How to Turn a Job Fair into a Job Offer

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1 How to Turn a Job Fair into a Job Offer Employers need good workers and workers need good jobs. A job fair brings employers and job hunters together, face to face. If you attend one, you could meet dozens of recruiters, all in one place! Before the job fair 1. Research the employers. When you register online, you ll often get a list of employers who will recruit at the job fair. Look over the list. See who s recruiting. Decide which employers interest you. Then, visit their web sites. Find out who they are, what they do, and why you might want to work there. With this knowledge you ll be able to talk intelligently with recruiters at the job fair and impress them. Don t just rely on picking up company literature and reading it at the fair. In many cases, you ll talk with the recruiter before you have a chance to read their pamphlets. 2. Update and polish your resume. Create a separate resume for each job you want. For example, if you want a chef s job, create a chef s resume. If you would also accept a cook s job, create a cook s resume too. Bring several copies of each resume to the fair. Carry your resumes in a simply manila folder to keep them clean. 3. Dress for success. First impressions are important. Dress conservatively, in the clothes you d wear on the job. Managers should wear business suits. Office and retail workers should wear dress clothes. Trades people should wear work clothes.

2 Make sure you look clean, neat, and well groomed. Have pressed clothes, polished shoes, clean and trimmed fingernails, fresh breath, minimal cologne or perfume, conservative makeup, and minimal jewelry. Oh, rub a littler antiperspirant on your hands for a nice dry handshake. 4. Practice your handshake. Engage the full hand, palm to palm. Grip firmly, but don t crush. Look the other person in the eye. Smile. Pump two or three times and release. 5. Prepare your sales pitch. A sales pitch is a short speech. It s a sound bite that sells you to recruiters. Keep your sales pitch around 15 seconds long. Here s a simple four-step plan with an example: 1. Give your name. 2. Mention your profession, occupation, or the job you re looking for. 3. State your experience, skills, and accomplishments. If it s true, mention that everyone s been happy with your work. 4. Offer your USP (Unique Selling Point). It s what sets you apart from the competition it s what makes you special. Sample Sales Pitch 1. Hi, my name is Mason Stone. 2. I ve been an apprentice stone mason for the past two summers, and I ve learned both wet and dry masonry. 3. I ve built walkways, terraces, retaining walls, and patios for residential customers. Everyone s been very happy with my work. 4. As a matter of fact, my boss said I m the fastest learner she has ever trained. Now I mm looking for a full-time junior masonry job. Be sure to practice your sales speech. Practice out loud in front of a mirror. Practice out loud with family or a friend. Practice until it rolls off your tongue. 5. Questions to expect from recruiters, with sample answers. Below are just a few questions a recruiter may ask you. Look over the questions and answers. You ll want an automatic answer for each question.

3 Can you tell me a little about yourself? This is probably the first thing the recruiter will ask. Answer by reciting your sales pitch. Tell me about your skills. Use your fingers to count off the top four or five skills. Finally, offer a short example of how you used each skill. Why did you decide to become a (puzzle maker)? You probably have a great reason for choosing your line of work. Tell your story. Include details and use body language to bring your story to life. What do you know about our company? Forty percent of people interviewed don t know a thing about the company they want to work for. So, make sure you do. Before you go to a job fair, visit the fair s web site. Review the list of employers who will recruit at the fair. Select the companies you want to talk to. Then, visit each company s web site. Find out who they are, what they do, and why you want to work there. Why do you want to work for us? Here are some honest answers: You shop there. You use their products. You have a friend or relative who works there. You ve heard good things about the company (be ready to offer two or three examples of the good things you ve heard). What motivates you to do a good job? Money is not a good answer. Instead, try this Having responsibilities and getting a pat on the back when the job is done right. Tell me about your proudest accomplishment. Go ahead, tell your story. What are your career goals? If you plan to make a career in this industry say so. It s an important selling point. Questions to ask recruiters. Here are a few standard questions to ask the recruiter. Add a few questions of your own. Could you describe the ideal person for this job? Can you describe a typical day for someone working in my position at your company? What are the major challenges the new hire will face in this job? How soon do you plan to fill this job? What do you like most about working for your company? Can you describe the company culture and management style? How many people are in the department?

4 What kind of training to you offer? What s the next step? How can I arrange a job interview? 6. Questions not to ask at a job fair. What s the pay range for this position? (Save this question for the actual interview.) What about benefits and vacation time? (These items are usually explained when the hiring manager offers you a job.) Can you tell me about your company? (This question show that you haven t done your homework.) At the job fair 1. Develop your game plan. Arrive early. Get a list of the employers and, if possible, a map of the booths. Pan your order of attack. Some experts recommend practicing on less-desirable employers before hitting your top targets. Other experts recommend visiting your top choices first before the recruiters get tired and the lines get long. Do what works best for you. Later in the day, be sure to return to your top choices to thank the recruiters, restate your interest, and make yourself memorable. If name tags are available, wear one. It will help the recruiter put a face with the name on your resume. 2. Give yourself a pep talk. This is important: Job recruiters want you. If they didn t need employees, they wouldn t be at the fair. So, don t be shy about introducing yourself to the recruiter. 3. Start talking, start wowing. You ll only have a few minutes to wow each recruiter, especially if there s a long line. So, make the conversation interesting, short, and memorable Offer your hand shake. Give your short sales pitch. Answer the recruiter s questions.

