If you’re planning to attend a job fair, PLAN. Don’t waste an opportunity due to lack of preparedness. Get hired on the spot with these tips, curated by our career coaches.
#1 Dress Professionally
This is your first opportunity to make a good impression. If you’re not sure what attire is appropriate, it is always safe to overdress. While business casual is recommended, keep in mind the positions you’re applying for. If styled appropriately, jeans are an acceptable option for a job fair. Pair with a blazer for a modern business casual look, sure to impress your future employer.
#2 Plan to Attend Early
The early bird gets the worm. Meet with employers first before other candidates have the opportunity to meet with them. This could give you the competitive advantage. Some employers choose to leave job fairs early, or put forth little effort after they’ve met with candidates that they feel are a good fit. Don’t jeopardize your chance by underestimating the competition.
#3 Prepare Your Elevator Pitch
Employers will only have a few minutes to talk with you. Prepare what you plan to say in advance. Mention your occupation / industry or start with the title of the position that you’re looking for. Provide a brief synopsis of your experience and skills and demonstrate the value you bring to the table. How do you demonstrate value?
Answer these questions- What can you provide to employers that will benefit them? Are you a self-starter that requires little supervision to complete tasks? Do you have specialized training? Are you a creative thinker, able to solve problems quickly?
#4 Do Your Research
Research the company in advance. Scour their website and appear knowledgeable about the company. Recruiters are looking to hire someone who has done their research.
#5 Ask Questions
While it’s important to answer a recruiter’s questions, it’s equally important to ask your own. A common mistake is not asking follow up questions. Follow up questions show that you’re an active listener and are engaged. Nobody likes a one-sided conversation. Prepare your questions in advance. A great way to get to know employers is to ask about company culture.
#6 Apply for the Position in Advance
Applying to the position before attending a job fair is a great way to get your application reviewed quicker. Make it easy for employers to hire you. Provide them with everything they need to make a decision or grant you an interview in advance. Use the job fair as an opportunity to put a face to a name.
#7 Bring Multiple Copies of Your Resume
It’s a great idea to bring multiple copies of your resume, even if you’re only interested in one particular employer. Having a digital copy on hand is a must-do! You never know what you might come across at a job fair. Be open to all opportunities.
#8 Ask About the Hiring Process
Ask the recruiter about the next steps. All companies hire differently. Some may have extensive interview processes. Ask about their hiring process so that you can align your expectations.
#9 Thank the Recruiter
Thank the recruiter for their time. Show genuine appreciation for their effort. Provide a compliment and restate your intentions. Your exit is as important as your entrance, leave them with a great impression.
A strong follow up can make or break a recruiter’s decision. Those who engage with the recruiter and show continued interest overshadow candidates who don’t follow up. Send a thank you email within 24 hours of meeting with a recruiter. In that email, reiterate why you’re a great candidate for the position. As you navigate the hiring process, remember to send thank you emails to anyone who helps facilitate the process. It can be short and sweet, but the administrative assistant who coordinated your interview will appreciate you thanking them for their efforts and your extra effort will be noticed.