Pharos-Tribune

October 21, 2013

ON THE JOB: Are you career fair ready?

by Shannon Niedzwicki
Guest columnist

---- — Career fairs are a great way to bring recruiters and potential employees together in one place — with the potential of making great employment matches. Employers love the convenience. By setting up a table at a career fair, employers have the opportunity to interact with many potential employees — linking faces with names, talking with them about specific job opportunities and showing off their organizations. Sure beats looking through a couple of hundred resumés!

It’s the job hunter who has the hard task. Most of us go through career fairs like we would college fairs: we browse in and out, maybe pop our head over other people to see what’s being offered and, if we are really interested, pick up some literature and a giveaway trinket. But career fairs are changing, and career fair-goers have to change too.

Career fairs can be a job hunter’s dream, if you do it the right way. The success of a career fair for the potential employee lies in communication and preparation. Follow these tips to be “career-fair ready:”

1. Dress the part! I put this as the first one because I feel it is most important. First impressions are the only impression that employers are going to remember, especially in situations where they are talking to a number of potential employees in a condensed time frame.

2. Do your research. Do you know which companies will be at the career fair you are attending? Find out the employer list and do your research. Look up the company, who they are, what they do, why you may want to work there. The value of this will be evident when you find yourself networking with representatives of the companies you found interesting. Your research should spark some questions to ask. Added bonus!

3. Update your resumé. You should have at least 20 copies of your resumé to give out to potential employers. This is very important when job hunting and will set you apart from the crowd. Remember to keep it to one page, put it on resumé paper and carry the copies in a manila folder to keep them crisp and clean.

If you follow these simple tips, you can confidently stroll through your career fair experience. Employers are coming to career fairs to find the best-of-the-best employees. Don’t take this opportunity for granted. Think of it as an actual interview.

And you can put these tips to good use Tuesday at the Annual Fall Career Fair at Ivy Tech’s Logansport campus. The fair is set for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and more than 30 employers, including nonprofit and higher education recruiters, have registered to participate. For more information on the career fair, contact me at sniedziwicki@ivytech.edu.

Shannon Niedzwicki, director of Career Services for Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region, writes an occasional series of columns on finding jobs and succeeding in the workplace. For more information, email Niedzwicki at sniedzwicki@ivytech.edu.