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How To Maximize Your Time at a Career Fair


Robby

Indianapolis is home to several job fairs, some of which are organized by the local community and many of which are affiliated with schools, colleges, and specific employers. How can you make the most of your time there?

Like most workplace situations, a key technique is to think about the experience from the other person’s perspective. At a career expo, the “other person” is the recruiter standing behind the desk. What is the fair like for them, and what should you do in response?

tamuc
© Flickr User tamuc

Recruiters are overwhelmed by candidates. There is a huge line of hopefuls behind most tables. Would-be employees take up several minutes each, trying to impress the company representative.

Candidates all do the same thing. Everyone has a copy of their resume that they try to get in the hands of the employer. Everyone wears a business suit or other professional dress. Everyone practices a firm handshake.

Fairs work best for extroverts. These events are filled with hundreds or even thousands of people. If you’re someone who prefers the company of a handful of close friends, you’ll likely be uncomfortable at a career fair.

Employers get too many applicants. Recruiters are going to receive more applications than they can possibly go through in any detail.

Career Fair
© Flickr User jedhakuro

So what should you do instead? Consider the opposite.

Don’t overwhelm the recruiter. You may not want to even stand in the long line. Wait for the line to go down, or just get their business card and contact them later.

Don’t do the same thing everyone else does.. Instead of a resume on plain white paper, consider a business card or a tri-fold flyer. Wear your best suit, but consider a crazy hat.

Embrace your personality. Not a fan of big rooms of people? Send a friend to collect information on your behalf, and follow up in your own way.

Don’t use the career fair to apply, but as information. Companies that are sending recruiters to a fair must have a need for new employees. Use the list of businesses in attendance to follow up in your own way through networking or direct contact.

Keep these ideas in mind as you plan your visit to career fairs in the future. See you out there on the floor!

BONUS: The Indiana Department of Workforce Development maintains a list of upcoming career fairs. Check it out!

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About the Blogger: Robby Slaughter is a productivity speaker and expert. He is a principal with a AccelaWork, an Indianapolis consulting firm.

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Tue, January 27 2015 » Career Planning and Goal Setting, Self Development

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