Job Fair Tips and Tricks - Attending a Job Fair

Going to a job fair (a.k.a., career fair) soon? Looking to make the most of it? Perhaps even land a new job? Well, here are some dos and don’ts to help. Check them out and put them to good use!

Job Fair Tips and Tricks - Attending a Job Fair

Do your homework.

Do a little research. Find a local job fair and take the time to learn what companies, organizations and recruiters will be in attendance. Google the businesses that spark your interest and see if they’re hiring. Make a list of the ones that might be a good fit for you. If the list looks promising, pre-register for the event. Oh, and since you researched the companies in advance, you’ll be able to spark conversations when you show up.

Don’t ever go without any preparation. You’ll probably feel lost and not accomplish what you could have with a little research.

Dress for success.

What you wear is an important factor that influences the first impression you make on potential employers. Dress as you would for an interview. Business casual is usually your best bet for a job fair. Think nice slacks or a skirt and a collared shirt or blouse. Make sure your clothes are clean and pressed. Avoid revealing clothing and over-the-top accessories. That might make you stand out, but not a good way.

Don’t go too casual or too formal. This is not the place for jeans and a hoodie. Nor is it the place for a tuxedo.

Bring your resume.

Actually, resumes… lots of them! You never know. You might only need a couple, but you’ll likely need lots. For tips on creating an “A+” resume, check out this article.

Obviously, don’t ever go without your resume. When an interested employer asks for one and you don’t have one? Yeah… awkward!

Get the lay of the land.

As soon as you get there, plan your attack. Confirm that the companies you’re interested in are still there, and see if any new companies were added last minute. It’s probably a safe bet to meet with your top companies first, then visit others last. Either way, having a plan makes it less stressful and more productive.

Don’t assume your top companies showed up for the career fair; don’t assume there are no last-minute companies that you’re interested in. Things can always change.

“Speed date” employers.

Use the job fair as an opportunity to get to know multiple companies in a short period of time. And make sure they get to know you just as well. Pump up your ambition, experience and skills, while also asking them questions. That way, it’s a two-way street. Find a middle ground where you feel you’ve left an impression (and your resume, of course), but didn’t tie them up in a long conversation.

Don’t zero in one company. You’re limiting your options, which is not a good thing. It’s just like when you start applying for jobs. The more the better, as long as you think they’re a good fit.

Listen up!

In a busy, fast-paced environment, it’s easy to get distracted. That’s fine to an extent, but remember to crank up your focus at certain times. The most important time being your conversations with potential employers, especially when you ask them questions. You should listen carefully and take mental notes in order to determine your best fit.

Don’t just ask questions to keep the conversation going. Ask meaningful, thoughtful questions and value each and every answer.

Follow up.

Make sure you reach out to anyone you connected with at the job fair. Send them an email or a handwritten note, or leave them a voicemail. They expect it. And it helps if you can remember a small detail from your conversation with them. It’d be a great icebreaker for your follow up. For example, “Hello Laurie! This is Luke, the fellow Boston Bruins fan that you met at the job fair on Thursday.”

Well, this one’s pretty obvious too. Don’t ever forget to follow up. You’ll be forgotten quickly and immediately fall behind other attendees who do follow up.

Sometimes, your job search can start and end at a single career fair. Now don’t expect that, but it could certainly happen. Either way, attending a job fair equipped with these dos and don’ts ensures you’re on the right track to landing a great new job. Go ahead! Try them out and report back to us.

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