Job fairs are great if you know what you are doing, but going without a plan can lead to missed opportunities. If you are attending a job fair, here are some tips on how to maximize your experience.
Have your resume ready in both paper and electronic formats. You will meet with a lot of employers and your resume will be the one thing they take with them to remember you. Some will want a paper copy and others will ask you to email it. Either way, make sure it is up-to-date, clearly expresses your objective and that it is ready to be distributed.
Just as important as your resume is your “elevator speech”. This is a quick summary of who you are and what you want to achieve and should only be about 10 seconds long. Leave out personal information about your kids or your political views and focus on your education, your professional background, and what sort of position you are seeking.
You should also consider how to start conversations with employers. Comment on something about their booth that you like (i.e. – “Your booth is really informative” or “I really like how you have this set up”). You can also find out more about the company or ask about what types of positions they have available.
Always dress professionally. There are people that go to job fairs looking for work and will leave with job offers. It really does happen, so go with the intention of meeting your future employer and dress in comfortable business attire. Don’t carry a lot of things with you – just bring a briefcase or a purse that can hold business cards and informational pieces you accumulate throughout the day.
Take note of conversations during the fair. Most employers will have business cards, so ask for them if they are not offered to you. Once you leave the booth, jot down a few notes about your discussion or a keyword that will help you remember the company and the representative you met.
Lastly, do not forget to send cards or follow up with an email to thank each employer for their time. This is not only good business etiquette but it also leaves the employer with a good impression of you.
For more tips on job searching, resume writing, and interview coaching, visit JenTeague.com.