In reality, succeeding at a career fair is all about knowing how to prepare. Career fairs can seem intimidating, but your success is in your hands. Being prepared will help you know exactly how to approach an important career fair before, during, and after the event. We have compiled these 15 crucial tips you need to know to rock any career fair.
Whether or not you have been to a career fair, it’s never smart to show up unprepared. Not sure how to prepare? We’ve got you covered.
Update your resume. Bring 10-15 copies of a printed-out updated version of your resume so that you can hand them to employers when they ask.
Try on your clothes a week before the event. You’ll want to make sure your clothes fit properly and don’t have any surprise stains or tears. If they do, then you have time to either get quick alterations or find a new outfit.
What companies are attending? Find out from event organizers or even facebook event pages about which employers will be attending.
What positions are these companies hiring for and how you would be a good fit? See what jobs are typically held in a company like this and compare your skills to their job descriptions.
Keep your options open. Talk with every company that sparks your interest. You never know who will have the right opportunity for you.
During: Meet and Greet
When it’s time to attend the career fair, you’re calm, cool, and collected because you prepared. Now it’s time to make a great first impression.
Wear appropriate clothing. You’ve already set out your outfit the night before, but make sure to bring a comb and a lint roller. These items can help make you look more polished and ready to go.
Read up on questions you will be asked. Find examples here!
Read up on questions you can ask the employers. This shows initiative and interest. The company will like that you know who they are and it will also show that you care about what they do. Find examples here!
Do NOT ask about pay. It’s too early and this is not an interview. Focus on getting to know the company and letting them get to know you.
Follow a game plan. By now, you’re looking great, you’ve researched the companies, and you know what questions to ask. Make sure to give yourself a pep-talk, stand up straight, make lots of eye contact, and network. You’ve got this!
After: The Follow-up
You might have rocked the career fair but your work is not done. A lot of attendees will sit around and hope for the best after a career fair, but here are a couple ways you can get ahead of the game.
Send thank you emails. Send thank you emails to those recruiters who took the time to talk with you. Even if you’re not sure you want to work for that company, it’s a good idea to keep your options open.
Better your resume. After talking with employers about what they are looking for in an employee, try seeing if you can edit your resume to exemplify these desired skills and abilities.
Go the extra mile. One step past this would be to reach out to employers who you did not get a chance to talk to. Let them know that you saw them at the career fair, why you are contacting them, who you are, and make sure to express your interest in their company.
Follow up. If you felt like you had a connection with an employer, you should do what you can to make them remember you. After your initial thank you email is sent, wait a week or even two. If your email gets no response, don’t freak out. Employers can get busy and sometimes they will forget to follow up. Send them an email one more time. Seeing your continued interest in their company may just get you a job.
2 Bonus Tips!
Make them remember you.
Leave a note. After you talk with a recruiter, walk away and write a short hand-written note restating your interest and qualifications. Attach this note to your resume and hand them to the employer.
Take notes. It also helps to immediately write down their name and the details of your conversation. That way if they contact you in the coming days, you will have a little reminder about what you talked about and how you felt about the company.
From the desk of Linda DeWitt, Director of Career Services at Community Care College, Clary Sage College, and Oklahoma Technical College.
Find out more about how our Career Services team can help you succeed!