Job fairs offer an outstanding opportunity to connect with dozens of local companies, learn more about available jobs, and let employers know you’re ready and willing to work. To get the most out of your time at a job fair, prepare with these tips in mind:
- Prepare for success ahead of time. The week before the job fair, review the job fair’s website and other information to find out which employers will be at the fair. Make an “action plan” so you don’t accidentally skip any of the most promising opportunities. Make several photocopies of your resume, have business cards printed with your personal information, and choose your clothing so you can make sure it is clean, neat and appropriate.
- Give yourself extra time. Plan to spend more time at the job fair than you think you need. Arriving near the job fair’s start time can allow you to spend a few minutes talking to employers with fewer distractions. If you have “free time,” use it to learn more about employers that weren’t on your “must-see” list.
- Orient yourself. When you arrive at the job fair, spend a few minutes examining the map or floor plan. You may want to take a lap so you can see where employers are set up and how long the lines are to speak to each one. If you’re feeling nervous, try approaching one or two employers you’re less interested in to practice speaking before approaching your top-choice employers.
- Practice your “pitch” until it feels comfortable. Start with a handshake and a “Hi, my name is.” Then, prepare a short “pitch” of one or two sentences that explains what you’re good at and the type of work you’re interested in pursuing. You can use this pitch to break the ice with every employer you meet.
- Take notes and ask for information. Notes can help you keep track of the next step each employer recommends, whether it’s to submit an online application or to contact a hiring manager. Asking representatives for their business cards will provide the information you need to send a brief thank-you note after the job fair—a valuable way to maintain a connection and demonstrate your professional manners.