Job seekers tend to be disappointed if they don't manage to get an offer on the spot. But employment decisions are rarely made at career fairs. Those with realistic expectations may find, once they approach a potential employer: Just a couple of words may be needed for you to get the most out of a career fair.
"It would be more effective for them to concentrate on just being able to present very very quickly, in a couple of seconds, who I am, where I'm from, what I've done and what I'm looking for and not to expect anything more than that," said Bryan Morgan, senior recruiter with AECOM International Development.
Morgan, who attended Devex's international development career fair in Washington this March, said that career fair attendees should not be frustrated if they return home without a job offer.
"Sometimes people set themselves off for disappointment because they expect that perhaps they are going to get an interview right there or an interview to get planned immediately when they come here. Unfortunately, that's rarely the case," he said.
Potential employers are rarely pleased when they have to explain what they do to applicants who didn't even bother looking at the organization's Web site.
"Coming up to us and asking us what we do is a sign that perhaps you haven't really done your homework," Morgan said.
So, at a minimum, job seekers should read up on the organizations they want to approach at a career fair - perhaps by checking out what's new or what projects & tenders or job opportunities have been published recently. They may also gather information from Devex's database of 140,000 development professionals from around the globe, some of whom should be familiar with the work of the organization in question.
For more tips and advice on how to ace a job fair, check out Devex's interview with Emerging Markets Group President Andy Dijkerman.