So, you’re going to a career fair. It will probably invoke some feelings of college: lots of companies trying to sell you on why you should go there. It will also probably be in one of your university’s many ballrooms and conference facilities. In the age of technology and the Great Recession it may seem archaic to attend a career fair though. Why leave the house to seemingly accomplish what you can do from your couch: look up jobs online and apply? However, career and job fairs are still a very popular side of job searches and preparation for recent graduates. So how can real world career fairs help job seekers in their job search?
The internet may be the great aggregator, but sometimes there is just too much information to sort through at one time. A career fair offers job seekers a tidy package for their job search, putting together companies and organizations based on location, career field, education, and many more categories. With so many different career fairs out there, job seekers can find ones that fit them perfectly. Career fairs are the original job search engines. Job seekers can pick up applications and collect more information about a company from actual interaction.
Despite all the positives of technology, job seekers can benefit greatly from in-person interactions with potential employers. While the person hiring you will likely not attend the career fair themselves, as we have oft discussed networking and connections are keys to the job search game. Meeting a representative from the company offers two important opportunities. First, the company representative can help you address any cover letter or correspondence- a key to getting in front of the right people and having your resume seen.
Additionally, if you and the company representative form a solid connection you can use him/her as a referral when applying to the job. With so many job seekers currently in the job market, getting your materials in front of the direct hiring manager may make the difference in getting a job interview or not.
While it may seem outdated given your ability to apply to hundreds of jobs in your pajamas, attending career fairs that fit your interests can be both beneficial and even fun. When you’re in the midst of your job search, sometimes it feels as though you live in a cave. Getting dressed up in business attire and meeting people reiterates the social nature of the workplace and helps you get that extra motivation to stay in you job search. So next time a career fair for your particular industry is in your area, don’t simply pass it up because it seems archaic. Instead, consider the benefits of career fairs and give it a shot. At the very least, you may make some great strides in your networking pool.
Have you found success in career fairs, or do you prefer to stick to an online job search? Let us know about it in the comments section below!
IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by carmichaellibrary
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