Preparing for a Job Fair
Employers are making increasing use of career fairs to attract and screen candidates. As a candidate, career fairs are an important method of making an in-person contact with organizations already of interest and of applying to other companies you may discover at the fair.
Here are some tips:
- Learn Who’s Coming Ahead of Time
Generally, one can learn the names of most, if not all, of the employers who plan to participate in a career fair ahead of time. Narrow the list down to those of most interest and begin to research their products/services and employment needs. Upon entering the career fair, obtain the program and scan the list of companies to verify the earlier list and perhaps adjust the order of companies to speak with.
- Prepare a 45-Second Summary of Qualifications
Career fairs offer only brief contact with organizations, so be prepared to make the most of this time. Prepare an interesting verbal summary of background, achievements, and career interests so there won’t be any fumbling for words at the wrong time.
- Dress for Success
The first impression is critical, so dress in conservative, well-fitting, well-pressed clothing. How one looks will play a big part in determining employer interest.
- Take the Right Things with You
Take along a supply of résumés on resume paper and a list of references. Carry an attractive pen and binder or portfolio with a note pad. It may be a good idea to invest in business cards with your information as well.
- Ask Appropriate Questions
Ask them about their company and show interest in what they do.As you leave each employer, learn what happens next and what, if anything, you should do to advance your candidacy. Be sure to THANK THEM for their time and interest!
- Do Not Expect Job Offers
Simply gather as much information as possible. Use this opportunity to learn from these representatives. This is an excellent opportunity to explore companies and help determine which work setting fits your needs.
Follow up, Follow up, Follow up
Follow up on any conversation with a representative that was of interest with a letter or thank-you card. Express appreciation for the time given. Mention why you want to work for the organization, and ask for an interview. Give a phone number where one can be reached, ideally, day and evening.