How to Make the Most of a Job Fair

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average person will hold somewhere between 11 and 12 positions in their lifetime. We change jobs and careers for a variety of reasons:
We move to new geographical locations
We look for advancement
We look for better working conditions
We look for better pay
We look to improve our lifestyles
We look for more benefits
Our needs change

Studies show that over 50 percent of all workers right here in the U.S. are considering a career change in the coming months. And with that many people out there looking for a new job, competing for one of the few positions a company may have available, that means it’s harder for you to get your foot in the door.

If you’re looking for a new position, there are many ways to find work. You can visit websites online and fill out applications. You can visit individual companies in your region and submit your resume.

Each of those activities takes time and resources, sometimes with very little return.

Job fairs are set up to make it easy for job seekers and employers to connect. It gives employers a chance to meet a variety of potential hires in one convenient location. It gives job seekers a chance to make a positive first impression, to learn about potential companies actively looking for employees, and give people the opportunity to learn more about what it would be like to work for each company in attendance.

We understand the thought of meeting face to face with a variety of potential employers at one time can be stressful, which is why we have a few tips to help you get the most out of your job fair experience. Being better prepared means you’ll have a better chance of making a good first impression. And that, of course, can lead to finding your perfect position in a much shorter timeframe.

Start with a plan
Our goal is to make job fairs as easy as possible. You’ll find a variety of events listed on our website, helping you connect with a different job potentials: retail, general office positions, customer service, crew members, laborers, food service, and more.

By working with our employee specialists, you can determine where your strengths are and discover possible positions that are the perfect match for your skill set. Select a job fair that offers you the greatest potential in meeting with employers that match what you are looking for. Once you register to attend, you can learn more about who will be in attendance and what to expect once you get here.

Prioritize who you will meet with and show up that day at your best. Your enthusiasm and energy will shine through from the moment you walk through the door.

Research the companies that will be there
Depending on the job fair, you may learn names of companies that will be in attendance. You can use this to your advantage by researching who they are and what type of positions they offer. With a quick search online, you can learn a wealth of information by visiting a company’s website and by seeing what stories are currently in the news.

While you don’t have to understand the fine details of what a company does, the more you can learn ahead of time, the more you can stand out from your competition. What are the company’s main products and services? Who is their customer? What is their primary goal? Having a little bit of insight can surprise a hiring agent, and impress them that you took the initiative to learn more about the company’s mission and purpose.

Bring in extra resumes
Bring lots of resumes to the fair. While you may only have intentions of meeting with a handful of people, you never know when an opportunity may arise. Having extra resumes means you’ll always have the chance to network with every company in attendance, and even hand out additional resumes to the same company if you meet with more than one potential recruiter.

Dress appropriately
What you wear is important. Studies show that opinions are formed within the first few seconds of meeting. Because job fairs are typically large events with a lot of different candidates in attendance, your goal is to stand out from your competition. A well-chosen wardrobe can help you do just that. Always err on the side of conservative. And if possible, overdress rather than underdress. Employers notice details; they will see if you’re not dressed professionally and you’re applying for an office job, for instance. Make sure they move past appearance and move to wanting to learn more about your skills.

Be prepared for an interview
Job fairs aren’t meant for traditional sit-down interviews. But that doesn’t mean you might not have one-on-one time with a potential employer. Be prepared to make the minutes you have with a recruiter the best possible.

Because you may only have three to five minutes to make a good impression, it’s important that you provide answers that will make the most of your time. Plan your answers to the most widely asked questions and practice your answers, so they are smooth. Questions often include:
Tell me about yourself.
Why are you here today?
What benefits would you bring to our organization?
What are your strengths?
Why should I hire you above everyone else in attendance today?

Also remember to make eye contact, offer a firm handshake, and show enthusiasm.

Network with everyone
Career fairs aren’t just about getting in and out as fast as you can. Look at them for the opportunity they bring. Depending on the number of potential employers in attendance, don’t be afraid to stretch and learn more about other positions and companies too. Sometimes your best potential is something you never anticipated. New opportunities can materialize just by opening up. There may be recruiting agencies or even networking trainers on hand that can offer valuable tips to help you as you continue your search.

Follow-up with everyone you meet
You would be surprised at how many job seekers never take the time to follow-up with connections made at a job fair. Whether you interview for a position, or simply meet with a potential recruiter that offers tips, following up can keep the connection alive. If you receive a business card, consider following up with a thank you note mailed within the next day or two directly to the person you met with. This is especially important with office jobs to show them your writing and communication skills, to show that you have what it takes for the job. Reiterate your interest in the position, and if possible, mention something that would trigger your interview or meeting. You should probably enclose another copy of your resume as well, just to be sure.

Looking for even more strategies? Start by connecting with us to find a job recruiter that can help you find the job you seek.

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