Hosted on university campuses, in convention centers and arenas around the United States, job fairs fill a crucial role in the development of today’s workforce. Not only do they connect job seekers with new career opportunities, but they also help new organizations and enterprises market themselves to a local pool of job candidates. With that in mind, there are a number of things job seekers can do in order to maximize their success when attending the next job fair.
Show Up Early
You don’t need to be the first job seeker through the door when the venue opens in the morning, but showing up earlier rather than later is a great way to show that you are serious about the job hunt. Employers like to see self-motivated, dedicated individuals, and showing up early at their booth or table is a great way to make a solid first impression.
Dress for Success
Depending on your desired trade, a dress code may or may not be enforced. Regardless, you should still dress appropriately when attending a job fair. While a three-piece suit and tie is probably not required, business-casual attire usually makes a great impression when perusing job fairs and other events.
Have Your Information Ready
Always remember to have your information ready and available, including several copies of your resume. If you don’t have a resume available, make sure to bring some business cards so any interested employers can contact you. Some job fairs even allow pre-registration, where you can submit your resume beforehand. If so, this is a great opportunity to gain an edge over the other job seekers you’ll be competing with.
You will also want to prepare yourself for a brief, on-the-spot interview, as well. While there probably won’t be time for an in-depth interview of any kind, prescreening interviews are very common at job fairs. As such, you should be prepared to answer some basic questions concerning your background, your goals and your purpose for attending the job fair. Having solid, well-prepared answers to such questions can help solidify that crucial first impression.
Do Your Research
If possible, try to research potential employers beforehand. While you won’t always be able to obtain a listing of employers in attendance, some job fairs do make this information available prior to the event. Not only does this give you some insight into one or more potential employers before you even talk to their representatives, but your research can be used to prioritize potential employers according to your specifications and create an itinerary for the day.
Attend Relevant Events
Whatever you do, always make sure to attend job fairs and events that match your skill set, chosen profession or primary area of interest. While some events do cater to a wide variety of industries and positions, most job seekers, especially those with highly specialized skill sets, are better served by seeking out industry-specific job fairs.
Initiate Follow Up Communications
Finally, remember to initiate follow up communications with any employers who received your information. Don’t be afraid to call or email a company to inquire about the status of your resume, and don’t forget to mention the job fair where you originally made contact with their representatives.
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