Your meeting with company representatives at the Career Fair is your first impression to the rest of the company. If you do not impress them the first time you meet, you may not get a second chance. Plan in advance what you are going to wear, and be sure everything is neat, clean and pressed. Simple and conservative attire is usually best.
Before the fair, review your resume. Is it attractive and error free? Does it sell your skills to the company representative? Is it targeted to the type of employment you are currently seeking? Bring a couple of dozen professional-quality copies with you to the fair.
For more on Resumes, see our Resume section.
There are a few basic questions you will probably be asked all day. If you do not have an answer ready for this question, you will not look prepared. Here is a prime example:
Although it may be partly true, do not say you will take any job they have. Commit to a specific type of job such as customer service support, clerical assistant, accounting clerk, welder, etc. If you do not want to be specific, offer your experience.
"I have skills in sales, marketing and advertising, and I am interested in opportunities with your company."
You might be asked to describe your strength and skills, experience, special training or qualifications for a specific job. Someone might ask you why you left your previous job or why you are looking for a career change. If you are prepared to field a variety of questions, your tact and skill will show you as a superior candidate.
If possible, arrange for someone to watch your child(ren) while you are speaking to employers. Although children and fairs usually go together, a Career fair is a serious opportunity to meet with prospective employers. Be as professional here as you would be at a job interview.
Talk to fellow job seekers while you are waiting to speak to a specific employer. Who have they talked to? Have they heard of anyone hiring someone with your background?
Plan your strategy for the companies you want to talk to. Do research on the companies that will be represented at the career fair. Prepare questions to ask the company representatives.
Your resume is an opportunity to present yourself. Make it a presentation you can be proud of. Proof your resume for errors. Also have someone else proof it for you for a second opinion. If you are looking for more than one type of work, you may need more than one type of resume. See our Resume section for more information on choosing and writing the right resume for the right employer.
You have only a few minutes to introduce yourself, and spark the company representative's interest in you for a future, more formal interview. This takes practice. Use a mirror, tape recorder or a friend. Most importantly, BE POSITIVE!
Now is not the time to have a too creative resume or wear unusual clothing.
The person you meet in the parking lot, hallway or restroom may be the company recruiter you will see later in the day.
Recruiter see you as a potential future representative of their company. Display confidence, enthusiasm and the ability to think and speak "on your feet" and under pressure.
Discuss how and when to follow up. A follow up letter is an appropriate way to reiterate your qualifications, what you know about the company and why you are a "good fit."
After you have spoken to a representative, take the time to regroup and prepare to follow-up.
Career Fair statistics show that up to 49% of all candidates who prepare in advance can receive interviews at the fair, and 65% of those candidates receive job offers. This process can take three months or longer (the larger the company, the longer this may take).
Always thank the employer for talking to you, and give them a copy of your resume if you have one(which you should).