Those on the hunt for a new job should put the 7th Annual Homecoming Job Fair on their schedule. Organized by the Economic Development Coalition and the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, the Jan. 3 event at the Biltmore Square Mall runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will feature dozens of employers looking to fill hundreds of positions. Billed as “WNC’s largest recruitment event” by organizers, the fair will focus on the advanced manufacturing and health care industries, although companies looking to fill positions in many other fields will be represented.
The unemployment rate in the Asheville area is about 7.1 percent, as of the latest reports.
Organizers have produced a video promoting the event and a website with more info.
In the meantime, here’s some tips from the chamber of commerce:
Tips for Job Seekers
Do your research: Log on to HomecomingJobFair.com and search for jobs in advance in order to target the most promising participating employers. Be prepared to answer, “Why do you want to work for us?”
Bring plenty of resumes: Plan to take at least 25 to 50 resumes depending on how many employers you plan to target. (The job fair will have copy facilities available for a small fee.)
Be prepared: Before the job fair, prepare to interview on-the- spot to quickly sell your skills, talents and experiences. Bring all prior employment information and reference details required by the average application to apply for jobs on the spot. Unless you’re otherwise directed, it’s best to turn applications in right away.
Dress to impress: Job fairs tend to be more casual than formal interviews. Even though it’s more casual, attire, body language, manners and other interview professionalisms still count. Dress in clean/pressed clothes, act professionally and display enthusi- asm. Remember, first impressions count!
Use a Strategy: Pick up a booth map at the front entrance and route your path to the employers you’ve targeted. Visit your targeted employers first with resume in hand, and spend some “quality time” with each. Remember that they have many more job seekers waiting, so don’t try to monopolize their time or be offended if they cut it short. This is a valuable networking oppor- tunity – be brief and be memorable.
Follow-up: When wrapping-up your conversations, ask about the next steps. Collect business cards as you go and follow-up within 24-48 hours with a thank-you note or email to each of the rep- resentatives with whom you spoken. It’s courteous, professional and typically expected, even after job fairs. Complying might make you stand out in their minds and help you land follow-up inter- views.