If you’re looking for a new position, you may have considered attending a career fair. You probably imagine a loud room filled with intimidating employers talking about companies you’re not familiar with. And worse, you’re standing in lines, competing with well-dressed job-seekers who you worry are better qualified than you. This certainly doesn’t sound inviting!
So why attend a career fair? Because this is a rare opportunity to go to one location, learn about a variety of jobs and employers, meet with company representatives and network with other job seekers, all in a few short hours. In fact, a career fair is one of the best learning opportunities available.
Attending a career fair is all about preparation and practice. Follow these tips and career fairs change from unappealing options to don’t-miss opportunities:
- Manage your expectations – Set realistic goals for the fair including which employers you will talk with and what you want to learn. Career fairs are only one step in the job search. They can help you narrow down options and find new opportunities.
- Polish your resume – If you’re an alum, obtain an expert review by sending your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re a current student, submit it to du.edu/pioneercareers. An excellent resume will boost your confidence and showcase your skills. Be sure to bring copies of your resume to leave with employers.
- Research – Review the list of attending employers and check out their websites. Learn about their businesses, what challenges they face, and what types of jobs they offer. Even if they list open positions, those may have changed since they were submitted.
- Create an agenda – It is unlikely you can meet all attending employers and frankly, they probably are not all in your field. Make a short list of your top employers. If you’re nervous, practice with employers not on your list. Not only will you be more comfortable, you may find a potential opening you didn’t know about.
- Prepare an elevator speech – Spend time creating a 90 second introduction that tells those you meet about your skills and how you can help their business.
- Learn – Ask the employers informed questions based on your research. And don’t be afraid to ask for references to employees who work in your area of interest.
- Follow up – Career fairs are busy for recruiters, so email or call the next day to thank them for their time and repeat any requests you made at the fair. If someone asked you to submit a resume online, do it.
- Talk to other fair attendees –They may have some great tips and leads you can learn from.
Check out listings for upcoming career fairs on Pioneer Careers.