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Prepare yourself before attending a recruitment fair

In the present times, a job search is not complete without attending a career fair. Students are accustomed to attending such fairs.

They see such fairs as an event where they can meet prospective employers under one roof, push their résumés and weigh their own chances of landing a plum job. However, they gloss over some of the basic guidelines they have to stick to while attending such a fair.

According to the results of a survey carried out by TeamLease Services Private Limited, an HR outsourcing firm based in Bangalore, if students follow certain norms, they would be able to land the job of their dreams. They shared the details of the survey with Education Plus.

Pre-register: Registering at a career fair usually includes submitting a brief résumé or filling up a prescribed registration form or telephonic registration.

Research: It is important to get a list of the companies participating in the fair. Do some research on each company you propose to meet. Don't waste time with companies that do not interest you.

Collect information on companies using the Internet before attending the job fair.

This would enable you to be armed with some basic information about the company. This homework would also stand you in good stead at the time of meeting the company representatives.

Resumes: Carry enough copies of resumes to the job fair — at least two a company. Depending on the number of companies you plan to meet, take several copies with you. In case you have multiple interests and different job objectives, bring different versions of your resume.

Career portfolio: In India, this is a new trend and not all employers expect you to have a career portfolio. It may even prompt employers to look at you with a different perspective, and offer you additional responsibilities or a new role with better salary. A career portfolio should include copies of your résumés, list of references, certificates of appreciation, and samples of your best work.

While it may not always be possible for all job aspirants to bring in work samples, there is no harm in carrying brief project reports of your best assignments.

Interview process: Interviews are usually very short, and you may get just about two to five minutes to market yourself. Hence, you need to make the most of your time. Be specific, and communicate the skills that you have and how you can contribute to the organisation.

By the end of the session, you should also have enough information about the organisation, skills needed for the job profile, salary, training, contractual obligations, if any, and most importantly, the name of the person with whom you need to follow-up after the fair.

Do not forget to collect the business card of the person you met.

Attire: Sober colours are better than garish ones. Men should shave, comb their hair, polish their shoes, and look presentable.

Women should avoid gaudy attire and heavy jewellery. Wear subtle makeup and comfortable footwear. Very strong perfumes are an absolute no-no for both.

Body language: Make eye contact, offer a firm handshake, and show enthusiasm. Fidgeting, shifting nervously, rocking to and fro will reduce your worth. You cannot afford to have a nonchalant attitude either. Listen to what is being told, and ask intelligent questions.

Being loud, brash, and pushy will put off the interviewer, and ruin your chances of getting a job.

Follow-up: Many job aspirants do not understand the significance of a follow-up.

This is the first opportunity you have to meet the potential employer and sometimes you may need to go for an on-site interview or a short training on the job.

In any case, it is a good practice to either call the interviewer the same evening or the following day to thank the interviewer for the time spent with you at the fair.

The Hindu - Education Plus - Monday, December 18, 2006