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Four Things that Make Career Fairs More Promising

August 29, 2012

Career fairs run the gamut between interesting job offers and just plain boring or tedious opportunities. However, getting a job for a former service member and veteran is important to transitioning into civilian life and supporting oneself. Even if you don't find any jobs that you want, career fairs are also places to gain more understanding and perspective about potential employers in the industries that you want to work and also make contacts with other attendants and interviewers. You should always focus on making the most of your time and talking to as many influential people as possible. These are some other things that will give you more to take home from a career fair.

1. Bring Copies of Your Resume

There are usually anywhere from 15 to 100 different employers, but you will probably only speak to a handful with the maximum of 10. You should carry extra copies of your resume in your briefcase so that you have a way to represent on paper no matter how many people you talk to. Your resume should be on crisp white or off-white paper with an easy to read font. Make sure to check your resume for typos and also look at some modern guides for writing resume. Things like objectives and a long list of skills are not the normal anymore. Rather, employers want to see your experience, successful projects and education.

2. Prepare a Marketing Pitch

In addition to your resume, you need to know how to talk about yourself for 30 seconds in a way that is engaging but also gives a full picture of what you can do and what you can specifically do to improve the employer's business. Think of yourself as the cover letter at a career fair. You should be dressed well and possess some of the knowledge of the industry so that when you speak, you use keywords to bring the employer's attention to your experience and talents.

3. Confidence and Positive Attitude

You may not feel like going to a career fair or have mixed feelings about doing speed interviews with employers, but you need to have a positive attitude and exude confidence—when you speak and when you handshake. First impressions are everything when you're at a career fair. Along with a well-dressed appearance, you should approach each interview with smile and offer your hand when you introduce yourself, being careful to look in the eyes and assert yourself.

4. Learn About the Employers

Career fairs will normally list the companies that will be attending. You should make a point to research a few of the most important companies and some of the other ones. Find ways to connect between smaller opportunities and bigger names in the industry, particularly if you're focused on getting a business position—you want to show that you understand your audience and that you can talk to a lot of people without faltering in your confidence.

5. Be Energized

You don't need an energy shot for this career fair, but it couldn't help. You have to be on the move a lot at career fairs, going from one to employer to the next and also talking with pizzazz about yourself multiple times. Getting a good night's rest, preparing your sales pitches and eating a good meal before going to the career fair are important to having enough energy to do well.

There are also some things you never want to do at the career fair including hanging out with friends or moving around with a group. You're an individual and the company is hiring an individual. Don't bring a large purse, backpack or any other paraphernalia. You shouldn't dress like you are going to the gym later and you definitely don't want to just "wing it" with employers. You want to be as professional as possible and if the opportunity arises through the employer's attitude, or you feel a connection, that's the moment to "wing it" but keep it in line.

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