5 Ask a few questions to keep the conversation rolling. 4. End with a request. Say that you are interested in the position. Give the recruiter your resume. Ask for the recruiter s business card. Ask for an interview with the hiring manager. (Often, the recruiter screens applicants and send the best to the hiring manager for a full interview.) Ask, How should I follow up with you, and when? Take notes on what the recruiter says. Don t rely on your memory. BE SURE TO GET A BUSINESS CARD FROM EVERY COMPANY THAT INTERESTS YOU! A business card will have to recruiter s name, phone number, , and mailing address everything you need to stay in touch once the job fair is over. 5. Make a good impression. Do Shake the recruiter s hand, look him or her in the eye, and smile. Be professional, enthusiastic, and courteous. Show a litter humor. Let your personality shine through. Think of your conversation as a mini interview because that s what it is. Don t Be shy or stiff. Ramble, fidget, or slouch. Say anything negative about yourself, your former company, boss, or coworker or anyone for that matter. Chew gum, eat, or sip a beverage at the recruiting booths. 6. Network with everyone. Talk to other job hunters while waiting in line, walking around, or while on a coffee break. Ask a question to break the ice and get a conversation started. Share information. You ll make a friend.

6 Trade resumes and stay in touch. Try to build a network of contacts who will let you know when they spot an opportunity that looks perfect for you. Do the same for them. What if you haven t researched a company that interests you? Take some literature from the company s booth. Go somewhere quiet and read it. If there s a line of job hunters at the company s booth, read their literature while waiting in line. You might also try eavesdropping on the people ahead of you to hear what the recruiter says. you want to talk to a recruiter, but you have to leave? Recruiters leave plenty of business cards on their table or booth. Take the recruiter s business card. When you get home, send him or her a letter and a copy of your resume. Sell yourself and ask for a job interview. you start feeling fair fatigue Have a cup of coffee or take a walk around the block to recharge. TIP: Leave a lasting impression. After you talk to the recruiter, walk away and write a short hand-written note, restating your interest and qualifications. Attach the note to your resume, and put them in the employer s resume box. After the job fair 1. Follow up make yourself memorable. Think if the job fair as your first contact with employers, not your last. Successful job hunters do half their work after the fair. 2. Thank the recruiters you met. Most job hunters don t write thank-you notes. So, make sure you do. A thank-you note shows the recruiter that you really want the job. You ll stand out because you are one of the few who made a special effort. Send a hand-written note and mail it through the Post Office. It s more personal and memorable than an . Write your note as soon as you get home from the job fair and get it in the mail. A quick response tell the recruiter that you are an attentive and hard-working person.

7 In your note Thank the recruiter for speaking with you. Some recruiters attend lots of job fairs. So, mention which job fair you attended and the position you are interested in. Refresh the recruiter s memory by mentioning something specific you discussed at the fair. Summarize your qualifications. Restate your wish for an interview and attach another copy of your resume. If you forgot to mention an important selling point at the job fair, now s your chance to mention it. Sample thank-you note: Lemme Dooit 123 Hereicome road Anytown, US (456) January 2, 20xx Ms. Ida Hireu Recruitment Specialist WatchMe Cable Television 123 Joboffer Way Anytown, US Dear Ms. Hireu: Thank you for speaking with me at the WannaWork Job Fair today. We discussed the customer service opportunities at WatchMe Cable Television. You may recall that I worked part-time as a customer service representative for CallMe Cell Phones. I resolved customer problems quickly, completely, and courteously, I also received excellent evaluations from my supervisor. After talking to you, I know that the same skills would benefit WatchMe s customers. I look forward to taking the next step and meeting with WatchMe s customer service manager. I will contact you next week to see if we can schedule an interview. Thanks again for your time and consideration. Sincerely, Lemme Dooit

8 3 Write to everyone else. Mail a letter and resume to the recruiters you didn t talk to, but whose business cards you took. Also, send an to all the job hunters you met at the fair. Ask if they know someone who s hiring people in your occupation. Offer to help them when you hear of something. Keep in mind that eighty percent of all job openings are not advertised most people get jobs because a friend recommended them. 4 Keep your applications in motion. Follow the recruiters instructions for setting up interviews. If a recruiter told you to g online and fill out a job application, do it. When you apply, write that you met the recruiter at the job fair. Then the recruiter to tell her you applied online as she requested. 5 Add a little persistence. Remember all those business cards you collected? Here s how to put them to work Every other week or so, send each recruiter a short note and another copy of your resume. Let them know that you are still available and that you are still interested in working for them. Keep in mind that jobs open up all the time. Some people decline job offers. Other people don t work out and management replaces them. Plus, people get promoted, retire, or quite their jobs. So, stay in touch. Become the first person they think of when something new opens up. Here s a great piece of wisdom from a professional salesperson It s often the fifth or sixth letter, phone call, or that gets the sale!

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