I’ll bet that the last time you went to a job fair, you thought you were ready. You went online, looked up the companies attending and selected the five or six that really piqued your interest. You had 20 copies of your resume and your elevator speech was well rehearsed. The day of the fair you put on your best business attire and headed out full of positive thoughts. A final glance in the lobby mirror gave you that extra boost of confidence you needed; it was also a good hair day.
Job Fairs are Not for the Faint of Heart
What you were unprepared for were the hundreds of people that had the same idea you did. The noise level and constant milling of the crowd was daunting; how would you actually distinguish yourself from any other candidate? It was a good hair day, but the woman next to you looked sharp as well! After waiting in line for two hours to talk to a company representative, you were asked to drop your resume in the pile on the table. After repeating the process twice more, your total achievement was to have three resumes stacked in piles with dozens of others, not to mention the total exhaustion and frustration that was now gnawing at your already fragile ego!
At that point, you realized that more companies needed to see your resume, so you went to the shortest line and attempted to talk with a company rep. She dropped your resume on the pile and started speaking to the next person in line. So much for your efforts!
Never Attend a Job Fair Unprepared
As you were diligently making the rounds of the company booths, you noticed some applicants were leaving two resumes and theirs looked more visually appealing than yours did. Your resume was crammed with text to include everything you had ever done at work. Approaching a “competitor,” you asked what the purpose was of leaving two resumes. Your opponent explained that his/her resume had been written by a professional resume writing service and that service included a visually appealing resume and a “scannable” document. Of course! Almost all companies have an applicant tracking system and a scannable resume is a must-have if you want to be considered for open positions. In addition, your resume looked home grown in comparison to those created by the professional resume editing service. You vowed to take control of your future.
This time, you went online and found a resume editing service to rewrite your resume. With your professionally edited resume and scannable resume in hand, you went to your next fair and looked for the companies with the shortest lines. You made contact with quite a few reps without spending too much time waiting. You obtained a business card from each rep, obtaining their contact information.
After the fair, you sent these contacts follow up letters and copies of your resume, what the other applicants probably did not do.
Finally, you had prepared well for your job search.