Job fairs can be daunting because they bring you face to face with your competition – all the other people soon to depart student life who’ll be sending out letters and CVs to employers and trying to get the same jobs you want. But with a number of employers in the same place at once they can also be incredibly productive.
Job fairs are a great place to start and to make contacts. They are invaluable tools for identifying employment opportunities, for honing your interview skills as well as learning industry information and meeting the ‘companies’ face to face. However it is essential that you go prepared!
To avoid the pitfalls and instead walk away with job leads and even interviews, consider the following:
Research The more information you know about a particular company, the more you can discuss with the company representative, and thus will distinguish yourself from those unprepared job seekers.
First impressions are lasting ones, so treat the career fairs that you are attending like a job interview. Come dressed for success in conservative attire, with a winning attitude, and ready to answer probing questions.
Be prepared to assertively introduce yourself, giving your best handshake, showing enthusiasm and making eye contact with the interviewer. Be concise, polite and direct, as you only have brief period of time to obtain the information that you need and to make an impression.
Talk about your career objectives, strengths, willingness to relocate, interests, relevant skills, the kind of job you are looking for, why you want to work for their organisation, and why you would be an asset. Be prepared to answer commonly asked questions and tailor them to the company’s needs.
Stay Positive and Follow up. It’s impossible to leave without something of value.