in the 21st century: getting a direct face-to-face conversation with an employer who is hiring. By following the tips outlined above, you’ll be well positioned to generate more opportunities and impress prospective employers.