Job and career fairs provide students with an array of convenient, useful, and potentially lucrative opportunities. Considering that many community college students preparing for an upcoming graduation are uncertain as to how to apply for jobs, establish networks, and even simply get a single proverbial foot in the door, job fairs provide an excellent alternative to the traditional search.
Instead of the traditional approach, which mandates that students independently seek out jobs and send in resumes, a community college job fair brings the employers to the students. Job fairs are essentially large congregations of employers who are seeking out new college graduates to become part of their staff. Typically, job fairs allow students to meet leaders in their career field while allowing students to submit their resume to multiple employers at one big event. In fact, some students attending job fairs are even hired for jobs on the spot!
Community College Job Fair Tips
Nearly every community college provides its students with annual, biannual, or even monthly job fair events. As Lenoir Community College, located in Kingston, North Carolina, asserts, these job fair events are intended to help all students. “Anyone can use a job fair to make contacts, distribute resumes, and explore new avenues of employment.” To take advantage of the many job fair benefits, be sure to prepare yourself with the key tips for job fair success.
Prepare and Edit Your Resume
Before attending your job fair, be sure that your resume is easy to read and completely free of errors. As your resume is the only source of information by which employers can often remember you, any error reflects very poorly on your candidacy. Meet with a guidance counselor or professor to seek out advice on how to edit and improve your phrasing, experiences, and other resume details.
Additionally, be sure to make many copies of your resume as well. As you’ll quickly notice when attending any job fair, there are often dozens to hundreds of employers at a single event; therefore, you want to be sure to have enough resumes to hand to any employers who grab your interest.
Research and Plan
Before attending your job fair, conduct research to find out details pertaining to the most specific job fairs targeted for your career. For example, many schools often host job fairs solely for teachers. Additionally, there are also engineering, law enforcement, legal, and other specific career-based job fairs as well. You can find out information on the details of various job fairs by visiting with your community college’s advising or career center.
In addition to finding out about job fairs hosted by your college, do some of your own research to see what other fairs are being offered at nearby community college campuses as well.
Once you choose the job fairs that are the most appealing, be prepared to branch out and meet different prospective employers. Find out which employers are attending and be sure to research each of the employers/companies before you meet with their representative at the fair. The more informed you sound to each employer, the more desirable you may appear as a candidate.
Show Your Professionalism
Upon meeting with various potential employers at your job fair event, be sure to keep in mind that your professionalism is the key to securing a job. Professionalism involves having a clean and organized resume, a polished appearance, polite conduct, and appropriate and intelligent language. To demonstrate your professionalism, adhere to the following guidelines:
- Dress in a suit/business suit. Be sure your appearance is clean and put together. Also, for both men and women, be sure that your suit is not too tight, short, or revealing.
- Greet employers with a firm handshake and warm smile.
- Be sure to maintain eye contact and speak clearly with employers.
- Have your resume ready (do not go searching through your briefcase or bag for the resume or any other materials).
- Have a professional notepad and pen ready in case you need to copy down any information or contact details. This shows potential employers that you are forward thinking and prepared.
Get Ready to Present
In addition to showing professionalism, also be prepared to present and market yourself. Come prepared with a well-developed introduction about yourself and your background. Tell the employers what strengths you can bring to their company. Additionally, research some interview questions and practice your responses before attending. Show the employers that you’re valuable and well spoken with your preparedness.
Show Your Gratitude
Upon meeting with various employers, show your gratitude by kindly thanking each employer for their time. Also, go above and beyond standard interactions by sending a thank you letter after the job fair. You can even include another copy of your resume with your thank you letter. If you happened to have filled out an application at the fair, contact the employer within seven days to follow up, showing your appreciation and enthusiasm for the job of interest. By showcasing your background, experience, and academic accomplishments, you can easily take advantage of the career opportunities that abound at your next community college job fair.
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