This week I went to a career fair sponsored by a local social service agency. I witnessed people breaking all the rules, and I was wondering how anyone would get a job. It’s time for me to resurrect an old article first published here in 20=5 to read on the CBC program Biznet

Its career fair season again. With the unemployment rate at a record low, career fair season could last the whole year, so it’s time to dust off that resume and brave those lineups to get that perfect job. While many people write off career fairs for finding a job, recent polls show more than 70% of personnel departments rely on job fairs to recruit employees, so it might be worth your while.

To be successful at a career fair, you have to learn how to “work the floor.” Here are eight tips to help those prospective employers remember you in a positive light.

1. Do Your Homework

When you see a poster for a career fair, find out which employers will be there. Use the Internet to research the companies that you want to approach so you can ask intelligent questions of the recruiters. Be prepared. Bring a pen, a note pad and stack of resumes.

 2. Arrive early

Recruiters need to stand in one spot for hours on end watching hopefuls making eye contact and show off their firm handshakes. What are your chances of impressing them if you arrive in the middle of the day, or worse, at the end of the day when they’re tired? None. Impress them when they’re still awake – when the doors open.

 3.  Dress up

First impressions are lasting ones, so treat the career fairs that you are attending like a job interview. Dress conservatively, with a winning attitude, and ready to answer probing questions.

4.Stand out in the lineups

Some people think lineups are for other people, not for them. They butt in, thinking they have the right to make their positive impressions before anyone else. This strategy leaves a worse impression with recruiters. Rather than showing strength and determination, they see the line butter as a boob with no scruples. Use lineups as opportunities to network with other hopefuls. Talk to others to exchange job-hunting ideas, provide support, and even get leads. This will also help you relax as you approach the recruiter

 5. Be ready for an interview:

Be prepared to talk about your career objectives, strengths, and interests. Tell the recruiter about your relevant skills, the kind of job you are looking for, and why you want to work for them. Finally, tell them why you would be an asset. Be concise, polite and direct because you only have a minute to make that impression.

6. Get Information:

Recruiters at career fairs may not be the ones who decide. Ask how arrange a second interview, or how to contact a hiring manager. Get recruiters’ business cards.

 7. Don’t Drop the Ball: Follow Up!

Follow up soon with a thank you note that reintroduces you, your qualifications, and restates the company’s needs. Ask for a second interview. Be sure to get the recruiters’ cards and contact information. To really stand out, attach another resume

8. Build Your Network

You should attend career fairs periodically even when you are not looking for a job. Use them to learn what opportunities are out there, and to gain a perspective on where you fit in the job marketplace. Remember, developing your career is up to you.

 Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .

He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.

He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”

He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.



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