Attending a job fair is a great way to make some new connections, learn about new job opportunities in your area, and even get in some interview practice. But you don’t want to show up unprepared to make the most of those opportunities. Consider attending a job fair to be a precursor to the interview itself. You want to make a good impression. You want to be memorable. And you want to walk away from the experience confident that you have several leads to follow that may realistically turn into job opportunities.
Here’s what you should expect from the experience.
How to Prepare
A well-prepared job fair attendee is far more likely to land a job from the event than a passive or an unprepared attendee. Make sure you bring your resume, a plan for what sort of jobs you are interested in, even a list of questions you are interested in asking hiring managers. You want to leave every conversation confident that the person you were speaking with will remember you later. Having the opportunity to ask relevant questions can also make all the difference in the success of your job search. They can start more in-depth conversations with a hiring manager and personalize the interaction. Having a list of pre-prepared questions shows your investment in the companies you are speaking with, even though you are not yet at the interview phase of your application. The bottom line is that you should be informed about the companies you are speaking with, even though some you might be meeting and speaking with for the first time at the job fair.
Dress for Success
Prepare for a job fair in a similar way to how you would prepare for an interview. Dress for success. Arrive wearing professional attire that is comfortable but which shows you take the event, and the employers you are speaking to, seriously. For men, this usually means a suit and tie. For women, the dress code is less restrictive, but make sure you are presenting yourself in a highly professional manner. What makes the required attire for a job fair slightly different is the environment.
Comfort should be of equal importance to style or professionalism. You need to be able to walk around for an extended period of time, likely within the company of many other job seekers, so your clothes should not hinder your presentation. Keep an eye out for uncomfortable shoes or clothing which gets uncomfortable when worn for extended periods of time. The last thing you want to be worrying about is the irritation of a scratchy fabric or too tight footwear when you are on the hunt for your next big opportunity.
Focus on Connecting
If preparation is important, proper engagement is the key to success. Whether you are speaking with a colleague or interviewing in front of a panel, take the time to note the other person’s body language and try to subtly match or respond to it. If they are fast walkers, pick up your pace. If they lean forward, do the same to the extent possible. People like to hire people like themselves. Establishing a good rapport with whoever you are speaking with will go a long way toward helping them see how great a fit you would be in the company.
Don’t Forget the Follow Up
Just as with an interview, following up after meeting someone at a job fair can be really helpful in moving you forward in the job application process. Did you know that the best follow-up starts the day of the interview? A brief emailed thank-you note – written and sent right after the event is completed – is a nice way to remind hiring managers of their conversation with you, without appearing pushy or nagging. An effective thank-you note can be quite simple. Thank them for taking the time to speak with you, and tell them how you enjoyed meeting them. Think of this follow-up activity as a way to exemplify your professionalism, your personality, and your courteous nature.
Are you ready to take the next step in your career?
For the help and guidance you need to find your next job, connect with the team at All-Star Personnel today.