Job fairs are an incredible place to be when on the job hunt. Think about it, a location filled with companies who are looking to hire. The only problem is the hundreds, if not thousands, of other job seekers that are also attending. You need a strategy to help you get noticed and remembered by the employers. Luckily we have some job fair tips that will help turn you into a job fair rock star.
1. Dress the part. This should go without saying, but I will say it anyway: Jeans and a t-shirt are not appropriate attire for a job fair. This is in essence a job interview. You want to stand out in a positive light and casual wear will not cut it. You are a professional, so dress the part.
2. Bring a good attitude. A smile is contagious and your attitude can sink you or elevate you to places you could have never imagined. It may be a stressful day at the job fair but the potential employer needs to see that you can handle that stress confidently.
3. Come prepared. Find out which employers will be attending the job fair and go to their website and research. What jobs do they currently have posted? Do these jobs interest you? Are you capable of doing these jobs? What are the company’s goals and values? Do these values match your own?
By answering these questions you are better able to cut the list down of employer booths you will need to visit making it easier to focus your efforts. This is very handy in cases of large job fairs.
4. Focus your efforts. Now that you have a list of potential employers to focus on, you can create customized resumes and cover letters for each. Each employer will have their own set of criteria they will look for on a resume. Look at the job postings on their websites. Take note of what requirements they require for the job and be sure to speak about these on your resume. These keywords will help you stand out.
5. Prepare an elevator pitch. Be ready to introduce yourself without it being all about you. This pitch should help the potential employer find out who you are and how you can benefit their company. The pitch should be approximately 30 seconds to one minute long. With this short amount of time available, don’t waste it talking about hobbies and family.
People tend to speed up their delivery during this pitch, as they are trying to keep it short. This is a mistake. Speaking too quickly can show a lack of confidence. Make sure you practice. It needs to sound like a conversation and not a memorized speech.
6. Have your questions ready. When meeting employers at job fairs you are engaging in an interview. Treat it like one. Well thought out questions show your interest in the company and that you appreciate a good fit for the position from both sides.
7. Talk to the right person. There tends to be a variety of people from each company in attendance. These can be anyone from HR to recruiters and hiring managers. The hiring managers are your target. Try and find the most senior hiring manager in attendance for each company to speak with. These tend to be the people with the most hiring influence.
8. Network. Talk to people, not just the employers at the fair but the job seekers as well. Sometimes you can uncover a career opportunity by simple conversation with others.
9. Collect contact information. Being hired on the spot is slim but the right elevator pitch, questions, and resume have set you up to be someone the employer remembers. Don’t let them forget you, make sure you follow up. Send an email later to thank them for their time, attach your resume and ask them to connect on LinkedIn. It is after all, a business networking site.
10. Expand your horizons. Job fairs are not the only places to find jobs. To get a job you need to network. Job fairs are a great place to start but they are not your only option. Attend business seminars, conferences, and trade shows. These are ideal places to connect with professional in the know. You won’t need a resume for this. You aren’t here to apply for the job but to form connections and relationships with people who can help you get the job. Instead, give them a business card and have your elevator pitch ready!
There you have it; 10 tips to make you a rock star at the next job fair. Ok nine. Number 10 doesn’t count as a job fair tip, but it’s a great tip to help you find employment none the less. These tips do need work and preparation but they are worth it in the end. If done right, you can be the charismatic professional that will blow the competition away.
Do you have any tips to add? We would love to hear them.