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How to stand out at career fairs

Whether you’re seeking your first position or an experienced professional in search of a new opportunity, attending fairs is one way to network and find career leads. Career fairs allow you to meet hiring managers or recruiters from various companies across multiple industries.

Many people think that all networking is done online now.  Don’t make the mistake of dismissing career fairs. Experts say that recruiters value career fairs because it gives them an opportunity to build a connection to the resume. It is impossible to build a personal connection over the internet.

Speaking with a recruiter in person gives you an opportunity to make a great first impression. Especially if you have little to no job experience. You can show them in person how determined and ready you are to enter the work force.

While there are clear advantages of attending a one-stop shop for job hunting. There are many things that you want to be mindful of during the fair. The major disadvantage is there is direct competition.

Communication is 55% non-verbal. How you act and carry yourself will wave heavily as the deciding factor in you being extended a job interview.

Be clear on your objective for attending. If you plan to attend a fair by “winging it” you may lose out a job opportunity. Don’t just stop by come prepared and dress professional.

Spring is a busy tjme for career fairs. You should be able to find one in your area coming up soon.

These tips will help you make the best impression:

Bring multiple copies of your resume.

It is recommended that candidates bring at least three copies of their resume. You can bring more if you have enough time to talk to more recruiters.

Come prepared. 

Spend a little time getting some background on an organization then you can ask very focused, specific questions.  Do research and find out which companies will be attending the fair. Make a list of of the top 3-5 you would like to speak with. Experts say that recruiters show more interest in candidates that already have knowledge about their company.

Be conversational and don’t let the recruiter do all of the talking. Be engaged to what they are saying and be prepared to reply with  response of follow up question.

Allow adequate time.

Come early as possible.  Fairs usually last 2-4 hours. However, fairs close promptly at publicized ending time. It can take 5-10 minutes to talk to one recruiter.

Prioritize the employers you’re most interested in. 

If you have a hard time narrowing it down place your top picks at the top of your checklist. This will ensure if time runs out you were able speak with the companies you have the most interest.

Ask about their hiring process.

Remember to ask about the next steps in the process and how you could follow up on your application.  A good rule of thumb is to follow up after at least three business days. However, gauge the necessity of the position. If the recruiters mentions needing to fill the position quickly due to demand I would ask them for a specific time to contact them back.

For example you could say, “Thank you for taking my information would it be okay if I had a business card? Also, when would be the best time to follow up with you?”


 

Afterthoughts:

These are my top 5 tips for ensuring you gain career leads from a fair. Career fairs were a mainstay in my job search and helped me gain employment. By following these simple tips I was able to be offered an interview on the spot.

Check with a local career center, community colleges or universities. These are common hosts of career fairs. Ask them where to find a schedule and list of employers that will be attending.

Thank you so much for reading, you guys help make Monday my most favorite day of the week.

Do you have any tips to add that could help other readers succeed at career fairs? Comment below!

 

Featured image via shuttershock.

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