By Bryan Tharpe, Fort Rucker Soldier for Life Transition Assistance ProgramJuly 20, 2017
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Have you ever contemplated attending a job fair, but thought, "Why bother? It's only a waste of my time."
Well, you are not alone. Most job seekers rarely spend time attending job fairs for fear that there will be little or no return on their investment. However, if you take time to properly prepare for job fairs, they can be very beneficial to your overall job search strategy.
Before attending the job fair, you should get a list of all employers attending. Most job fair promoters will make this list available two or three weeks prior to the event, depending upon the number of participants. From this list, you should research the companies to gain a thorough understanding of their products and services.
Once you are familiar with the participants, choose the employers that interest you the most and make a checklist to use at the job fair. By researching the companies and creating a definitely visit list, you reduce your idle time at the job fair.
Make sure you have your job fair resume in order and plan to take many copies. The number of copies you should take may vary, depending upon the number of employers attending the fair. You need a copy for each employer on your definitely visit list and several extra. In addition, you may want to complete an application and take it with you. It is much quicker to simply copy the information than spend time trying to remember phone numbers and addresses. Also, take several blue and black ink pens. Employers may require that you complete applications in a particular color.
Finally, make sure you are dressed appropriately. Dress as if you were going on an interview. Wear a suit, groom yourself and take a portfolio with your information neatly organized.
It is appropriate to wear your uniform if the job fair is being held on a military installation. Do not dress casually -- this may send the message that you are not a serious job seeker.
Not all job fairs are alike. There are several types of job fairs including technical, professional, general and industry specific. Depending upon the type of career you are seeking, you will need to target the appropriate type of job fair. In addition, many job fairs offer free or very low-cost admission to job seekers.
If you are an active job fair participant, you should come away with very valuable information, even if you do not land a job. You should leave the job fair with a good knowledge of company policies, hiring practices and products. Furthermore, you should have a better understanding of job requirements and industry standards.
Job fairs can expose you to many potential employers in a short amount of time. They can provide you with additional access to the hidden job market and they can help you refine your networking skills -- if you are prepared.
Plan to attend the upcoming annual Fort Rucker Area Job Fair at the Enterprise High School Gymnasium July 27 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. A partial listing of employers will be released soon, so that you can begin to do your research on the companies you want to work for. Don't miss out on this great opportunity to have more than 125 employers under one roof at the same time.