A Job Fair in progress outside Vancouver Public Library, Vancouver, Canada
As many Universities approach their final semester of the year, the number of Career Fairs that they will be holding is likely to rise. Job or Career Fairs are something that not enough students take advantage of, and those who do attend them donâ€™t always know how to get the most from them.
Whatever stage of job hunting and career progression you are at, there will be something for you at a Career Fair. You just need to have a plan to get the most out of every fair you visit.
Make a plan
The most important first step is to make sure you are going to the right Career Fair; look out for the ones not just happening at your university but also at any surrounding cities. If youâ€™re not looking to work for a bigger industry, the chances are a lot of the companies you want to meet will be quite selective about what fairs they attend. Particularly as the fee they have to pay to attend a fair can be quite an obstacle for many industries.
Look out for a fair with a focus on your industry and if there are particular companies you are really interested in, check any online listings to see which ones they will attend.Â If you struggle to find this information, you could always contact companies directly to ask them; this shows you have initiative and are serious about wanting a job.
Research the Companies Online
Whilst youâ€™re online, itâ€™s a good idea to also research the companies that you are particularly interested in. Doing this, you can establish exactly which questions you want to ask and it will help you seem well informed to any potential employers. Remember, if you donâ€™t get a chance to research a particular company in advance, there will be lots of literature available on the day that you can skim whilst youâ€™re waiting for your turn to ask questions.
Study the Display Stands Closely
Another top tip would be to study their display stands closely. I work with Nimlok banner stands that make these displays, and I know that companies put a lot of effort into making sure the most crucial information is displayed there.Â You donâ€™t want to ask a question that is already answered right in front of you.
Find Out Locations in Advance
At the bigger fairs, itâ€™s also helpful to look in advance at the online plan of where all the companies will be located. If youâ€™re fighting to get through crowds, you donâ€™t want to miss any company that could be helpful to you. However, you also donâ€™t want to waste time visiting booths in an illogical order.
It Might Turn Into a Preliminary Interview
A lot of employers actually treat Job Fairs as a preliminary interview, so itâ€™s good for you to do the same if you are talking to companies that you want to work for. It wouldnâ€™t hurt to wear a business suit and come prepared with a concise pitch that sells you as a good candidate different from any other.
Donâ€™t forget that if you want to practice your pitch, you can always try it out on other companies that youâ€™re less concerned about first. Who knows they may even change your mind about them!
What to Bring
Wearing business attire is perhaps the most obvious way to make an impact on employers but they will also notice the little things. For example, if you bring a smart notebook and write things down, you will seem well organized; these notes will also come in handy later as you might find the fair over loads you with information. If you take note of any contact details, you can then follow up any conversations keeping you at the forefront of an employerâ€™s mind.
Itâ€™s also a good idea to bring some C.V. copies as a lot of employers will collect these from job seekers they see potential in. Another good reason to have your C.V. with you is that many Job Fair organizers will have people there who can critique these for you. This can really help you learn how employers will look at your C.V.
Donâ€™t Miss Out On an Opportunity
Even if youâ€™re not actively looking for a job at the moment, Job Fairs could still have something for you. Those in employment can get up to date with the job market and learn what opportunities are available to them, while those who are a long way off graduation can find out details about the application process. Many students are often surprised by how long this process is; you might need to start applying sooner than you think.
Career Fairs are such useful resources which can be wasted or misused by so many job seekers. Make sure youâ€™re not one of them by becoming proactive when it comes to finding fairs and preparing for the event. If this is done well, your chances of success at finding a job will improve dramatically.