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7 Job Fair Myths Exposed

Posted by Rob Riggins

Job Fair MythsWe’ve been producing Cleared Job Fairs for ten years. During that time we’ve heard some cleared job seeker questions — and seen certain behaviors — over and over. What follows is a list of the most common misconceptions that security-cleared job seekers have about job fairs.

1. Just Talk To Recruiters

Sure you’re at a job fair to talk to recruiters and hiring managers, but you can benefit from talking to the job seekers as well. View a job fair as a networking event.

When you’re in line to talk to a company, talk to the job seeker in front of you and the job seeker behind you. If you’re getting a cup of coffee, talk to the job seekers around you. If you’re taking advantage of a resume review or a career seminar, talk to the job
seekers you encounter. Other job seekers can be a good source of information about positions, companies, strategies and more. For example, they may have worked for a company on your target list, and might be willing to share some insider tips.

2. Visit Only Your Target Employers

By not talking to an employer you are saying, “no thanks not interested” for them . . . without giving either the employer or you a chance to see if there is mutual interest. Talk to every employer in the room if you have time.

ClearedJobs.Net distributes a Job Seeker Handbook for each job fair, detailing the companies in attendance and some of the positions those employers are seeking to fill. But it’s not a definitive list of the employers’ job openings. The job market is dynamic and needs change daily. A new job requisition for which you are perfectly suited may land on the recruiter’s desk the day after the job fair.

Recruiters do move around from company to company. The recruiter you’re speaking to at company A may be working at Company B the following week. While your skills are not required at Company A, they may be needed at Company B.

Don’t say no to opportunity. Network with as many companies and job seekers as you can.

3. Transitioning Military Should Attend Only When They Are 45-60 Days from Terminal Leave

It’s never too early to start networking. A great example of this is a service member who attended our September 10 Cleared Job Fair. He was about a year out from transitioning to the civilian workforce. He had never attended a job fair before, didn’t have a resume, and was just trying to figure out how it all worked. That’s a great strategy to prepare for the future and get the lay of the land.

About an hour after the service member entered the job fair, he checked back with me to say that he had two companies that wanted to hire him as soon as he was available. Granted he was a linguist for an in-demand language, and these results will certainly not happen for most transitioning military. But it demonstrates that it’s never too early to start building your network. Attending a Cleared Job Fair six or even twelve months before you transition is an effective, proactive strategy.

4. A Resume Isn’t Necessary

Yes you do need a resume. You are at a distinct disadvantage unless you’re that very unique cleared job seeker with skills that are in incredibly high demand.

A better strategy is to bring multiple copies of your resume. It’s much faster for a recruiter to scan your resume than to quiz you to get the same information, or to depend on your elevator speech to give them all the pertinent answers they will need. Make a good first impression and be a prepared professional by bringing many copies of your resume to a job fair. And if you bring your resume you can take advantage of the free resume review service offered at all our job fairs.

5. Nobody Gets a Job

We’ve surveyed the companies that attend our job fairs. In our best estimate, approximately 6-7% of the job seekers attending a Cleared Job Fair receive an offer. Depending on the needs of the employer, employers do at times give on-the-spot offers as well.

For the majority of job seekers, an on-the-spot offer is not going to happen. It all depends on your skills, the competition, and the needs of the employers. But attending a job fair and meeting with a recruiter is a positive first step toward getting an eventual job offer.

6. I Applied for the Job Online so I Don’t Need to Attend

Reinforcing your online application by speaking to the company’s recruiter gives you the opportunity to make a face-to-face connection and reinforce your interest. You may also find information on other positions with the same company that you might not have known about. And you have the chance to talk to other employers at the job fair about additional opportunities, which brings up another point. Don’t put your job search on hold waiting for that one perfect job. Continue to pursue multiple options and paths to success.

7. It’s All About Qualifications

No. Actually your attitude is really important as well. As one recruiter recently shared with me, “When I meet a job seeker at a job fair or in an interview, this is the job seeker at their absolute best. It’s their peak performance. If they’re cranky, rude, short or disinterested, what does that tell me about how they will perform on the job?”

In most every job you need to interact with others, work on a team, advocate your case, etc. No man – or woman – is an island. Demonstrate to a prospective employer that you are a positive, team player.

If you steer clear of these seven common misconceptions, you’ll greatly improve your odds of having a successful job fair experience. Dispel these myths when you attend our next Cleared Job Fair.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 22, 2015 7:54 am

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