Career fairs, or job fairs, are fantastic opportunities for job seekers of all levels. From entry level jobs to highly skilled experts, career fairs are the perfect place to meet recruiters in person.
Typically career fairs are open to a wide variety of companies so you can make contacts with recruiters from many different employers at one event. Career fairs are a networking dream and can often lead directly to jobs. If there is a career fair in your area, make every effort to attend.
Career fairs are designed for employers, recruiters, and even universities to meet job seekers. Each company will have a booth that you can visit to learn more about the company, drop off a resume, and meet a recruiter. Talk about a great opportunity for you!
The keys to success at a career fair are to be prepared, be able to communicate, and have a positive attitude. Here are some tips that will help you make the most a career fair:
- Arrive early – It’s a good idea to get the lay of the land. Find a map of where each company is set up or make the rounds to find out for yourself. This is important because you can form a career fair strategy to visit your companies of choice in the order you want.
- Sell yourself – Do you have a 60 second sales pitch ready to go? When company booths are busy, that may be all the time that you have to sell yourself. Practice at home before you go.
- Take notes – Ideally at a career fair you’ll meet a lot of people. If you don’t take notes on your new contacts and conversations you may forget when you’re sorting through business cards later.
- Know what companies are there – Do your research. The more you research the company the more you will have to talk about with the recruiters. If you can impress them with your knowledge you are more likely to be remembered and that means you’re one step closer to getting hired.
- Be prepared to be surprised – Don’t go to the career fair and only plan to talk to one company. Be open minded and chat to all of the companies that attend. You may be surprised by which companies are interested in you.
- Always exchange business cards – Business cards are a vital component of networking. You’ll want to have a stack of them in your pocket. Hand them out to any recruiter you speak to and every other potential contact you meet. Life is all about who you make contact with. Make the career fair count!
- Bring printed copies of your resume – Carry a folder that preserves your resume. Even if recruiters ultimately want you to send a digital resume, hand them a hard copy too.
- Wear the right clothes – Your first impression will leave a lasting memory. Dress appropriately for the career fair that you are attending.
- Say thank you – Everyone appreciates a meaningful thank you. Say it and mean it.
- Follow up – All of your hard work is for nothing if you don’t follow up with people afterwards. Remember those business cards you collected. Find the important ones and send off a follow-up email or even give them a call. Recruiters typically appreciate eager candidates.
Career fairs are the ideal place to network and meet recruiters face-to-face. If you strategize before attending a career fair, you can make a lasting impression that will help you find a job.
To find a career fair, you can search the National Career Fairs website or Google “career fairs” in your area. Sometimes large companies will have career fairs that you can attend too. Learn about these from the company’s website. One other option is to look into virtual job fairs. Good luck!