Job fairs are a great way to meet potential employers face-to-face, so it is important to approach them with a plan to make your experience successful. I have attended many job fairs as an employer, so in this post I will offer you four career fair tips based on what the job fair attendees I have hired did.
Do Your Homework & Be Prepared
Read up on what employers will be at the job fair. Most job fair organizers provide a list of scheduled employers on their event website. Research the companies online, and determine which openings you are interested in. Have copies of your resume that speak to your qualifications for these positions. When you get to the job fair, visit these employers’ tables. It is a good idea to walk around to make sure you did not miss any possible job opportunities, but making your top employers your priority will save you the time of visiting lots of tables that do not have openings for your skill set.
Dress the Part
I have been surprised by how many people show up to job fairs in flip flops, sweat pants, dirty T-shirts or crop tops. Treat a job fair like you would an interview. Dress appropriately for the jobs you are looking for. Appropriate attire may include a suit, button-down shirt or skirt. Putting extra effort into your appearance will make you stand out.
Mind Your Manners
At a job fair I recently attended for my last employer, I met a job seeker who interrupted our conversation by answering a call on his cell phone. Needless to say, I did not consider this person for a job. Your phone should be off or on silent and tucked away in a bag or pocket. If you think you might be tempted to check it while meeting potential employers, leave it in your car.
Also remember to be polite and present yourself well. I have attended a number of job fairs in search of candidates for retail customer service jobs. I have had candidates approach my table with a frown on their face, failing to make eye contact and saying, “So, what is this company? What in the world do you do?”