As the typical spring hiring season is upon us, put your best foot forward and land that dream job by being prepared!
A job fair can be a great opportunity to learn about what’s available in your community, connect with employers, practice networking, and most importantly, find a job. A little preparation can go a long way when it comes to making a good first impression, and employers can tell who’s done their homework. To make the most of it, consider the following tips:
Before the Fair
See who’s coming. Prioritize the employers you're most interested in. However, you may find it easiest to start with the employers that aren’t your top choice. This will allow you to practice your approach and be more confident when you speak with the employers you're especially interested in. Research the employer. Review company websites and gather as much information as you can. This impresses employers because it shows a genuine interest in them.
Prepare your resume. Have your resume reviewed at CSE Consulting ahead of time and bring plenty of printed copies of your resume to hand out.
Craft your pitch. Practice how you will introduce yourself and develop an “Elevator Pitch” – a way to highlight your skills and qualifications quickly with people who don’t know you.
Dress for success. Create a positive impression by displaying a clean, neat, and professional appearance. Business casual dress is recommended (dress slacks, collared shirt/blouse/sweater, dark socks, dress shoes). As well, demonstrate good hygiene and be aware that most job fair environments are scent free.
During the Fair
Allow yourself adequate time. Check the event details in advance of attending, fairs close promptly to accommodate employers' travel arrangements.
Take a notebook. You will be talking to a lot of people and may want to take notes to record details of conversations and collect contact cards. Be sure to act professionally at all times. Whether you’re speaking with an employer or bump into someone who starts a conversation with you, be extra courteous.
Be patient. If there are lines, respect the privacy of the person in front of you.
Strike a balance in how much time you spend with each employer – don’t drop your resume and run, but don’t monopolize their time either. The employers are having a long day too.
Be aware of your body language. It’s natural to feel nervous, but try to keep your head up, make eye-contact, as well as offer a firm handshake and smile.
Even if you’re shy it’s important to appear interested.
Ask questions that demonstrate your knowledge of the organization.
Always thank the employer/interviewer for their time.
After the Fair
Each employer will have talked to hundreds of people. To stand out, consider following up with a “thank you” note. If, during an interview, you promised something to an employer, such as providing references, be sure to do so in a timely manner.