In these uncertain times, job fairs are a welcome sight in malls, hotels, convention centers, campuses, municipalities and even barangay halls. Almost every month, you’ll find one announced in newspapers and other media. Casual observation as well as statistical data would tell us that these job hiring events are perennial crowd-drawers! That is because graduating students, neophyte professionals and old-timers alike flock to various employment expositions with the hope of landing their most sought after jobs. The most amazing part of this is that despite the number of participants getting hired at every turn, there remain a huge number of aspirants month after month. A big crowd is a constant scenario during job fairs. If there are so many jobs available for everyone as these numerous job expositions represent, why are there still countless of jobless individuals?
A logical conclusion would be that the supply of workers exceeds the demand and not enough job opportunities exist. This is a perfectly valid deduction. But on deeper examination, job shortage may not be the major problem after all. It could be the job seekers themselves. Are they queuing up the long lines to submit their resume based on the requirements of the job and their qualifications? Or do they just stand in line where there are a number of vacancies to be filled and think they have better odds of getting in? Are they appropriately and purposely dressed for the occasion? Or do they look like their out to have a leisurely time at the mall?
In the ever changing methods of the new millennium, job fairs have become the most common avenue for entry level recruitment. Human resource personnel or recruiters are now looking at job fairs as the most convenient way to invite, screen and choose high-potential candidates from a number of prospects. In job hiring events, what is otherwise a month’s worth of screening can be done in just one or two days even on weekends! Thus, companies are now resorting to this type of recruitment rather than using costly newspaper ads or outsourcing from placement agencies.
If you belong to the increasing volume of jobseekers, you have to use this to your advantage. Look at job fair events as the perfect venue for you to clinch an elusive dream opportunity. However, the competition here is so much steeper considering that you are going to vie against not just two, three or ten but possibly hundreds of aspirants. You will most likely be sized up by the recruiters based on first impression and appearance because of the fast-paced set-up. A brief chat or your manner of greeting is often times a good enough gauge of your potential as a candidate. Plain vanilla aspirants are easily crossed out from the list of highly qualified applicants in favor of the more flavorful ones. In other words, you have to make a good impression instantly and be at your best at all times. You need to be prepared physically, emotionally and intellectually. Remember, a three-minute interview or a 30-second exchange of sound bytes could spell a big difference between success and failure.
To help you increase your chances of getting hired in jobs fair events, here are some basic tips:
- How you carry your things is important. Always be ready with your error-free resume and other pertinent documents such letter recommendation if you have them. Make sure you have enough copies of these so that you can go to the booths of your choice to your heart’s content. Also, bring a notebook where you could take down notes of important comments made by the interviewer during initial screening. Store all of these things in a professional looking briefcase and not in plastic bags. Remember, you are applying for a job and not shopping in a mall!
- Dress for success. Wear appropriate business attire when attending job fairs. Sneakers must be avoided. Keep in mind that you’ll be meeting your prospective employers and dressing up conservatively is a sign of respect. This will also illicit a positive response from your interviewer. As it has been earlier pointed out, first impression counts a lot and looking sharp gives you an edge! So, be sure to look well-groomed and professional. It’s the first crucial step to standing out from the rest!
- Evaluate your qualifications according to the job requirements. The common mistake committed by most jobseekers during employment expositions is submitting resumes indiscriminately without examining the requirements for the position up for grabs. Thinking that the more the entries they send, the more chances they have of winning. In so doing, they unnecessarily receive more rejections which can lower their morale and self-esteem. To avoid this and increase your chances of being accepted, take a closer look at the job requirements and assess your qualifications if you are truly synchronized for the position. If you are confident that you are qualified and you can do the job, then, that confidence would exude in your aura and would be a plus factor in your bid. In short, don’t be too exited with the number of openings in job fairs. You have to carefully select only those that are in line with your interest and those that match your competencies.
- Do your own screening and form your own strategy. You can do this by surveying the participating companies and listing down all job openings that perfectly matches your interest and suit your qualifications. After which, rank each opportunity according to your priority. By doing this, you avoid wasting your time, energy and resources and you get to focus your attention on the vacancies which you think matches your qualifications. Thus, you get better chances of moving up to employment.
- Gather as much information about the company as you can. Once you have identified your target position, be a step ahead of the pack by studying the company that offers it (i.e. profile, people, milestones, etc). How to do this? First, simply read the collaterals (these are usually posters, brochures, flyers or hand-outs available in the booth) about the company. Secondly if ever possible, listen intently to the conversations taking place between the recruitment officer and the applicants ahead of you. But be very discreet about it. The information you hear will arm you with the proper answers when your turn com
These are just some practical tips to keep you on the right track when you attend a job fair event. You may not be successful in your first few tries but always learn and acquire new insights every time. Also, increase your knowledge by exchanging notes with fellow jobseekers whenever you can and always keep a keen sense of observation.
Remember to make the most of every opportunity available in job hiring events. Certainly, you wouldn’t want to spend your time, energy and resources without having a clear goal of what you want to achieve!