A job fair is a great opportunity for you to get your resume to several employers at one time, but it can be an overwhelming situation if you don’t prepare properly.
1. Do your research
Job fairs are an opportunity for many employers to attract job seekers at the same time, meaning there will be several companies looking to hire new employees. Before you go, research what companies will be at the job fair and what kinds of positions they offer. Having knowledge of who will be there and what kind of positions they are looking for will give your more confidence. Job recruiters want people who are enthusiastic and serious about getting hired, and your preparation will be an indicator of your commitment to your job search.
2. Give yourself time – Come early
Most job fairs last for several hours, but you don’t want to wait until the last minute to show up. Getting their early will not only show the recruiters that you are serious about getting hired, but it will also give you plenty of time to speak with everyone you would like to. It will also allow you to go back to tables to ask more questions and make yourself more memorable to the recruiters.
3. Create an elevator pitch
An elevator pitch is a quick summary of who you are and what you are looking for. It needs to be so quick, that you could give the whole thing to someone while riding in an elevator. Highlight your job interests and experience. Make sure you keep it relevant to the positions you are looking for. If you are trying to get hired as a daycare teacher, you won’t want to talk about your experience as a bartender. Mention positions that will highlight your relevant skills for the open position.
4. Bring copies of your resume
Your resume is a snapshot of you. It should allow recruiters to quickly see your skills and experience to determine if you have what they are looking for in their open positions. Bring several copies of your resume to leave with the recruiters. Not only will they be able to see then what experience you have, but they will also have something to take back to their office that will remind them of their conversation with you. Recruiters speak with many people during a job fair, so it is hard for them to remember each person. By giving them your resume to keep, you are making it harder for them to forget you.
5. Be open
Even though you probably have a certain company or position you are looking for, be open to other opportunities. Visit each table to see what positions they are looking to fill. You may be surprised by the types of positions some companies are hiring for. Even warehouses and construction companies need administrative personnel and clerical staff. Even though the company may specialize in one field, they may be hiring for a variety of positions across many fields.
You want to dress as if you are going to an interview because essentially a job fair is a massive group interview. Dress in a way that presents yourself professionally. Wear clean, fitted, and appropriate clothing with no holes or tears. Ladies, make sure your dresses and skirts are no more than 4 inches above your knee and that your clothes are not too tight. Gentlemen, wear slacks with a nice button-up shirt or collared shirt. Stay away from jeans, flip-flops, tank-tops, and t-shirts.
7. Be professional
You want recruiters to take you seriously as a potential employee, so you should show them that you can be professional in your behavior. Avoid slang and profanity. Make sure you are still being yourself, just your most professional self. Remain calm if you are denied a position.
8. Stay calm and confident
Interviewing is always nerve-wracking, but it is important to stay calm. You want to show that you are confident in yourself and your ability to perform in the position you are applying for. Avoid biting your nails or fidgeting with your hands. If you need to, put your hands in your pockets or fold your hands in front by your waist. Practice your elevator pitch and talking about yourself before you go to the job fair. The more you practice what you will say, the more confident you will be in your delivery.
9. Take notes
You are going to talk with a lot of people in a short amount of time. There is no way you will remember everything that is said and who it is said by. Take a notepad and pen so you can take notes while you are talking with recruiters. Some may require follow-up steps, and it is important that you get all the important information correct. Being prepared in this way will also impress the recruiters and show them that you are reliable, detail-oriented, and committed to finding a job.
10. Ask for business cards/contact information
Before you leave each table at a job fair, ask for a business card or the contact information of the recruiter that you speak with. Go ahead and input that information into your phone’s contacts. This will ensure that you can contact them easily for any follow-up steps they require. It will also ensure that you don’t decline an important phone call simply because you do not recognize the number. This way, if you get a call for an interview, you will know who you are answering the phone for and be able to greet them personally.
Do you have any advice on how to stand out at job fairs? Share it in the comments below!