By Matthew Warzel, MJW Careers
Dress professionally always! It does not matter the type of career fair.
Bring copious amounts of resumes. Better to have more than less.
Bring a nice binder to store resumes and include a notepad and pen to take notes or further directions from employers.
Go early if possible because you can avoid the rush!
Have your elevator pitch ready. This is a pitch that summarizes your experience, abilities, objectives, and the assets you can provide to the company in less than 2 minutes. There are typically hundreds of job seekers that companies are engaging with, and they hate to waste time speaking with one candidate for a lengthy period of time, even if it’s someone they are looking for. Make sure you practice this pitch until you are comfortable using it, but make sure it does not sound programmed or too basic.
Visit the inferior targeted companies first, so you can practice your elevator speech prior to visiting the top priority companies on your list.
Make eye contact, shake hands firmly and create that good first impression with an employer.
Always maintain professionalism. Employers notice everything!
Do not wait in long lines, but rather spend that time networking with other job seekers or employers (even if those employers weren’t on your target list; there may be companies not within your industry that are hiring your profession). Network! Network! Network! Talk to both employers and other job seekers. You never know who might be able to help you find a job!
Be prepared to answer multiple questions in a short time with each employer. Act as if it is an interview in and of itself.
Only ask questions about the job. Wait until after the interview to find out about the company. This time is for you to find out what the hiring managers are looking for now and down the road.
Keep the conversation flowing. Have a mental list of questions prepared that are engaging and smart. Also, when given the opportunity, try to relate your skills and experience to the company or openings at the company.
Always request business cards or at least write down contact information so you can follow up with a thank you and pursue any leads.
Career fair follow-up: Keep yourself fresh in the mind of the decision makers. You must send a follow-up or thank you letter within a few days. Always refer to the specifics of the job fair and try to mention any part of the conversation that stood out to make it easy for them to remember you. Also, include your resume.