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Job Fairs

There are many types of job/career fairs; all are an opportunity for a company to meet and screen a large volume of potential job candidates with relatively little time or expense. In times when there are many job seekers, there tends to be fewer job fairs. When workers are scarce, employers are more willing to participate in job fairs. In recent years, virtual career fairs have become popular

Be prepared:
• Pre-register, if possible
• Find out in advance which companies will be attending
• Research the employers that you are most interested in
• Bring pen/pencil and paper
• Bring resumes and a portfolio of your materials (reference letters, samples of work, etc)
• Dress as you would for an interview
• Use your time wisely. Long lines may mean that you do not get to all employers. Decide which employers you are most interested in, and visit them first
• While waiting in line, casually listen-in on the interviews ahead of you so you can better prepare and/or review the company literature or your research notes
• You may only talk to an employer for 5-10 minutes. Make the best use of this time               
• Introduce yourself, including your name and career interests. State the type of position in which you are interested. Remember to use good eye contact and a firm handshake
• Ask about current openings and/or hiring trends, skills necessary for different jobs, salary, benefits, training, and other information about the business
• Ask about the next steps in the employment process and get the recruiter's business card
• Follow-up. Write a thank you note to the recruiter. In the letter, thank the recruiter for his/her time, and re-state your interest and qualifications for the position. Enclose your resume

Questions to ask:
You want to make sure that your job search leads you not just to a job, but to a job that you will be a good fit for you. You should be evaluating these companies, just as they are evaluating you. Anytime you are with a potential employer, you should be prepared to ask insightful questions.  Here are a few to get you started:
• What skills, training or experience do you look for in the employees you hire?
• What are the characteristics of your most successful employees?
• Is academic education important to advancing within your organization?
• What is the hiring process? How long does it take?
• How long does the typical employee stay with your company?
• Are there opportunities for ongoing training through your organization?
• Do you expect your employees to relocate? How much travel is involved?
• What made you choose this company and why do you stay?
• How long have you been with the company?
• What is something that has surprised you about this company?

Find a Job Fair: (although the names may indicate veterans, many are open to spouses)

Career One Stop - check with your nearest employment office local job fairs
Vets.gov
Hiring Our Heroes 
National Career Fairs
Veteran Recruiting
Corporate Gray
TAOnline
Recruit Military


Comments from a veteran-friendly employer after a military job fair:

We met lots of great military and military spouse candidates, and hope to bring several onto our team. I want to pass along some feedback about what we observed among the many candidates we spoke to at the job fair—we hope you and your transition clients find it useful.

Resumes:

  • Most folks kept their resume to 1–2 pages, but there were several that exceeded 4 pages in length
  • Resumes that exceeded 1 page did not have the candidate’s name on the second/subsequent pages…longer resumes should also have pages connected by staple or paper clip to avoid pages becoming lost or mixed up with other resumes
  • Many resumes did not contain an email address 
  • Many resumes were missing key dates/contact info
  • Many resumes contained unprofessional email addresses

Protocol:

  • Poor eye contact, no/weak handshakes, and mumbling were common…job fair candidates should be aware that such events are noisy and they should ensure they speak in a clear tone and loud enough to be heard above the din
  • Research!  Do not ask recruiters questions such as, “so, what does your company do?”  It makes the candidate appear uninformed about the company
  • Have a short (30 seconds or so) speech ready to tell the recruiter why you want to work at their company
  • Avoid tight fitting, revealing clothing…do not wear casual clothing (e.g., we observed two candidates wearing warm-up suits, three in blue jeans, and two others in shorts)
  • Avoid “ganging up” on recruiters…each candidate should speak to a recruiter in his/her own light. If attending with a friend or spouse, make sure each person gets their own time rather than both talking to the same recruiter at the same time


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