Tips for attending a Job/ Career fair

Tips for attending a Job/ Career fair

     When you're job searching, take some time to attend job fairs. You'll have the opportunity to meet with employers that you might not be able to access any other way. Plus, job fairs and career expos often offer networking programs, resume reviews, and workshops for job seekers.

     What can you do to compete with the crowds attending job fairs? These tips will help you get ready to attend and maximize your opportunities while you're there.

Should I go to a Job/ Career fair? 

1.    Employers are not just limited to "companies."

2.     Some are government agencies; some are non-profits.

3.    Determine if any match your career interests and you match their needs.

4.    If you find a fit with even one attending employer, you have a reason to go!

5.    Know that the employment world is not divided by major or university!

6.    Understand that not all types of employers attend career fairs. Discover that many varied ones do! Research each in advance.

 Why go? 

1.  To make a good (or great) impression in person (especially important if your resume doesn't necessarily stand out from the crowd).

2.  To see that the real world is not organized by major: you don't necessarily have to be a business major to go to Business related companies, and you don't necessarily have to be an engineering major to go to Engineering related companies.

3.  To learn more about employers than you can learn from their websites. You learn about the culture of an organization when you meet their people, and you can ask questions.

4.  Much of the job search process before you can even get an interview for both you, the job seeker, and for the employer in trying to find good candidates, is not done in person. It involves employers screening resumes and cover letters, and you reading about employers and viewing their websites, and the like. Take advantage of opportunities to meet employers face-to-face. Regardless of the extent to which technology makes it easier and faster to share information between job seekers and employers, nothing replaces in-person contact for making an impression.

5.  Some fairs include follow-up interviewing as part of the fair, for a full or half day. If that is a possibility, prepare to have interview skills  in advance!

6.  To be effective at a career fair, you need to be ready to make a good impression in person (just as you will be evaluating organizations by the way their representatives behave in person).

Things to bring to the Career Fair

1.    Copies of your resume (25 to 40 depending on the size of the event). It needs to look professional, easy to read format on plain white or cream-colored paper and be free of typos. Be ready to hand employers the appropriate resume (you should prepare different resume for different employer). Be prepared for employers to give you literature and give-away items (pens, cups, t-shirts, etc.) this is typical at fairs (sometimes they give you a bag to carry the give-away). Bottom line is that you want to look like an organized person because that's an asset in an employee.

2.    A smile, a strong handshake, good eye contact and a positive attitude. First impressions are important. Show Initiative. Shake hands and introduce yourself to recruiters when you reach the table. Demonstrate your interest in the company and their job opportunities. Watch your manners, Stand up straight, don't hang your mouth open, don't fidget, don't chew gum or smell like smoke. Be Enthusiastic. This means that employers want to see you smile! Be clear and engaging when you speak. Be friendly and conversational, have a positive attitude. Stay on topic. Fairs are sometimes noisy, so speak clearly and confidently

3.    A 30-second "sales pitch." Hand the recruiter a copy of your resume and be prepared to expand on it quickly! Share basic information about yourself and your career interests like this: "Hello, I'm Ali bin Abu. I'm a graduating from Wonderful University and I'm majoring in English. I'm very interested in a marketing career. As you can see on my resume, I just completed an internship in the Marketing Division of the ABC Company in Ipoh. I've also taken some courses in business marketing. I'm very interested in talking with you about marketing opportunities with your organization."

4.    Bring Supplies. Bring extra copies of your resume, pens, a notepad, and business card (if have it) with your name, your email address, and cell phone number. Sometimes the employer will ask you to fill in their job application form.

5.    Research information about the organizations that will be attending before Job Fairs is schedule. Gather information as you would for a job interview. To maximize the brief time you have with each employer, you need to know how your skills and interests match their needs. And don't just concentrate on the "big names." There are often great opportunities with companies with which you are not familiar. Be prepared to talk to hiring managers by checking out the company's web site, mission, open positions, and general information before you go.

6.     Energy! Career fairs require you to be on your feet moving from table to table for an hour or so. Each time you meet someone, be at your best, as refreshed as possible! Ask Questions. Have some questions ready for the company representatives. The more you engage them, the better impression you'll make. Prepare questions in advance: Employers want employees who are proactive, thoughtful, and listen well. Make yourself stand out with smart questions.

