If you’ve never been to a career fair before, the idea might sound somewhat intimidating. The thought of networking with several company representatives that are complete strangers definitely made me initially nervous. Fortunately, there are several things that you can easily do to prepare yourself for a successful fair.
Depending on the type of career fair you’re attending, you’ll be surprised to see that not all job seekers follow basic preparation tips. Follow these guidelines and you’ll be well on your way to standing above the crowd:
Do your homework beforehand. Most career fairs have a list of attending employers available on their registration website. Be sure to browse through this list and do some research on the companies that interest you. Check their websites, Facebook pages, LinkedIn profiles, and any other sources in preparation. To really stand above the crowd, you’ll want to approach the employers you’re interested in with company-specific questions. Showing genuine interest in a company and its mission is always impressive to employers.
Dress to impress. Think about how you would dress for a job interview or for a video resume shoot. That is how you want to dress for a career fair! Remember, this is most likely the first impression that you are giving the attending employers. If you want them to take you seriously, you need to look professional. It’s not possible to overdress for this event. If you have a suit and a briefcase, then by all means, go ahead and use them!
Bring plenty of resumes. You’ll want to make yourself as accessible as possible to employers who are impressed by and interested in you. If they feel like they have to hunt you down to get a hold of you, then I wouldn’t hold my breath on receiving a call or email. Be sure that you print your resumes on resume paper or cardstock to enhance your image of professionalism. Keep them neatly tucked into a portfolio, briefcase, folder, or binder to save yourself the embarrassment of handing over a crumpled resume. Also, if you have business cards or relevant portfolio samples, bring those along as well.
Follow-up! During the career fair, you should be collecting business cards and contact information from every employer that you are interested in. After the fair, follow-up with the company representatives you spoke with. Tell them that it was great speaking with them. Also be sure to thank them for their time. You can end your letter or email by saying that you’ll be submitting an application soon and look forward to hearing from the company. If you don’t have access to an application, ask what the appropriate next step is.
With these tips, you’re ready to ace any career fair! Also remember to smile and carry yourself confidently. “Little” things like that can go a long way.
Image Credit: Recite.com
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