Career fairs are a great way to meet potential employers, network with others, and learn about job opportunities that may be available. If you have recently graduated from school or will be graduating soon, you may be getting ready to attend a few career fairs yourself.
There are many things you can do to set yourself up for success with career fairs. You can prepare for the career fair ahead of time, following best practices while at the career fair, and creating a plan for after the career fair can set you apart from other candidates.
Check out our top tips on how to get the most out of a career fair!
Prepare Ahead of Time
It’s always best to take steps to prepare ahead of time before attending a career fair. First, look at the employers attending the career fair and do some initial research on them. Look at their website, check out their social media pages, and look at any job openings they currently have listed. This will help give you an idea of what it would be like to work for the company and their hiring positions.
Next, ensure your resume is updated with your most recent career and professional information. Include all relevant experience, education, skills, proficiencies, and certifications. Have someone review your resume to make sure there are no spelling or grammar mistakes. Print out numerous copies of your resume to take with you to the career fair.
At the event, you will most likely be talking to many people and a variety of potential employers. Practice your networking skills and elevator pitch to know what to say and have the confidence to speak up. Your elevator pitch should be a short statement about yourself and your career goals. Find a friend who will help you practice and give you feedback.
If possible, register for the career fair ahead of time. This will ensure you can get into the career fair and receive updates about the event.
Gather any needed supplies that you will be taking to the career fair, such as a pen and paper for notes, copies of your resume, business cards if you have them, and anything else you may need.
Follow Career Fair Best Practices
When attending the career fair, following best practices can help set you apart from other candidates. Dress professionally in business casual attire, as this will help make a good first impression on recruiters and help you feel more confident.
As you walk around the career fair, network with potential employers and anyone else you meet. Always be enthusiastic and open with people so they can tell that you are genuinely interested. Remember the elevator pitch that you practiced and do your best to tell people about yourself.
When speaking with people, collect business cards to have everyone’s contact information for follow-up after the career fair. It’s also a good idea to take notes on the conversations you have with people so that you can remember the specific details of each potential opportunity.
Anytime you chat with a recruiter or hiring manager, give them a printed copy of your resume. Doing this makes it easier for them after the career fair, so they don’t have to search through emails or wait to review your resume.
Always ask for the next steps when you wrap up a conversation with a recruiter. They may want you to go on their website and formally apply for a job, send over samples of your work, or set up a time for a one-on-one interview. You will need to write down in your notes any information on the next steps you are given to use this to follow up after the career fair.
Create a Plan for Afterwards
What you do after the career fair can be as important as what you did before and during the event. Sending out thank you notes to anyone you spoke with at the career fair is a great way to keep yourself top-of-mind for recruiters and hiring managers. This also shows your professional courtesy and excellent follow-up skills, which are critical to potential employers.
Complete any next steps that a potential employer requires. It’s best to do these soon after the career fair so that recruiters know that you are genuinely interested in the position.
Even if a recruiter you spoke with did not require any next steps, you could still follow up. Send an email thanking them for their time and ask if they need any additional information from you.
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