In February of 2017, I attended my first ever job fair. This fair had over 300 employers attending and hundreds of other potential applicants attending for the same reason as myself. My initial impression of attending this job fair was both overwhelming and extremely nerve-racking. But I didn’t have time to be worried about that, I had to prepare myself if I wanted to make a good first impression. If you’re wondering how I made it through the day, below are a few tips and tricks that successfully guided me!
#1 Attend Workshops
I can’t stress this enough, attend the workshops that are provided for you at no cost. You’d be surprised by what you will learn in these workshops. If it helps, bring a friend or two to tag along as well. These workshops will give you an opportunity to practice a handshake or two and give you critiques on your elevator speech before you make your appearance at the job fair. Typically, there is a wide range of workshops that are offered throughout the month of job fair season and or throughout the semester. Attending more than one can be very beneficial because each workshop focuses on different areas. Having developed the skills and experiences at these workshops can come in handy when you need them the most. If workshops aren’t your thing, you can meet with a career counselor one-on-one to cover this material.
#2 Review, Review, Review Your Resume
10 out of 10 of you are going to need a resume prepared prior to the job fair. It doesn’t necessarily guarantee you an internship or position, but it does show that you came prepared to obtain one. Avoid bringing an old resume that is outdated or hasn’t been edited. You don’t want to scramble around last minute trying to edit it because it’s not fun and very unprofessional. There are great resources like your Career and Internship Services office, on-campus for you to get your resume reviewed and polished just in time for the job fair. Don’t hesitate to go because they’re probably expecting you and more than willing to help review your resume with you. They’re also going to be the place you stop at afterward when you’ve secured an application or interview. Therefore, update your resume and make the stop.
#3 Plan Your Outfit
Your first impression is initially predetermined with how you dressed up for the job fair. With that said, look at your wardrobe at least a week or two in advance! It’s better to plan and prepare an outfit for the job fair because sometimes we might not find that shirt we “thought we had” or you accidentally misplaced one of your shoes. If you are unaware of what is an appropriate outfit for a job fair, ask the sales representative or a friend with experience and attend a workshop that discusses appropriate attire. Taking these additional steps to prepare will give you enough time to make a trip to the mall to grab what you need. You can also check out our Pinterest boards for ideas.
#4 Know Your Potential Employers
The majority, if not all employers really appreciate it when you’ve taken the time to learn about their company or organization. You might wonder, how will they know? Well, recruiters can determine that by your conversation. Therefore, take some time out of your day and designate it to researching information about organizations you plan on visiting. They certainly don’t expect you to memorize everything about them, but you should have an understanding of who they are. This also can help you generate some great questions in advance to ask recruiters because newsflash: they love questions! It shows your engagement and the interests you have. In addition to getting recruiters to know your work ethic, you also want to show that you want to know theirs too. On the flip side, this can also prepare your responses when recruiters ask you questions. It may not be as intense as an interview but having prepared thoughts never hurts anyone.
#5 Build Connections
Building connections at the job fair can be intimidating when you have hundreds of other students and individuals attending with the same purpose as you. It can be even more intimidating when you are more dressed up than usual and have to prepare what you’ll say in advance. Sometimes, it’s so intimidating that you eventually start to forget how to enjoy these conversations while connecting with others. Hence, it is helpful to take a deep breath and realize that this experience can be fun at the same time. Making a connection with others at the fair may consist of enjoyable conversations. Your conversations don’t have to feel limited or restrained. Bringing up a common interest or a story to connect with the recruiter can generate some great conversation topics. Lastly, don’t forget to embrace the moment and realize how you’ve already taken prior steps to prepare yourself for this moment.
Of Possible Interest:
- Job Fairs – all of our blog posts on the topic
- Dress for Success – all of our blog posts on the topic
- Dress for Success – our Pinterest board filled with examples
Photo Source: Unsplash | Garrhet Sampson