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Preparation for job fairs can pay off

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Job fairs are excellent ways to meet prospective employers face-to-face and make a great first impression. What are some of the most important things you can do to make the most out of a job fair?

  • Prepare your cover letter and résumé: This should be the first step in seeking employment whether you are attending a job fair or just filling out an application. Updating your résumé and cover letter with current employment and contact information is essential.

Be sure that the résumé and cover-letter format are professional, along with the font size and type, such as Times Roman, size 12. Your cover letter should be a single page, and the ideal résumé is one to two pages. Spell-check all your work and do not print double-sided.

Bring extra copies in a folders to protect your documents.

  • Research the businesses ahead of time: Find out which businesses and employers will be attending the event and may have booths. Make a plan of which employers you would like to visit the most and which ones you would like to learn more about. Think about questions you would like to ask the employers.

Arrive early at the fair to review the map and layout.

  • Dress the part: Dress as though you are going to an interview. First impressions are everything, and you don’t want to show up at the job fair and be offered an on-the-spot interview dressed in an outfit that you would not wear to work. Don’t bring bags or a backpack that may be cumbersome when speaking to someone.
  • Body language is everything: At each booth, introduce yourself and shake hands. Make good eye contact, speak slowly and clearly, and be courteous. Do not lean on the display tables or chew gum while speaking to the company’s representative.

Practice an “elevator” speech about yourself, so if asked you can confidently provide a short description of who you are, your experience, and what job you would like to have.

  • Take information home: Even if some employers are not taking applications or doing interviews on the spot, you can find out what their hiring process is, contact information, what the company is about, and if you would like to work there. Ask for a business card or brochure.

Most importantly, follow up with all your opportunities. Call the companies, complete job applications, and send thank-you notes for any on-the-spot interviews.

A great job fair opportunity is coming up. On Tuesday, April 29, from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., the “Career Connect” job fair, presented by the Albuquerque Journal, will be held at the Embassy Suites. More information will be released soon, so take advantage of this time to prepare for the job fair by updating your résumé and cover letter. The Workforce Connection Center can be an excellent place to start, and they offer a wide array of job-seeker services. If you need assistance with your job-search efforts or if you would like to find out what services and resources are available at the Workforce Connection Center, call 505-843-1900.

This is a regular column written by the N.M. Department of Workforce Solutions. For more information, go to dws.state.nm.us.

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