I know, I know – job fairs aren’t the most fun events to attend, but they can be extremely beneficial to your job search if you know what the heck you’re doing once you get there. A BIG part of that is having a strategy in mind, yet nearly no one I speak to has a planned out strategy for acing Job Fair 101. That’s about to change. LocalWork’s job fair is coming up, and YOU are going to be successful.
Below are 5 of my Job Fair Success 101 lessons. Get your pen & paper, and listen up!
Look at the list of who’s attending and decide on the top 5 companies you’d like to talk to while you’re there. Now, go and “do your homework!” on each one. Look at their website to understand who they really are and what kind of positions they’re currently hiring for. If you see something that matches your skill-sets, experience, and education, be sure to remember it, and plan to chat with the recruiter about it while you’re there. If you know what companies you’d like to talk to, you can create a plan of action around it and use your time more wisely.
Once you’ve come up with your top 5 companies and completed your research, sit down with a pen, paper, and yourself to assess what value you specifically will bring to these companies and positions. You can’t do this piece if you’ve not done your homework, so DO IT! Ultimately, recruiters care only about what you have to offer relevant to their needs. Assess those specifics beforehand so you can be sure to intelligently discuss your value during your brief time chatting with the recruiter(s).
It’s simple: think like the recruiter. “If I were hiring for this position, what would REALLY matter to me?” Put your recruiter hat on for a bit, and it will help assess what you should and shouldn’t say when you walk up to them. Remember: they’re meeting hundreds of people at these events; being the one they remember isn’t easy, but you can do it with adequate preparation.
Recruiters aren’t robots; they’re people just like you and me. They laugh, they go to happy hour, they have families, and of course, they have a job to do. Their job is to find amazing people like you to fit their positions so they can make their bosses happy. When you go up to them, SMILE, put out your hand to shake theirs, and introduce yourself. Instead of jumping straight into your “elevator pitch”, say something like this: “It’s so nice to meet you! I’m very interested in your Marketing Assistant position, especially since it requires someone with a background in public speaking. That’s a big part of what I’m all about. Can you tell me more about the ideal candidate you’re looking for?” And then let them do the talking. Seek to get to know their needs and be sure to reiterate how you’re going to meet those needs if given the opportunity to work for them.
Ask for a business card before you leave. You can’t follow up if you don’t have a business card. Thank them for their time and let them know you will be following up and/or applying for the job later today or tomorrow (if that’s the case). The caveat here is this: YOU NEED TO DO WHAT YOU SAID YOU WOULD, otherwise they’re not going to take you seriously. Period. When you do follow up, be sure to follow any and all directions they have given you VERY closely. Recruiters pay close attention to how well you take direction, and many will discount you if you veer off the directed path.
There you have it, 5 of my Job Fair Success 101 lessons. Now, go and ace the test!
I know you’ll rock it.
For other articles that’ll help you out at the next Greater Phoenix Job Fair on May 12th, check these out: