Taking Advantage of Job Fairs

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Job fairs are opportunities to introduce yourself and network with businesses and to get in “face time” with potential employers. When you are attending a job fair you should always have a plan of action. Whether you want to meet key people, learn more about a company or set up interviews, following your plan can lead to establishing contacts and even a job offer. Meeting recruiters in a job fair environment is one of the more informal, low pressure situations job seekers will find themselves in. However this doesn’t mean you can afford to take a job fair lightly and “wing it.”

Prepare Your "Elevator Speech"

Essential to any plan of action is your “elevator speech” or 30-second speech that quickly introduces you to others at the fair. It should be compelling, convincing and above all, concise. Included in this speech should be who you are, what your standout skill is, and your specific career goal. Practice your delivery with a friend and pay special attention to maintaining eye contact and conveying enthusiasm. If you are not excited about yourself, how can you expect potential employers who are seeing many people to be?

Dress to Impress

First impressions are partially going to depend on your appearance, and your attire counts. It’s necessary to wear a suit if the position you seek requires you to dress professionally. For most occasions, it’s best to dress for a job fair the same way you would for an interview. Men should wear pressed slacks with a collared shirt and tie, and women should wear nice slacks or a skirt and blouse. Excessive perfume, aftershave, and jewelry are not appropriate.

Make an Impression

When you attend a job fair, your main objective should be to make an impression on the recruiters you meet. Be aware that to stand out, timing is critical. If a booth is crowded, it’s better to make a mental note of it and return when things aren’t as hectic. Have questions prepared and resist the urge to rush through distributing resumes – quality time counts over the quantity you hand out. Always appear professional and confident and if you don’t know about something, never lie. Simply ask for more information about it. It shows you are interested and eager to learn.

Recapping The Job Fair Experience

Before

  • Research the Organizations that are of More Interest to You First
  • Review the Floor Map
  • Practice Speaking and Prepare Speeches

During

  • Arrive Early and Stay as Late as Possible
  • Make a Good First Impression — A Firm Handshake and Eye Contact
  • Show Your Enthusiasm
  • Concentrate and Listen Carefully
  • Offer Your Resume
  • Obtain a Business Card

After

  • Record Your Impressions of The People You Met
  • Write Thank You Letters
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