Job fairs are excellent ways to learn and connect with potential employers. Unfortunately, they can be rather overwhelming as well--with more booths than you could possibly visit and hundreds of other participants vying to make a positive impression just as you are. But there is good news: by following the right steps, you will be able to get the most out of these opportunities and maximize your impact where it matters, with the potential employers that matter to you. Here are a few tips to get you started while searching at job fairs for a new job:
- Do your research. Look at the list of companies and flag the ones that interest you. Take a look at their websites and learn about them, comparing your interests and areas of expertise to what they offer. When talking face to face, you will be able to ask more relevant and specific questions rather than the generic ones that will most often be asked, thus becoming better informed and leaving a better impression.
- Prepare. You might be interviewed on the spot at more than a few of your primary interests. Prepare as you would for any other interview, researching the company and examining yourself as to be able to highlight your best and most unique qualities. Think through answers to the hard questions. Also be prepared to fill out a job application on the spot. Also, make sure to bring a fair number of up to date resumes. For job fairs, the scannable format usually works best.
- Arrive early. This not only gives you the best chance to spend valuable time with your target employers, it gives you the impression of being timely and motivated--always a plus in addition to your other qualifications. Also, being first allows you to get in before the exhaustion of speaking with hundreds of people has begun to wear on potential employers--when they themselves are still fresh and eager.
- Show enthusiasm. Potential employers are bombarded by resumes and qualifications. Those things that really stick in their memory are genuine human qualities. Pick jobs you're interested in and let your genuine enthusiasm shine through. Be yourself, and show your uniqueness rather than your purely professional side (though it is also important to be professional).
- Take the next steps. Ask what the next steps are and whether it's okay to send a follow up letter. Collect business cards, send thank you letters, and keep up to date on your position and your application. Interest is important, but avoid being pushy or inquiring too often--these things take time and impatience is not an endearing quality to a potential employer.
After all that, you should be able to use your time at job fairs effectively, to your greatest advantage. Remember, finding a job should be fun! Each job you apply for should be out of desire--out of a genuine want to spend a great deal of your time with the people and projects that the company is about. Go with your gut and have fun. Looking for some more support in finding the right tech job for you? Please feel free to contact us or visit our website for more resources and information.
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