Prepping for a Job Fair

How to Set Yourself Up for Success

The first step in landing the right job is finding the right job. When you’re on the hunt for a new position, there’s no better place to start than a job fair.

Job fairs let you meet and speak in-person with recruiters and hiring managers looking for their next promising candidate. You don’t need to spend hours hunting down opportunities online (or by foot!). A job fair puts you right in the center of the action.

Options are aplenty at events like these. But so are candidates. The ones who come prepared are the ones who get hired. Review these tips on job fair prep and make the most out of your next big opportunity.

1. Pre-Register

Some job fairs allow attendees to pre-register for the event. This often includes submitting your resume, cover letter, and personal information for employers to review. Recruiters and hiring managers love seeing a familiar face. Pre-registration makes their job easier, and it’ll give you a real leg up when you speak with them.

2. Research Attending Companies, Compile a List

Job fairs will always post the names of attending companies. Take advantage of that. Research the companies taking part in the fair. Make a prioritized list of the ones you’re most interested in working for. This list will help you focus your efforts and time while you’re at the fair. (Extra Credit: Being able to speak on a company’s mission or vision statement can really impress!)

3. Prepare, Polish, and Print Your Documentation

Resumes and cover letters are both useful tools at a job fair. Make sure these documents look great and keep plenty of copies on hand. Not only will you have these ready for the companies you expect to meet with, but you’ll have them handy for any unexpected connections you may make at the fair. Whipping out neat, clean documentation is one of the quickest ways to show that you’re an organized, dedicated, and reliable employee. Make sure to use standard printer paper—no glossy or colorful paper—and always print single-sided.

4. Create and Practice an “Elevator Pitch”

An elevator pitch is a brief (30-60 second) introduction that describes who you are, what skills you possess, and your career goal(s). Think of it like an in-person social media biography: a chance for someone to get a snapshot of your whole picture. A great elevator pitch cuts right to the chase and gets the employer excited about you. If you don’t have one yet, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Here’s a great Forbes article (LINK: https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2013/02/04/the-perfect-elevator-pitch-to-land-a-job/#43e97a201b1d) on how to craft and practice your elevator pitch.

5. Prepare Your Answers

You’ll be speaking with recruiters, hiring managers, and personnel professionals that are looking to snag up a great new candidate. They’re going to be asking some questions. You might not conduct your formal job interview at the fair, but you should expect to go through it in miniature. Plus, you never know! Maybe they’ve got enough time to sit you down for the real deal. Here’s a long list (LINK: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-answer-the-31-most-common-interview-questions) of common interview questions and how to answer them. Interviewers love candidates who sound like they’ve put some thought into their job hunt.

6. Make Your Morning Easy

It’s common to have some nerves or jitters prior to a job fair. After all, this event could mean a new career for the foreseeable future. That nervousness can lead to simple mistakes in the night prior or the morning of that could spell disaster at the fair. You can avoid these mistakes by setting yourself up for success. Pick out your outfit the night before and lay it out. Remember: keep it business formal. You want to look like a professional. See the next post in this series for tips on what to wear (LINK HERE). Gather all your documents, get them organized, and put them in your bag, folder, or briefcase. Eat something light and healthy in the morning. Listen to your favorite music on the way to the fair. When you eliminate stress before the event, you’ll perform better during it.

7. Keep A Positive Attitude

The most important thing to remember about going to a job fair—above everything else—is to keep a positive attitude. Looking for a new job can be a harrowing experience. There’s no doubt about that. But it doesn’t have to be. This event is an open door. It’s a chance to find a new job that really fits with who you are and what you want. Who knows? The job you land at this fair could be a match made in Heaven. This is a good opportunity, and you should be proud of yourself for taking it.

When you’re prepared for success, you’ll achieve it! Print out this list and review it on the days leading up to your big event. Follow the wisdom here and you’ll be more than prepared. Your dream job is just around the corner. You got this!

Ready for Part 2? Click HERE for our “Succeeding at a Job Fair” article