Follow this advice to ace your first impression with potential employers.

Are Job Fairs Worth Your Time?

The answer is: ‘‘One hundred percent yes!’’ Job fairs are a smorgasbord of career opportunities for the hungry job seeker. Professional employers, recruiters and future coworkers will all be under one roof! What better networking opportunity could you ask for? Face-to-face meetings will give you a major advantage over emailing CVs that sometimes go unnoticed.

The value of job fairs is that they allow you to meet hiring managers and recruiters directly to talk about their values and open positions. At these events, you can also explore new career options, make connections that matter and learn relevant industry skills.

Get Ready To Attend A Job Fair!

Consider what you want to gain from a job fair. The difference between an average and a successful job-seeker often comes down to cultivating clarity and having a solid plan. Get ahead of the pack by arriving prepared with a strategy.

#1 – Decide Who You Want to Meet

A list of companies attending the fair will likely be provided by the organization hosting it. Review that list ahead of time and condense it into your own shortlist of companies you are interested in. Choose three to five companies you would like to work for and do some research. Check if any positions are available that match your experience. Read through the job descriptions to see what skills the companies are looking for to avoid wasting time on small talk.

#2 – Pack a Small Bag

Making a lasting impression in less than five minutes is challenging, but you will impress recruiters by being prepared. Update your CV and print out several copies to hand out. You can even create several tailored versions, each emphasizing a different work experience and interest. Depending on your industry, you may also want to bring your portfolio or write a short letter of motivation to give to one or two companies you are highly interested in. 

#3 – Communication is Key

Conducting brief but engaging informal interviews may just land you the job! Try to spend time as effectively as possible and practice how to introduce yourself with a 1-minute elevator pitch. Keep it short and mention your name, background and why you’re interested in the company.

Remember to smile and dress well. Appearance, body language, and dress code all contribute to how you are perceived. Choose the right wardrobe, a smart and professional outfit is ideal.

#4 – Leave With Confidence

Be sure to ask about the next step in the recruitment process and offer to visit the company’s office for a longer conversation in the next few days. If there isn’t a suitable job opening right now, ask the recruiter if it would be possible for you to come in for a brief informational interview. A little more face time with the company is always beneficial!

Take the recruiter’s business card and thank them for their time. Make sure to send a follow-up email within 24 hours after the fair to reemphasize your interest in the position. Follow the recruiter’s instructions to apply for the jobs you are interested in. It’s a good idea to send in your CV within a few days of the event.

There is no guarantee that you will land a job at a career fair, but it’s not impossible either, so if you are determined to get hired, it is worth the extra effort.