When it comes to searching for the perfect job, it’s a good idea to branch out and go beyond the internet search. A job fair is a great place to start, not only is it a chance to get your resume out there, but it’s also a great chance to network. However, job fairs can be overwhelming at times, with big crowds and a ton of competition, but they are worth the time and effort. Job fairs are an ideal place to meet employers that might not be advertising to the public.
If possible, pre-register on the job or career fair website for the event. In some cases, you can submit your resume on the website, so potential recruiters can view your information before the job fair. Below you will find some tips to help you get ready for all the amazing opportunities at your local job or career fair.
Prepare for Anything
Bring multiple copies of your resume, a few pens, a notepad and a ton of business cards. Your business card should include your name, email address, and phone number. Other important items you can take to a job fair include: tissue paper, clothes stain releaser pen, and breath freshener. Remember, accidents happen, you always want to look professional.
Wear Professional Attire
It is important to dress for success in your best interview clothes. Your clothes should be on the conservative side: stick to solid colors, ironed, dark dress shoes, and go easy on the accessories and make-up. Make sure that you are wearing comfortable shoes, as you might be standing in line to meet employers. Ensure that all tattoos are covered by clothing or make-up.
Prepare Your “Elevator Pitch”
Considering that you will competing against many other job seekers, you won’t get to spend a lot of time with each recruiter. This means that you must make a good impression in a short amount of time, which can be difficult unless you come prepared. Give yourself time to practice an “elevator pitch,” which is just a 30-60 second speech that summarizes your experience and skills to prospective employers.
It is called an “elevator pitch” because it is similar to the time spent riding in an elevator. This quick speech will allow you to explain who you are, what your qualifications are, and to describe you career goals to each employer. So, get ready – make a short pitch and rehearse it in the mirror, with friends, and family to get a ton of practice. The more practice you get, the more confident you will be when delivering it to recruiters at the job or career fair.
Research the Companies
In most cases, the job or career fair will have all the information you need about participating companies on the website. This makes it easier to prepare to talk to the recruiters, simply check out the company’s website for any open positions, company information, mission statement, and general information before you go to the job fair.
Just showing that you know something about the company or open positions when talking to recruiters will help you stand out from the other job seekers. In fact, to empress employers at the job fair, try to come up with a couple of questions to ask, which also set you apart from the crowd.
Have a Strategy
Don’t go to a job fair with the intention to apply to every single company, instead make a plan. Create a couple of lists. First, make a list of all the top companies you would like to work at. Then, make another list of the companies that it would be nice to check out if you have time. Start your day with a few practice employers, to warm up and practice your “elevator pitch”. Then you’ll feel much more comfortable when you go and talk to the top employers on your list.
Network with Everybody
There are many opportunities to network at a job or career fair:
While waiting in line you can exchange business cards with other job seekers
Network with as many employers as possible
Join any professional organizations that are relevant to your career goals
Attend any workshops or seminars and chat with all the people you meet
When networking it is important to remember to stay professional, positive, and enthusiastic at all times. A simple smile, direct eye contact or a firm handshake can make all the difference in the world to an employer. Demonstrate you interest in the job opportunities and companies at the job fair.
One of the most important things you can do at a career fair besides networking it to gather as much information as you can. This can be done in a few ways:
Ask questions and take notes
Get business cards and contact information
Pick up any company brochures or pamphlets
Be proactive, do stand in a line up when you can talk to a recruiter that is alone. Attempt to meet with employers during own times, like in the morning or during lunch time. Showing initiative, will make you memorable and allow you to learn more about the company and any opportunities.
Another way to take initiative is to follow up with all the employers that you meet at the job or career fair. Within a week, write a letter or email to each recruiter that includes the time and date you met, some information about what makes you qualified, use your knowledge of the company to impress and then request an interview. In fact, you can even attach your resume to the letter or email.
It is not only important to follow up with all employers that you meet at the job fair, but also with other job seekers or professional organizations. When you reach out to other job seekers, talk about your job fair experience and all the successes and failures. Make an arrangement that you will let them know of any job opportunities and ask them to do the same for you.