How to Work a Job Fair…and make it work for you!
Outline1. Why attend a job fair?2. Why do employers attend?3. What to expect4. How to prepare5. Plan of attach6. Follow-up
Why Attend a Job Fair??Learn about specific employers & theirapplication processesExplore career options & research areas ofinterestEstablish contact with employers-NetworkPractice your interviewing skillsApply for jobs & internshipsGet free stuff!!
Why Do Employers Attend?97% provide job openings &company information to solicitapplicants & maintain visibility84% discuss company benefitsScout for talent, skill & “fit” for theircompanies
What to ExpectVary in size and number of employersEmployers stand/sit at tables often withdisplays or boothsCan have a wide range of companies, start-ups, enterprises, staffing agencies, trainingproviders, and career counselorsSome employers might interview on thespot, but most will refer to online application
Well-known employers will have linesVery noisy, crowded and warmWhat to Expect
Decide What You WantHave reasonable expectationsDecide what you want to get out of the fair– Learn about specific employers?– Explore career options– Make one-on-one contact with key connections– Research demand for your skills– Practice interview skills in informal setting
Preparation and ResearchWhy is this important?Being informed makes you more confidentIf you know about employers at the fair, you canclearly articulate how you are a good fit
Researching employers:Type of organization, business or agencyMission statement & core valuesReputationRecent news and articlesNew programs, plans, challenges, etc.Preparation and Research
Where Can I Get Info?Company websitesLinkedIn Company PageFacebook/Twitter pagesPuget Sound Business Journal / WSJDun & Bradstreet
Before You Go Organize your materialsa. Bring at least 25 resumesb. Have TARGETED resumesc. Do you have business cards?d. Have a notebook to keepresumes, business cards andemployer informatione. Have a list of questions foremployers and take notes!
Before You Go Prepare Yourself!a. Have a personal summary readyb. Prepare to interview (just in case!)c. Obtain most current employer list and find relevantjob openings– target your preparations to thoseopeningsd. Know what you’ll weare. Review online applications in advance, note anyquestions on process you may have to askrecruiters
What to Wear?Dress professionally– Business suits make the best impression– Business Casual is acceptableWear comfortable shoes!Because of crowds, leave backpacks homeBe prepared for weather– you may have topark a ways away
Have a StrategyResearch ahead of time if you canHave 4-5 employers targeted to speak toObtain an event map (if available)Prepare for lines– most popular employers willlikely have long linesBe alert to other conversations– you’ll learnsomething!
Meeting RecruitersTypical time spent with recruiter is 1-3 minutesGive a brief (30-60 seconds) personal introductionExplain how your background & strengths matchtheir needsOffer your resumeBe sincereBe professional!
Your Personal IntroductionName, background, 2-3 skills or strengthsthat match the company’s needsShow passion for what you doHighlight a relevantaccomplishmentHave a question ready to askemployers (remember timeconstraints)
Questions to Ask EmployersWho would be an ideal match for this opening?What kind of projects could I expect to work on?Can you tell me about the application process?What can I do in school or in projects to makemyself a better match for your company?What do you like about working for yourcompany?
Before Moving OnRequest a business card and ask “Would it bepossible to contact you?”Ask about their preferred method for follow up(e-mail, etc)Shake hands and thank them for coming
After Meeting Your TargetEmployersTrack which employers you submitted resumesto– jot down notes from each employer“Shop” other employers’ booths and do somenetworkingIf there are associated workshops orpresentations, plan on attendingRemember that job fairs are just as much aboutnetworking opportunities as they are aboutjobs!
After the Job FairIf you did not do research before the Job Fair, doso before submitting your applicationSend a thank you note that affirms your interestSubmit your TARGETED application or resumefollowing company proceduresStay in touch periodically, IE: sending them yourupdated qualificationsEmployers do expect follow-upThe point is to stay Top of Mind–but don’t become a nuisance!