Job Fairs! It's the place where prospective employers gather to recruit potential employees. Both potential employers and potential employees get to see, review and choose from among a huge gathering of aspirants, all in the same place at the same time.
By virtue of its nature itself, it will be difficult to find the right fit from amongst all the booths set up by organizations at the fair. There will be a huge number of job aspirants, approaching all these companies -by choice or default, and the organization representatives have the tough job of reviewing and choosing from amongst the multitude of hopefuls.
How can one stand out and showcase one's fit for the organization and the role? How does one ensure that you don't miss the right opportunity in the crowd?
Here are a few points to consider if you are planning to attend a job fair.
Before the Fair
- Have an elevator speech ready. It must be a one minute brief showcasing your strengths, your achievements and your goals. The interview will be brief and you have to make the best impact to be noticed amongst all the other applicants.
- Have enough number of copies of your resume readily available for handover when needed. Along with the resumes, keep reference details, details on your achievements, i.e. a portfolio.
- Read up on organizations you'd be interested in working for and gather as much information as possible on them, the roles available there, etc. Prepare intelligent questions to ask them. Also, avoid organizations where you've already applied or contacted in the recent past.
- Think about and be ready to state preferences on geographic location, emoluments (if asked for), the role, etc.
During the Fair
- Arrive early so that you have a look around before the crowd gets there and you know where you need to spend time and effort on. While you are waiting, use the time getting to know people and network.
- Try to be interviewed by your most preferred organization earlier in the day - at your ‘freshest'.
- Be dressed for an interview because this is an interview, except that it is not conducted in a room in an office.
- Remain bright and fresh through the day.
- Ensure that you are in comfortable footwear as the day will be long with queues and long waiting.
- Always ensure that you greet all positively with a smile and with no sign of the extreme exhaustion due to the long wait.
- Your attitude must be warm, positive and confident.
- Close all interactions with companies where you want an opening, with questions on the next interview or meeting.
- Make note of contacts and any follow up you will need to do after every interaction.
After the Fair
- Most important of all activities is the follow-up after participation in a job fair. All the hard work, the plans for working in your dream organization will just be as good as nil, if these leads are not followed through to closure. For all organizations where you would be interested in working , at least close by sending a thank you note in the couple of days following the fair.
With all of the above, the chances that you come away without second meetings, and subsequently job offers, from a job fair is almost nil!