Going to a job fair? Here are 10 tips to help you stand out:
Before the job fair even begins, try to obtain a list of companies that will be participating. Go to the organizer’s website or call the organizer to see if you can obtain a copy. Once you have a list, highlight the companies that you are most interested in and check out their website and social media pages. Learn about their mission, product, service and overall company culture. See what job openings they have available now, and write down any questions you may have so that you are prepared to ask them when you meet them in person. Employers will be impressed that you did your research and it will show that you are interested in their company.
Most employers are ready to meet the job seekers right when the doors open, and you want to be the first one at their table making a great first impression. Arriving early also means that you’ll have a better chance of finding a parking spot, which will eliminate added stress to your day.
Leave the family at home
Just as you wouldn’t bring your family to a job interview, you should also not bring them to a job fair. Job fairs should be treated like an interview. It’s not the type of event that you should bring your family to.
Dress the part
I can’t tell you how many people come to a job fair in casual attire. Dress as if you are going to an interview, and you will likely stand out from the crowd. Make sure that the first impression you give to an employer is the best version of yourself.
This should go without saying, but you should definitely have copies of your resume ready to hand out to employers at the job fair, and be ready to speak to your experience. Employers will glance over your resume and often ask questions on the spot. If possible, carry your resumes in a portfolio or folder so that they are clean and wrinkle-free.
You do not need to bring a copy of your references to a job fair. References should be reserved for later in the interview stages, when there is a high likelihood of being offered the position.
After speaking with a company representative at their table, be sure to ask for their business card. On the back of their card, jot down any notes about your conversation so that you remember who they were and what was said. After collecting many business cards at the job fair, you’ll be glad that you did this.
While most companies will have free knick-knacks at their table, it’s fine to take a few items from various companies if you really want them, but don’t be that person who goes around to every table to “trick or treat”. That is not the impression that you want to leave with the employers, and trust me, they notice the ones who do this.
After the job fair
Remember those business cards that you picked up and wrote notes on the back of? Now is the time to write personalized letters or emails to these individuals, thanking them for the opportunity to speak with them at the job fair and reinforcing your interest in their company and/or open position. Very few people do this, so this is just another way to stand out from the others.
If you met a company representative that you’d like to stay in touch with, find them on LinkedIn and connect with them, or follow their company on LinkedIn. Even if they don’t have an opening now, you’ll be among the first to know about it when they do.
For additional job tips, check out our Job Seeker Resources page.