Job fairs are a great way to meet potential employers, to learn information and make connections in ways you cannot do just on a website. You have many companies all in one place, which is a unique opportunity. But to get the most out of a job fair, you need to come prepared, and you need to know how to present yourself to the employers. Here are a few tips.
1. What not to expect
First off, if you are expecting full-fledged interviews or job offers, you will be disappointed. Few employers do these things at job fairs. The main purpose is to get information and contacts you can follow up with later.
2. Do your research
Find out in advance what companies will be attending the job fair. This is easy to do. All you need to do usually is just go to the job fair website. There are generally a lot of companies at these events, and your time is limited, so you need to choose the companies to focus on.
What companies need people with the kind of skills you have? Who would you like to work for? Target these companies.
Do a little research on the companies themselves and make some notes. You will make more of an impression on the company representatives if you know something about their firm.
3. Draw up some questions
Have some questions prepared in advance, things you want to know about the company. Also, get contact information and business cards.
4. Have your elevator pitch ready
This is a short (usually around a minute or two) speech used to sell yourself to employers. It should cover what skills you have and what your career objectives are, as well as your outstanding accomplishments.
Practice your elevator pitch before going to the job fair until you can give it fluently. You may want to practice in front of a mirror or with a friend. Also, make sure you dress professionally, preferably a suit and tie.
5. Come prepared
Make sure you have plenty of copies of your resume to hand out. Also, bring a little notebook along for notes after talking to company representatives. This will help you to remember what you talked about, whether you discussed any follow up, and any other important details.
6. Send a note of thanks
This can be in the form of an email or on paper. Use the opportunity to remind the person of who you are and what you talked about and what the next steps are in the process.