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How to Get the Most out of Your Next Job Fair

Published: October 19, 2015

You’ve been there before. A huge room, lots of people, a bunch of potential employers, and so many people a lot like you competing for a job. So how do you rise above? You remember all the reasons you deserve the job! And then take the steps to get it. Here’s how to get the most out of your next job fair:

Before you go, find out which employers will be there. Once you know who will be recruiting, you’ll know what you need to do to stand out in their eyes. Look at each recruitment encounter as if it were your own personal job interview and prepare for it the same way you would if you were in their office. Find out what you can about the employers, the jobs and the work environment at the different companies. The more serious you seem about them, the more serious they’ll be about you.

Be prepared and professional. Arrive early and dressed as if you were going on a job interview. Bring several copies of your resume. Make direct eye contact and offer a firm handshake to whomever you meet. Answer questions honestly and directly and ask plenty of your own. If you have a business card, hand them out to potential employers and also to other attendees you may want in your career network. The person you met on your way in the door might be in the position to hire someday.

Polish your elevator pitch. Job fairs are busy places and employers often can’t spend a lot of time with individual job candidates. You have less than a minute to tell your future employer why you’re the one they should hire. Think about the most important message you want to get across. Explain why you’re a match to the job and the company, highlighting your knowledge, skills and training. Tell them about the one accomplishment from your previous job or training that will demonstrate why you’re the one they need to hire above all the others.

Gather your choices. It’s important to remember that employers come to job fairs because they’re looking for employees like you! You’re in the driver’s seat so make sure you consider all your options. Ask lots of questions and get as much information as you can about the companies you’re interested in.  Get business cards and contact information and find out the best ways to get in touch with the people who matter and learn even more.

Follow up. Follow up with every company with which you had a good encounter. Send emails, connect with people on LinkedIn and ask for more information. Don’t forget to thank them for their time. And if you really connected with an employer or two, don’t be afraid to make a phone call and let them know you want the job!

At Charter College, we know that your career training is only one very important component of the start to your new career. You also need to know how to network and find a job. Even before you complete your program, Career Services will be happy to answer your questions about resumes, cover letters, job fairs and more. Are you ready to change your life? Start here.