With various job fairs quickly approaching, it is time to start preparing for this essential part of your job search strategy. These events are an excellent opportunity for you to seek out your dream career. It is also an opportunity for company’s to screen a large number of candidates, and thus it is crucial that you fully prepare yourself in order to make a positive lasting impression. The following insider’s guide to career fair success will give you the strategic placement above the competition.
Preparing Before the Event
Preregistering for a career fair will provide you with the time you need to research the companies attending and develop a strategic plan of executing the event. After obtaining a list of companies attending, decide which organizations you are most interested and perform basic research on the business. This will enable you to make a “plan of attack” for the actual event. As large events and can be overwhelming, create a schedule to interview with the companies you are most interested in first. This will allow you to enter the interview fresh, focused, and energetic.
Strengthen your interview skills by preparing answers to basic interview questions. A mock interview from another professional or career counselor is an excellent way to strengthen the impression you give and interviewer. Since a career fair is a busy event, it is pertinent that you are able to make a quick, positive impression. Therefore, your elevator pitch should be reviewed and perfected.
Before the job fair, you should also prepare your resume and portfolio, assuring it is perfectly polished. There should be no grammatical or spelling errors and the resume should be filled with key, action words that are targeted to each organization. Be sure to bring several clean copies of your standard resume as well.
The night before the job fair should be spent reviewing all of your research, preparing your best conservative, professional attire, in addition to gathering your resume, portfolio, and something to take notes. Furthermore, it is most important to be well rested for the next day.
Executing the Event
The actual event is your time to execute your career fair plan and use all of the research and materials you have prepared. As you network with recruiters, establish rapport through a friendly smile, firm handshake, and direct eye contact. This is an excellent time to grow your network with career professionals and fellow job seekers as well. As you grow your network, the potential growth and success of your career expand as well.
Gather as much information as possible from each company, asking relevant questions, but avoid spending too much time with one recruiter as he has several other individuals to interview and there are several other recruiters for you to meet as well. Collect business cards and take thorough notes, in order to ease the follow up process after the event.
Following Up After the Event
After you have completed a great career fair and expanded your professional network, it is time to follow up on all of your great networking. Send thank you notes to all of the recruiters you met, thanking each for his time and assistance in your job search. Also note the qualifications and potential which you possess and how they can contribute to the organization’s success. Following up with a phone call after a thank you letter is also an excellent way to increase your chances of securing a second interview.
In addition to following up within your network, take the time to reflect on your personal performance. How might you improve your next job fair? Also continue to seek out future events that can contribute to expanding your network and finding your dream job.