CAREERS. Searching for a job is tough. Sometimes attending a job fair can be even worse. They often seem impersonal, frustrating and fruitless — even more so now with fairs being swamped with more-than-usual applicants as the economy continues to tank and unemployment rises.
But there are a few things you can do to maximize your experience, says Kate Lorenz, an editor at Career Builder.com, and one of the authors of the new book “Career Building: Your Total Handbook for Finding a Job and Making It Work” (Collins, $17).
Networking and making the right introductions are obviously important. But there’s another factor to consider, she says. “Job fairs are a great resource for job seekers because it exposes them to employers and positions that they might not have considered otherwise.” Expanding your search criteria, even on the spur of the moment, will yield more results.
1. Market yourself. This is your chance to shine. Wear a suit, put a smile on, hand out business cards and bring copies of your resume.
2. Do research before you go . Learn what companies will be at the fair and compose a cheat sheet of a few facts about each.
3. Make it a two-way street. Ask questions and listen. Ask about the company, positions it’s hiring for and the next steps.
4. If you’re frustrated, don’t let it show. Your pessimism can be a turnoff. It can be conceived as your overall attitude.
5. Don’t apologize for being out of work. A lot of people are in your situation, and hiring managers know this.
6. Send a thank-you note. Follow up with the people you talk to with an e-mail or mailed note – you want to be remembered.
New York Metro