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Whether you have a job and are looking to make a change or are currently unemployed, job fairs can be a great way to meet with recruiters. But, they can also be quite intimidating to the uninitiated. With some job fairs attracting thousands of applicants, it’s important to arm yourself with a plan of action before you arrive. Think of attending a job fair as analogous to a visit to Disney World®. Do you want to spend valuable time waiting in a line to get on a random ride you may or may not like, or do you want to do some advance research, get a “FASTPASS,” and spend time enjoying the park? You will get the most out of a job fair when you put in the time to make it work for you.
As a veteran human resources professional who has been on point at many job fairs, I have witnessed the good, the bad and the ugly in job fair behavior. By reviewing the following tips and techniques for job fair navigation, you’ll be prepared for a successful experience before, during and after a job fair.
Job fairs sometimes offer workshops on any variety of topics related to employment. Take the time to attend these free events to bone up on skills and information. Be sure to judiciously follow up with the recruiters you’ve made a good connection with at the job fair. Assemble the business cards you amassed from human resource professionals and fellow attendees and link up to them on LinkedIn. Recruiters appreciate receiving a follow up thank you email which signals your interest in contributing to the organization. Just as recruiters have to keep track of multiple applicants, applicants need to develop their own system for logging information on all potential job leads.
About the author: Brent O’Bryan, SPHR, is Vice President, Learning and Development at AlliedBarton Security Services, www.alliedbarton.com, the industry’s premier provider of highly trained security personnel to many industries including commercial real estate, higher education, healthcare, residential communities, chemical/petrochemical, government, manufacturing and distribution, financial institutions, and shopping centers.
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