Attending a job fair is an extremely efficient way to job search. You have access to dozens of potential employers and can get some face to face time with HR managers. It’s also a great place to learn more about what employers are looking for in a particular field and be exposed to new job options and opportunities. When worked effectively, a job fair can yield tons of leads and potentially quick employment. While attending job fairs can yield big wins, many attendees miss several opportunities. Here are 5 mistakes that can break your job fair experience:
Arriving unprepared. People who walk into job fairs without completing and research are at risk for not getting the most out of their experience. Organizers of job fairs often provide some basic information about participating companies, types of jobs, and what training or educational backgrounds are most applicable. Use that information to guide a Google search that provides you with a little more information about attending organizations and job descriptions. Noting having some basic information about the job fair can cause wasted time and a bad first impressions.
Poor presentation. The job fair is all about first impressions. Most interactions at job fairs are brief, so you have to put your best foot forward in a short amount of time. People who have are inappropriately dressed, have an unrehearsed elevator pitch, or present as disorganized are missing a major opportunity. Make sure your appearance is neat and professional (business professional is always a safe bet), and practice a 30 second to 1-minute elevator pitch that tells an employer about relevant educational experience, work experience, some key skills you bring to the table, and your excitement about the position.
Bringing an outdated resume. Presenting an outdated or irrelevant resume to a potential employer doesn’t just negatively impact you for current job openings, but it could impact your future opportunities with a company. It’s common for companies to keep interesting resumes for future positions that become available. Some companies keep resumes for as long as 2 years! Presenting a resume that does not accurately articulate up to date skills and experiences can preclude you from several great positions.
Staying in your comfort zone. People often attend job fairs because they have an interest in a particular company or type of position. Fairs provide an opportunity to expand your knowledge of possible opportunity and think about how you can apply your skills in new and different ways. Sticking to the types of jobs you are most comfortable with limits your options for employment and can also stunt your professional growth in the long run. People who experience upward mobility in their flexible career often have varied job experience, showing that they are willing to say “yes” to learning and applying new skills.
Not asking questions. Just like in traditional interviews, asking questions of potential employers communications as much about you as you’re learning about the company. Asking thoughtful questions shows employers that you’re interested and engaged. Good questions communicate that you want to make sure that the fit is a good one for you and the employer and you desire a successful partnership. Not asking questions may tell employers that you’re not interested or that you’re not inquisitive and willing to learn.