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Today’s Question: Job fairs can be kind of odd, can’t they? The purpose of this piece is to help job seekers navigate the strangeness and get the most out of job fairs. Share your best job fair tips for job seekers!
1. Go in With a Strong Game Plan
If you have a floor plan or list of companies exhibiting at the job fair, highlight the ten organizations you’d most like to work for. Visit those ten first, starting with the one that’s furthest from the entrance. Then quickly hit all the other booths. This ensures that you don’t end up working for a less desirable company simply because its booth was closest to the door.
— Joni Holderman, Thrive! Resumes
2. Do Your Research
A job fair is an opportunity for job seekers to connect with employers. Therefore, when attending a job fair, you need to do your research. Get a list of the companies that will be attending, and research each one. Visit their websites to understand what they do and the kind of people they hire. Tailor your resume to meet each company’s needs.
— Muyiwa Oyadiaro, ICS Limited
3. Turn Your Conversations Into ‘Mini-Interviews’
I advise finding out what companies will be there (sometimes they are listed on the registration website; sometimes you have to pick up the phone and call the organizers to find out).
Then, go to all of those companies’ websites and apply for the jobs that make sense for you. Print out the description of each job to which you applied. Staple a copy of your resume to each position description. With a yellow highlighter, highlight the requirements on the position description that you meet. Go to your resume and highlight where you meet those requirements.
When you arrive at the job fair, seek out the companies you applied to. Turn your five minutes with the company representative into a mini-interview. Tell them you applied, show them the position description, and explain the highlighter.
If they like the way you look, speak, and present yourself, they can go back to their company and pull your resume from the thousands of others who applied for the same job.
– David Nast, Business Leadership Coach
4. Get Your Cover Letters and Conversations Right
Writing unique cover letters for each of the employers you are interested in will help you stand out. If you can make a connection and strike up a conversation with the recruiter at the fair, it could help get your resume to the top of the pile. Keep all of your conversations professional; focus on how you are qualified for the role and why you are interested in that particular company.
— Leila Hock, Alignment Coaching
5. Always Follow Up
This is one of the keys to personal and professional success. You can’t expect every company to call you. So, take it upon yourself to contact them and build a relationship. Even if it doesn’t work out this time around, there may be a future opening that is aligned with your skill set.
— Dr. Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, Feather Communications
6. Direct Recruiters to Your Online Presence
Give recruiters options to learn more about you. Invite them to view your LinkedIn profile to learn more about your key accomplishments, or mention your personal website as a portal to read about how you’ve added value to other organizations. Include these links on a networking card or directly on your resume.
— Matt Brady, Path2Hired.com
7. Carry Yourself Well
As a business major, I have been to more than my fair share of job fairs for companies spanning across the United States. But more to the point, I was able to gain interviews with the companies I wanted to work for and learned a lot from their representatives using these three tips.
Tip 1: “The suit maketh the man and woman”: There is nothing that looks worse than your dad’s old brown suit with a green wrinkled shirt and a silk red tie. Opt instead for a charcoal two-button suit with a light blue shirt and a navy blue tie.
Tip 2: “Confidence is key”: Look a representative in the eye when you want to ask them something. Think about what you want to say before approaching their table or booth, and give them a firm handshake when you introduce yourself.
Tip 3: “Do you have a card?”: Although there are many things you can do and say to stand out among other job seekers, business cards are the simplest and classiest way to distinguish yourself from the rest of the pack. It doesn’t cost much to buy a pack of them from Vistaprint.
— Vincent Ramos, 3span
8. Make Genuine Connections
Relax, be yourself, and be friendly with the folks to whom you’re speaking. Don’t feel the need to ask about work or the company – that’s all they’ve been talking about all day. Stand out from the crowd by making a more personal connection. Ask the employee or interviewer about their day, their interests, or their trip to the job fair. Oftentimes, these are the conversations that people remember the most vividly, because they are the most genuine.
— Sam McIntire, Deskbright