May 24, 2011

If you are seeking a job on Craig’s List, Linkedin, Facebook or Twitter you could be standing at the end of a very long line indeed. There is no better way to secure a job than to meet perspective employers in person. On line social networks are just what they say they are. They are for socializing. Linkedin may beg to differ because it caters for business users and posts adds for jobs. But here is a sobering fact for any job seeker. When you are on line you are just that. You are a digital person, not flesh and blood and that makes a world of difference when it comes to finding a job. Your appearance, your ability to communicate, your body language, your poise, your ethnic background (for better or for worse) are all lost in the digital person you became when you signed onto an online social network. Companies need to employ real people not digital copies.

Trade shows are one of the few places where you can literally ‘press the flesh’ of a stranger by simply walking onto an exhibitor booth, extend your hand and be assured that you can shake the hand of even the most senior executive of a company.

Many trade shows appear not be open to the public at large but that is a fallacy. Most trade show organizers want to have as many qualified visitors attend as possible, that way they can justify what they charge companies to exhibit. The word ‘qualified’ is the key to visitors to getting admission, often for free to trade shows. The majority of trade shows have on-line registration and as long as you can provide a company name and complete a questionnaire about what products or services you are interested in at the show.

So what if you are unemployed? How can you provide a company name to get yourself qualified? In the USA for example if you do business under your own name such as John Smith Consulting then you do not have to have to register because if you are the sole owner of your business, its legal name is your full name. So even if you are unemployed and looking for work you can print business cards with your full name as your company name and that can be used as a method of gaining entry to trade shows.

Some coaching is necessary to learn how to pitch yourself to a perspective employer on a trade show booth and for the beginner it might seem a daunting task but with a little practice it’s something that most job seekers should be able to conquer.

Trade shows are unique in that they are possibly the only place where job seekers can gain one-on-one access to mid level and even senior managers in companies. What’s more you are gaining access to perspective employer staff when they are out of their office, away from their office phones and often relaxed and likely to be in the best possible frame of mind to talk to a job seeker. But surely employees are on company booths to sell services and products not to interview and hire staff? Perfectly true but bear this fact in mind. Companies are only as good as their employees and in today’s competitive world every company wants to have the best employee’s so just because the person on a booth is a salesperson or engineer and not in HR don’t for a moment think that it if he or she was approached by a job seeker who impressed them that they wouldn’t pass the name onto their management.

Trade shows are in a networking class way above Craig’s List, Linkedin, Facebook or Twitter so if you're serious about finding a job then find out where the next tradeshow relevant to your background is being held and start getting prepared for a fast track to that new job.

Vince Waterson has written articles and a book published on Amazon about using tradeshows to find jobs. He can be contacted at vwaterson@expolinker.com.
159 - 4 - 0 - US