How to Prepare for Job Fairs

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Very few times in your life will so many potential employers be under the same roof at the same time than at a job fair. These employers are there because they need employees, but you have to do more than just show up to get a job offer. They are looking for the best people who attend; so while it is important for you to attend, you have to prepare well before you go.

Make a list of the 10 questions an interviewer will potentially ask you and practice your responses, first in front of a mirror, then in front of a family member or friend. Give truthful answers because interviewers are trained to spot pat or contrived answers.

Prepare your resume. Think about your goals and accomplishments. If you have worked in the past, list your job descriptions and your responsibilities. List any academic achievements or recognition you have received as well. Carefully proofread your resume and bring several copies to the job fair.

Write a cover letter. This creates another chance to sell yourself to a prospective employer. Think about what you hope to get out of a job and explain your goals in this letter. You should also list your positive traits that make you a good employee, such as hardworking, organized, dependable and detail-oriented.

Know what companies will be represented at the job fair and know what they do. Learn something specific about each company and be able to communicate how your skill set will help each one. Applicants who know the most about the companies they pursue tend to receive the most offers.

Get a job in the interim. The saying "You need a job to get a job" is often true. To many employers, being unemployed, particularly as a result of being laid off or fired, makes you damaged goods. It may be that you will have to settle for a lower quality job just to get back to work so you can prove yourself.

After the job fair is over, make contact with the people with whom you talked, and express interest in their companies, and tell them that you would like the opportunity to take your conversation with them further. Do this either by letter, email or telephone call and do so within 48 hours of the job fair.


About the Author

Bill Herrfeldt specializes in finance, sports and the needs of retiring people, and has been published in the national edition of "Erickson Tribune," the "Washington Post" and the "Arizona Republic." He graduated from the University of Louisville.