Five “P’s” to making your next career move at a career fair

We recently attended a career fair and hosted our podcast, JOBSEEK Radio while we were there. In the process, we interviewed a dozen attending recruiters to get their advice on how job seekers can maximize the benefit of a career fair. This career fair edition of JobSeek Radio will be posted on our website, iTunes and Stitcher Radio in the coming weeks. But for a sneak peek, we’ve summarized the five top recommendations below:

Prepare for the event and do your research. This is going to take time, but if you’re serious about finding your perfect job, this is an investment that will reap rewards. Research every company that is going to be there. Know what they do and what positions are currently available. If the company’s culture is a great fit and if they have openings where you are a great fit, put them at the top of your list.

If you think the company is great, but they currently don’t have any positions that are right for you, put them at the top of your second list. You still need to meet them, but your approach will be different. You can use the career fair as a way to begin networking with the company for future opportunities.

Prioritize your efforts based on your research results. Depending on the size of the career fair, you may not get a chance to meet every employer present. If you prioritize your list, you can meet your #1 target first, while you are fresh. You don’t want to meet your perfect job employer at the end of a long afternoon when your energy has been drained.

Position yourself for your targeted job by customizing your resume. Never attend a job fair without copies of your up-to-date resume. And, if you want to stand out from the crowd, customize your resume for each targeted position and employer you plan to meet. Recruiters advise job seekers to look on their company website for open positions, and come to the career fair fully understanding the qualifications and responsibilities of the positions. This gives you a perfect opportunity to customize your resume for that specific position – and stand out as a perfect fit for the position.

Polish your look and dress for success. The basics will make or break your first impression with your potential employer. Dress professionally and don’t forget to smile, offer a firm hand shake, confidently introduce yourself with your first and last name, keep direct eye contact, and remember to show enthusiasm. Recruiters are impressed by a candidate that specifically wants to meet them and work for their company.

Post-event, follow up with the recruiter. Remember that they met a lot of people during the career fair. Help them help you by following up with them after the event. This way you’ll stand out, once again, and move the process along in your favor.

Career fairs are excellent opportunities to meet recruiters from companies that are looking for superior performers to fill their open positions. This is one opportunity where you know that your resume will actually be seen by a real person, and not just get screened by a computer. You can also get immediate feedback about the next steps in the process.

To find out about job fairs in your area, set a Google alert, check with your local unemployment office, and monitor the newspaper for press releases.

At a career fair, opportunity is all around you. Follow these five “Ps” to success and go get it! And don’t forget to check out this podcast edition plus other amazing interviews with recruiters, headhunters, HR managers and talent professionals on JOBSEEK Radio at www.jobseekradio.net

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