In last month’s blog, we explored how businesses should prepare for a job fair in order to find the most qualified candidates for their open positions. This month we are taking the viewpoint of the jobseeker. How can a jobseeker make the most of these fairs, connect with recruiters and make a positive first impression? Let’s take a closer look at things to do before, during, and after the event.
Job fairs tend to be fast paced environments that include meeting many people and making an impression that stands out against the hundreds of other people vying for the same jobs. Overwhelmed already? Don’t be. There are things you can do to prepare yourself both prior to the event that can help you during the hectic “meet and greet” moments and on-the-spot interviews.
Before the Event
Just like with many things in life, it is always a good idea to do some homework before you set off for a job fair. The first thing you will want to do is to find out what companies from your area will be there. Usually there is a list of participating companies available in the days and weeks before the event.
Once you know what companies will be in attendance, you can do some research about the openings they currently are advertising for as well as gather general information about what the business is all about, the culture, standings in their field, and what skills they are looking for. This will help you to tailor your résumé to appeal to that specific position. It will also give you a pretty good idea of what skills and experiences you will want to hit on in the few short minutes you will have to speak with a recruiter during the fair.
Knowing the participating businesses in advance also gives you an edge because now you can get a floor plan of the auditorium and map out where you plan to go on the day of the fair. This will save you from walking around aimlessly and wasting precious time.
In addition to doing your research and planning your strategy for the event, you should also plan what you will wear, get your résumé printed, and have enough business cards available to pass out to not only recruiters but also other attendees who you may end up meeting while you wait in line.
During the Event
While these fairs can be nerve wracking, try to promote a sense of self confidence and positiveness. That energy can go a long way in making a connection with hiring managers and HR professionals.
Along with staying upbeat and energized, be sure to have a quick “pitch” about yourself and your experiences ready to go. This should be no more than two minutes long and have some personal information included so you can make a connection with the person with whom you are speaking.
As you meet hiring managers or representatives from each business, give them your résumé and business card so they will have a way to contact you after the event. In turn, ask each person for their business card so you can also follow up post event. Trust us, you will not be able to remember everyone’s name. Some jobseekers find it helpful to write a quick note about each person on the back of the card so they can mention it in a follow up note or email at a later date.
If the job fair offers workshops try to attend at least one. In addition to providing more job search advice, this will be yet another way you can network with other jobseekers and hiring managers.
After the Event
It’s always a good idea to follow up with an email or call to the businesses you connected with during the job fair. Remind the person/manager who you are, what position you are applying for, and something that is unique about you that may trigger a memory of meeting you at the fair.
Your email or letter should remind them why you are an excellent candidate and why you are interested in their company. Use the name of the person or people you spoke with and be genuine in your language. Use a professional tone while you thank the person for their time and consideration.
Do you need help preparing for a job fair? The North Shore Career Center offers many workshops where job seekers can brush up on their skills, practice interview techniques, and gain valuable insights on industry trends. Check out our calendar and consider coming in to speak with our team to learn some great strategies to land you the job you desire.