Job Fair Tips for a Positive Impact
In the world of job seekers, there are many avenues to finding work. Whether you're unemployed, looking for your first job, or wanting to move forward in your career path, job fairs can be a monumental step in the right direction. Because I have attended many of these events, I have seen both the good and the bad and have a bit of insight from a recruiter's perspective on what the hiring company is looking for in a prospective employee.
Often employers seek out basic skills that can be determined just in the quick moments at a job fair, including communication skills, social skills, attitude, and motivation. These job fair tips will help give you an advantage over other job seekers and allow you to make a lasting impression and lead to your next great job opportunity.
Before the Job Fair
- Clarify your goals and determine exactly what you are looking for. This doesn't mean you have to have it all figured out! While many people know exactly what they want, right down to the nitty gritty details, some people come to job fairs to learn about new careers or branch out just to “see what's out there.” If you fit in this category, you know what you are looking for! Coming with a perspective in mind can help focus your efforts while at the fair and make the most out of your time and the employers you speak with.
- Prepare a resume. This one is a bit of a given, and is something most people assume. But you'd be surprised by how many people neglect this important step. A resume is the perfect way to display your skills and expertise to your potential employers. Try to focus the resume on your key skills, keep it to about a page, and have someone else proofread it before you deem it employer-ready. Also, be sure to bring multiple copies.
- Think of questions you would like to ask the prospective employers. This shows both that you are interested in the company, as well as the fact you are actively excited about work. This engagement helps display your professionalism – just don't forget that the conversation is a two-way street! After you ask a question, be sure to pause and listen to the employer's response.
At the Job Fair
- Be sure to look professional and well put-together. While not all career paths require you to dress up in a suit and tie, it's best to use the rule of thumb of dressing “one level up” from where your future job is. Employers want to see that you can clean up well but that you are adaptable to their environment as well.
- Greet people with a smile and exhibit your good attitude and eagerness to work. A smile is warm and welcoming and will grab a recruiter's attention more than someone who is stone-faced or unfriendly. Remember not to act as if you are complaining – Employers would like to see someone with a good attitude, as a poor one can imply bad work ethic.
- Approach employers with confidence. This is an important one! Employers love job seekers who step forward, shake their hand, and are able to carry themselves with confidence. However, be careful not to be cocky! That can turn employers off quickly to wanting to continue their conversation with you.
- Show enthusiasm and interest by asking pertinent questions. Going back to your job fair preparation, be sure to use the questions you have thought of to engage employers in conversation. Whether or not you are interested in the company, be polite and courteous and thank the recruiter for the time they spent speaking with you.
Follow Up with Employers
- Don't forget to grab a business card! Hopefully, the employer will be contacting you, however you don't want to be in the dark either. Always grab a business card and take initiative to follow up with the company in the near future.
What do you think? Have you ever found a job through a career fair or other similar event? Share your job fair stories (both the good and the bad) in the comments below!
Your Employment Solutions