Career fairs can be a great resource for finding your next job. There will likely never be another time when you will have so many employers in one place who are there just to meet potential employees with your level of experience.
Take advantage of this opportunity! Here are six tips to making your next career fair a successful one.
Build a strong resume and bring copies to give to your top employers. A resume is a critical component of landing a job. An employer generally scans a resume in less than 30 seconds. Make it count! Your resume should include your key skills and accomplishments, leadership positions, and community involvement. Make sure it is error-free, because grammatical errors will likely result with your resume in the recycle bin.
Prepare an elevator speech. You will only get a few minutes at most to make an impression. You should have a 30-60 second pitch prepared for when you meet employers. Your pitch should include why you want the position, what you are looking for in a company, and what you can offer an organization. Keep it simple and practice!
Research the companies attending. Most career fairs dates are posted online and will include a list of registered employers. Do your research! Prioritize your list of companies you are most interested in to assure you meet with them. Don’t discount other companies; you may be surprised to see what some companies have to offer.
Ask questions. Asking intelligent questions demonstrates to employers that you did your research and are really interested in pursuing a career with them. Remember employers are seeing hundreds of people in a short period of time.
Dress the part. Meeting an employer at a career fair is the first part of your interview process. Dress professionally or in business casual. Don’t go too casual. You don’t want your clothing to be a distraction. Keep in mind the old adage: dress for the job you want not the one you have.
Be confident. Confidence is key, but check your ego at the door. Approach the employers and introduce yourself. Be enthusiastic. Smile and make eye contact.
Extra credit: Take advantage of opportunities to meet with companies outside of the career fair setting. Many companies will host company information sessions on or off campus. These are special opportunities to get quality face time with employers and make a bigger impression in a smaller setting.