A career fair can act like a one-stop shop for your job search, providing you a place to find several potential leads. It’s still up to you to make a good first impression. Do your homework, dress to impress and don’t forget to prepare.
Copies of resume
Above all else, make sure to bring copies of your resume to hand out. The general rule of thumb is to bring at least two for each company in which you are interested. The website Military.com suggests bringing at least 25 to 40 copies, depending on how big the career fair is.
Read through the resume thoroughly and make sure there are no typos. Prepare a resume that easily lists your abilities, skills and knowledge. Use plain white or cream-colored paper, and when possible, Lakeland Community College advises job fair patrons to use high-quality bond paper.
Also, the website Quintcareers.com recommends taking scanable copies of your resume that list the same information as your regular resume, but in a very simple format. On your scanable resume, use all caps for major headings, don’t use bullets or lines, and left-justify the text.
Research about job prospects
This is where doing your homework matters. Military.com, in its advice to veterans seeking jobs, tells them to gather the same information that they would take to a job interview. Research the employers that will be present and be ready to show them how your skills fit their needs. Find a list of the companies that will be in attendance, then spend most of your time researching the companies in which you have an interest.
Questions to ask
Bring a list of questions. Asking quality questions demonstrates that you have done your research and that you have an active interest in the specific company.
Lakeland Community College tells students to ask questions like, “What types of skills and experience does the company seek in prospective employees?” You want to learn about what courses or experiences they expect a successful candidate to have. If you are applying for an entry-level position, find out what a possible career path might be and the opportunities for advancement. You may also ask employees representing the company why they started working there and what they like about the company.
Your sales pitch
Employment service agencies can provide you with the potential employers, but it’s up to you to prove you are the right candidate. Prepare your pitch before going to the job fair. Make sure to explain adequately why you are the right candidate. You want to include basic information about yourself as well as your skills. Quintcareers.com tells job candidates to look at it like a one-minute “commercial,” pitching what you can offer the employer. This is also referred to as the “elevator pitch.”
Be willing to be flexible so you can match your pitch to the company you’re interviewing with.
Energy and enthusiasm
Be as refreshed as possible, cautions Military.com. Going to a job fair means being on your feet moving from table to table. There’s a lot to keep track of too. You want to look alive, enthusiastic and positive. Remember to smile and speak clearly. Shake hands firmly and make sure to maintain eye contact with the people to whom you speak.
These are just some steps to take in preparation for your trip to the job fair. Don’t forget to dress professionally, in a business suit, if necessary. Bring business cards if you have them and a notepad and pen so you are organized and ready to take notes.