Perhaps the longer that goes on the more isolated you feel, like you’re missing a personal interaction that will make all the difference getting your foot in the door?
A job fair might be just what you need. Think of it like “job interview speed dating” – you’ll want to make a good impression but also keep moving. Even if you don’t land the perfect job right off the bat, they can be great opportunities to network and learn more about companies that interest you, while flexing your interview muscles at the same time.
Here are a few tips to ensure you get the most out of the experience!
1) Do Research Ahead of Time
A list of the companies attending should be easy to find, so do some research on the ones that pique your interest: what positions are available, what they’re working on, etc.
Try to find a floor plan as well, to map out your route. Time management is important, and showing some knowledge about a company will certainly help you stand out in the little time that you have. But also keep an open mind to companies and individuals you’re unfamiliar with, since the point of job fairs is to mingle and you never know who you’ll meet.
2) Pack a Bag
A notebook, a folder, pencils, pens, multiple copies of your resume, business cards with your contact information, even some snacks. Be prepared to take notes, give and receive business cards, and stay on the move. You also want to look professional, just like you would in any other interview.
3) Have a Personal Pitch
Recruiters are going to ask you about yourself, and just like an interview you should be prepared to speak confidently about your experiences and abilities. The difference is that you need to condense it to no more than two minutes – you don’t want to monopolize the recruiter’s time, nor your own. Be direct with who you are, and speak succinctly about what you’re interested in and what your experiences are.
4) Ask the Right Questions
Don’t fly blind and ask questions you could just Google. Having done a little research on a given company, brandish that knowledge by asking more detailed questions about the work they do and the positions they’re hiring for. Be enthusiastic and engaged towards their answers, and try to follow them up with experiences of your own. And always trade business cards, even with people visiting the fair like you – you never know where that networking might lead.
5) Follow Up
Be sure to compile all the business cards and contacts you made in one list, then send out Thank You emails to each. If you applied online before the job fair, mention it to the recruiter while you’re discussing the position; if you apply afterward, be sure to mention it in your Thank You. You want to capitalize on that face-to-face interaction; it’s all about putting a face to your name.