When you go to a job fair, you are quite literally a face in the crowd. How are you supposed to stand out to employers when there could be dozens or even hundreds of other job seekers? Approach the challenge with strategy and preparation to make a lasting impression. Follow these tips to make the most of your next job fair.
Determine Your Priorities
Knowing what type of jobs or companies you are most interested in pursuing will help you prioritize what tables/booths you should stop at during the job fair. There likely won’t be time to hit them all, and you don’t want to waste time at the ones that don’t align with your goals. If possible, review the list of employers that will be attending beforehand, to make an action plan.
Pack Your Supplies
Your resume will be the most important tool to make you memorable to employers at a job fair, even after they leave. Make multiple copies of your resume (at least 20) and keep them neatly in a folder for easy access. Also make sure to bring a pen and paper to take notes – you’ll never know what details you’ll need to remember.
Look the Part
Make a great first impression on employers at a job fair by dressing professionally in a nice shirt/blouse and slacks/skirt. Keep in mind that, unlike a job interview, a job fair will likely take place in a large, crowded room. Don’t dress in anything that’s too hot or uncomfortable, and make sure your shoes are comfortable enough to walk in for an extended period of time.
Have an Introduction Ready
Going up to employers at a job fair can be awkward without knowing what you’re going to say. Make the most of your short amount of time with employers by coming up with a brief (approximately 30-second) introduction. State your name, your qualifications, and what type of position you’d be great for – practice it so you it comes naturally and you don’t sound rehearsed.
Master the Follow Up
During the job fair, collect business cards of those you meet, and then actually act on them. For companies or jobs you’re interested in, or network connections you’d like to form, send an email or LinkedIn request within 48 hours. Customize each one so it’s specific to the individual person. State that it was great to meet them, mention something you discussed, and request your preferred next steps (i.e., being considered for a job or meeting for coffee sometime).
Another option to get noticed by employers is to work with an experienced staffing agency. Get started finding your next job with Chicagoland staffing agency Mark/Ryan Associates, Ltd. We carefully match candidates to positions from area employers that align with their backgrounds and career goals. Get started with your job search by contacting us today.