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
It is hard to say why no one called you back, but some job hunters do not use job fairs to their full advantage. I have attended a number of job fairs 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.
Before the fair:
· Find out which employers will be there and learn a little about what they do and what positions they are trying to fill.
· Update your resumé, have someone proofread, and print at least 20 copies on good-quality paper. Use a folder to protect your resumés from creases and stains.
· Prepare an “elevator speech”—a 15-second introduction that tells the employer about your key skills/experience and the kind of job you are looking for. Practice your elevator speech before you go and be ready to sell yourself.
· Dress like you are going to a job interview—the people you talk to make be making the hiring decision or might want to interview you on the spot.
At the fair:
· Arrive early so you can visit the employers you are most interested in first. Visit the remaining employers afterward and keep an open mind—you might discover an exciting new career direction.
· 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.
· 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.
· 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 email—this is your chance to put a face and personality to your resumé and start building a relationship.
· Do not call in sick to your current job to attend the job fair—your current employer might be there too.
· Do not show up at the job fair in your current employer’s uniform—most employers assume you will treat them the same way you treat your current employer.
· Ask what the next step is in the hiring process to show your interest and enthusiasm.
· Collect business cards and send a “thank you” email or note re-stating your interest in the position and your qualifications.
You can find out about upcoming job fairs at: http://humanservices.alberta.ca/jobfairs and by following your local Alberta Works Facebook page:
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 manager with Alberta Human Services.