Job Fairs: Hate ’em or Love ’em…They’re Hiring.

When I was a college student, I never had a lot of faith in the annual job fair that our school put together.  Thousands of seniors, all dressed in their best corporate attire, trying their hardest to get just a bit of face time with the few booths that anyone was interested in.  Now, whether you love job fairs or despise them, today’s economy mandates that you attend them because these are the few companies that are actually looking to hire people.  So, to make the best of an already bad situation, we’ve put together a few ideas that will allow you to make the most of the job fair experience.  

1.  Always dress to impress.  

Self-explanatory, but you don’t want to be the only person wearing flip-flops and a fraternity t-shirt.  Make sure to look professional and presentable because the recruiters will not take you seriously otherwise.

2.  Get There Early and Come Back Late

The benefit of getting to the job fair early is that you won’t have to fight off as many students to speak to the companies that interest you.  If there is a huge push at the beginning, regroup and approach employers when they aren’t being bombarded by dozens of applicants.  Once you’ve made your rounds, come back at the end of the job fair and reconnect with a few companies that you would really like to work for.  This will keep you fresh in the recruiters mind and give them a great sense of your determination and drive.

3.  Perfect Your Sales Pitch

Whether you like it or not, job fairs are opportunities for people to sell themselves.  Think of it like a 30 second interview.  Put together a short pitch that explains who you are, why you’re interested in their company and why they need to hire you.  As we mentioned before, you may only get a few seconds with the employer, so make sure your pitch is strong and to the point.

4.  Get Their Contact Information

Whether it’s through a business card, flier or e-mail address, make sure you find a way to reach out to them after the fair is over.  Most of these recruiters will meet with thousands of potential applicants in a very short time span, so it is crucial that you stand out and follow-up.  Always finish the discussion by asking for the individual’s business card.

5.  Be Selective

For many, a job fair is an opportunity to blanket a room of employers with resumes.  This is not what you should be doing.  Make a plan before you even step foot into the room.  Most job fairs will  have a list of their attending companies posted weeks prior to the job fair, and it is your job to figure out which companies you need to focus on.  Pick a group of 12 to 15 companies and create a game plan for how you will approach each individual recruiter.  Take the time to research their company and industry, and then “wow” them once you’re there.  

 

The great thing about job fairs is that the companies are actually hiring.  Stay positive, create a game plan and make sure to get as much face time as possible.  Use some of the tips mentioned and I guarantee you’ll see results at your next job fair.

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