It's that time of year: Spring is here, and it's job and career fair season. Two local events are being held this week, and they are great opportunities for job seekers to get out and network, meet face-to-face with recruiters and employers, attend job search seminars and even receive free résumé reviews and complete mock interview sessions.
That's all taking place Tuesday, March 27 at the Minnesota Recruiting and Staffing Association (MNRSA) 3rd Annual Job Summit. This free event takes place from 9a.m.-2p.m. at the Minnesota School of Business in Richfield (1401 West 76th St.; mnrsa.org for more information). On Thursday, March 29, another free event, the Get Jobs Job Fair, will be held from 11a.m.-4p.m. at the Eagan Civic Arena (3870 Pilot Knob Road; positivelyminnesota.com/getjobs).
"I suggest that job seekers connect with as many exhibitors as possible," said Mike Lang, a workforce development specialist based in the Burnsville office of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. "Look beyond the company's primary business and realize that this is a great opportunity to network. Be prepared to hand out résumés, but also try and collect some business cards and make contacts."
How do you get the most out of these events? First of all, dress as you would for an interview to make that positive first impression, said Lang. Before you attend these events, develop a 20-second introduction that includes your first and last name, position or area of interest and your background of related skills. End your introduction with a question for the recruiter: "I was wondering what current or anticipated openings your company might have that might fit my skills and qualifications?"
"Practice delivering your introduction slowly and clearly," said Lang. "Add enthusiasm and a smile."
Research your targeted exhibitors before you attend the fair. Impress them with your knowledge of and sincere interest in their company. Ask questions about the jobs and application process. Try to determine the name of the contact person for your desired department. Ask when an interview may be possible. Establish your next contact with employers of interest. Don't ask about salary or benefits at the event -- focus on finding out more about the company and the job.
"Find creative ways to gain networking opportunities out of job fairs," said Lang. "They are a great way to connect with businesses and potential employers."