Dear Working Wise:
I have been looking for a job for a month now. I attended a job fair recently and I didn’t get any call backs for interviews. Is there something I am doing wrong? Signed Confused
Job fairs may seem like a dated cliché in these modern times of web sites and Facebook, but they offer a unique opportunity to make a good first impression on an employer and stand out from the crowd.
It is hard to say why no one called you back, but some job hunters fail to use job fairs to their full advantage.
I attended a job fair recently and used the opportunity to ask employers what tips they would give job seekers.
Here are some great job fair tips plus a few pointers from real employers:
1. Find out which employers will be at the job fair and learn a little about each and what skills they are looking for before you go. Let the employer know that you have talked to someone in a similar position and that you understand the job.
2. Create a prioritized list so you can visit the employers you are most interested in first.
3. Arrive early so you have the chance to see the employers you are most interested in. Visit the remaining employers afterward and keep an open mind. You never know who they are looking for or what new opportunities await you.
4. Bring at least 30 copies of your current resumé plus a pen in case you need to make notes.
5. Print your resumé on good-quality paper and ensure that it is free of errors. Protect your resumés from stains and creases with a portfolio or folder.
6. Dress like you are going to a job interview—the people you talk to may be making the hiring decision or might want to interview you right on the spot.
7. Create your “elevator speech”—a short introduction that tells the employer what your key skills/experience are and the kind of job you are looking for—and be ready to sell yourself.
8. Use your time well. If you are waiting in line to talk to an employer, try to listen to what the employer is saying to other job seekers. Network with other job seekers to pick up tips and job leads.
9. Always behave as though your future boss is watching you. Be polite to other job seekers, considerate of each employer's time, and don't talk on your mobile phone while waiting in line for an employer.
10. Greet the recruiter with a smile and a firm handshake. Be friendly, enthusiastic and ready to ask questions and answer their questions. Do not just hand in your resumé—you can do that via the Internet—this is your chance to shine.
11. Ask what the next step is in the hiring process to show your interest and enthusiasm.
12. Collect business cards and send a “thank you” email or note re-stating your interest in the position and your qualifications.
13. If you do not have a current resumé, visit your nearest Alberta Works Labour Market Information Centre www.employment.alberta.ca/lmic or use the resumé tips and e-Resumé Review service on the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) web site http://alis.alberta.ca.
14. Find out about upcoming job fairs at: http://employment.alberta.ca/jobfairs.
Good luck at your next job fair!
This is provided for general information. Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Charles Strachey is a regional manager with Alberta Employment and Immigration.