Job fairs are a prime opportunity to put yourself in front of employers who are hiring. However, if you’re not properly prepared, they can also feel completely overwhelming. This is especially true for first-time job fair attendees. In order to maximize your time and make the right impression at a job fair, there are a few things to keep in mind. They include:
Dress for success
Some people are thrown off by the notion of a job fair, and believe that since it’s not a formal interview, there’s no need to dress up. In reality, quite the opposite is true. Companies that show up to job fairs take the experience seriously, and will evaluate you based on how prepared you are and how you’re dressed. Even if it’s not a formal one-on-one interview, come in business attire and bring a resume.
Prepare ahead of time
Do some research online and find out about the types of businesses that will be in attendance at the job fair. From there, research the specific companies you’d like to target. You don’t want to stop by a booth at the job fair and realize that you have absolutely no idea what the company does or what you could offer them. Just like you would with a more traditional job interview, you need to go in having done some legwork about the business.
Don’t forget to follow-up
Job fairs are different in that you’ll be in contact with a number of different businesses in a short amount of time. This can make following up a challenge. As you move through the job fair, you may find it useful to take notes about the booths you visited and the people you connected with at each booth. This makes it much easier to follow up with these individuals when you get home. Also, make sure to keep the business cards you collect organized properly. You don’t want to be e-mailing Susie from ABC Company when Susie actually works for XYZ Business.
Bring more copies of your resume than you think you’ll need
If you look online and only see three or four businesses that interest you, it’s still wise to print seven or 10 copies of your resume. Companies may show up last minute, or perhaps you want to hand a copy to a hiring manager as well as another manager who’s working the booth that day. If you’re going to take the time to head to a job fair, make it worth your while and pass out as many resumes as possible.
Another useful tip: if there’s one business you’re especially excited about and are feeling nervous, try stopping by a few other booths first. You’ll get your confidence level up and practice introducing yourself before your big moment with the hiring manager you truly want to impress.