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Career Participation Tips

Tory Johnson, Founder/CEO of Women For Hire, which produces 20 career fair events annually in 10 major markets, including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, Tampa and Washington, D.C., shares her tips for successful attending a career fair.

Career Fair Participation Tips

  • Nothing's more important than doing your homework. Don't even think about walking into a career fair unprepared. This means knowing the organizations that you're interested in. There's so much information available at our fingertips that it's simply unacceptable to skip the research process. It doesn't take much effort to check out a corporate website, especially since the pay-off can be quite significant.

     
  • Being well versed in a company's background, environment and mission may very well go a long way in demonstrating enthusiasm to a recruiter.
     
    Likewise, knowing nothing about a company and admitting that you have absolutely no idea what your strengths and interests are is a prescription for disaster.

     
  • Looking, speaking and acting professionally help to make a terrific first impression. Something as simple as a smile--even if you're kept waiting longer than you'd like--goes a long way.

     
  • Time spent at a career fair may go down the tubes if you're not prepared to follow-up effectively. Even though proper follow-up procedures usually vary among interviewers and companies, there are a few universally acceptable things to keep in mind.

     
  • If it's a huge, bureaucratic firm you're interested in, the recruiter would probably appreciate a note--not a phone call--within a week. If you are given a business card that includes an e-mail address, it's totally acceptable to thank the interviewer electronically if you'd like. At the end of any interview or even a mini discussion, be sure to ask what the next steps are. Ask if the interviewer minds if you follow up by phone or email and try to establish a time frame in which to do so.

     
  • Keep in mind that all is not lost if you don't land a job. Career fairs also offer great practice in perfecting networking and interviewing skills. Talk to as many people as you can; never underestimate the value of face time with recruiters from leading companies. And, just as importantly, listen to them, too. Pay attention to the questions you're being asked and to the kind of information they're offering. It's impossible to leave without something of value.

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