Every once in a while, I am asked if I think job fairs are worth attending and my answer is always YES! Some would complain that they never receive any follow-up calls after going to a job fair. That’s when I enlighten about how necessities of professionalism, timeliness, proper attire and grooming; it’s essential in making your 1st impression. As both a job hunter and recruiter, I understand the importance of presence and preparedness when attending a job fair. You may have heard these tips or rules before, but how often do you apply them? Remember these simple rules when attending a job fair.
RESEARCH THE COMPANIES
That’s right! Research the companies that will be attending the job fair and the positions that they are interested in filling for a better chance at getting a job within their organization. If you present them with a targeted resume instead of a general resume, it will get their attention and increase your possibility of receiving an on the spot interview or call back after the job fair.
DRESS FOR AN INTERVIEW
As obvious as this may seem; I have witnessed job hunters come to job fairs dressed in club or street-like attire. The same effort that goes into buying club or street-like clothes can be put into purchasing presentable interview attire at an affordable price.
WOMEN: No excessive jewelry, big or loud (bright colors) pocketbooks, excessive make-up, clear heels, mini or tight skirts or blouses that show cleavage. You may opt to wear a skirt that stops right above your knees or solid color pants, a conservative blouse and a suit jacket.
MEN: No head gear (unless for religious reasons), sagging pants, sneakers, or t-shirts. Try your best to wear a 3-piece suit or slacks, dress shirt, tie and blazer.
BRING A PADFOLIO
Instead of having your hands full of documents and risking the possibility of damaging your resume, keep them protected in a padfolio. What is a padfolio? Think of it as a professional folder with a writing pad, pen holder and pockets to hold documents and even business cards. You can find a padfolio at Staples, Office Max or at some Discount Dollar Stores. Make sure you bring a pen and at least 20 resumes.
ACT PROFESSIONAL AT ALL TIMES
It’s a Job Fair not a party; you are attending because you need a job! You are not going there to meet friends, hang out or just walk around. If you happen to see a friend, greet them and move along. Sometimes we can get carried away and break out into “gut-busting” laughter or inappropriate conversations. Believe me, the recruiters and sometimes even the job fair organizers are watching your every move.
SHAKE HANDS AND SHOW CONFIDENCE
As you would do with any interview, give a sturdy handshake, direct eye contact and express your knowledge about the company and/or open positions. Be polite, listen attentively and show that winning smile. At the end of your conversation with the recruiter, don’t hesitate to ask for a business card.
DO NOT CHEW GUM
Instead, opt for Altoids, Tic Tacks or some sort of mint that dissolves easily. It is inappropriate to chew gum while talking to a prospective employer. Also, if you are a smoker, do smoke right before you go into the job fair. The stench of smoke lingers and could offend the employers.
SHOW UP EARLY
Yes, the job fair may have a time frame from 9 am – 2pm, but think about it. The recruiters are meeting hundreds of job hunters and they have been repeating the same script non-stop. They are thirsty, hungry, exhausted; how focused do you think they will be at 1:30pm? Do you think you will get their full attention?
I hope these tips are helpful to you in your job search. Feel free to pass along this information to others in hopes to assist them in being successful in their career journey. For more career focused information, please visit my website at CrayneCareer.com or Like my Facebook page at Crayne Career Solutions for career tips, job opportunities and updated blog posts.