Tips for Job Fair Attendees
Job and internship fairs offer employers an opportunity for face-to-face contact with hundreds of candidates and the chance to select a few for intensive follow up interviews. As a candidate, job fairs are an important method of making an in-person contact with organizations already of interest to you and of applying to other companies you many discover at the fair. It’s important to be prepared and to treat any interactions with potential employers as if they were real interviews. Here are some tips that will help you make a great first impression:
Research the Organizations
Know which organizations are coming ahead of time and learn some background information about them (history, mission statement, products/services, company environment, etc.). Narrow your list of possible employers and let them know ahead of time that you are particularly interested by sending them a strong letter of interest. Mention in your letter that you will be in touch with them at the fair.
Rehearse Practice Questions and Answers
Try to have one or two questions in mind for each employer. The questions should reflect your interest and knowledge of the employer. Also, be ready to answers questions such as, “What are you looking for at this job fair?” or “Why do you want to work for us?” Be concise, thorough, and clear in order to give the best impression.
Prepare a 45-Second Summary
Make the most of your time by preparing a short summary of your back- ground and qualifications, as they relate to respective positions. This may include your name, class, major, opportunities that you are seeking, relevant experience, and highlights of skills and strengths.
First impressions are lasting, so even though the job fair is not an official interview, it’s important not to show up in a T-shirt and sweatpants. Dress in conservative, well- pressed clothing. Suits are recommended for both men and women, or in lieu of a suit, opt for a nice, professional outfit.
Bring a Résumé
Bring a supply of résumés for the organizations you plan to talk you, as well as several extras. Also, bring a reference list and notify all references you end up using. Carry a pen and notepad in a professional-looking portfolio rather than in a backpack.
Find out How to Follow Up
As you leave each employer, learn what happens next and what, if anything, you should do to advance your candidacy. Ask if the interviewer minds if you follow up by phone or email and try to establish a time frame in which to do so.
Tips adapted from: Career Opportunities News, About.com’s Job Search pages, CollegeGrad.com, and JobWeb.com.