Posted by: outandequal | May 14, 2012

Working a Job Fair: Recruiters Want to Meet You

by Julie Beach

Prepare your method for approaching recruiters before you attend a job fair so that you can make a great, lasting impression.

Working a job fair is simple and attending can be a real motivator in your job hunt. Based on talks I’ve had with 20 different recruiters at diversity-friendly companies, here are 5 common myths about job fairs along with the clarifying facts:

Myth 1:  Wearing casual attire to a job fair is okay because you’re just dropping off your resume.

Fact: Recruiters definitely evaluate job fair attendees. They decide on the spot which ones to brush off and which ones to make a note about. Business attire, guided by the typical standards of your geographic region and occupation, is the only attire to wear to a job fair.

Myth 2: It doesn’t matter if you don’t know a lot about the company because you’re just dropping off your resume.

Fact: Job fair attendees should research in advance who will be recruiting at the job fair and use the Internet and LGBTCareerLink.com to understand both the company and current news about the company’s industry. When you approach a recruiter at a job fair, never just drop off your resume. Your top priority should be to start up a conversation with the recruiter. What better way to impress recruiters than to talk to them about their company and their industry? All companies want to know you’re interested in them.

Myth 3: The resume I drop off will speak for itself.

Fact: It’s very true that a well-written resume makes an excellent marketing tool, but what you have to say about yourself in conversation with the recruiter is also very important. Be ready to state your skills  concisely and let the recruiter know what you will accomplish for the company if they hire you. Practice speaking about your skills in front of a mirror. Ask a friend to watch you talk about your skills and give you feedback. Record your voice and study how clear, direct and personable you sound. You will use your voice throughout your job search, so now is a great time to perfect what you say and how you say it.

Myth 4: It’s okay to drop off outdated resumes. After all, I can just tell them it’s old.

Fact: You should have crisp, current resumes in a nice clean folder ready to be distributed at the job fair. As you talk to the recruiter about their company, their industry and what you can do for them, reach into the folder and smoothly offer your up-to-date professional resume.

Myth 5: People don’t find jobs at job fairs.

Fact: Attending job fairs should definitely be part of your job search because it allows you to make personal contact with someone in the company. A job search should always include an array of tactics, not just one.

Take these facts and head out to your next job fair. And don’t forget these two important points:

  • Talk to the recruiter about their company, about the current issues in the company’s industry and about how you and your job skills will help the company reach its goals.
  • Dress like you are going to a job interview in attire that is appropriate for your industry and your area of the country (examples: Manhattan is more formal than San Francisco. Business suits are appropriate for finance anywhere, office casual is appropriate for technology in San Francisco)
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