How to Stand Out at a Job Fair

How to Stand Out at a Job Fair

There's a time and a place to be a wallflower, and a job fair isn't one of those times or places. If you plan on attending a job fair, you need to stand out. Of course, you want to make sure you stand out in a good way and don't leave a negative impression. Learn more about how to stand out with a job fair, and you can make an impression that lands you a job offer.

Preparing for the Event

Although you might have a great personality, you can't expect that to get you to the top. If you want to excel during your job fair, you need to prepare for the event. And that means doing the following:

Know Who is Attending

Before the day arrives, find out who will be going to the job fair. Typically, you can find a list of the attendees online or by emailing the host of the event. When you look at the list, you can highlight the companies you want to visit. This ensures you won't miss anyone and you can do some research ahead of time.

It's always useful to have some background information on the companies that plan on attending the job fair. While you probably don't have the time to research every company, spend a few minutes looking up your top choices. What are their goals and values? Write down key details and refer back to your notes on the day of your interview. If you showcase your knowledge, you can really stand out.

Pack a Bag

No, you don't want to show up to a job fair with a hiking backpack. However, you do want to arrive with a small bag full of essentials. You'll need your hands free for shaking hands and being social, so try to limit your bag to a small purse that contains a folder.

As you collect fliers, place them in your folder. You should be sure not to mix them up with copies of your resume, which are also essential. Print out about 20 copies of your resume and bring business cards. Additionally, bring a notepad and pen to take notes. While other job candidates might seem disinterested, you can show your diligence and interest by taking notes.

Plan Your Outfit

Your clothes speak for themselves. Before your job fair arrives, decide what you want to wear. It should be something comfortable, but also something professional. On a job interview, you don't need to worry about walking around or socializing. But a job fair is different, and you should dress accordingly.

Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and pants that allow you to move. If you look uncomfortable, recruiters will notice. Likewise, they'll notice if you don't dress appropriately.

What to Do During the Event

On the day of the event, your actions matter. Follow these tips, and you're even more likely to be the cream of the crop:

Don't Be Timid

Are you an introvert? If so, you could be ruining your chances of getting a job offer. When you arrive at the venue, be friendly And confident. When you meet someone, make eye contact and smile.

People can tell when you're nervous. If you're an introvert, it can be particularly difficult to keep your emotions in check. You might need to focus more on your eye contact, posture, and tone. When you speak, do so at a moderate pace to avoid speaking too quickly. Otherwise, your nerves will show, and you might not make the right impression.

Hand It Over

Perhaps the biggest mistake you could make is to hang onto your resume. The whole point of going to the job fair is to get your resume in an employer's hands. For that reason, you shouldn't let anything stop you from handing your resume over.

Before you begin talking, hand the recruiter your resume. Waiting too long could lead to you missing out on the opportunity. With so much going on during the fair, the recruiter could become distracted.

Ask Questions

Only a small handful of job fair attendees will ask questions. And of those attendees, even fewer will ask the right questions. If you consider your questions carefully and speak up, you could make a great impression.

Generally, recruiters like to see prospects ask about their next steps. They want to see you have a genuine interest and plan on following up. As your interaction winds down, thank the recruiter for their time and ask how to proceed. Then, ask for a business card.

If you're not sure what questions to ask, compile a list. Bring it with you and refer to your notes before you speak with someone.

After the Job Fair

Your work doesn't end on the day of the job fair. In fact, the way you act after the event could play a major role in your future.

Following Up

First, you should follow up with the people you spoke with. Wait anywhere between 24 and 48 hours, and reach out to your contacts. In some cases, a handwritten note is appropriate. But you can also send an email.

Whatever you do, don't send a generic follow-up. The person who receives the correspondence will know, and they'll hold it against you. By sending a customized email or note, you refresh the memory of the recruiter and show your dedication.

Follow Directions

Did the recruiter give you specific instructions? If so, don't ignore those instructions. Follow them to the letter, and you'll increase your chances of a job offer.

Believe it or not, most job applicants and job fair attendees fail to follow directions. You could be one of the only people to listen, and that gives you an edge on the competition.

Are You Ready for a Job Fair?

Only good things can come from attending a job fair. If you follow the tips above, a job fair could be the event that kick-starts a new career or gets you back in the workplace.

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