A career fair is a great opportunity to interact with employers and possibly secure a follow-up job interview or even an offer. Five to ten minutes of an interviewer's time is enough for the candidate to learn about the company's opportunities and its suitabilities. It's also enough for the interviewer to judge the candidate's capabilities.
With all the benefits of career fairs, it might be easy to view them as the answer to job searches. However, taking steps to prepare for the fair will greatly increase your chances of getting hired. Along with dressing properly, here are other steps that can be done by a candidate to find increase their chances of getting hired at the career fair.
Understanding Career Fairs
What exactly is a career fair? One of the answers commonly given is a place where you can submit resumes to many companies. Unfortunately, this is the wrong answer. Rather, a career fair is a place where you can introduce yourself personally to the hiring companies. By creating a personal bond between the jobseeker and employer, the jobseeker is able to expand his professional network, which increases his chances of getting hired. Furthermore, it is far easier to get a job through offline interaction, rather than through a resume which was emailed over.
Prepare a Plan
“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” These immortal words by Sun Tzu holds true for war, economy, and job-hunting. If you plan to find the list of employers only when you're there, you may be wasting your time.
Before heading to a career fair, check the fair's website ahead of time to identify the companies who are in attendance. Create a list of who you want to meet, and take the time to research the company in order to customize your job application materials. Thus, you'll be able to stand out from the rest when speaking with the reps.
Follow the Standard Rules for Resume-Making
Although a career fair is a personal way to meet an employer, resumes should still be professional, short and simple. Proof-read and double check your resume before going, as an unprofessional resume can destroy any chance you had at the career fair.
The basic rules for resumes are simple: avoid any grammatical or spelling errors, highlight your past achievements, don't overuse cliché words, and keep it to two pages at the most. For more information, do check out CareerBuilder's resume tips.
End on a High Note
When ending conversations with the recruiter, express interest in learning more about the position and company, and request for the opportunity to attend a longer interview. Get more information about them if possible in order to follow up within 48 hours with a thank-you message for their time.