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I was recently sent an invitation to a local job fair. I am always interested to find out what companies are out there and what they are doing, so I am tempted to sign up for it. My thought is that it is good to get a sense of who I might want to work for in the future even though I am happy in my current position, and that it might be good time to network. However, I'm wondering: if I don't take any résumés, will it actually do me any good in networking? But what if I do take résumés and give them out but afterwards just have to decline a bunch of interviews; how can that be good for networking?

Will I just confuse companies if I attend but am not looking for a new job? How can I make it clear that I am there to network, not to find a job at this time? Is this kind of thing even done, or is this totally a bogus reason to go to a job fair?

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    Job fairs are great for networking. Even if you're not looking today, you might meet someone who will help you when you're looking "tomorrow". Recruiters at job fairs never feel meeting a potential candidate is a waste of time even if that candidate isn't looking today. – Joel Etherton Jul 18 '14 at 15:43
  • Does no one worry that their current employer would learn that they were at a job fair and think they were looking to jump ship? – PurpleVermont Jul 18 '14 at 16:29
  • @PurpleVermont That's certainly a consideration! Thanks for bringing that up. – Kazark Jul 18 '14 at 16:37
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    I had a friend who was a highly talented developer. He'd go to job fairs for the free t-shirts and swag companies would throw at him. – GrandmasterB Jul 23 '14 at 19:04
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Here are a few reasons you should consider to attend.

  1. You are right on the future skills. It is good to be proactive as there are always changes in the market. Going there you might get to know what skills people are looking for. Through this you could shone your existing skills or plan for gaining new skills.
  2. You would meet new people. Get some contacts, exchange ideas,market yourself. That could lead you to a better position or may be even a dream job.
  3. This would also motivate you to have an updated resume :). Many would forget where the document went.
  4. Notify your friend or refer him later if you are not interested. It is nice to give:)
  5. Get some goodies ;)
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Yes, it's still good.

You might see what others companies are up to, meet new people and make contacts you may need for your career in the future.

Networking is a very important part of building your future career, so this kind of events can be a good place to go even if you like your current position.

And who knows, maybe you will find a open position you'd love to apply to :)

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In most career paths these days networking is your single greatest ally.

A job fair is an excellent place to network even if you aren't looking. You can introduce yourself to various potential employers, learn the movers and shakers in your area as well as get your name into their minds.

Strike up a few conversations, learn about different people, ideas, the good and bad happening in your respective industry going on right now, hiring trends, etc.

Doing research of what people are hiring for is all well and good, but an even better source is the people who are actually hiring. (what's better? A blog saying now is the time to learn X or someone saying "if you know any who knows X we're really struggling to find qualified people")

Knowing people also can serve you in unexpected ways. I've made connections that resulted in getting sniped from my job to a MUCH better position, I've also recommended and hired people that I met networking.

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Yes! See what is going on. See who is doing what. Meet new people in your industry. Relationships always have value - but the value may be in the future. People that you find interesting - be sure to follow up with them later. Linkedin Invitation - with follow up notes from time to time. There is not really any value with meeting new people - if you are not going to get to know them more so that they move into your 'real' network.

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