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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Navigating Job Fairs

If your job hunt is moving into high gear, you're likely to drive straight into a career fair or three this spring.

It's important to prepare, according to Jay Liwanag, director of career services at American University's Kogod School of Business. His school will host an American Marketing Association job fair today for students from 12 schools. Some of his suggestions on how to make the best of a job fair:

¿ Target a few employers that interest you, then check their Web sites for background and job openings before you go.

¿ Rework your r¿sum¿ so that it addresses target employers' needs by using a strong positioning statement and key words.

¿ Prepare a one-minute "elevator speech" identifying your strengths, what you could contribute and why you want to join the organization.

¿ Clean up your online profiles. "Remove something that you wouldn't want someone who would not know you well to see," such as party photos, Liwanag said.

"Find ways to make yourself stand out," he said. And don't be shy about asking smart questions about the workplace culture or job details -- thoughtful queries may impress and they show interest.

-- Vickie Elmer


© 2008 The Washington Post Company

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