Attending a job fair can be similar to interviewing.
Job fairs or career expos may be hosted by many different organizations, including colleges and universities, community-based, non-profit organizations, business and professional associations, and more. These events offer job seekers the opportunity to meet with multiple employers in a short amount of time. In addition, job fairs often provide networking programs, resume reviews, and other workshops for job seekers.
When preparing for a job fair, the same general interview preparation rules apply. It is important to research the employers who will be participating. Many job fairs have information on participating companies on their website in advance. Ideally, investigate which employers hire people with your skill set. By knowing which employers are the best potential fit, you can focus your preparation and maximize your time during the event. Check out those companies’ websites, specifically their mission, open positions, and general information. Being able to demonstrate knowledge about each company you talk to will help you stand out from the crowd. In addition, practice a quick elevator speech summarizing your skills and experience to promote yourself to prospective employers. You should also practice responses to interview questions and prepare a few questions of your own.
On the day of the event, be sure to dress in professional interview attire. Wear comfortable shoes as you can expect to do a lot of standing in line. Bring extra copies of your resume, pens, a notepad, and business cards if you have them. As you meet with the companies’ representatives, show initiative by demonstrating your knowledge of the company and interest in their job opportunities. You should not necessarily expect an on-the-spot interview, but be prepared just in case. Your time with each recruiter will be short, so be concise and enthusiastic. ou can take notes on the backs of the business cards you collect, which will help you keep track of who you spoke with and how to follow up.
During the fair, it is important to be flexible. No single employer representative is knowledgeable about all positions available, especially in a large organization. Some representatives are there to share their experiences working at the organization and may not be involved in the hiring process. Others may be looking for specific skill sets. If the employer representative at the fair does not know about the job you are interested in, ask for the name of someone who can help you.
After the job fair, follow up with a brief thank-you note or e-mail to each company representative you met to remind them of who you are and any specifics you discussed.