Making the Most of a Career/Job Fair

Career fairs are a great way to find a job; however, it takes knowledge, preparation and saavy to navigate one successfully.  How do you stand out in a crowd of 2,000 or more and get the attention of a handful of employers?

Here are some tips to help you from preparation through the job fair and after:

Preparing for the Career/Job Fair:

1. Make sure you have an updated resume that highlights your skills and experience and that quantifies your benefits

2. Research companies attending the fair to see which ones you want to target and then learn more about those companies

3. Pull together a professional outfit; also, make sure your hair and nails are clean and styled

4. Get a babysitter for your children – do NOT bring them

5. Prepare a short, 30- or 60-second commercial of how you will introduce yourself and what benefits you offer.  Tie this in with your brand – what are you known for?

Things to Bring to the Career/Job Fair:

  • Copies of your resume (25-50), depending on the size of the even and number of employers you want to see
  • A briefcase or professional-looking notepad or binder
  • A networking card that lists your contact info and your 60-second commercial
  • Your 60-second commercial
  • Information about the companies you are interested in speaking with
  • A list of questions you may want to ask employers
  • Energy – show your excitement

At the Fair:

  • Have a plan or strategy on how you get in front of employers
  • Arrive early to secure a good spot and ensure you will get representatives while they are fresh
  • Once inside, locate where your targeted companies are
  • Make sure you extend you hand for a professional handshake – firm but not too strong or too wimpy
  • Ask your questions and how they relate to your career goal
  • Ask what are the next steps for after

After the Fair:

  • Be sure to send a handwritten note or card to each employer you spoke with to thank them for their time, to reiterate your tag line or benefit to them
  • Express your interest in a meeting or to have further discussion
  • Follow-up on others you may have networked with – you never know who they know!

These are some tips to help you make the most out of a career/job fair and to be effective as a job search strategy.  What other tips have you found that have led you to be successful at a job/career fair you’ve attended?

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