Season 2 Episode #33: Career Fair and Networking Event Success Strategies with Lori Norris
This week, I will be leading you through a solo episode of career fair and networking event success strategies. Preparation before the event will give you confidence during the event and increase your chances of success after the event. Whether the event is in person or online, my tips and tricks will set you up for success.
Before the Event
- Prepare a results-focused resume that showcases your unique value. Your resume should be targeted to a specific industry.
- Find out what companies are attending the event.
- Research the companies and their openings. Do an analysis of each company’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and T
- Focus on 5 companies. You may need to adjust your resume for each company.
- Pre-register online if offered.
- Prepare questions you will ask employers. Think through how you will start conversations.
Day of Event
- Bring plenty of copies of your resume. Remember you may have different resumes for each targeted company.
- Dress to impress. Do not wear your military uniform. You want the employer to see you as a potential employee, not a service member. Dress as though you are interviewing. For some roles, a 3-piece suit is expected. In other positions, a collared shirt and a pair of slacks are appropriate. A good rule is to dress a notch above what you would wear every day on the job.
- If you are attending a virtual event, consider your background. The area visible in the camera should be free of clutter. Choose a quiet area.
- Meet the recruiter for each of your targeted companies. Get their name, business card and connect with them on LinkedIn at the event or shortly after. Ask your prepared questions and let them know your unique value proposition. Be respectful of their time.
- Even though you are targeting certain organizations, network with all recruiters and be open to new possibilities.
- You should leave the event with contact information, notes and details about your new contacts, company information, a better sense of your options and confidence.
- Remember it’s unlikely you will be offered an interview or a job at a career fair. In most cases, the recruiter may look at your resume and ask you to apply online.
After the Event
- Follow up with all recruiters through LinkedIn, voice mail or email. Thank them for their time and sharing information with you about the organization.
- Create a focused resume for each role and apply. Follow up again with the recruiter and let them know you applied.
- Take time to ask yourself what went well and what areas need improvement for the next event.
The purpose of creating your networking value proposition is to start a conversation with a potential employer. It’s an opportunity to explain to someone who you are and how you can add value to their organization. Keep your proposition relevant to the company you are targeting. Focus on where you are going, not where you have been. For example, you will want to avoid introducing yourself with your title in the military. Only talk about where you have been with how it relates to where you are going. Remember to smile and make eye contact. Scroll to the bottom for a link to download a FREE worksheet on creating your value proposition.
Head over to the Lessons Learned for Vets YouTube channel at https://tinyurl.com/llforvets22 to hear a bonus clip on mistakes made at career fairs and networking events and questions you NEVER want to ask at an event.
Download a FREE worksheet at https://www.nextforvets.com/.
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