Attending your first job fair can be intimidating. These professional events are a great opportunity to meet recruiters, and you could even find your dream job. It is essential to prepare for a career fair, so you make an excellent first impression.
How To Prepare For A Job Fair
Attending a job fair could help you find your dream job. You need to prepare for this event to make a good first impression and talk to the recruiters who are most relevant for your career goals. Here are a few tips to help you get ready for your next career fair.
Research The Attendees
The organization behind the fair should have a list of attendees available on their website. Go through this list and figure out which companies are good matches for your career goals.
Do some research on these companies. Their official websites might have a list of positions they are currently hiring for. Find out more about what these companies specialize in, what their culture is like, and what their plans for growth look like.
Having a solid knowledge of a company’s products and services will help you make an excellent first impression when you meet a representative from this company. You will be able to ask relevant questions and tell people why you would be a good candidate for a specific position.
Take some notes when you research the attendees. Write down a few questions you want to ask for each company. Go over these notes again when you get to the career fair.
Print Some Resumes
Print some resumes you can hand out to attendees so they can learn more about your background and have a way of getting back in touch with you. However, handing out the same copy of your resume to everyone you meet at the fair isn’t ideal.
If you already know which recruiters you want to talk to, create different versions of your resume tailored to the positions or companies you are interested in. You should also have versions of your resume tailored to the different industries that will be represented at the fair since you will probably end up talking to recruiters you didn’t plan on approaching.
Depending on the industry you are interested in, you could hand out additional materials such as a portfolio, some samples of your work, or some letters of reference. A business card might not be necessary unless you want to share a link to an online portfolio.
When you hand out a resume to a recruiter, make sure you ask for their business card. If possible, get the person’s work email and phone number so you can follow up with them directly.
Have A Strategy
You can’t attend a job fair without a strategy. Here are a few things you should do before the fair:
Once you get to the fair, you will probably have to register. This is an opportunity to ask any questions you might have about the venue or the organization of the event.
Take a few minutes to get your bearings and look at the map and schedule of the fair. You should already know which recruiters you want to talk to first.
It is important to prioritize when attending any kind of professional event. Your goal could be to talk to three or five recruiters that would be excellent matches for your career goals. Set a realistic goal so you don’t leave the fair and feel like you didn’t accomplish anything.
Get in line as early as possible for the companies that are likely to attract many candidates. You should put together a list of recruiters you want to talk to in case the top companies you were interested in didn’t make it to the fair or if the lines are too long.
You are going to spend a significant amount of time standing in line during the career fair. Make the most of this by going over your notes and by networking with other attendees. They will probably have some useful tips and leads!
Work On Your Pitch
Don’t expect attendees to spend more than a few minutes talking to each candidate. You need to prepare a pitch so that you can introduce yourself to the different attendees.
Your goal should be to deliver your pitch with confidence, make a good first impression, and make attendees want to find out more about your background and projects.
Don’t forget to introduce yourself with a firm handshake, smile, and make eye contact when delivering your pitch. You should also adapt your pitch to the different attendees you will meet.
Your pitch shouldn’t last more than a minute. You should tell people who you are, what your skills and strengths are, and what your career goal is. You could also talk about why a company would be a good match for you, and explain what you hope to accomplish at the fair.
You can mention a past work experience or a project if it is relevant to do so. Be prepared to answer some questions once you have delivered your pitch, and have a few questions ready to show that you are interested in the company.
Energy is key when delivering your pitch. Attending a career fair can be exhausting since you will spend most of your day standing in line and will meet a lot of people. Take a break when you need to. Eat and stay hydrated throughout the day. Delivering your pitch with enthusiasm, energy, and confidence will make a real difference.
Practice your pitch and ask friends to give you feedback. Remember to keep things short and to find a way to stand out from other candidates.
Prepare For Some Interview Questions
Some recruiters might ask a few interview questions to see how motivated you are and to determine if you would be a good fit for their company. You should be prepared to answer a few questions.
Don’t worry if attendees don’t ask you any questions. Everyone will have a different recruiting strategy, and some attendees might prefer to rely on the pitches they hear to select candidates for job interviews.
If attendees decide to ask questions, they will probably ask about your career goals. Recruiters might ask where you see yourself in five years, what draws you to a specific field, or why you think you are a good match for a position.
Some recruiters might also ask about your strengths and weaknesses. Have a few answers ready. You should be able to explain what your career plans are with confidence and have a list of strengths and weaknesses you can draw on if a recruiter asks a few interview questions.
Your appearance matters at a job fair because recruiters will rely on the first impression you make on them to decide if they want to call you for an interview. Dress conservatively and aim for a professional or business casual look.
There are going to be different employers with different company cultures at the fair. You can’t dress in a way that matches all the different company cultures that will be represented at the fair. If you are called for a job interview, take some time to research the company and figure out how you can dress to fit in.
For the job fair, the best thing to do is create a professional outfit that shows you are taking the event seriously and took the time to prepare for it.
Comfortable shoes are a must-have! You are going to spend most of your day standing in line. If you purchase new shoes for the occasion, make sure you break them in before the fair.
You should carry a binder, portfolio, or professional briefcase with you. Use it to store and organize your resumes as well as the business cards and printed materials attendees will share with you. Leave your coat, backpack, or purse at the coatroom.
Follow Up With Attendees
Following up with the attendees you talked to will show that you are interested and motivated. Sending a quick email to thank an attendee for their time can make a difference. You can do this a couple of days after the fair if you haven’t heard back from the recruiter.
If you get the impression that a recruiter is interested in your profile, ask if you can contact them to send them more information, such as a comprehensive portfolio or a cover letter. The recruiter will be more likely to remember you if you make plans to get in touch with them after the fair.
These tips will increase your chances of landing your dream job the next time you attend a career fair. If your school has a career center, make sure you visit it before the fair to get some advice on improving your resume and pitch, or to practice answering interview questions.