MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
Job seekers who want to make a lasting impression with recruiters at job fairs must do their homework beforehand, Barbara West, program coordinator at the Family Member Employment Assistance Program, told a crowd of transitioning Marines and family members at the “Job Fair Prep Tips” workshop March 20, 2014.
Prior to attending a job fair, West told the 18 candidates, who gathered at the Religious and Family Services Center, that to compete with crowds at career fairs, they must dress for success, research employers, tailor their resume to specific positions of interest and practice a “sales pitch.”
Transitioning Marine, Chief Warrant Officer 4 John Walsh, mitigation officer at the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab, encouraged participants to go a step further. Walsh has been to several job fairs within the last few months and he said recruiters want job seekers to do more than simply check out their company’s website.
“I’ve been to several career fairs and most recruiters are going to ask, ‘have you uploaded your resume on their site and have you applied to any positions?’” Walsh said.
Being prepared to talk about specific positions helps a candidate hone their pitch.
Typically, a “sales pitch,” includes introducing oneself, stating a profession and experience, and then explaining unique selling points, according to material distributed during the workshop.
At a fair, candidates should map out a priority list of employers to visit.
“Develop a game plan on who you want to speak with first — it might be a good idea to speak with your third or fourth choice as a warm up before you speak with your top choice,” West said.
Whether the event yields employment or not, West said participants should always look at it as a networking opportunity. Taking time to collect business cards from recruiters and other job seekers, allows a person to convey, once more, their strong candidacy and pursue job leads with others who may be in the same field.