Job fairs are starting to pop up in various locations and will be increasing in the months to come—it’s that time of year. Job fairs are a goldmine for excellent employment opportunities, and if you don’t know how to make your appearance at a job fair spectacular, you will easily miss out on job offers or chances to attend formal interviews. You may ask, “What are the benefits of attending a career fair?” There are three main reasons: to find out what job opportunities are available, to network with other job seekers, and to obtain more information about certain companies. It can be a frustrating experience if you don’t prepare, so follow these tips to increase the odds of success at the next job fair you attend:
Do Your Research
Research the companies that will be present. Check out the particulars of each company by visiting their website. You will more than likely be asked the question: “Why do you want to work for our company?” It’s critical you have a solid response, or you may be screened out of the interviewing process. Find out what makes the company unique—what are the demographics, their mission statement, key personnel, etc. Once you’ve pinpointed the companies you want to interview with, make sure you know what type of employees they are looking for and what particular skills are required. This will allow you to target your strengths to match the companies’ needs.
Create a Priority Employer List
Create a priority list of the ones that interest you the most—this will help you prioritize so you don’t run out of time. Make a list of the details you found out about each company. Then, just prior to approaching their table/booth, review your notes so you don’t mix up information. I can’t stress it enough—going unprepared to a job fair will decrease your effectiveness as a job seeker and ultimately hurt your chances of landing a position.
Set an Objective
What do you want out of the job fair? Once you have answered this question, you can prepare yourself appropriately. Are you going to see what kinds of opportunities are available in the current job market or are you just doing research or networking? Once you have established which category you fall into, then you can mentally prepare yourself by doing the proper research on each company you want to seek out.
Dress the Part
Whatever your objective is, you must dress the part. For men, slacks and a collared shirt are appropriate, a suit may be better. For women, a nice blouse and blazer, along with slacks or skirt are appropriate attire. Make sure your clothes are clean and ironed and your shoes polished. This isn’t a party, anything too short, too tight, or too revealing is not appropriate. No excess jewelry, outrageous hairstyles, overbearing perfume or hairspray. Keep the saying in mind: first impressions count!
Be Prepared for Questions
Prepare yourself to answer questions. This is vital. If you can’t answer questions concisely, informatively, and with enthusiasm, you’ll be screened out. Recruitment personnel need to evaluate you in a very short period of time, so prepare a two minute commercial about yourself. Your commercial will need to sell a product, and that product is you—what value can you bring to the company and how will you contribute to its success?
Sample Questions That May be Asked:
- Tell me a little bit about yourself.
- What position are you interested in and why?
- Why do you want to work for our company?
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
Remember, the competition is tough for jobs, and every interview only has one winner. To get hired, you need to be fully prepared and not make the same mistakes as other candidates. It’s really quite simple to do, and if you’re serious, this information will help you.
Prepare a List of Your Own Questions
Have your question list ready. Once you have pinpointed the companies that have jobs available that you are interested in and qualified for, prepare a few questions that you would like answered by the company’s representative.
Examples of Questions You Can Ask:
- Could you provide me with an idea of what you are looking for in a successful candidate?
- Are there immediate openings in your company? If so, in what areas? If not, do you anticipate openings in the future?
Polish Your Resume and Cover Letter
Make sure your resume and cover letter are in tip-top shape. In other words, a good resume and cover letter are your ticket to your dream job. Let me ask you, are you really proud of your resume? Are you really proud of your cover letter?
Make sure you include the skills you feel make you a unique catch. Your resume gives the prospective employer a tangible means to remember you by. If you make a good impression on the representative and your resume is current and unique, you have a solid chance of getting a job interview.
Make sure you highlight results and accomplishments, rather than what you think you can do. It’s becoming more and more important for candidates to show that they have produced excellent results; this will indicate to the reader that you can do it again. When you create your resume, make sure that you include specific examples of your successes. Use the C.A.R. approach: What was the Challenge, the Action you took, and the Result? This will clearly explain your accomplishment. Achievements sell, so look at your resume and ask yourself if it includes this important component.
Don’t Forget Buzzwords
Use the latest industry buzzwords. This will show you are staying current in your profession and increase the odds of your resume getting read by a human resources manager. If your resume is scanned electronically, it needs to include these keywords—if it doesn’t, it will likely not reach the human eye. Likewise, keep abreast of the latest developments in your industry so you can tailor your resume and cover letter to these trends.
Give it Visual Appeal
And visual appeal is vital—your resume needs to stand out from the crowd. There are some position openings that have over 1000 applicants. Look at your resume —would it pique the interest of the reader, does it make you say wow? If not, you will be excluded from the invitation to interview for the position.
Many times, if you don’t update you resume regularly and hastily revise it before a job fair, you can overlook your contact information. Make sure your resume includes your current and accurate contact information, including address, phone number, and email address. You don’t want to miss out on an opportunity because an employer can’t get ahold of you. Triple check your contact details for accuracy.
Good luck at your next job fair and remember to always show passion and enthusiasm!
Need additional help? Reach out to Candace for assistance!
Photo courtesy of twobee / FreeDigitalPhotos.Net