How to Set Yourself Up for Success
Finding the right job is crucial in landing a fulfilling and successful career. Attending a job fair is an excellent starting point in your job search as it provides an opportunity to meet and talk directly with recruiters and hiring managers who are on the lookout for potential candidates. Instead of wasting time searching for job openings online or in-person, a job fair puts you in the center of all the action. Although there will be many options available, it's important to come prepared in order to stand out from the crowd and increase your chances of getting hired. Read through these tips on job fair preparation to make the most out of your next career opportunity.
Take advantage of any pre-registration opportunities offered by the job fair organizers. Pre-registration often involves submitting your resume, cover letter, and personal information for the attending companies to review ahead of time. This can give you a leg up as the recruiters and hiring managers will be more likely to remember you when they see your face at the event.
2. Research Attending Companies
Job fairs usually provide a list of all the attending companies. Do your research on these companies and prioritize the ones you're most interested in working for. Having a clear understanding of their missions and vision statements can help you make a positive impression during your interactions with them.
3. Prepare, Polish, and Print Your Documentation
Having well-prepared and polished resumes can give you a professional edge at the job fair. Make sure you have several copies of these documents on hand and printed on standard, single-sided printer paper. Check our 18 Things to Leave Off Your Resume to help get you started!
4. Create and Practice an “Elevator Pitch”
An elevator pitch is a brief, 30-60 second introduction that highlights who you are, your skills, and your career goals. This can be a powerful tool for making a strong first impression on recruiters and hiring managers. You can find resources online to help you craft a great elevator pitch.
BONUS: Here’s a great Forbes article on how to craft and practice your elevator pitch.
5. Prepare Your Answers
You can expect to have conversations with recruiters and hiring managers who are interested in learning more about you and your skills. Be prepared for common interview questions and have thoughtful answers ready. This will show that you're well-prepared and have put thought into your job search.
BONUS: Here’s a long list of common interview questions and how to answer them.
6. Make Your Morning Easy
The morning of the job fair can be nerve-wracking, but you can eliminate some of that stress by preparing in advance. Pick out your outfit the night before, gather all your documents, eat a healthy breakfast, and listen to your favorite music on the way to the event. Taking care of these details beforehand can help you feel more relaxed and perform better during the job fair.
7. Keep A Positive Attitude
Attitude is key when it comes to job fairs. Even though the job search process can be challenging, it's important to approach the job fair with a positive outlook. This is an opportunity for you to find a great job that aligns with your interests and career goals. Remember to be proud of yourself for taking this step and have confidence in your abilities.
A job fair is a crucial opportunity to meet with recruiters and hiring managers from a variety of companies, network with industry professionals, and make a lasting impression in your job search. To ensure you make the most of your time at the job fair, we've compiled a list of tips to help you succeed.
8. Dress for Success
Appearance matters at job fairs, and it's essential to present yourself as a professional. Dress appropriately, keeping in mind the "dress for the job you want" mentality. Make sure to maintain a neat, clean appearance, including grooming and personal hygiene. If you're active-duty military, your uniform is an acceptable attire option.
9. Arrive Early
Long lines are common at job fairs, so make sure to arrive early to avoid wasting time waiting to get inside. Take advantage of your time in line by striking up conversations with other job seekers.
10. Prioritize Your Time
Use your pre-job fair preparations to prioritize which companies you want to speak with, but be flexible in case things don't go according to plan. Focus on maximizing your time at the fair, making sure to adjust if necessary.
11. Confidence is Key
Confidence can be difficult to project, but it's essential in making a positive impression. Take a deep breath and remind yourself of your purpose, and make a confident introduction, including a firm handshake and proud introduction.
12. Ask Questions
Prepare a list of questions to ask recruiters and hiring managers to show your genuine interest in the job and company. Ask about their experience, compensation, benefits, and any new projects they're working on.
13. Take Notes
Taking notes during your time at the job fair can be beneficial for future reference and follow-up. Write down interesting moments from interviews and conversations, which you can use in follow-up emails or future interviews.
14. Collect Business Cards
Collect business cards from everyone you speak with, as it provides a way to follow-up and research the company. Ask for a business card as a way to close out your conversation.
15. Network with Everyone:
Job fairs are designed for networking, so take advantage of the opportunity to speak with industry professionals and other job seekers. You never know what useful information you may learn or job lead you may receive.
After the job fair, it's important to continue your efforts to secure the job you want. The days and weeks following the event are just as crucial as the event itself, but many job-seekers overlook this step. To ensure that you don't miss out on an opportunity, it's important to take some key follow-up steps. Here are a few tips for what to do after the job fair is over:
16. Update Your Resume
After the job fair, review and update your resume if necessary. Reflect on the conversations you had with the employers, and add any relevant information that you think might have been missing. Even if you don't want to change anything on your resume, now's a great time to proofread it one more time before submitting official applications.
17. Add the Personal Touch
Use the information you gathered from your conversations with the employers to add a personal touch to your follow-up. Whether it's a resume, email, phone call, or LinkedIn connection message, mention the memorable moments from your conversation to show that you were paying attention and to remind the employer how much they enjoyed speaking with you.
18. Consider Sending ‘Thank You’ emails or LinkedIn Messages
Consider sending a brief email or LinkedIn message to the employers you spoke with to thank them for their time and to let them know that you have started the official application process. A phone call is also an option if you prefer a more conversational approach.
19. Prepare for the Interviews
After the job fair, prepare for potential interviews by researching the companies and opportunities that you are interested in pursuing. Get familiar with the company's mission and vision, as well as the specific position you're interested in. Consider conducting mock interviews with friends or by yourself in the mirror to build confidence and refine your interview skills.
20. Keep Networking
Networking should never stop, even if you've landed your dream job. Keep in touch with the other employers and job-seekers you met at the job fair and offer to help each other in the future. If there were any non-employer organizations at the event, research those and join the ones that align with your career goals.
By following these steps, you can ensure that you make the most out of your job fair experience and set yourself up for success.