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Job Fair Tips for Success (and Sanity)

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On Monday, June 20th, Northern Colorado Networking Group will hold their bi-annual job fair at Faith Evangelical Church in Fort Collins from 9-11 am. More than 30 companies have confirmed! If you are headed out to this event, or thinking about attending other job fairs this summer, here are a few tips for improving your experience.

Avoid the job fair kiss of death – “I’ll take anything.” Recruiters are still hearing this phrase, and it is the #1 turnoff! Research participating companies ahead of time and decide which “hat” to put on for each company. Are you interested in helping them in accounting, office management, engineering, manufacturing, etc.? Do enough research to understand how your skills meet their needs and put some passion behind your focus!

Consider the fair as a networking opportunity and set your goals accordingly. Meeting HR people, practicing your approach, and learning about some possible opportunities are goals you have control over and are probable positive outcomes. Focusing too much on landing a job from one job fair sets you up for a big letdown, hurting your chances of positioning yourself for opportunities.

Bring resumes (and don’t be disheartened if they won’t take them). You may have to bring several different versions of your resume focused to meet each company’s needs. Many times, however, the companies will not be taking resumes, but directing you to apply online. Bringing business cards is also a good idea as another option for a leave behind in case they are not accepting resumes.

Set yourself up for proactive follow up by collecting business cards. You are actually better off collecting recruiter's cards than leaving a resume or a card with them because it puts you in the driver’s seat. Schedule time within 24 hours of the fair to do follow ups – you will be amazed at how you stand out from the competition who, for the most part. fails to follow up.

Remember the secret ingredients – confidence and a genuine positive attitude. Although “fake it ‘till you make it” is not a bad approach, recruiters will steer away from downtrodden job seekers and can see through to the bitterness if you are harboring it. Check your mindset about the job search, your abilities, and employers in general (the “us versus them” mentality is rampant and not helpful). Exercise – you will be surprised at the natural mental uplift! Practice a genuine approach and deliver it with confidence.

Dress the part! You have 7 seconds to make a good first impression and, like it or not, that includes your appearance. Most fairs see a variety of dress, and a suit or other formal business attire will always be welcomed. Consider the focus of the fair, and present as the professional you are!

Visit www.noconet.org for more information and list of participating companies.

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