Job fairs can be overwhelming and intimidating, but they don’t have to be. Use these Top Ten tips and you’ll be sure to have a successful experience at your next job fair.

  1.   Pre-Register This helps in so many ways. When you pre-register for an event you get to see all the companies attending, special guests, itinerary, and a bunch more information that you can use to help navigate your way through the day and be better prepared for what’s ahead. The best part is by doing this, employers get to see your resume before the event and can find a job match for you beforehand which typically leads to an on-the-spot interview!
      • Pro Tip  Registering for events you can’t attend allows you to disseminate your resume to a wider distribution of recruiters and hiring managers. 

     

  2. Research Opportunities About a week prior to the event, research the current openings at each of the attending employer’s websites. This will help you understand the type of work the company has and what kind of talent they are looking for.
      • Pro Tip  By researching all the employer’s positions for current employees on LinkedIn, you’ll gain a better understanding of possible upcoming positions that might not currently be on the employer’s website.

     

  3.   Research Companies Just because a company has a position you’re interested in, they might not be a great overall match for what you’re looking for. Do they have the benefits you’re looking for? Are the salary ranges in the range you need? Does the culture look like a team you’re compatible with?
      • Pro Tip  Use websites like Glassdoor to help evaluate the employers, but use some caution as negative feedback usually gets posted more frequently than positive does.

     

  4. Prioritize Employers Bringing a prioritized list of employers based on the position matches they have listed on their website. This also allows you to ask them better qualifying questions about the position(s) you’re interested in. It’s still important to get your name out to all the employers available at a job fair so be sure to visit the other employers after you’ve seen everyone on your list.
      • Pro Tip  Print out copy of the job position(s) you’re most interested in and attach it to your resume that you hand the employer. It shows you know what you want and reminds them after the event what position you’re interested in.

     

  5.   Resumes, Resumes, and More Resumes You don’t want to run out of resumes during the event because you normally won’t have time to leave to print more copies. Determine how many employers are going to be attending be sure to print enough to give one to each employer. If your resume is two pages, either use two sheets of paper or thick weighted paper so that the resume isn’t visible from both sides.
      • Pro Tip  Bring extra copies for networking use or employers who might have registered last minute.

     

  6. Dress Professionally A poor first impression can ruin your chances for being considered. Business casual should be the minimum bar needed to set a great first impression. Make sure your clothes pressed so that they are free of wrinkles.
      • Pro Tip  Bring your clothes to the event and change once you arrive. This will ensure nothing gets spilled on your clothes during the drive and will keep wrinkles from your seat from setting in.

     

  7.   Introduction Elevator Pitch You will be using this with every recruiter or hiring manager you meet. It’s essential to have this down so you feel confident and start off each conversation strong. Your elevator pitch should be 30-60 seconds and hit the most relevant points of your experience, certifications, security clearance, and education.
      • Pro Tip  Customize your elevator pitch for each employer towards a position that you’re interested in. For example, “I’m interested in your Analyst position because I have 10 years of experience…”

     

  8.   Line Prioritization The line lengths will vary throughout the event and you want to ensure you can talk to as many companies as possible. While using your prioritized list of companies, get in the shorter lines first to maximize the best use of your time. The more companies you are able to talk to, the better your chances are of getting hired.
      • Pro Tip  The larger companies will have the longest lines because they have the most opportunities. Try to arrive before the event opens and go directly to the biggest companies on your list first. Often times these companies will have 1+ hour wait times 30 minutes into the event.

     

  9.   Never Stop Networking You’re going to have a lot of free time in-between talking to recruiters so take them time to network with other job seekers in line with you. Not only will this help ease your nerves, but you might meet someone with similar interests or who might know about an opportunity that matches what you’re looking for.
      • Pro Tip  Ask them what other events they’ve attended or plan to attend. You’re likely to find out about some other events that you might not be aware of.

     

  10. Stay Calm and Carry on Don’t be overwhelmed by the number of companies or candidates at the event. Stay focused on what you went there for and who you’re excited to present yourself to. Even if you don’t get a job offer or interview at the event, do not be discouraged. Often times the job fair representatives are recruiters, not hiring managers. Several weeks could pass before hearing back from the actual hiring team.
      • Pro Tip  Exhibit confidence, not cockiness. Remember that these recruiters need you like you need them.

     

  11. BONUS – Follow up Remember all that time you spent networking? Consider contacting anyone you met that may have had similar interests or job opportunities. Simply connecting with them on LinkedIn may help you to network into your next position.
      • Pro Tip  Collect business cards from the recruiters that had the positions you’re most interested in. Reach out with simple customized thank you emails that remind them of the position your most interested in. Attach a soft copy of your resume to the email

     

 

Good Luck!