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Least Favorite Job Search Phase
Be a Career Fair Keeper Print
Written by Abby Kohut   

Many of you, by now, have experienced at least a few career fairs. They can be wonderful events to attend, but preparation is the key to getting the most out of them. You need to remember to bring several things with you and have a concise pitch prepared that can quickly capture your listener's attention. I'll walk you through some of the basics.

A career fair, like a networking event is an interview in disguise. You get five minutes or less to tell your listener about yourself and make them want to learn more. Yes and No decisions are made about you on the spot. Typically recruiters have three piles – the "keepers", the "I don't know what to do with this person but I like them for something" pile, and the "I'm really not sure what this person was thinking" pile. Let's cover some of the ways to improve you odds of landing in the first pile.
  1. Make sure that you bring piles of resumes on bond paper. Running out of copies before the day is over won't get you into the keepers pile.

  2. Do your homework before the event. Research the companies on the roster and see which positions they typically hire for. Be prepared to speak with companies about specific roles that you might fit into regardless of whether they are currently open.

  3. Prepare your elevator pitch ahead of time. Find a way to tell a recruiter what you are all about in one minute or less and then end with a closing question such as, "would someone with my background be a good fit for your organization?"

  4. Try to visit each booth even if you don't think they have positions that match your background. You never know which unadvertised positions recruiters have up their sleeves. Plus, it's a great networking opportunity and provides you with practice delivering your elevator pitch. Recruiters that have shorter lines will have more time to speak with you individually.

  5. Puh..lease wear a suit. Nuf said.

  6. Ask each person for their business card and don't be surprised if recruiters "don't have any" or "ran out". Note that business cards might suddenly appear for top candidates. If they don't have a card, at least ask for the correct spelling of their name.

  7. After the event, send thank you notes to the recruiters you met. This is your chance to deliver your elevator pitch and to differentiate yourself from the crowd. Barely anyone takes the time to do this so it is an easy way to make yourself known.

  8. Make sure that your breath smells fresh and that your suit is clean. You have less than one minute to make an impression – make a good one!

  9. Maintain good eye contact with the recruiter, and smile! Smiling is contagious and if you're smiling, you'll remember the experience more positively.

  10. Avoid asking the question "What positions are you recruiting for?" Instead, be prepared to talk about what you can offer to the company and let them tell you what positions they have that might match your background.
  • To ask me specific questions about your search, please sign up for my Career Club. I'll invite you to my next FREE Career Wake Up Call, where I'll teach you more tidbits about topics that you don't know you don't know.
Absolutely Abby’s Advice:
By attending a career fair, you can learn a great deal about specific employers, practice effective networking, and perfect your elevator pitch. The key to success at a career fair is being prepared. So, do your homework and then let's get ready to rumble!
  • Tired of all the rejection? If you're interested in learning the Absolute truth about why you're struggling, sign up for a one hour "Capture a Recruiter" phone session today. Reach out to me today with any questions and for an absolutely amazing discount coupon!

Drawn from my 18 years of experience and research in recruiting and Human Resources, my blog posts are intended to provide insight into what corporate recruiters and Human Resource professionals look for when they are evaluating your qualifications. Simply reading these blogs will not guarantee you success. However, consistently applying the strategies mentioned, as well as developing your own personal interview style, will greatly enhance your chances of victory amidst the competition. I wish you the best of luck with your search as you begin to take charge of your career!