men walking out of elevator

Before walking into a room of recruiters with hundreds of other job seekers, you may be asking yourself how to stand out. Well, a little preparation can go a long way! Read on to find out how you can make the most of your time at the next job fair you attend.

Before

Before attending the job fair, do as much research as you can. Typically a job fair will publicize a list of companies that will be attending prior to the event. This way you can see who you’re interested in and be able to implement some background company knowledge into the conversation.

Prepare your elevator pitch. Your elevator pitch is roughly 20 seconds and is a brief explanation of yourself. Like pitching a company product, but you’re pitching yourself! When practicing, think about how it will sound to the company. Are you selling the right skills? What keywords would attract them? Make sure you’re incorporating a skill or asset that will make you stand out.

Make sure you prepare and print resumes to provide. Take the time to update and tweak until it’s perfect and print more than enough copies. Keep them in an easily accessible folder in your bag; this way you aren’t digging through your bag when it’s time to provide one, having them disorganized, or bent out of shape. This will show that you are organized and prepared! Also, bring some business cards. As resumes are often handed out more at job fairs, you may still end up networking with other job seekers. It’s always important to keep some on hand.

During

Dress professionally, as you would for an interview. Prep the night before the job fair by ironing your outfit and making sure it fits properly. There is nothing more stressful than having an outfit malfunction the morning of!

When greeting recruiters and employers, maintain eye contact and provide a firm handshake. Use the elevator pitch that you prepared when introducing yourself. The tips that apply to an interview are typically the same for a job fair. Like an interview, this is also an opportunity to ask questions. What do you like most about working for Company XYZ? What are entry-level career opportunities with your company? Asking questions shows dedication to learning more about the company and interest in working for them.

If there an employer you really enjoyed talking to, don’t hesitate to stop by their booth again at the end of the job fair if they aren’t busy. Simply thank them for their time, reiterating your interest. It is also important not to eliminate companies who aren’t hiring a position relevant to what you’re seeking. They could always be in the future and they may remember you once that position opens!

After

The job fair isn’t over once you walk out of the venue! Follow-up that evening with thank you emails to the people you enjoyed speaking to. Make them personalized and tailored to the conversation that you had with them. They will know if you are copying and pasting a generic thank you. Keeping in touch with the professional connections you make will make all the difference in your job search! If that specific person doesn’t have a position tailored to you, you never know who they may know who does.

You never know who you may meet that could lead you to your next job, whether it’s a recruiter or another job-seeker. The possibilities at a job fair are endless! Search the web and local resources to find the next job fair in your area. If you’re a Capital Region reader you’re in luck, the next Capital Region job fair is on July 10th! Check out more details here: http://www.timesunionjobfair.com/.