August 19, 2016
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Job fairs are a great way for employers to meet a large number of potential candidates at one time. Likewise, it’s a great way for job seekers to meet a large number of potential employers at one time, as well. While job fairs aren’t the end-all-be-all when it comes to finding and getting a job, it is certainly a valuable first step to take in the process. Job fairs can be extremely overwhelming and stressful, though, even for the most seasoned job seeker. You’re putting yourself in front of many potential employers, trying to stand out and make a lasting impression on them, all while surrounded by hundreds of other people trying to do the exact same thing. So what can you do to better your outcome? For starters, take a look at these 5 helpful tips to survive, and even stand out in, the highly competitive world of job fairs.
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- Pre-register for the event. Many job fairs have online registration for the event, which means you can get your foot in the door a little bit early. Pre-registering usually allows you to upload a copy of your resume so that potential employers can have early access to it. Often times, employers will skim through the uploaded resumes and pull the ones that they’re most interested in before they even open the doors to the job fair. While there is no guarantee that yours will be selected, there is still that chance! Take it!
- Research some of the employers that you plan on talking to. If you’ve pre-registered, you’ve given employers an opportunity to take a sneak-peek at your credentials. You should do the same and take a sneak-peek at some of the employers that are going to be at the job fair, as well. Take a look at the job fair list (if there’s one available), and do an online search for the companies that you’re most interested in. This will give you a little more insight into those companies, which will allow you to ask informed questions and really look like you know what you’re talking about. As you can imagine, this will help to make a lasting impression, which will greatly increase your odds of success.
- Dress and look the part. First impression is everything, especially at job fairs when you’re “competing” with hundreds of other people, in a sense, to make a long-lasting impression. Dress like somebody YOU would want to work for you if you were the one hiring. No rips or holes, no stains, no hats - you get the point. And no matter what type of job you’re interested in, you should always dress professionally. Even if you’re only applying for a part-time summer gig at a local coffee shop, the way you dress can still have a substantial impact on whether or not the employers are actually interested in anything you have to say after you make that initial impression.
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- Come prepared with plenty of resumes. You pre-registered, you uploaded a resume, you dressed the part, and now it’s time to meet your potential employers face-to-face. Keep in mind that even though you’ve already put forth all of this effort, it still doesn’t mean that employers know anything about you. It goes without saying that eye contact and a firm handshake go a long way, but then what? Then, you hand them a copy of your resume. Don’t forget, unless you REALLY stood out to them when you pre-registered, they don’t have a copy of this yet. So give them one. Leave them something to remember you by. And unless you’re only going to the job fair for one specific company, which is highly unlikely, it’s definitely a good idea to bring several copies. This way, you can give them to multiple representatives of the same company, or many different companies that you’re interested in.
- Remain enthusiastic throughout the entire process. If you’ve followed through with each of these tips so far, you can be confident that you’re doing everything right. But honestly, that doesn’t make the job fair process any less tiresome. You may feel like you’ve said the same thing over and over again, and you probably have. You may not be getting any hopeful leads from any employers. Try your best to not get frustrated. Reflect on previous greetings and expand upon them. If there are things you wish you had said or done the first time around, say or do them going forward. Remember, every new greeting is a new opportunity to present yourself. Stay upbeat, positive, and confident throughout the entire process to make the best possible impression.