Tips for Attending a Job Fair
By RU Special Guest Dallas Dunn
Attending a job fair soon?
Read these tips to follow before, during, and after a job fair to make it a more successful experience!
Before the Job Fair:
If possible research the attending companies in advance. Target companies and research them using their corporate websites, Google.com, Linkedin.com, etc. You should know aspects of their business, nature of products and services, location of business, etc.
Practice your job pitch. To be effective, you will want to make your interactions with the recruiters brief but interesting. Make sure they understand how your skills and experience could be used to their company’s benefit. The more you know about specific openings and help the recruiter see how your skills and experience are a match, the better off you will be. Practice your “30 second” elevator pitch with your spouse or significant other until you have it down pat!
Prepare your business wardrobe.
You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. Often people judge you initially based on your appearance. Make sure that your business wardrobe puts you in the best possible light. Look for sales but buy quality!
Bring copies of your resume. You should bring enough copies of your resume for every company at the event, as you never know where the right opportunity might be.
During the Job Fair:
Maximize your time. While there are various approaches to maximizing your time at the job fair, we suggest that you start by meeting first with your “3rd or 4th choice” companies to get a feel for the dialogue and the conversation flow. Once you are comfortable, visit your “1st and 2nd choice” companies and make sure you shine! Stay positive at all times. Be your best professional self.
Get contact information and ask about next steps. Ask for the recruiter’s business card or at least get their name. Ask the recruiter what the next steps are in the application process. When speaking to a recruiter, don’t be intimidated, but don’t be cocky, either. One will result in being forgotten, the other will land your resume in a trash bin.
Network with other job seekers. Share information and job search ideas with other job seekers at the event. Use this opportunity to grow your network. There is a valid reason for the saying “it’s not what you know, but who you know.” Networking with other seekers can be just as valuable as potential employers.
After the Job Fair:
Stay Organized. Keep a record of your company contacts, research, job listings, and next steps. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that you will remember what happened at the event—job fairs can be chaotic and it is easy to mix up contacts. Be religious in your record keeping of who you talked to, what you talked about, and any details that will help you remember specifics about a potential employer.
Send recruiters an email or letter that reinforces how your skills match their openings. Mention any pertinent facts that you learned while talking with them. Do not assume that the impression you made at the Job Fair is good enough—they likely saw many others like you, so go the extra distance to make sure they remember you later.
Remember, in an economy where there is a high unemployment rate, you’re not alone in seeking a job. There are many in your situation, and so it is on you to stand out and above your peer group. By following these guidelines—being professional in both appearance and speech, as well as following up with prospective employers—you can set yourself apart from the average applicant.
Dallas Dunn is the COO of Veteran Tech Brigade and is a retired Army Soldier.