Tips for Success at Job Fairs
Here are some valuable tips to help job seekers be successful at job fairs.
The general rule of thumb is to dress to fit the job for which you are applying. For some, this may mean a suit and tie; for others a pair of khakis, polo shirt, or button-down collar. It’s not okay to “pop in” to a job fair on your way home from the gym or to the grocery store. Plan your attire carefully. Choose a color that accentuates your best features and make sure it is comfortable. Sneakers and flip flops are never acceptable.
Communicate What You Want and What You Have to Offer
Employers are amazed at how many people attend job fairs hoping the employer will play the role of a career counselor or engage in a game of “20 Questions.”
Prior to attending a job fair, prepare a 30-second introduction and career overview: your “positioning statement.” Include the following: The kind of work you do, The number of years of experience you have and in what industry(ies), Some of your areas of expertise and/or key skills, What you hope to find in your next job, Write it down and practice it until it rolls off your tongue and feels comfortable.
Plan Who You Want to Talk to and in What Order
You probably will not have time to talk to everyone. Look over your research notes and decide in advance which companies would be the best match for your skills and experience. Plan to visit the “maybe” companies first and save the really important ones for last. This way you can work through some of your nervousness before you present yourself to the companies that really
Bring Your Resume
You should bring sufficient copies of your resume (printed on high-quality bond paper) for the employers you plan to target. Make sure your resume is targeted to the kind of job you are seeking, focuses on accomplishments, not responsibilities, and is two pages or less.Do not fold your resume or place it in an envelope!
Make Your Objectives Known
Employer’s report many attendees seem to be “just browsing” or are there to collect the free promotional items. Approach employers confidently. Introduce yourself and express why you are there. Ask questions and take notes. Express more interest in the company literature than the key rings, post-it notes, and candy bars.
Collect Business Cards and Take Notes
Jot down notes while the employer is talking with you. Ask for the business card of everyone you speak with. After leaving the employer’s table, make notes of what you spoke about and what follow-up actions you need to take after the fair.
Send a thank-you letter within 24 hours to each employer you talked to at the fair. Remind them of which position(s) you spoke about and stress your interest in scheduling a follow-up interview. It might also be a good idea to enclose another copy of your resume or a personal business card (not one from your current employer) that will remind them of your skills and provide them with contact information.
Keep these objectives in mind as you go through the day: you are there to network, gather information, and solicit an invitation to an interview. Try to relax and be yourself. Employer’s hire people they like. Focus on being likable and you can’t loose at a job fair!