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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Making the most out of career fairs

Making the most out of career fairs

By Francis Kahihu


· Francis Kahihu on how to get the best out of these initiatives

Each year, after the results of national examinations are released, many stakeholders organise career fairs. The target for each of these forums is clearly indicated in the notices with the aim of attracting relevant people and institutions.

As much as the fairs are a great initiative, there is need to educate those who attend such fairs on how to go through the exhibitions and plenary discussions in a more fruitful way.

Be selective on the fairs you attend: Perhaps due to the level of frustration that many job and college seekers go through, there seems to be an attitude seems to have set in that pushes such people to virtually every fair in town ‘just to learn what happens there’ and hopefully link up with their dream job.

It is important to understand the objective of each career fair before you participate there otherwise, you will find yourself attending one that is targeting new college graduates hoping to get in touch with potential employers.

Be ready with your tools of trade: One of the most frustrating experiences for potential employers who participate in career fairs meant to recruit potential employees is the lack of adequate preparation among potential jobseekers.

Can you imagine someone who is looking for employment going to a career fair with no tools of job search?

Several jobseekers find their way to career fairs without copies of their CVs or a clear understanding of exactly what kind of job they want to be recruited for. This is one of the mistakes most jobseekers make.

How can you come face-to-face with your potential employers yet when asked for your CV, you have none at hand and can only promise to but will send it later?

Dress as though you are headed to an interview: Does it matter how one dresses when attending a career fair? Yes, it does - the same way it does when you are attending an interview.

Often, potential employers will have quick interviews for potential employees as they develop shortlists for future reference. It is therefore important to dress with the same keenness you would do while attending proper interviews.

Have a note book for key contacts: One of the reasons for attending a career fair should be to expand your job search network.

Ensure that you have adequate and presentable tools to take down the contact details of important people you interact with at the fair.

If possible, have your own business cards that detail what you are marketing as a potential employee. Such opportunities to meet potential employers do not come daily so make the most use of the opportunity.

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