Ready to amp up your job search? Spring is just around the corner! In the world of job searches, that can only mean one thing—-time for job fair season! Let’s look at some simple ways to shine at jobs fairs and also brief you on how job fairs can be a helpful resource.
As always, our suggestion is to put your best foot forward. The rule of thumb? Dress for success! A typical job fair will feel like a series of very short interviews, so why not wear interview attire? That day, the job fair folks you speak to are going to chat with a large number of potential applicants, So naturally, it will be easy for them to forget their interaction with you. Interview attire can be a great way to really stand out from the pack-—in a good way. And conversely, it’s quite possible to stand out in the not-so-good way if you show up dressed extremely casually.
When it comes to expectations, it’s best not to have any. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your homework or prepare. Certainly, check out the employers ahead of time and make a list of your must-meet representatives. But going into the actual fair, expect to plant a lot of seeds having no idea which ones will grow. By that I simply mean that a job fair isn’t necessarily a place where you find a specific job you would like to apply to. In your conversations, you can check with the rep to see what they have for current jobs, but a better investment of this opportunity is to have a conversation.
The question about open jobs seems productive at first, but any job listings a rep has could change so quickly that you could spend time pursuing a specific role that ends up no longer available by the time you complete the application process. Or on the other extreme, you may skip over a company due to lack of interesting opportunities at the fair. Then weeks later, you miss out if they suddenly have a job opening that would have been perfect for you. It’s impossible to see exactly what lies ahead. Therefore, the best approach is to assume that everyone you meet could be your next stepping stone into a great career.
What do I say?
Talk to everyone! As we mentioned in the above section, target your must-meet vendors but also stop by and visit with the other reps because you never know who will be able to help you. Ask them about their company, the culture, the types of roles they typically see come up, etc. And in having that conversation, you’re forming a relationship with the rep and letting them know that you’re not looking for a job; you’re looking for a career. So if something does come up on their website after the job fair, you can apply for the job but then also contact that rep directly and improve your chances of getting in the door for the interview.
Written by Adam Lafield, Recruiter & Marketing Specialist