By Diane Hudson
Job and career fairs for veterans are plentiful.
They provide a good opportunity to "meet and greet" and learn about companies of interest.
Many different kinds of job fairs are available:
And, there are even online job fairs that you can navigate with an avatar.
Write your military transition resume, and plan to carry several copies (25+).
Bring your networking business cards, in addition to the hard copies of your resume and the copy on your thumb drive.
Prior to attending a job fair, do your homework:
Do not forget to consider smaller, lesser known companies - there may be some excellent opportunities attached with less prominent companies.
Dress for the job fair as if you were dressing for a job interview. This is a networking event, and you want to put your best foot forward. Also, you may have the opportunity to engage in full interviews in some cases.
[Related: 7 Tips for Smart Dressing for Job Interviews.]
Carry a working pen and small note pad. Collect the names of recruiters you speak with (hopefully on their business cards), and jot down pieces of information about companies that you are interested in pursuing. Also collect brochures and other information from the target companies.
Some job fairs attract hundreds or even thousands of people. It may be crowded and busy; so you need to remember to provide an excellent hand shake to every recruiter you meet, use good eye contact, and smile as you move from booth to booth, as if you were on a job interview.
Also, neatly stack the brochures and business cards you collect into a pad-folio or small briefcase or purse.
Do not forget to prepare your TMAY (Tell Me About Yourself / elevator pitch) response in advance. You will want to wow the recruiters you speak with and convey the value you offer their company - by using a military-translated TMAY response.
[Related: How to Be Confident in Job Interviews.]
Use the business cards you collected from recruiters, and write short notes of thanks with requests to follow up.
Recruiters meet many people on job fair days - and a short thank you note will remind them of who you are and what skills you have to offer their company.
[Related: Sending Job Interview Thank You Notes, with samples.]
Job fairs can be very effective networking opportunities where you can meet recruiters and company representatives, circulate your resume, attend workshops, and learn more about jobs and who is hiring. With some prior homework, a job fair can be attended with a strategic plan delivering the best return on investment - your time.
For laughs -- and some insight -- read 30 Bad Answers to Job Interview Questions.
Job-Hunt's Job Search Expert for Veterans, Diane Hudson is a military transition job-search strategist and career coach. She designs and composes military conversion resumes and helps position service members for employment in corporate or Federal America. Diane holds eight industry credentials including Certified Leadership & Talent Management Coach and Federal Job Search Trainer & Counselor and owns Career Marketing Techniques.