How to Work a Job Fair Like a Pro
Job fairs are a great way to network and find that perfect job opportunity. Fairs come in all shapes and sizes, styles and types. They are designed to rapidly connect employers with a large pool of qualified applicants. These functions can be efficient and productive for both employers and job seekers. The challenge for potential applicants becomes how to stand out from the crowd and to make sure their resume makes it to the top of the pile. Here are a few tricks and tips that will help you get noticed above other potential candidates.
4 Tips to Work a Job Fair Like a Pro
Dress to impress. Candidates live and die by the first impression during job fairs. Makes sure that you are dress professionally, and comfortably, as you’ll walking around a big room for a while. If you’re not sure about the dress code, choose a business-professional outfit. Business-professional means a suit and tie for men and a pant, skirt, or dress suit for women. Not only will dressing up make an impression on your potential employer, it will also help boost your confidence.
Do your research. Organizers of job fairs usually post participating companies before the job fair. Check out the listing of participants to see what companies are on your “must visit” list. You can also do a little research on businesses you’re interested in, so you come prepared to discuss how your skills fit with organizational needs. Doing a little research before arriving at the fair will help make sure you use your time wisely and make the most impact on businesses you are interested in.
Re-write your cover letter. For job fairs, your cover letter needs to be generic but personable. Employers won’t expect your resume to be tailored because you’re not responding to a specific posting. In this case, your cover letter should help your best qualities shine and show a little bit of your personality. Make sure your cover letter is addressed in a generic fashion (e.g. Dear Sir or Madam or Dear Hiring Committee) and help employers understand who you are.
Take your time. If your schedule allows, plan on staying at a job fair for a while. Giving yourself ample time will allow you to visit everyone on your short list and explore opportunities that you weren’t aware of before arriving. Make sure you have a little time to get your bearings so you feel less stressed. Making a lap without visiting any tables or booths can help you find balance if you’re overwhelmed by the size of the fair.
Network with other job seekers. You never know where connections lead. Sometimes fellow job seekers will be the key to finding your next opportunity. If you connect with someone who lands a position with a company, they may think of you when a position becomes available. Some companies offer incentives to employees for recruiting and providing referrals. While in some ways, you’re competing against other job seekers, they may also be able to point you in the right direction for finding the perfect job.