Tips For Attending a Career Fair
Career fairs can be great places to look for your first job or a summer position. Regardless of what specific job you are aiming for, there are some general tips to remember that will help you make a good impression and increase your chances of getting an interview or offer of employment.
Update Your Resume and Bring Copies With You
Making sure your resume is current should be the first step to any job hunt, but it is especially important for situations such as career fairs. You should have professional looking and up-to-date copies of your resume. Include your latest education, any additional training, and your work history. Internships or volunteer work should also be included. Having a resume to leave with recruiters is the best way to ensure they have the information they need to consider you for the job. It also shows them that you are organized and motivated – two qualities that make a good impression on prospective employers.
Research the Companies You’re Interested In
When you decide to attend a career fair, make sure you check out the list of exhibitors beforehand to see which companies you will be most interested in approaching. You don’t have to know every detail, but being able to discuss the company, their projects, and how you believe you would fit into the job shows recruiters you’re interested, and that you’re serious about the job and the company.
Dress and Behave Professionally
This is perhaps the most essential, but often the most overlooked aspect of attending a career fair – just because it is called a “fair” doesn’t mean that casual is the way to go. Essentially, treat attending a career fair the same way you would treat a formal interview. Dress professionally in a suit and tie, or nice blouse and slacks or a skirt. Speak politely to the recruiters at the booth, ask them questions, and listen to their answers. Also, ensure you smile, make eye contact, and project yourself confidently.
Ask About Other Positions
Just because a company you’re interested isn’t hiring specifically for a job you want doesn’t mean there won’t be future opportunities. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about other positions at the company, and request contact details to a specific department or the main Human Resources office. You can also leave your own resume and contact information for the recruiter to pass on to the appropriate people.
Lastly, Remember to Follow Up
In the same way you would follow up after a formal interview, it is important to follow up with the recruiters you spoke with at a career fair. During the fair, you should be getting business cards or otherwise noting down the contact information of the recruiters you speak with. The day following the event, you should send a quick email or phone call thanking them and briefly reiterating what you spoke about and which position you are interested in. This makes sure that the recruiter knows you’re sincerely interested, and gets your name in front of them one more time.