While scouring online job listings and social networks in the pursuit of employment, it’s easy for jobseekers to forget about one of the most tried-and-true job search tools: attending job fairs. Most of us have attended at least one job fair in our lives, perhaps in grade school or college. No matter where you live, there are job fairs close enough to you that are likely to have a host of employers that would spark your interest. And nowadays, with the dawn of virtual job fairs, you don’t even necessarily have to leave the comfort of your own home to attend.
Many people don’t realize just how much you can gain from attending a job fair. Below are some of the rare benefits you receive:
1) You will be able to interact with a lot more employers in one day than you could on your own.
Not only does this save you time, but it also saves you money in travel expenses, since you only have to travel to one location to meet all of these employers. If you attend a virtual career fair, you can even have multiple conversations at a time, since you will be chatting with hiring managers via instant messaging and online chat.
2) You can put a face to your resume.
It makes way more of an impact handing your resume to a hiring manager in person and interacting with them, as opposed to submitting your resume online. When you attend job fairs, you get unique opportunities to present yourself in a memorable way to hiring managers, and explain to them unique skills and passions you have that make you a fit candidate for a particular company or position.
3) You can be exposed to companies and careers you may be unaware of.
There are smaller companies out there that are great to work for but don’t have a strong online presence yet. Through attending a job fair, you may find one whose goals and company culture are a perfect match for you. You may also discover career paths you had never considered before that that match your skill set, through conversations with hiring managers.
4) You can get valuable resume advice.
Bring a bunch of copies of your resume when you attend a job fair, and give them out to hiring managers at companies that interest you. You are sure to find someone with expert insight into the industry you are looking to pursue a job in that can give you advice on how to create a better targeted resume.
5) You may even have interviews right then and there.
When job searching, it can often take a long time to land an interview, and the interview process can be lengthy and drawn out. When you attend a job fair, you are already dressed properly and have your resume in hand, and it’s possible an employer could interview you right on the spot. At the very least, interacting with employers at job fairs will better prepare you for topics you will discuss and questions you will be asked in formal job interviews.
6) Discover tools to help you hone your skills.
There are all kinds of conferences, webinar, classes and workshops that can help you brush up on your skills, or develop new skills that are necessary to get ahead in your industry. By attending job fairs, you will not only find out about these tools, you may also be able to take advantage of them for free.
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