If you’re making a career change, chances are, you’ll find yourself at a job fair some time soon. Job fairs are great because they open the door to “face time” with businesses and organizations in a particular field of industry.
WHY JOB FAIRS MATTER …
Networking at job fairs is important. That’s because you get to meet people. And we all know that … who you know might actually be more important to your success than what you know. When it comes to meeting people in the right places at the right time, job fairs are a power tool for job seekers!
Networking is not new, of course. Successful merchants have gone into their communities for thousands of years to meet potential customers face-to-face. They sought to establish themselves and their integrity (their brand) while getting to know their customers better.
CONNECTING FOR SUCCESS …
Job fairs connect you with businesses and organizations in a hiring mode. They also connect you with neighbors who have similar skills and interests to your own. Sure, it’s true that some of these people might be thought of as your “competition,” but it’s actually much more profitable to see them as colleagues. Often, the recommendation of a colleague on “the inside” can go a long way towards influencing a hiring decision. So get to know other job seekers at a job fair too.
WHAT TO DO …
Introducing yourself to as many people as possible has benefits. To start with, you’ll create an awareness of who you are and what you can do. It’s always good for potential employers and colleagues — the more the better — to know this about you.
Don’t be embarrassed to communicate that you mean business. That’s what you’re at the job fair to do. So have business cards and resumes with you. Hand them out. If you dare to take yourself seriously, others will take you seriously as well.
Remember that, when your name is mentioned many times at a job fair, you will be fresh in the minds of people who can make a difference for you. That includes potential employers. If they know your name, it’s more likely they will remember you later — when it really matters.
Work that room! Meet people — lots of them. Don’t spend a lot of time trying to “sell yourself”. Instead, make a point of getting to know other people in the room. Ask them questions. Listen. Reflect on what they say. And be sincere.
Most people find that the most interesting person in the room is that person who seems most interested in the other people in the room. Think about that!
THE CLOSING SHOT …
If you’re considering a career change, going to job fairs so you can network is an important key to success. Do it!
Don’t stress out though! While it is true that many people have been hired on-the-spot at job fairs, that’s not your goal (though, we agree, it would be nice). Your job is to meet people and get the word out that you’re a person who can really get the job done.
You can do that! Right? Of course, you can!
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a reprint of an article from one of our authors posted at the Career Development Facilitator website. It is used with permission.