… the HR Minion. Because even minions have opinions. And giggles.

Career Fairs

Gir has a lot of business cards to hand out.

Thanks to the new job, I will be going to a lot of career fairs in the foreseeable future. A LOT of them. College, community, Veterans; you name it and I’m probably going to it. Lots of positions to fill means we gotta get our name and our opportunities out there.

Don’t think I’m complaining though; I love it. Career Fairs can be great and there is nothing better than meeting someone at an event, knowing they would be perfect for such and such position, and helping them through the process of getting hired on. It’s all the best parts of recruiting.

But like anything else, you get some bad with the good. So, for your sake and mine, if you are looking for work and are planning on attending a career fair please keep the following things in mind:

– This is a social event so you need to talk to people. Talk to people waiting in line, talk to the people at booths, talk to people grabbing a snack, and even talk to people in the bathroom… outside smoking (if you smoke). This is no time to be shy.
– While it’s best to research companies attending the career fair in advance, sometimes that isn’t possible. So when you get there, don’t be afraid to go up to a company and ask them more about what they do and what kind of candidates they are looking for. They want to talk about the company and why you would want to work there.
– Do not assume that just because a company does “X” and you do “Y” that you shouldn’t talk to them. Companies often have to fill a variety of roles from administration to sales to IT to finance. And even if they aren’t looking to hire someone in your in your field right now, it doesn’t mean they won’t be in the future. Start making these connections now and stay ahead of the game.

And probably most importantly of all, treat the career fair as an interview. That means dress and act professionally.
– No jeans, baseball caps, flip flops, or camo jackets.
– Bring copies of your resume and if the company won’t accept a resume on-site, have personal cards with your contact information on it that you can hand out instead.
– Be polite.
– Smile.
– Don’t interrupt other job seekers while they are speaking to company representatives or spend too long chatting them up either. Please be respectful of everyone’s time.
– And while some companies will have candy or swag that they want you to take (otherwise they just have to haul it back to the office), don’t act like you are only there to see what trinkets you can get instead of trying to get a job.

In the end, keep in mind that a career fair is only one of many ways to find a job. But it is often a great opportunity to speak in person to either HR or a hiring manager so make sure you take advantage of the situation and present the best image you can. I’ll see you out there. I’ll be the one handing out branded highlighters and antibacterial gel.

3 Responses | Add your Own

  • 1 Jason Lancaster :

    I’d like to echo your advice about talking to people anywhere and everywhere when at a job fair, conference, networking event…etc. I’ve pulled more business with a casual conversation while waiting in line for lunch, grabbing a coffee, etc. than I’ve *ever* pulled out of a “lead.” Good call.

    As for enjoying career fairs, well, to each their own! 🙂

  • 2 Shauna :

    Jason – It pays to be social and polite to everyone. You never know.

  • 3 Carnival of HR: Constant Carnival :

    […] of the Carnival Shauna Moerke has some advice about career fairs. My favorite? Remember, it is a social event, so you must talk to people. Oh, and don’t look […]