If you are enrolled in a college or university course, you will eventually have to attend to a job fair in order to get an internship or your first job. Job fairs are an excellent way for both applicants and employers find their perfect fit. For applicants, because several different companies willing to hire will be presenting themselves and showing what you can expect from them if you decide to work there, allowing you to select only the most interesting ones; and for companies because there will be hundreds or thousands of potential employees that can be met personally, allowing them to previously screen potential candidates and call only the best matches for an interview.
In the end, a job fair saves time and resources for both applicants and employers, being a good way to show your skills and personal presentation while having a quicker contact with the company of your dreams.
How to prepare
Remember you are attending to a hiring event, so you should dress professionally, as if you were going to attend to a regular interview. Do not use the clothes you use on campus on daily basis.
Research the companies that will be in the event
You will definitely have a head start if you do proper research. Which companies will be at the event? Which industries are they in and how is their environment? Are they growing, stagnant or shrinking? Are they doing good, having some specific problem, investing or needing to enter a niche with specific skills? Are they willing to provide training for their employees? What people who worked for them think of them?
Add more questions of your own to the list above. Remember to mix questions related to your own interests with questions related to the interest of the companies as well. The questions related to your own interests will tell you whether working for that company is worthy it or not; the questions related to their business will allow you to assess what kind of talent are they needing and what kind of attitude and skills you need to have or develop to be a successful employee for them.
After doing that, elaborate a list of companies that you would like to visit and plan your strategy at the event.
Bring several copies of your resume
A job fair is perfect to drop some resumes on your potential employers desks. Remember to bring enough resumes for the companies you liked the most, as well as some spare ones just in case you have the opportunity to get acquainted with other interesting employers. Remember, also, that if you are willing to take different positions in different companies, you may need specific resumes for each niche.
Remember that not all job fairs or individual employers accept printed resumes and may require you to send them online, most of the time before the actual event. Take note of that before going to the job fair and plan accordingly. If you know that the job fair you are attending to requires electronic resumes (or individual employer), send them in the correct time. If you learn that a potential employer will only accept an online resume afterwards, get the correct instruction with them.
Remember that sending your resume according to the rules may be one of the traits that potential employers will be evaluating.
And do not forget to get business cards of all companies to whom you’ve talked.
Prepare your introductory pitch
Most of the time, employers will be in contact with dozens or hundreds potential candidates. As such, you have to grab their attention quickly.
Plan how you are going to introduce yourself. Think of a short, thirty-second presentation where you tell them what your career goals are, what your main skills are and how you can contribute to their team.
After the job fair
After the event, do not forget to follow up. Send a thank you e-mail to each employer who has given you the chance to introduce yourself and pay close attention to your inbox or messages, should you be contacted.
You are likely to be contacted after the event, even if the employer wishes to tell you that you have been declined. If they do that, keep in mind that they showed great interest in you, but for some reason, decided not to hire you now. So, keep the doors open, send a thank you e-mail to them and ask if there is another position that you can fill or if they want to reconsider you for another role. Be polite and try to keep in contact for a future opportunity.
Virtual Job fairs
There is a growing trend in the jobs industry, however, that you should take note: virtual job fairs are becoming more and more common. And are one of the main focus of this website, jobfair.pro.
There are some things that you should take note before participating of them:
- they are usually very specific for a certain industry or geographic area.
- commonly, you’ll work remotely. Many jobs offered are very flexible, and it is common that companies also hire freelancers (be prepared to enter the gig economy).
- prepare for a virtual job fair like you would prepare for a physical one, following all advice posted above. Though you are at home, dress professionaly; send copies of your resumes to your potential employers in the right time; prepare a short speech (thirty seconds) to introduce yourself; follow up.
- follow jobfair.pro to keep posted about future online job fairs.