If you have never attended career fairs you will probably attend one when you really need a job. Whether you are an experienced employee or recent graduate a career fair could be a great opportunity to meet your future employer. The problem is, however, that there are more job seekers than employers at the events like that so one has to be persuasive enough to grab the attention of employers or recruiters. Career fairs have one big advantage over just sending your resume - this is a great chance to be evaluated by employers not just on your CV. Nevertheless, many job seekers don't plan what they are going to do in order to gain the favor of decision makers. So we decided to list some tips that will help you succeed at career fairs. These basic recommendations based on the extensive experience of HRs and recruiters will work well for everybody: those who have never been to career fairs and those who have already attended dozens of them.
Preparation Is Everything
When job hunters go to career fairs like they often go to a supermarket they make a huge mistake. You can't just come and then think what is it that you actually need. Well, you can do that but that such an approach will unlikely bring you the expected outcome. What we recommend is prepare for a career fair like some people who really want to get a job. Do your research to find out about the companies attending the event as well as search for some information about the companies. This way you can develop the list of priorities as to which companies have positions open that you want to get. But not only this; it will also give you a good foundation to stand on when talking to the company representatives as well as help you give reasonable answers to the questions you may be asked.
Since you will likely meet many people who will represent the companies you would like to work for it is a must to have a brief introduction talk. You will be using it way more than a few times so it should be well-planned in order to attract the attention of those company representatives. It doesn't have to be detailed. Instead, include only your name, career aspirations and how they are tied to working for this company. This talk is your oral resume, only it is more effective if prepared well. Be human and don't try to fire out everything like a robot when you meet a prospective employer or recruiter. In other words, be yourself. Don't forget about your body language when you communicate with people - it can tell more about you than words. Remember to maintain direct eye contact and shake hands. Another thing you have to be prepared for is asking questions. They basically serve two purposes: the first one is to get more information about the things you are interested in and the second one is to show that you have put some thought into the company. Honestly, it is hard to tell which one is more important. Make sure you don't ask questions answers to which can be easily found on the company's website. You could inquire about the work environment or company culture. These are considered good questions subjects. When asking questions, make sure you know what you are talking about and incorporate some company knowledge in questions.
Business Cards and Thank You Notes
Don't miss the chance to ask for a business card - this is a key to the next job search door. Having the contacts of the company representative can give you the advantage as well as will leave some room for you to follow up with more questions. We suggest following up the whole thing with a thank you note just like candidates do after a job interview. This is another chance to reiterate your interest in working for the company as well as a polite way to express gratitude. It will help you make a good impression also which is the most important thing at career fairs.