With summer (and for some… graduation) just around the corner, job fair season is in full swing.
Job fairs are an excellent opportunity for companies and organizations to interact directly with job seekers en masse. Learning to successfully navigate a career fair will allow you to network with a variety of different companies, showcase yourself in an interview-like environment and provide and obtain contact information.
To put it plainly, job fairs are no place for a poor job search approach.
Never fear, these simple steps will help you navigate, network and most importantly… market yourself like a pro.
1. Preparation Is Key
Job fairs are no place for the unprepared job seeker. Develop your plan of attack by spending the week prior researching all of the companies planning to attend. Your super-sleuth skills will allow you to hone in on the organizations you’re most interested in, so you can come with background knowledge and questions.
Your preparation of professional materials is also crucial to your job fair success. Be sure to bring along copies of your resume to leave with potential employers, business cards, and even your portfolio. You never know when a casual conversation with a representative could turn into an on-the-spot interview. Your preparedness could easily set you apart from other lackluster candidates.
2. Sell Yourself
Your search for employment is essentially your attempt at marketing yourself to employers. A job fair can act as the ultimate opportunity to showcase yourself through your elevator pitch. With the likelihood of a long list of companies in attendance, brief but lasting impressions are important.
Your elevator pitch is your chance to quickly and effectively sell yourself to whoever you speak with. It should be your short, strong opener that easily allows you to easily communicate your personality, goals and skills. It should also act as the perfect segway into a conversation, so be sure it doesn’t come off dry or stuffy.
3. Project a Professional Image
Job fairs can be intimidating. When you’re faced with the challenge of interacting with people you’re hoping to impress, there’s no room for misrepresentation. From the way you dress to your ability to hold a professional conversation, you must hold yourself to a higher standard. Focus on showcasing a professional image through your choice of attire – go for a professional appearance and personable interactions.
Practice certainly makes perfect!
4. Attitude Is Everything
You never know what will set you apart from your competition at a career fair, but attitude can certainly make or make your chances of getting hired. While confidence is key during your job search, too much can certainly hurt you. Showcase an attitude which makes a statement of your unique personality, humble confidence, positivity and ease of interaction.
5. Extend The Conversation
Your time at a job fair is likely limited; therefore, it’s essential to work toward extending the conversations with those you meet. Be sure to end every conversation on a to-be-continued note. This is where leaving behind your resume and exchanging business cards is beneficial. After the job fair, immediately follow-up with the new connections you’ve made. Even if there isn’t an immediate position available, these individuals are likely to contact you if you develop a valuable network connection with them.
Effectively navigating a job fair takes preparation and a keen sense of awareness. While easily overlooked during the job search, never miss out on this unique opportunity to leave a lasting impression on a hiring manager.
Did you get hired through an opportunity you explored at a job fair? Have you found career fairs to be great opportunities for networking? Share your story, in the comments below.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at ComeRecommended!
About the Author: Brittany Schlacter graduated from Ball State University with a B.S. in public relations and a minor in fashion. During her time at BSU, she rose to the position of Assistant Director of Cardinal Communications, Ball State’s renowned student-run advertising and public relations agency.