Preparation is the key to your success at a job fair. You will need a strategy before, during and after the job fair to insure that you achieve your goals. Large job fairs attract thousands of job seekers and if you are unprepared you may find yourself overwhelmed and discouraged. A job fair is an excellent opportunity to expand your network and obtain current information about a specific company or industry. Additionally many employers provide informal and formal interviews on the spot.
Before the Job Fair
Be prepared to interview while you are at the job fair. Prepare as you would for any other interview. Your ability to articulate why you are an excellent candidate for a particular position may be tested several times during the job fair. What do you have to offer the company? What skills do you possess? What is significant in your work history that may be of interest to the employer?
Hot Tip! Prepare a 30-second infomercial that will introduce who you are and how you can benefit the organization. Practice this infomercial until you can say it with ease and you are certain that if reflects your talents and skills. While you are at the job fair, use your infomercial to introduce yourself and be prepared to speak in a noisy and crowded environment.
Frequently, companies that attend job fairs are publicized on-line or in the local newspaper. Before you arrive, review the list and research the companies that interest you. If you are knowledgeable about the company, you can engage in a much more meaningful conversation with the company recruiter. Moreover, if you have piqued the recruiter’s interest, you may find yourself being interviewed before the day is over!
Bring many copies of your resume on white or off-white paper linen or other high quality paper stock. Bring at least two copies for each company that interests you, since you may find a company with more than one position available.
The Day of the Job Fair
Review Company Listing and Floor Plan
Review the list of companies attending the job fair and the floor plan to prevent wasting time and unnecessary distractions. Also review the list of companies to determine if there are any new companies not previously listed.
Keep Yourself Organized
Organization is essential. After each interview find a place to organize your thoughts, promotional materials and business cards. Remember to write down names, and other important information that you gathered during the interview.
After the Job Fair
Follow-up is often neglected. Insure that you send the recruiter a thank you letter no later than one day after the job fair. Include a copy of your resume, restate your interest and qualifications for the position, reiterate your interest in a second interview. State that you will follow-up with a phone call or an e-mail.