Gayle Hallgren-Rezac co-author Work The Pond!
Job fair preparation becomes key around this time of year, as career fair season moves into full swing. If you Google “job fairs” or “career fairs” in BC and Alberta, you’ll see that there are any number of opportunities to get out and meet potential employers this fall. Continue your Googling and you’ll find numerous sites with extensive information on how to prepare for a job fair. Also, do a quick scan of all the valuable articles on this website. So what can I tell you to make your job fair more successful? Work on first impressions and answering “The Question”.
First impressions at job fairs
Do you know if you have good eye contact when you first meet someone? Many people do not make eye contact when they first meet. They may tentatively look at you, but then their eyes dart away. Recently, I was doing a networking training session with a group of forty sales professionals. I walked around the room before the event, shook hands and introduced myself. Later, when doing my presentation, I mentioned that some of them, without naming names, had very poor eye contact when we met. They seemed shocked. There was a nervous hum in the room and they wondered, “Was it me?”
Make eye contact at job fairs
How can you make sure that’s not you? Be aware that, when you meet someone, you are making eye contact and maintaining that contact as you converse. What is the best way to do this? Hold eye contact long enough to know the color of the other person’s eyes.
What’s the other benefit of maintaining eye contact? It actually helps you concentrate on the conversation you are having with that person. Remember, it will be noisy and there will be numerous distractions at a job fair, but if you give that potential employer 100 percent of your attention, you will impress them. Please read my article on Mirror Neurons for additional helpful social interaction skills.
Answering The Question.
Come prepared to answer “The Question”. It may come at you a few different ways: “Tell me a little about yourself.” “What kind of experience do you have?” “Why are you interested in working for us?” “What are your career plans.” To answer any and all of these questions concisely and with positive impact, write out your answers as part of your preparation.
Prepare a job fair pitch
Start with a Twitter-size answer (140 characters) to get the core message across and then develop it from there. Ask yourself: “What can I say to define myself as different from someone who wants this same job?” Look at what you have written and ask yourself, “Would I really say this?” If it’s full of jargon, sounds weird or unnatural, then rewrite your answer until you feel comfortable. This is the most worthwhile investment you’ll make prior to walking into a job fair.
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