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Get the best from job fair

Susan Neltner

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With the help of job fairs, hunting for a job in our slowly-recovering economy won’t be as difficult as many tend think.

“There are a lot of jobs out there,” said Marcia Miller, assistant director of the Career Development Center (CDC) at Northern Kentucky University. “Getting an entry-level positions isn’t that bad.”

According to surveys, jobs for college graduates will increase 8 to 12 percent in the next year.

And Kentucky’s unemployment rate decreased from 6 percent last year to 5.2 percent, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Miller said attending a job expo is a good start to the job hunt.

“It’s good for undergraduates to come and see who is out there,” she said.

But just showing up is not enough: You still need to do some work.

NKU students will have a chance on Tuesday, April 6 to attend a job fair held in Regents Hall from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. This year there are over 80 companies will have tables set up in the hall.

When attending a large job expo such as the CDC-sponsored event, there are a few simple tips for increased success.

Obviously in such a large job fair, it’s physically impossible to visit every table.

“Target, then shop,” Miller advised. “There are opportunities for every single major.”

Even though you aren’t going to visit every table, Miller said it would be detrimental to visit just one.

“It’s a waste of a good job fair to look at one table,” she said.

Miller said to have several companies in mind and visit their Web sites for more information before you go.

This type of research is vital when attending a large job fair.

A company’s Web site is the best resource, Miller said.

Knowing information such as the company’s history and mission statement will impress potential employers. This can also help you formulate questions of your own and make you more confident when approaching a representative.

“Employers aren’t going to reach out and grab you,” Miller said. “You have to walk up and be assertive, and introduce yourself.”

“This is more of a networking opportunity than an interview,” Miller said.

Communication skills are vital.

A handshake, eye contact, and other basic interpersonal skills will only improve an employer’s impression of you.

Miller added that even though some tables might offer free things, don’t walk about to the company, grab the stuff and leave.

“Go up and talk to the company before asking for the free stuff,” Miller said.

According to Miller, how you dress plays a key role in a potential employer’s initial perception.

“I think you need to dress for it – not a three piece suit, but something to set you apart from students coming from class,” said Miller.

Another thing that you will need to set you apart from other students is your resume, Miller said.

CDC offers resume help to students in need.

However, Miller gave a few pieces of advice: The resume can be general, but it is important to outline your skill set and education background.

Miller said that you should highlight your skills, which will only help in selling yourself to the company.

Miller also suggested avoiding “the buddy system.”

“It’s easier to sell one person instead of two,” she said.

Once you are finished making your rounds of the tables you wanted to visit and have introduced yourself to the company, then you can just relax.

“After you have gone through, you can eat all the food you want.”

She added that students should make time to come to the event.

“This event’s worth doing. It’s worth students’ time.”

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Get the best from job fair