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Fairly Jobbing

Job fairs can be a valuable job search tool

➔ If you haven’t yet experienced one in your job search, you probably will soon. The job fair. Some may look down their noses at job fairs, but they can be a valuable job search tool – for a variety of reasons.

In fact, some people have compared job fairs to speed dating. Speed dating – where groups of eligible singles meet up for 3-5 “dates.” Or, to put it in job search lingo, “interviews.”

Finding a job for Saturday night

That’s right. It’s essentially the same concept. In a roomful of people who are there for the same purpose, you meet with interested parties for short periods of time where you have the chance to see if either party wants to take it to the next level. It can be economical. It can be efficient.

Speed dating service has identified five tips for speed dating which, upon closer inspection, can also be applied to job fairs (and beyond.)

One: be yourself. If it sounds like a no brainer, it is. Ultimately the truth will out. If you’re short on experience, prepare a response to that question rather than trying to hide it, or worse, lying about it. You are what you are. This is not a situation where you want to “fake it.”

Two: use the time. As it applies to a job fair, use your time wisely. Realistically you’re only going to have a few minutes with each prospective employer. And, you may have to share that time with someone else. You had better make the most of it. Listen. Ask questions. Push for a follow up if you’re interested.

Three: the power of observation. Most people think of observation as something you do with your eyes. That’s true, but you can also observe an awful lot by listening. You’ll learn a lot about a company by listening and you’ll probably develop a question or two which should impress the employer.

Four: trust your instincts. You’re over 50. You know the drill. You been around the block a few times. You know how the game is played. If something doesn’t look or sound right, there’s probably a good reason why. Go with your gut.

Five: have fun. In this case, the “fun” aspects of a job search may be very different from the “fun” aspects of dating, but there is an element of fun here. Meeting new people; learning about new companies and their products and services; mixing and mingling with other job seekers. Job fairs are golden opportunities to build relationships – and those relationships can bear substantial fruit… and maybe even… a job.

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