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Finding a Job

I'm going to a job fair in about three weeks. I went to one last year and there were long lines for the employers I wanted to meet, so I met with several smaller companies and ended up with nothing. I don't want to spend all of my time in line, but I don't want a repeat of last year. What's the best strategy?

If you simply show up at a job fair without a real plan, you can easily end up being a human pinball.

A week or so before the fair, take a look at all the employers that will be participating and rank them as follows: "A" for those you must meet, "B" for those you would like to meet, and "C" for the ones to meet after all of your "A's" and "B's." No matter how long you have to wait in line, even if you can only meet with a couple of "A's," that is still better than ten "C's."

When you meet with a potential employer at this fair, be sure to have a well-rehearsed and concise sentence that describes who you are, what you have done, and what you are seeking. Listen carefully to what you are asked, and keep your responses brief. Bring a stack of resumes, one page if possible, plus some work samples if they apply to your industry. On the day after the fair, send follow-up emails to all of people whom you met to thank them. With this type overall strategy, you should have an outcome that is more than fair.

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