By: Tammy Pennington, Director of Events at Nurse.com
Tammy has 17 years of experience as an Event Producer. She is a proud Texan, unabashed redhead.
Want to make the most of your visit to the Career Fairs? Try some of these tips:
#1. Avoid peak times and long lines
You don’t have to be one of the first to arrive to get the job. I see so many nurses arrive early, only to end up standing in a crowd, vying for the recruiter’s attention. There are typically long lines at the beginning of the day, followed by quiet stretches as the day goes on. If you want more face time with the recruiters, aim for these quieter periods.
#2. Stand out from the crowd
The recruiters are going to see a lot of faces at the career fair – how are they going to remember you? One savvy nurse at the Fort Lauderdale Career Fair had colorful business cards with a few bullet points from her resume printed on the back. Another wore a beautiful bright pink jacket with a fresh flower pinned to the lapel. Try something different. I saw one helpful RN in Baltimore offer to stay after hours to help the recruiter pack up the booth. Recruiters often bring candy or small tchotchkes to give to the attendees, but how often does an attendee offer them a goodie or a helping hand?
#3. Do your homework, but keep an open mind
Research the exhibitors to see who is hiring for the position/shift/location you want. Make a list of the exhibitors you want to visit and do some prep work online to narrow the search. Don’t waste the recruiter’s time by asking questions about something they can’t divulge outside of a personal interview (like extra benefits, flex time or bonuses). After you’ve visited your top picks, then cruise the aisles to check out alternatives. Consider some outside-the-box options to boost your career; like volunteering at a facility to get your foot in the door, working at a free clinic once a week to boost your resume, or signing up for per-diem work to try out several facilities before you decide which one to pursue.
#4. Network, network, network
Sometimes the best connection you can make is with the other attendees at a career fair. That nurse standing next to you at the coffee break may be the next DON at the hospital down the street, or president of the local nurses’ chapter for Oncology Nursing. Keep your LinkedIn or Facebook info handy so you can connect with people on the spot. Follow up as soon as you get home – with recruiters and with peers, while your name or face is fresh in their mind.
What other tips do you have for attending a career fair? Share them with us!