Make the Most of a Technical Job Fair

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Last week I was lucky enough to represent Segue at the Myworkster Recruit DC – Alumni Only – Career Fair. This event was held specifically for alumni of 18 top colleges and universities. I enjoy these events because it gives me the opportunity to meet (in person) the types of employees we want to hire here at Segue – “go-getters”, or people who take charge of their situation and actively seek job opportunities. Career fairs like this one, are a great way to meet energetic prospective employees who are eager and ready to work. However, there are some realities that a job seeker must face when attending a career fair.

What are the chances of them directly getting a job from the event, especially in this economy? Unfortunately, the odds are very slim. This fact is enough to cause some job seekers to opt for the alternative and just sit and wait for a job to fall in their lap. By taking initiative, waking up early and taking action, those who attend these career fairs are setting themselves apart and moving one step closer to finding the job they really want.

Job seekers have to “sell” their skill set to the company just as the company has to “sell” its offerings to a job seeker. At a job fair you probably aren’t going to discuss a position you are perfectly aligned with, as you would in an interview for a specific position. As a company we have to prove that we are better to work for than other companies, and job seekers have to prove that they will be a better hire than the other candidates you have spoken to. We buy flashy banners and marketing materials, and a job seeker should flash a smile and market their positive attitude and strong interpersonal skills. Yes, your technical skills may get you an interview if there is a relevant opening, but at a job fair, you’re primarily selling your personality and “intangible” skills.

Attending the career fair is just one of the first steps that a job seeker can take in finding a new position. It’s what you do with your time at the fair that makes the difference. Sort of like having a gym membership; getting there is a great first step, but the value is in what you do while you’re there. It is definitely easy to just melt into the crowd at a career fair, the numbers of people and companies can be overwhelming. But as a recruiter, I can tell you that the candidates we remember, and are more likely to hire, are those who walk up to our booth with confidence. These people initiate a conversation about our company and are able to quickly show me why we’ll benefit from hiring them. If you’ve gone to our website and know what our company does, then yes, I absolutely want to talk to you!

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