Heading to a job fair this summer? (Hint: Advent is hosting one on August 2!)
Here are ten ways to make the most of the job fair experience:
- Allow yourself plenty of time to meet with recruiters and potentially interview on site. It’s best to show up at least one hour prior to the end of the job fair.
- Research the companies that will be represented and identify five “must meet” companies. This will help you stay focused and prioritize your time. If the job fair is hosted by one company with multiple job openings, research that company and identify the top positions you are targeting.
- Prepare and practice a brief elevator speech introducing yourself, highlighting what you’re targeting, and a couple of key qualifications. An example: “Hi, I’m Sam. I’m an administrative assistant with three years of experience in the financial sector. I’m organized, proficient with Microsoft Office, and especially skilled with presentation creation and writing. I’m looking for positions in executive support that will put these skills to good use.”
- Be prepared for on-site interviews. This means dressing appropriately, preparing for basic interview questions, bringing copies of your resume and references, and a notebook and pen for notes. It’s best to bring a bag to keep your hands free, and your papers and items organized.
- Stand out among other candidates. Smile, stand up straight, make eye contact and shake the recruiter’s hand when you meet. Stay engaged in the conversation and be friendly, professional and polite. Speak up and articulate your words – job fairs can be busy, noisy places.
- Allow your personality to shine through when you meet a new person. Don’t shuffle from recruiter to recruiter repeating the same thing. To keep things fresh, make small talk, make minor changes to how you talk about yourself, or ask the recruiter how his/her day is going.
- After introducing yourself, be sure to get the recruiter’s name. Use his/her name during your conversation, exchange contact information, and thank him/her before you leave.
- Ask the recruiter if they are conducting on-site interviews and if so, let him/her know of your interest in this option.
- Ask questions, but don’t monopolize the recruiter’s time if the job fair is busy. Generally, conversations should only take about five minutes or so before additional steps are discussed. If you have more questions, request follow-up (either in-person or a call) with the recruiter.
- Follow up. If you scheduled appointments, keep them. If you had a great interview, or meeting, or you are especially interested in a position, follow-up with a call or email to thank the recruiter and express your interest. If you said you would send a resume, or more information – do so as soon as possible. It often works best to take care of any loose ends shortly after the job fair has ended.