How to get the most out of a job fair

Before you talk yourself out of attending a job fair, let's take some time to get prepared. Here are 14 things you can do to get the most of a job fair.

How to get the most out of a job fair

 
As anyone who's gone through the process at any stage in their life can attest, the job fair elicits a perfect mix of fear and excitement. It doesn't matter whether the job fair is being presented by multiple employers or one, having so many opportunities in one place is exciting. On the other hand, having all the competition in job seekers can quickly bring out our inner critic.
 
Before you talk yourself out of attending a job fair, let's take some time to get prepared. Here are 14 things you can do to get the most of a job fair.
 

De-stress

You are going to meet a lot of new people at the fair so being comfortable will be an asset. Do everything you can to make yourself calm and collected. This could include yoga, taking a moment to centre yourself, or going with a friend whether they need to find a job or not. If you do take someone, make sure your focus is still on your goal of finding your new career.
 

Dress appropriately

 
A job fair is still a professional place. Dressing appropriately will ensure you're showing the image you want to any hiring officer, whether you speak to them directly or not. While every job fair is different, you can still determine what's appropriate by researching the companies and seeing what they wear to work.
 
Pro Tip: If in doubt, always wear clothing one step up.
 
Pro Tip: Take an extra set of clothing with you if you can in case you have a ketchup malfunction or need a tie replacement.
 

Have your elevator pitch

 
Everyone will eventually get their 30 seconds of fame. This is your opportunity to shine and show a hiring officer why you're the perfect candidate. Practice your elevator pitch and be comfortable with switching it up enough to focus on a different company each time. Highlight your skills and expertise.
  

Have your resume

 
Having extra resumes is a great idea to pass around to people even if they aren't specifically hiring at the fair. Others may be there to scout out who is looking for a job.
 

Practice

 
It isn't so much as practicing specific elements of a job interview or speaking with people, more, that you need to be comfortable with every aspect of selling yourself to get that job. Practicing introductions and transitioning into your elevator pitch will make it sound comfortable and will put you at ease so you can accomplish more in the short time you have.
 

Be ready for interviews

 
Employers at job fairs will often do interviews on the spot. Make sure you're ready. That means you want to have:
 
·         Extra resumes for the hiring officer
·         Ensure you have enough time to do the interview
·         Left your children with a babysitter
·         Dressed appropriately
·         Practiced how to do interviews properly
 

Research

 
Whether it's one company or several, you want to take the time to research them before you go into the job fair. You want to know who you may be speaking to and if there is any way you can establish a quick rapport. Similar interests are a great way to establish rapport.
 
Places you can do your research include:
 
·         Websites
·         Employment Agencies
·         Social Media
·         Friends
·         Calling the company directly
 

Have a notebook

 
You're going to meet a lot of new people at a job fair. Having a notebook will help you remember people's names and anything else you may want to retain.
 
Pro Tip: Make notes about people to help you establish rapport later.
 

Arrive early

 
Unlike showing up early for a job interview at the company's office, being early to a job fair will help. There are going to be a lot of people so you will want to be comfortable with the layout of the building. You may want to take a moment to find your calm place as well.
 

Attending everything

 
Sometimes, a job fair will include other events such as workshops and networking masterclasses. The more of these you join, the more prepared you will become. Not only will you learn something, but you will meet new people who may be the ticket to your new career.
 

Network

 
Speaking of meeting new people; networking is a great way to get your name out there. Even meeting job seekers can connect you to positions that they may not be able to fill themselves or that they've seen during their own job search. Part of the hidden job market is who you know so knowing more people will help find more opportunities.
 
Pro Tip: Collect business cards of every hiring officer you meet for later communication.
 

Attitude is everything

 
Just like a coat, check your attitude at the door. You want to be upbeat and enthusiastic at a job fair. Of course, you need to be realistic, but no one wants to speak to someone who isn't positive. These employers are looking for successful team players and positivity is part of that success.
 

Be inquisitive

 
You aren't there to watch everything like it's on television. Get out and ask questions. Engage the hiring officers so they know you are curious about their companies. If you've done your research, show them you know something and that they've piqued your interest.
 

Follow up

 
When it's all said and done, follow-up with everyone you've collected cards for and written down in your notebook. This may mean a thank you for an interview or a touch base for later communication. Let people know that you appreciate their time and look forward to seeing or working with them in the future.
 

A job fair is a great opportunity for you to meet new people and practice your skills. Attending any that you can should be considered a must for every job seeker. Following us on social media will give you early notification when companies are hosting a job fair.