Career fairs give you the opportunity to meet employers, discover job openings, and network with other professionals. If you’re graduating from school soon or have recently graduated, you may be planning on attending some career fairs yourself.
There are several ways to get the most out of a career fair and set yourself up for success. Preparing before the career fair, using best practices while at the event, and designing a plan afterward can help you stand out from other candidates.
This week, we’re sharing our favorite tips with you for getting the most out of a career fair!
Prepare Ahead of Time
Taking steps to prepare ahead of time before you attend a career fair is always a good idea. First, do some research into the list of employers set up at the event. Check out their websites, look at their social media profiles, and review any current jobs they have open. In completing this exercise, you will have a better idea of what it’s like to work for each company and the type of positions they are trying to fill.
The next thing you need to do is update your resume to show off your most important professional and career information. Include items relevant to your career field, such as your skills, education, experience, certifications, and proficiencies. Reach out to a friend and ask them to read over your resume to ensure it’s free of grammar and spelling errors. You will need to take your resume to the career fair, so print out numerous copies and have them ready.
It can be beneficial to practice your professional elevator pitch and networking skills before the career fair, as you will probably talk to many people and numerous potential employers. When you practice ahead of time, you will have more confidence and know exactly what to say. Ask a friend or mentor who will give you helpful feedback to help you practice.
Register for the event ahead of time if you can do so. Doing this helps ensure you can get into the career fair and get any updates regarding the event.
Before you go, get together any supplies you will need to take with you, like a pen and paper for taking notes, printed copies of your resume, business cards, or anything else you will need.
Follow Career Fair Best Practices
Using best practices while you’re at the career fair can help you stand out from the other candidates in attendance. First impressions are essential, so dressing in professional, business casual attire can increase your confidence and help you succeed.
Network with people you meet and potential employers as you make your way around the career fair. Show people that you are genuinely interested in what they say by being open and enthusiastic in your conversations. Use your elevator pitch to concisely tell people more about yourself and be ready for follow-up questions.
As you chat with others, ask them for a business card so you will have their contact information to follow up with them after the career fair. You may also want to take notes on important conversations you have so that you can remember the details of any potential opportunities.
Hand out a printed copy of your resume to any recruiter or hiring manager you speak with. This will make it much easier for them to review your resume after the event has ended because they will not have to search through emails to look for it.
When finishing a conversation with a hiring manager, always ask what your next step should be. They may want you to provide samples of past work, formally apply to an open position on their website, or schedule a time for a one-on-one interview. Be sure to take notes on any requested next steps to follow up effectively.
Create a Plan for Afterwards
After attending a career fair, what you do is equally as important as preparing for the event and following best practices. One excellent way to stay top-of-mind for hiring managers and recruiters is to send a personalized thank you note to the people you spoke with at the event. Having great follow-up skills and professional courtesy are important to employers, and this is a great way to show them off.
If an employer asks you to complete any next steps, be sure to get them done quickly. This shows recruiters that you are genuinely interested in the job and are willing to do what it takes.
If you had a good conversation with a recruiter, but they didn’t ask you to complete any next steps, it’s still acceptable to follow up with them. Sending a thank you email and asking if there’s any additional information they need from you is a good idea.
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