If you’re actively job-seeking, you’ll no doubt be keeping your eyes and ears peeled for job fairs in your local area. Whether a fair is organised by a university or a job centre, the purpose is the same – it’s a direct way for job-seekers to connect and engage directly with employers and recruiters. If you’re apprehensive, curious or simply interested in attending one in your area, our tips on how to handle a job fair should hopefully help.
Do your research
Generally the employers who will be in attendance will have confirmed with the organisers way in advance. In fact, this can often be used to help promote the fair itself – it can be a way of increasing attendees, particularly if the employers in question are high profile and have an abundance of vacancies available. As an attendee, you should aim to research as much as you can in advance about who will be there. This can in turn help you prepare for the event itself. Spend some time finding out information about particular employers who interest you so that when you meet them on the day, you come across as a knowledgeable and credible potential candidate.
Now, this does not necessarily mean that you ought to dress as though you’re going to work in the City. What we mean is that you should look smart and convey a positive and professional image. First impressions do count after all. A prospective employer will be sizing you up based on appearance first and foremost – so don’t let yourself down on the sartorial front. Leave that tracksuit behind!
When you visit the stands at a job fair, you will find that all employers are generally doing the same thing. They are to all intents and purposes selling their company, their current vacancies, their culture and of course all the benefits that they could potentially offer an employee. The employers will be well prepped for pitching their wares as it were, and so should you! Make sure that you have plenty of hard copies of your CV with you – having it on a pen drive is all well and good but they may not have access to access it or print it out on the day. Err on the side of caution with some traditional paper copies. Also, make sure that you bring a pen and paper to take note of names, email addresses or general useful info worth remembering. Of course, you could use your phone to take note of all this too!
Good interpersonal skills on the day are vital if you are going to convey a positive impression to a prospective employer. Make sure that you are personable, friendly and genuinely interested in conversing with them. In a sense your first meeting with a potential employer is almost like a first interview, therefore you need to ensure that you make a positive impact. Being pleasant, being confident without being cocky and being able to build rapport is an absolute essential.
It’s important to remember that he job fair does not just end when the event itself finishes – following up is essential. This might mean emailing an employer to simply thank them for taking the time to speak with you on the day, or enquiring about a particular role that you both discussed. Whatever it is, the fundamental purpose is the same. You are aiming to reiterate your interest in them as a prospective employer and also keep yourself fresh in their minds as a potential employee. At the most basic level, following up with an employer is also simply a courteous thing to do and could be something which distinguishes you from many other candidates that they had met on the day.
We hope that these tips on how to handle a job fair will help should you be planning to attend one soon.