15 Key ways to get the most out of career and job fairs

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Whether you are a recent graduate or a skilled professional, attending job fairs is always quite challenging. The way you present yourself can either make or break your chances of getting a job you like or deal a blow at hopes. There everything is important: from creating a perfect pitch to choosing proper supplies.

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But first, let’s figure out the difference between a job and a career fair.

What is a career fair?

Career fair is sponsored by one company and all exhibitor booths represent different departments of the same organization. Internships are mostly offered during career fairs. Thus, beings aware of career fair tips for students in important for young specialists.

What is a job fair?

Job fair is sponsored by a third party, like a university or any other organization. Hence, each booth competes with each other for job seeker’s attention. It is always a good idea to do a research of local job fairs and get familiar with companies represented.

Check this article to find out 15 fair tips to impress the employers and get the vacancy of your dream!

1. Dress to impress

It is not about sequins. Not even leather. It is about looking professional and confident in a job fair attire. Choosing of what to wear to a job fair, try to look as neat and as businesslike as possible. Minimalism does it thing. Avoid heavy makeup and massive jewelry. It is better to leave the high heels at home as well. There might be long lines, and you better prioritize your comfort first.

2. Prepare a standout resume

Make sure you create a professional resume that describes you the best as a specialist. Avoid wordiness and personal details. Concentrate on your work experience, skills, and professional achievements. Don’t forget to grab 20+ resume copies. There will be multiple perspective companies, and you don’t want to miss any of it.

3. Arrive early

Make sure to pull up before the job fair opens. Being in a rush doesn’t work in your favor. Not only you risk having messy hair and overall crazy look but also daring to miss your winning chance. Standing in a line for half an hour doesn’t benefit your mood. Manage to come earlier to be the first in a line of the prioritized company. Have a look at the top in-demand jobs for 2019 to assure that your dream vacancy is worth battling for.

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4. Introduce yourself with a smile

A smile is a surefire way to break the ice and eliminate the possible pressure. What's more, it makes everyone feel better about themselves. Including hiring manager, you are planning to talk with. Pay attention to your body language as well. Don’t cross your hands and legs. This is a sign of discomfort and mistrust. Spend time to learn some body language tricks to avoid common mistakes and make a good impression.

5. Be enthusiastic

The job fair isn’t just a businesslike party. It is a real chance to meet right people or even to start a life from scratch. Show your interest, shake hands and be initiative. The latest survey reveals that enthusiasm is one of the most favorable attributes of success. Hiring managers are looking for highly motivated individuals that are genuinely interested in their organization.

6. Practice a career fair elevator pitch

It is always better to think of how to prepare for a job fair in advance. If the “tell about yourself” question makes your blood run cold, then you are in trouble. Create a pitch and learn it by heart. Keep in mind, that there is not much time per person at the job fair. Thus, make sure that your pitch is short, informative and persuasive. It is not supposed to last longer than 30 seconds. Keep in mind, that prospective employer doesn’t care about your life story. Mention your education, the most valuable work experience, and further career goals. Babbling and cutting words halfway won’t favor your monologue. So practice in front of the mirror until you feel confident and comfortable. You can also practice with a stopwatch.

7. Attend workshops

Think beforehand of what to do at a job fair. The opportunity to attend a seminar or a workshop is too good to miss. It not only enhances your knowledge on the job search but also widens your social circle. Plan ahead of what to ask at a career fair. Chat up with new people and don’t forget to hand out your business cards and take ones of the people you talked to. Stay social and make the most of the opportunity.

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8. Take notes

Meeting multiple jobholders in the working environment is not a piece of cake. No wonder it is hard to keep track of every employer you talked with. Taking notes is among the best job fair tips to use. Simply write down brief notes on the back of the employer’s business card. You might like using your notepad as well. This will help you not to get lost and send appropriate follow-up emails later.

9. Socialize

Being an outstanding professional is more than enough to keep the job. However, it is not enough to get it. Skip this point if you network like a boss. If you don’t how to start a conversation at a career fair, check a list of pick-up lines and prepare a few conversation starters for different occasions. Plus, don’t forget to create a list of questions to ask at a job fair. Show your interest and don’t forget to ask questions. Your primary goal is not to advertise your outstanding self but to show that you are a highly motivated and reliable professional.

10. Bring supplies

Running around the building in search of a pen might be a great networking strategy. However, you better value your time and provide yourself with all the necessary supplies. Think twice on what to bring to a job fair. Grab a couple of pens, a notebook, and a notepad. Avoid large bags and backpacks. It is a good idea to grab a portfolio or a small purse. Be sure you can quickly get your materials out if needed. You can also bring your water bottle and a protein bar. You will have to process a lot of new information. Hence, bring a snack in case of resuming your energy level.

11. Do the research

Many job fairs post the information on further participants in advance. Thus, check the website and research companies you are most interested in. Check the company's mission, values, and desirable position requirements. Overall, ready to talk with hiring managers and show your knowledge of the company’s main activities. This will make a good impression and differ from other candidates.

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12. Create business cards

Career fair preparation consists of many important details. Creating business cards is on the list. Creative and catchy business cards might be an excellent hook for employers. Don’t forget to include your name, phone number and contact email. It is a good idea to buy a card case, so your cards stay neat and clean. Develop a habit of giving more than one card. This way people will be able to share it with others.

13. Collect business cards

Ensure to grab business cards of those hiring managers you met during a job fair. Simply ask for one after talking to a recruiter. This way you will be able to send a brief follow-up message when you get home. Don’t underestimate the power of social media as well. Send “connect” requests to your prospective employers on LinkedIn to keep in touch and be aware of future career opportunities.

14. Breathe

Anxiety and fear don’t benefit your performance. Shallow breathing might be to blame. Thus, the easiest way to calm yourself down is no start breathing consciously. Inhale through your abdomen, count till three and slowly exhale. Do a couple of repetitions of this breathing technique. It will set you at ease and allow start a conversation at a career fair.

15. Send a follow-up email

Sending a brief thank-you-note is a part of business etiquette. Last but not least it is important to plan of how to follow up after career fair. Hence, don’t forget to send an email after career fair. This is a great way to prove your interest in vacancy and remind recruiters that you are a highly driven candidate.

Now you see that going to a job fair is not as hard as it seems!

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