Job fairs can be an intimidating experience for some. Think about it for a second. So you’re on a search for a job and you’ve been given the opportunity to briefly “audition,” right on the spot. You have no idea what you are embarking on from “table to table.” Furthermore, you’ll also be joined by several other starving job seekers, who may be even hungrier than you! It’s like being locked in a dungeon with fellow lions and having ONE slice of meat thrown at you. You don’t really expect anyone to share with you, do you? …But you can get through this thing alive, and maybe even with an interview or even better, a job offer. To do so, you must follow these next 10 steps:
If available, take advantage of this offer. In most cases, online pre-registration gives employers a chance to pre-screen guests and select their candidates in advance. This does not guarantee anything, but why not come into a job fair, with a few prospective employers eager to meet you?
Research Participants. Like pre-registration, give yourself a better chance and do your homework on some of the companies who are registered and advertised to come to the job fair. Without doing so, you’re doing yourself an injustice. For example, out of 100 employers, you may only be interested in five, based on your career goals. Why spend endless amounts of time walking a room of 100 employers when there are only 5 companies that can make use of your skills and background? Now imagine having done the necessary homework on the five companies, and attacking each booth with your resume, a strong introduction, and knowledge of that particular company. The internet is too wide open for you to not be prepared, so use it!
Bring Resumes. When attending a job fair, one must bring a resume…duh right? But bring so many that you leave with extra, rather than not having enough. This is the key. If you did your research and know that there are a particular amount of companies that interest your needs, make sure you have enough resumes to go around. Also, have a variety of resume styles to go around. Maybe one company is of your interest but isn’t in the same industry or profession as another company you’re interested in.
Bring a Portfolio. If you really want to make a great first impression, consider bringing in examples of your work. This is a great opportunity to stand out among the other registrants of the job fair. This is also a good time to get professional opinions from recruiters or representatives of the company you’ve presented your work to.
Dress Appropriate. Although a job fair isn’t necessarily considered an interview, one should go into one with an interview mindset. This means professionalism is still the standard. Just like you wouldn’t walk into a job interview in jeans, you should not walk into a job fair with anything less than business attire. Remember, this is your first introduction to the prospective employer, and as a prospective employee, your first impression could be your last! See our tips on how to dress for a job interview for men and women.
A staffing firm is almost always in attendance at a job fair. For more job fair tips, head over to part two and don’t forget to check out Athena’s Job Search page for additional listings. They’ll be able to keep you updated on opportunities they are in connection with, straight from their clients.