By Rich DeMatteo
Career fairs were once seen as an incredibly valuable method for both job seekers and companies looking for talent. Unfortunately, the last few years has seen that change, and now job fairs leave both sides frustrated and wanting more from these events.
Before explaining how you can create an action plan that will deliver results for your job search, it’s important to understand why career fairs are failing.
The first and most undeniable factor is that there are simply way too many people attending career fairs. The long lines lead to a limited amount of 1-on-1 time with a company representative. When this happens, it’s hard to make a lasting impression that company representative, and sadly, the job seeker just becomes a resume.
The second reason is actually directly related to what has already been mentioned. When too many people attend, there are a massive amount of resumes that pile up for the attending companies. The company recruiter or HR professional will try their best to get through them all, but people will be skipped and talent will not be found.
The above explanation on why career fairs are unsuccessful for job seekers will help make the action plan much more understandable.
The very first thing that must be done is to:
Research the Career Fair
Job seekers make the mistake of attending any and every career fair they hear about. It’s important to research the event to see which companies are attending and ensuring that the jobs the job seeker is looking for will be offered at the attending companies.
Select Your Top 5 of the Attending Companies
Attending a career fair with no focus will lead to failure. Look to select five of the attending companies to spend your time on. It’s important to ONLY focus on those five.
Network into the Company Before the Career Fair
Job Seekers should contact the Human Resources department at each of the five companies before the event. Finding out who from the company will be attending is critical. Once the job seeker identifies who will be in attendance, they can try to reach out through a phone call, email, or even a Linkedin request. Making contact BEFORE the career fair is the main objective.
Send The Attending Representative Resume Before the Event
It won’t hurt to send a resume before the career fair. If a connection is made with the attending representative, then a resume sent to that person would be successful. Job seekers should state in a cover letter that they are attending the career fair and will look for the attending representative.
Make it a Point to Meet the Attending Company Representative
The other job seekers attending the event who haven’t made a connection are at a serious disadvantage. The job seeker that is successful with Step 3 or Step 4 will be recognized by the attending representative and the previous connection will lead to a great icebreaker. The resume will move to the top of the pile, which instantly increases that job seeker’s chances.
Job seekers should make sure to follow-up with each of the companies that they focused on. Sending a written thank you or making a phone call to the attending representative will go a long way and help push for an interview.
The above steps will help jobseekers gain focus and direction, which is what most unemployed people are lacking. The overall goal is to make connections to get ahead of the competition. This should be every job seekers goal, no matter which job search method they are using.