6.1.  Don't ask about:

6.1.1.   DON'T ask "what does your company do?" This is a major annoyance to employers; you should know this in advance. Also, not all employers are "companies." Some are government agencies or non-profits.

6.1.2.   Don't ask for information you could have easily learned on the employer's website.

6.1.3.   Don't ask about salary and benefits. (The employer should initiate discussion of those topics. A job/career fairs is not the place for a job seeker to initiate this.)

6.2. Do ask for information you could not find on the employer's website. Examples of good questions IF YOU COULD NOT FIND THIS INFORMATION ON THE EMPLOYER'S WEBSITE:

6.2.1.   What kind of person are you seeking for the(se) position(s)?

6.2.2.   What particular skills do you value most?

6.2.3.   What do you like about working for your organization?

6.2.4.     What are current issues that your organization is facing that would have an impact on new hires?

6.3. Show what you know, and ask for more (example):

6.3.1.   I read about about xyz project on your website. Is your department involved in that work?

6.3.2.   What are the career paths for new hires over the first few years on the job?

7.    Have an open mind. You may have 12 employers on your target list to speak with. If you have extra time, or have to wait to speak with an employer, take advantage of the opportunity to chat with other employers who aren't busy. You might learn something to your advantage to your surprise. At the least, you'll be practicing initiating a conversation in a less formal business environment and this is an essential skill in any work environment.

Things Not to Do at the Career Fair

1.    Don't cruise the booths with a group of friends. Interacting with the recruiters on your own. Make your own positive impression! In some cases job seeker bringing their parent with them. It is not wrong to bring your parent with you but it gives immature impression of you to the employer. Too worst the situation; it is your parent who is doing the talking instead of you. It seem you are not interested with the organization but your parent who the one interested.

2.    Don't carry your backpack, large purse, or other paraphernalia with you. Carry your resume in a professional-looking portfolio or small briefcase works well. It will keep your resume neat and handy, and gives you a place to file business cards of recruiters that you meet.

3.    Don't come dressed for a date (or any other extremely casual activity). A career fair is a professional activity, perhaps your first contact with a future employer. Dress for Success. Dress in professional interview attire, and carry a portfolio. However, do wear comfortable shoes, because you will be standing for long time or in line.

4.    Don't "wing it" with employers. Do your homework! Research the companies just as you would for an interview. You'll be able to focus on why you want to work for the organization and what you can do for them.

5.    Don't come during the last half hour of the event. Many employers travel a long distance to attend the fair and may need to leave early. You need to arrive early. Keep in mind that lines can be long, so arrive early - before the fair officially opens. If you come late, you may miss the organizations you wanted to contact.

6.    Don't be misled into thinking of the fair as a social event. Employers often send recently-hired staff to career fairs. Don't fall into the mistake of interacting on a social level and forgetting that you are being judged on your potential to function in the work environment.

Things to Take Home From the Career Fair

1.    Business cards or contact information from the recruiters you have met. Use the cards to write follow-up notes or email to those organizations in which you are most interested.

2.    Notes about contacts you made. Take paper and pen with you to write down important details about particular organizations, including names of people who may not have had business cards. Take a few minutes after you leave each table to jot down notes on the back of the business cards you have collected or on your notepad, so you have a reminder of who you spoke to about what. It's hard to keep track when you're meeting with multiple employers in a busy environment.

3.    A better sense of your career options. If you have used the event correctly, you will have made contact with several organizations that hire people with your skills and interests. In thinking about their needs and your background, evaluate whether each company might be a match for you. Attend a Workshop. If the job fair has workshops or seminars, attend them. In addition to getting job search advice, you'll have more opportunities to network.

4.    Self-confidence in interacting with employer representatives. A career fair gives you the opportunity to practice your interview skills in a less formidable environment than a formal interview. Use this experience to practice talking about what you have done, what you know, and what your interests are.

5.    This is your opportunity to be evaluated on more than just your resume. In many aspects of the job search, your resume (and cover letter) is (are) all the employer sees to determine whether to interview you. At a fair, you have an opportunity to stand out in person in a way that you might not on your resume. Interpersonal skills, communication skills and work-place-appropriate social skills are critical. Many employers evaluate these skills heavily, because they want to hire people who can make a good impression on their clients and customers.


Post a Comment


Around Us