The value of job fairs for networking

The value of job fairs for networkingAttending jobs fairs can provide you with opportunities to network, meet potential employers and find out which companies are recruiting. Many jobs go unadvertised, so having the chance to get yourself known in a company by actually meeting a representative is an invaluable opportunity.

Benefits of job fairs

Job fairs give you the chance to practice your interviewing techniques and networking skills. Rather than just looking on a company’s website, you will meet some of the company employees face to face, which is a bonus for you. You might pick up someone’s personal business card that wasn’t available online, meaning you can follow up with an email later.

Although lots of recruitment fairs don’t accept CVs as they can get lost and would prefer you to submit them electronically, having a chat with an employer could be your first step to getting a job. You never know, they may well remember their discussion with you when they get back to the office, and if a vacancy comes up, you might be the one they call.

Tips for successful networking

When you go to a job fair, it’s a good idea to dress and act the part. Go smart, or wear a suit. This way, when you are talking to an employer, they will be able to envisage you in the role. They will also know from your attitude if you are serious about the job or not. You should act politely and shake hands. Also, know what you are going to say. You will rarely get another opportunity to speak to someone face to face from the company, so have your questions ready and be able to talk about your own aspirations.
Because job fairs can be overcrowded, you won’t get very much time with each employer, so be succinct in what you say to them. Plan your mini speech before you go and don’t waste time telling them your life story. A quick who you are, and what you are looking for is enough to start with. Don’t forget to exchange contact details before you leave!

After you’ve done your face to face networking, go home and follow up via email. It is important to do this sooner rather than later as you risk being forgotten otherwise. Thank the employer for taking the time to talk to you at the job fair and remind them briefly of who you are and what you spoke about.
Although you might not walk away from the job fair with a job, provided you have spoken to as many people as possible, you have made the first move to securing your future success. Not only will you be recognised by several employers, but you have their contact details too, which is a great plus in the job hunting world.

Picture: Marina Lohrbach – Fotolia