While you might have been to job fairs when you were just starting out, you've probably tended to ignore them as your career has improved. But now, a job fair may have just popped up while you're between jobs. Now, in the executive level of your career, you're thinking about visiting one.
So do you go, or is the prospect simply beneath you? Quite a few executives go to career fairs, but not for the typical reasons. Let’s look at some good reasons that an executive would attend a career fair.
Unlike the main reason that entry-level job seekers attend job fairs (to walk away with an interview), at the executive level, you want to attend the job fair for networking opportunities. Job fairs offer an immense opportunity to speak with the higher-ups, hiring managers, and other important people from a large selection of companies.
Of course, you can go to other networking functions to get the job done, like social events or board meetings. However, when a representative of a company is at a career fair, he's on the job and is more open to talk of business. They will be ready to talk about their companies and prepared to answer your questions, with materials like business cards on the ready.
Improving Your Interviewing Skills
On some occasions, you will find that representatives from companies will be ready and willing to interview potential candidates right on the spot. You can use these opportunities to put your interview techniques to the test. Even if you're not looking to get the job, you'll be able to stay sharp and on the ball for when serious career opportunities arise.
Even if you don’t run across interviewing opportunities at the job fair, you can still utilize your “elevator speech” during this time. An elevator speech is a very quick description of your professional life, including qualifications and who you really are, given in a quick time frame that would fit into the space of an elevator ride. A few well articulated elevator speeches can make a big impact at a job fair, and are certainly far more effective than simply handing out your contact information.
See If You Can Gain a Speaking Spot
One way that you can benefit from the job fair at the executive level is to speak at it instead of simply showing up as a job seeker. Delivering a speech accomplishes your set goals for the job fair while providing good information about your industry and qualifications to companies and other attendees. All types of people will look to speak with you after your presentation, rather than the other way around.
It may not have crossed your mind to visit a job fair at this stage in the game, but it’s definitely not a bad idea to consider it. You have a decent chance of getting some great contacts and opportunities. You may get more from the fair than you'd ever anticipated.