Making the Most of Career Fairs

 

Young professional accepting business card from team at job fair

By: Tiffany J. Franklin

Have a career fair coming up? These events are a great way to connect with many employers in one day and learn about a host of opportunities. Here are a few tips to help you prepare.

  • Check the event website to confirm the date, time, parking, admission requirements, and dress code. It’s usually business professional, so be sure to dry clean your best suit.
  • Update and proofread your resume. Do you have a 1-2 page version that is flawless? If you are applying to companies from a few different industries, have versions tailored to each one. Get a portfolio (leather notebook with a tablet and pocket where you can keep your resumes) to look as professional as possible.
  • Look up the companies attending and determine which ones interest you the most. Learn about these companies using their website/LinkedIn page and formulate questions based on what you learned. You want to avoid walking up to a company and saying “What do you do?” Instead, be able to articulate why they interest you and that you’d like to learn more.
  • If the fair has an app, use it ahead of time to see company location and map out a strategy of which companies you absolutely want to see if your time is limited.
  • Have your elevator speech/pitch ready – 30 seconds about yourself as it pertains to that field and a line about why that particular company. Practice your handshake and making eye contact. You may only get 2 minutes if there’s a line, so be prepared to make the most of it.
  • After speaking with each recruiter, take a moment to step aside and jot notes about what you talked about and then send a thank you email that day if you have their contact info.

Without proper preparation, career fairs can be overwhelming, but taking a few hours to do research ahead of time can make all the difference. Good luck!

Tiffany Franklin is an executive career coach who works with clients of all levels with resume overhauls, cover letters, LinkedIn updates, mock interviews, and career exploration. Connect at www.linkedin.com/in/tiffanyjfranklin.

Photo credit: asiseeit/iStockPhoto.com

 

 

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