Job fairs provide access to many different employers and a variety of positions to job seekers in one place. Getting an invitation for an interview or a job offer requires more than simply showing up. So, before you head out, prepare these five things, and take advantage of the opportunities job fairs create.
Résumé – Update your résumé to include your latest employment information, acquired skills, and education. Create multiple versions, and tailor each one to a different job objective so you can apply for a variety of positions that interest you. Also, bring a generic résumé that you can use in any situation, in case another job catches your attention. Make sure to bring several copies of each version of your résumé so you can leave a copy with many potential employers.
Contact card – Design and print a personal contact card, similar to a business card, with your name and contact information. You may also want to include your degree, profession, or desired career on the card. Give these to potential employers in addition to your résumé, and you’ll stand out from other job candidates by looking more professional and well-prepared.
Self advertisement – Employers at job fairs meet with many different job candidates and probably don’t have time to talk to you for more than a few minutes. So, create a short pitch or speech to sell your qualifications to a potential employer in 60 seconds or less. Make sure to practice in front of a friend, but keep it conversational so it doesn’t sound forced. Your self advertisement should include important information such as your work experience, skills, and career goals.
Attire – Treat a job fair like you would an interview – go into it knowing you need to create a positive first impression through your appearance. Dress professionally, polish your shoes, and make sure your hair is in place. Don’t carry extra baggage such as a backpack or purse, because you’ll look less professional and probably fumble to shake an employer’s hand. Instead, carry a briefcase or portfolio folder to carry your résumé copies and business cards.
Questions – You’ll engage in conversation with employers as you hand them your résumé. So, before you go, research companies that will be there. Then, prepare specific questions you’d like to ask each potential employer you’re interested in working for to learn more about the position and the company. Also, make sure to be ready to answer common interview questions yourself.
You may meet your next employer at a job fair so it’s important to be ready, just as you would be for an interview. Your preparation can increase your chances of landing an interview and receiving a job offer.