1. Dress Professionally
The general rule of thumb is to dress to fit the job for which you are applying. For some, this may mean a suit and tie; for others a pair of khakis, polo shirt, or button-down collar.
2. Communicate what you want and what you have to offer
Be prepared to you elevator speech/60-second commercial.
Include the following:
• The kind of work you do,
• The number of years of experience you have and in what industry(ies),
• Some of your areas of expertise and/or key skills,
• What you hope to find in your next job.
Write down keywords to prompt your memory and control flow; add an ounce of conviction to what you are saying, and deliver it with genuineness until it rolls off your tongue and feels comfortable.
3. Know what the company does
Check the company web sites and find out what company’s mission is, what type of jobs they are looking to fill, what are the specific job requirements.
4. Plan Who You Want to Talk to and in What Order
Start with those companies that may not be the best fit, but a fit to consider. That way, you can hone your presentation, work on rapport building techniques, and lessen the nervousness you may feel as your start out.
5. Bring your resume
Make sure you bring at least 25 resumes with you (no more than 2 pages maximum). Make sure they are targeted to your main industry objective.
6. Ask questions
Because a job fair is a place to network and gather information about companies of interest, have some preset question generated that are focused on the career occupation of interest. Keep it simple, and take good notes.
7. Be aware of proper etiquette
Once you enter the job fair arena, you are being scrutinized by potential employers. With that in mind, the following suggestions are offered:
• If you are a smoker, don’t smoke just before entering the job fair,
• Don’t chew gum,
• Leave you cell phone in the car or at home,
• Go easy on the perfume/cologne (some people have allergic reactions to these items),
• Firm handshake when introducing yourself, and good eye contact,
• Be considerate of other job seekers for an employer’s time.
8. Make your objectives known
Make it easy and clear for the employer to understand what your career objective is, and what you can do for them. Always keep in mind that companies aren’t impressed by you rattling off your work history and experience if it doesn’t relate to their needs.
9. Collect business cards and take notes
Listen closely to cues provided by the employer that you can speak to while in the employers presents, and that you can follow up on with the employer after the job fair.
10. Follow Up
Send a thank-you letter within 24 hours to each employer you talked to at the fair. Additionally, send them a cover letter reminding them of your job fair conversation along with a targeted resume for a position that was discussed, and request an interview.