Almost everyone knows what a job fair is, but few people truly understand how to make a job fair an effective part of a successful job search. If attending a job fair is part of your job search strategy, it’s important to educate yourself about how to conduct yourself so you put your time and energy to good use. By preparing yourself ahead of time, you’ll feel ready to take on the many elements of a job fair with ease and confidence:
Here are three key tips to follow for job search success.
1. Do your research.
Because it’s not a formal interview, many job-seekers make the mistake of going into a job fair under-prepared. It’s essential you take some time to research the different companies that will be represented at the fair so you know what employers you want to approach and what types of opportunities are available. Researching the list of employers at a job fair will also help you maximize your time by planning which employers you’d like to talk with.
Doing research online will also give you the preliminary knowledge you need to make a positive first impression at the fair. For example, you’ll want to learn about a company’s mission and be able to articulate to the organization’s representative why you’d want a job there.
2. Prepare your resume.
While a job fair is an event for you to learn about companies, it’s also an opportunity to apply to many jobs right on the spot. Before any job fair, you’ll want to prepare your resume and bring at least a dozen copies with you to distribute to employers. As you research the employers who will be present, be sure to create a couple different versions of your resume to match various types of jobs that interest you. This way, you’ll be ready to showcase your expertise and skills no matter what options you’re presented with at the fair.
3. Follow up in a timely fashion.
No matter how well you do at selling yourself during a job fair, your efforts will mean very little if you fail to follow up. After collecting business cards and speaking with employers, it’s important to promptly connect with these individuals afterwards on LinkedIn and send follow-up “thank you” emails. Whether you had an on-the-spot interview or simply chatted about the company, following up with a thank you note will do two things.
First and foremost, it will show your interest in the company and reinforce why you’re a good fit for the organization. Second, it will directly provide the employer with your contact information (phone number and email address), so they can reach back out to you easily.
The best way to approach any job fair is to treat it like it’s an interview. Taking time and effort to prepare in advance will set you up for success and help you make the best impression possible as you meet with potential employers.
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