When you’re looking for a job, it is smart to use a lot of different tactics. Job fairs are a great opportunity to meet several employers in one place. However, they can be both intimidating and exhausting. Here are some tips that will help you make job fairs an effective tool in your job search strategy:
Be prepared. Find out which employers are going to be there and research them. Consider how your skills might appeal to them. Have your 30 second elevator pitch prepared and be ready to customize it to each employer.
Look good. Dress as professionally as you would for an interview. When you meet an employer, smile, look them in the eye, and give them a firm handshake.
Be realistic about your goals. Don’t expect to get a job there. The most that you can hope for is to make enough of an impression on an employer for them to invite you for an interview.
Plan for success. Get a map of the job fair and decide which employer booths you will visit. Bring your own snacks and water so that you don’t have to waste your time and money buying it.
Network. Make friends with some of the other attendees at the job fair and swap notes. Another job seeker may be able to give you valuable information about who’s hiring and which booths to visit.
Follow up. Make notes about the conversations that you have with the employers. Include details about the names and job titles of the company representatives, as well as any opportunities that are available. Follow up with the employer a day later and remind them of your conversation. Express your enthusiasm for the company and the position.
Don’t be intimidated by job fairs. Remember that the employers are there to find you and that their success is determined by their ability to recruit suitable candidates. If you are well prepared and you approach the job fair strategically, there is a good chance that you’ll get some interviews.
(Written by: Karen Bivand)