Tips for how to navigate big recruiting events
A career fair is a professional opportunity to connect with various recruiters and employers from a specific industry or company. Whether in-person or virtual, a career fair can be facilitated by an educational organization like your school or job training program, community groups, professional associations, or staffing agencies. At a career fair you can learn about various career options, network, and potentially land a job!
To make the most of a career fair, follow these 6 steps.
You can usually find a list of the businesses and organizations that will be present online before the event. Use this information to learn more about the companies you want to visit during the fair. Come up with questions you’d like to ask representatives that go beyond information you can find online. Good questions will help you stand out, and doing the research will help you prioritize which organizations you want to visit at the fair. Make your list, get your questions ready and give it your best shot!
Update your LinkedIn profile before the fair. Be sure to list your most recent employment and any recent accomplishments. Polish your resume and cover letter and bring copies to share with recruiters after you visit their station. It may sound a little old school since everything is digital, but it shows that you came prepared. If the recruiter offers a business card, make sure to take it so you can follow-up.
Traditionally, it is recommended that you show up to a job interview dressed business casual. On the other hand, you may also consider dressing for the job you want! For example, if most of the career fair is filled with corporate jobs, it may be best to follow suit and actually wear a suit. If you are looking to connect with creative careers, you may have more room to express yourself. Regardless of the route you take, be intentional about your attire.
While most people attend career fairs with the goal of securing a job, don’t miss the opportunity to start a genuine relationship. At a career fair, you may meet a new friend, mentor, or potential co-worker. When talking to a recruiter, ask about their experience with the company and how they got to their current job. Don’t forget to ask for contact information to keep in touch.
You will be talking to a lot of people in a short amount of time. In between each conversation, consider taking some notes to help you remember key points, names, and any specific follow-up steps.
So the career fair went well, you made great connections– even found a few companies you want to pursue for an internship or job. Send a follow-up email to the recruiter within 48 hours. Remind them who you are by bringing up something specific you talked about. Attach your resume with a link to your LinkedIn profile, and express your interest in joining or learning more about the company. Thank them for their time and express how much you enjoyed meeting them at the fair. Finally, make sure that you regularly check your email and if they write back to you, you’ve got a potential lead, so respond right away!