7 Helpful Tips For Your First Job Fair

This past week, I attended my first job fair and it was everything and nothing like I expected. I prepared myself ahead of time by thinking about questions to ask recruiters, what to wear and what information to get in order to make my experience worthwhile. I expected to be nervous (which I totally was) and I expected to be asked questions about what I could bring to the table. But what I did not expect was the amount of people at the job fair who simply walked by, asking no questions, making zero effort to talk to recruiters, and only taking informational pamphlets that lay on the table. It made no sense to me, and I realized I never want to be that person. I’m not a genius at this whole job fair thing, but I did pull some takeaways from this experience.

 

Here’s what I learned from talking with industry professionals:

 

1. Dress professionally like everyone else, but make sure you find a way to stand out in a positive way.

There are many people who define business casual on their own terms, but finding a way to stand out with a colored blouse or accessory can make you memorable.

 

2. Don’t be discouraged if there’s a mass of people surrounding one booth.

I found that the more popular and well-known companies had more people surrounding it, but don’t worry about that. Take your time and look at what kind of information is on the table and wait a few minutes until you can get in and talk to someone.

 

3. A good handshake paired with eye contact is the BEST first impression they could have of you.

Walking up to a booth can be intimidating at first, but exuding confidence in a firm handshake with friendly eye contact is a great way for them to take you seriously. Once you have done this, you can introduce yourself and you are instantly off to a great start.

 

4. Interview the recruiters themselves. Don’t just talk about yourself.

Recruiters like to hear all about you and what kind of qualities you have, but I found that they light up when someone asks about their start in the business or their previous experiences. Almost every table I went to said they hadn’t had anyone ask about their personal background and that made them pleasantly surprised.

 

5. Express your passion.

Don’t just talk about your previous work history. Make sure to share what excites you most in life and what you like to do on your own time. This can help recruiters see who you are as a person and can find out if you are the right fit for their company’s culture.

 

6. Get their contact information or business card.

The worst thing you can do at a job fair is walk away without any contact information from one of the people at the booth. After you have talked for a little bit with someone there, give them your resume and ask if you can have their business card to contact them later. Without this, there is no way for you to reach out to that specific person later on without their email address or phone number.

 

7. ALWAYS thank them for taking the time to talk with you.

When you end your conversation, thank them for taking the time to talk with you, especially when there is a line of people behind you. When you do this, also shake their hand and smile which will wrap things up nicely.