How to Get the Most Out of Job Fairs
There is no more constructive way for some job hunters to spend a couple hours of their time than to attend a job fair… that is if they maximize their opportunity.
These events allow job seekers to get a quick taste of what a company and their personnel are really like face-to-face, and that is priceless.
The three paths to making a career fair successful are:
- Plan Ahead
- Get the Most Out of the Fair
Get a list of the participating employers, and then target the companies you want to make a priority to connect with. Some company representatives will leave an event surprisingly early, and your list will help ensure you don’t miss the opportunity to meet with them. Manage your time so that you see everyone on your list first and then visit the rest of the booths. Keep in mind that some companies may have registered late for the event, and that others may be looking for candidates in your field even if the firm itself is not in your industry.
Update, proofread/copyedit and print enough copies of your resume. You may want to consider having more than one version of your resume if you are open to more than one type of position. For example, one resume for sales and another resume for sales management.
Carefully review your resume for typos and other errors; a resume is not a place to make careless mistakes! Print your resume on good quality paper and keep them in a folder to prevent wrinkles, stains or tears. Don’t distribute your resume in folders or portfolios and don’t staple them; you’ll make it easier for the recruiters to scan your information back at their office.
Create a sound-bite/elevator speech. A job coach can help you craft this important job hunting tool. Constructing a 30-60 second elevator speech helps educate the listener about your background, qualifications and talents. Practice your speech until it calms any job fair anxiety you may have. Knowing what you are going to say ahead of time will help you keep yourself at ease and keep your focus.
GET THE MOST OUT OF THE FAIR
Bring more copies of your resume than you think you will need. Put them in a folder. Carry a pen and notepad. Wear a suit. Be outgoing, be polite, and don’t forget to smile. Talk to recruiters whenever you get the chance. When speaking with recruiters, remember to:
Make eye contact and use a firm handshake
- Be articulate and sell yourself.
- Keep calm and don’t get distracted by the commotion around you.
- Be considerate and don’t monopolize a recruiter’s time. They are there to meet with as many potential applicants as they can.
You may also want to practice your elevator speech at the event by talking to just one or two companies that are not among your top picks.
Track which companies you have submitted your resume to. It also good practice to jot down notes right after you speak with each recruiter.
AFTER THE CAREER FAIR
The job seekers who get the most out of job fairs are the ones who follow-up with a brief thank you note and then a phone call. Organize the business cards of the recruiters you met and make further notes on each of the companies you met with. Write a personalized thank you note and email it within 24 hours, if at all possible, to thank each recruiter for their time. In your thank you letter, in addition to showing appreciation for their time, restate your interest and qualifications for a specific position and promise to follow-up by phone and then do so. Also enclose another copy or your resume.
If you did not have time to get around to see each firm’s booth then send your resume and cover letter to the companies that you did not meet representatives from.
Attending a job fair is just one tool in getting a job. Keep networking, sending out resumes and applying for jobs.