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Headed to a hiring fair? Ready to dazzle the companies with all you can bring to their company? On your mark, get set, hold on a moment!

 

I’ve been to quite a few job fairs over the years and learned from each one.

 

Here are 5 tips and helpful hints that can help you at your next hiring fair.

 

  1. Do your homework on the companies - Before you step foot into the door of the hiring fair, get online and start reading and researching ALL the companies that plan to attend. Make sure to check out the Press Release or News sections and sign up for email alerts too. Imagine going to a job fair and seeing a massive line of people applying for positions at just a handful of the 20-30 companies in attendance at the event. How will you be different and stand out? You did your homework and learned that a brand new product is about to be launched. They need to hire people with your skill set. You’re in the know! Now go get in the line – you’ll not only be first in line, but maybe even the first hired!
  2. Grip & grin & get after it - The people representing the companies at hiring fairs don’t have much time to chit chat. You need to present yourself professionally AND be considerate of their time – not to mention others standing behind you who would like to apply for positions. That said, shake hands, smile, and tell them about yourself in such a way that you make an impact. Not in a cheesy way, but if you’ve done your homework (as mentioned above), you probably have an effective method of engaging this person. Maybe this involves a brief introduction, highlighting a couple of your skills and experiences that fit, and asking a couple of questions designed to move the conversation forward – your ultimate goal being to get an interview!
  3. Bring copies of your resume - This means if you’ve done your homework, you might have a couple of versions of your resume if you have different skill sets that one version of your resume would not make sense to hand out. For example, if you plan to apply for a Management position, you might have a version of your resume that showcases your leadership roles. However, you might decide to apply for a position related to a new skill you have. For instance, if you went back to school and got a new degree, you might need a version of your resume that outlines your newly acquired skill. Ask yourself, “Does my resume fit the job?”
  4. Know your resume cold - Think about all the things the Military taught you that you’ve memorized. The National Anthem, The Pledge of Allegiance, General Military Orders, all the Drill & Ceremony commands, calling cadence, etc. You’ve got a lot that you can say without even thinking too much about it, right? If you treat your resume the same way, you can focus not only on what’s printed on your resume, but other important things which may include; exuding confidence, expertise, self-confidence, and anything else that demonstrates you may be the right fit. Remember, the person at the booth is looking for the right person to hire. Can you communicate your experience from your resume without looking at it? Do you have a polished 30-45 second “elevator speech” that highlights your top skills, education and a personal detail or two? Can you do this in a way that shows you know yourself and what you can do for the company?
  5. Dress the part - The internet is full of pictures of employees at work or at other company activities that feature photos of the company charity event (a 5K walk or fund raising event, for example) that might give the impression casual dress is acceptable for an interview. It is important to dress up in business attire. What if you’re applying for a position that would require you to wear scrubs, or coveralls, or a uniform? Let’s just say your best bet is to dress up. If you decide to “dress appropriately” based on what you think if the dress code, let me just say that when working these job fair events, the number one comment I hear is about how Attendees under-dressed for the event. You can only make one first impression and you’ll want to dress to impress.


I hope this quick set of hints helps you!

 

That said, here’s a BONUS tip:

 

Think of a JOB FAIR as a CAREER FAIR! Although I used the word “job” throughout this (a commonly used term for such events) you should present yourself as though you’re seeking a CAREER, not just a job!

 

All the best to you in your goal of getting hired!

 

What is your experience participating in hiring fairs? Share your top tip in the comments:

 

Related links:
Check out this list for the latest US Chamber of Commerce Hiring Our Heroes Hiring Fairs sponsored by USAA.

Follow Hiring Our Heroes on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

 

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