How to Stand out From the Crowd at Job Fairs
Attending a job fair is an entirely different ballgame than going on an individual interview. The biggest mistake people make with job fairs is they prepare the same way they do for interviews. While it is a good idea to be familiar with common interview questions, there are specific things you should do to get attention and succeed at a job fair:
Do Your Homework
Research what companies will be there. Even though there could be dozens of companies, it is best to choose the companies you are most interested in and that are offering positions that are suitable. While you are researching the companies, try to come up with an answer to why you are interested in the company, what you like about the company or why you are a good pick for them. This way you’ll be better prepared while talking with them.
Know What Positions are Available
You can approach the recruiter with knowledge of the position and why you’re qualified. This sets you aside since you are interested in a specific role. It also proves you have done your research in the company.
Check Your LinkedIn Before You Go
Type in the specific companies you are planning to visit. This will then show you any connections you may have that are already working there or have worked there in the past. You can reach out to your connection for advice or ask them to put in a good word for you.
Bring any notes you’ve taken and blank paper and pen to take additional notes. Be sure to keep any applications, business cards or other materials organized. Take a brief case or bag that is easy to carry and that allows you navigate your resume and business cards. Besides your resume, you’ll also want to bring samples of your work or a portfolio if it is applicable.
Allow yourself ample time to be at the fair. Some companies won’t stay the whole time or may get there late. So getting there early allows you to take advantage of those who are there early and gives you time to talk to those who get there later. Plus, this gives you time to familiarize yourself with the layout of the area and any surprise companies that may show up last minute.
Stay Organized and Collected
Once you get to the fair, it is easy to get overwhelmed. Pace yourself. After each interaction, do not rush to the next. Take a moment to jot down a few notes about the last position. Be sure to note if the recruiter gave you a card, told you to email them, or instructed you to apply to something online.
Not following up is a mistake people often make as well. The recruiters met with hundreds of people so send them a personal email so they remember you. Thank them for their time and be sure to include anything you spoke about that would refresh their memory. Attach your resume or portfolio to the email as well.