How to Make the Most of Trade Shows

By Adrienne Erin - Writer

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Are you on the lookout for a job or a new position? Attending trade shows can actually help you connect with the people who make the decisions on who to hire within a company. Typically, trade shows are sponsored by associations in a specific industry, and there are thousands of trade shows held every year.

Out of those attending trade shows, 86 percent are the decision maker in their company. That is good news for job seekers. Simply by attending and interacting with others at a trade show, you are going to meet company decision makers and connect with the people who could potentially offer you a job.

There are many benefits of attending trade shows, but the atmosphere can still be overwhelming. Here are some tips on how to get the most out of trade shows.

Choose the Right Industry

There are over 1,400 trade shows listed in Expo Database for the United States alone. Whatever your industry or niche, you can be sure there is some type of trade show that ties into it. The key is to find the ones that most closely match the skill set you have as a potential employee.

Scope out the Exhibitors

Your next step is to find out which companies will have booths at the trade show. Make a list of the companies you most want to work for. For example, if you have skills in Internet technology, then Google might be a company on your radar. Google is one of those unique places to work that offers a lot of perks for employees. If you are interested in potentially working there, put their exhibit at the top of your list to visit.

However, don’t overlook smaller companies in the same industry. It is sometimes easier to get hired with these companies and gain some experience that you can later use to springboard into another position or into your dream job with your dream company.

Be Bold and Be Prepared

You won’t get far by hanging back and acting shy. Instead, introduce yourself to the people at the exhibitor’s booth. Tell them you are interested in working for the company, and ask the best way to apply for open positions.

You also should have some business cards on hand to pass out during networking opportunities. Also, have a resume or two on hand just in case, but don’t push your resume on anyone. Only give it to them if they ask for it.

In addition to having business cards and resumes on hand, be prepared for a long day. Wear comfortable shoes, take an emergency kit and stay hydrated.

Know the Hangouts

Where do exhibitors hang out after hours? Often, you can find people in the hotel bar area. This can be a good place to interact in an informal atmosphere and make important connections that might lead to an interview. However, proceed with caution. The last thing you want to do is drink a little too much and be seen as that tipsy guy at the bar who was desperate for a job.

Instead, stick with a glass of soda water with a twist of lime. You’ll fit into the bar scene, but you will stay both sober and hydrated.

Trade shows are an often overlooked way to reach out to leaders in the industry you want to work in. Absorb information, make connections and follow-up later with a personal note that you are very impressed with the company and are interested should any positions become available.


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