Tips to Succeed at Your Next Job Fair

March 8, 2012  |  

If you’re in the market for a new job, job fairs are one of the most efficient ways to go about it. Several employers who are actively hiring all meet in one place to talk to candidates and the connections you can make while at these events can set you up better than you ever imagined. It’s a great way to kill several birds with one stone and to get several weeks of a job search done in one afternoon. But job fairs can be tricky, too. With a few tips, you can make your next job fair a success.

Before You Go
Preparation is everything. Check out the description of the job fair and identify the potential employers you’d like to see most. This will give you a guide during your day. Plan to wear something that looks professional but is appropriate for your field. Dress the way you would if you got the job and you had an important meeting at work that day. And remember that old rule: if you could wear it to the club, you probably shouldn’t wear it to a job fair.

Take a look at your resume and freshen it up if necessary. Make several copies of your resume because you are going to give it out the entire time you’re at the job fair. Make sure that your references are still on board to offer their endorsements for you. Bring your identification, too, because plenty of companies at job fairs are looking to hire right away.

During the Job Fair
Show up to the job fair on time because many close the doors 10 or 15 minutes after start time. Relax when you get inside. Remember that you’re basically on a speed date session with several different companies. It’s not much different than other types of interviews, but all eyes are on you the entire time you’re there and you have limited time to make a good impression. Keep your professional demeanor the entire time you’re at the fair because you have no idea who will see or hear you.

Remember those companies you picked out before you came? Work your way through them, making sure that you work your way up to your top pick. This gives you a chance to work out the kinks in your interviews. Take a business card from every single person you talk to because it will help you make contact afterwards. You should also try to speak with representatives of businesses you might not have considered initially. You never know who you can and will make a connection with and if that connection will lead you to a job.

After It’s Over
Wait two days after the job fair is over to follow up with your contacts. You can either send them a nice thank you email for their time, or a card in the mail if you have their address. Remember that these guys met tons of people at the event. Therefore, it’s essential to make sure that you mention the date of the job fair and add something specific about your interaction to help them remember you. Keep in touch with them so that they can keep you in mind for opportunities, but don’t hound them, nor should you contact them once and expect some sort of hookup or handout.

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