The time and effort you put into preparing for a job fair will determine, in large part, the success you will have at the fair. Job fairs are not just places for you to find jobs - they're a place for you to establish those all-important contacts that will help you in your career endeavors.
To help you prepare, here are some tips:
- Check with your Career Services office staff well in advance of the job fair. They can provide you with a list of the participating companies and organizations, let you know what types of positions are being advertised, and introduce you to the employers on the day of the fair.
- Research the companies. If you see a company and/or organization that interests you, do some research on the company before attending the fair. The more you know about the company, the more comfortable you will be when meeting their representatives.
- Dress appropriately. While you may be a college student now, employers are looking to hire professionals. Wearing something besides jeans and a sweatshirt will go a long way toward establishing a lasting good first impression.
- Resumes. Some employers will be looking to interview people at the job fair, while others may be "just looking." It's important that you bring plenty of error-free resumes to the job fair. Many employers will be happy to take a look at your resume, make suggestions, and maybe take a copy or two home to review for possible consideration. Many employers who can't make it to the job fair ask the sponsoring organization to collect resumes and forward them after the job fair. Ask your Career Services professional staff for help with your resume, and you can't go wrong.
- Early resume submission. Some job fairs require that participants submit their resume before the fair begins so they can prepare "resume books". Check the registration material that goes with each job fair you plan to attend to see if this is required.
- Attitude. Always maintain a friendly and positive attitude, even at the end of the day when you're tired.
- Shake hands. Even if the employer doesn't offer to shake first, extend your hand, introduce yourself, and let the employer take it from there.
- Meet everyone. Take time to circulate. Ask the job fair hosts to introduce you to some of the employers. Don't worry if an employer doesn't seem to be hiring someone with your qualifications and background. They may know someone who is!
- Grab those business cards. Almost every employer will bring business cards. Grab all you can so you will know who to send a resume to when you're ready to embark on your search.
- Send thank you notes. Do you want to be remembered after the job fair? It's a nice touch to send personal thank you notes to all of the employers who talked with you during the fair. This is another great reason to grab those business cards. They'll help you remember who you talked with.
- Don't be discouraged! Some employers will be talking with a lot of students, so there may be some lines. Seek out those employers who don't have lines at their tables. These can sometimes be the most helpful. Try to meet everyone.
- Attend presentations. Many employers sponsor presentations or seminars, either the day before or the day after the job fair. Going to these meetings allows you to meet the employers personally, and can be a link to a future job. You'll find out about the company/organization, and you can get your foot in the door.
- Use the Career Services office. We have lots of resources available to assist you in making the job fair as beneficial and worthwhile as possible. Call us today to set up an appointment to see one of our coaches.
Download our Job Fair Prep presentation here: Job_Fair_Prep.pdf
Download our Career Guide - which includes info on how to dress, and what to ask - here: Career_Guide_2014.pdf
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