Being at a career fair for the first time can feel overwhelming and you may not be sure what to do to get noticed by other employers. Here are some useful tips for you to feel prepared for a career fair near you.
- Be assertive. Come up to the table and introduce yourself. Standing behind others and not taking the initiative to put yourself out there will not get you noticed. Future employers want to see your ambition for this job and that you can present yourself well.You can also use the information being given to you to ask other kinds of questions based on what the interviewer says. Formulating your own questions based on the information given to you shows that you understand the company and the position you are aiming towards.
- Look professional. Make sure to be wearing a business casual outfit like clean pants, polos, button down shirts, blouses. Also wear an outfit that fits you well, is clean, and conservative. Try to wear an outfit that makes you look put together as well as something comfortable. Another way to look professional is to look well groomed. This can look something like brushing your hair, light makeup, trimming facial hair, getting wrinkles out of clothing and more. This is a way to present yourself and make a good first impression on others.
- Speak up. At a career fair there are lots of people and tons of conversations taking place. Make sure you talk loud enough for your interviewers to hear you. They want to hear what you have to say and presenting that information out loud can be helpful. Especially when introducing yourself, speaking loudly and confidently is important. Introduce yourself with your name, grade, interest and other other information you see as necessary. Also practicing a soft smile and handshake can leave a good impression. Being able to speak cohesively and loudly can leave a positive impact on an employer.
- Know why you are there. What are you looking for in this job or internship and what will you get out of it? Have a couple questions prepared ahead of time to ask about the specific job and company you are having a conversation with. Asking questions makes you stand out especially if they are intriguing and not asked often. For example, asking what experiences would I get working in this position? What do you look for when hiring someone for this position? It is also important to note that the questions do not have to solely focus on you. Try to ask questions like what can I do to support your company while working there? This shows the employer that you are concerned for the company itself and the people that work there. Also keep in mind that printed copies of your resume looks very professional at a career fair. The employers can keep your resume and get a better understanding of you even after having a conversation with them. Having a couple questions ready to ask and a resume makes you look more competitive and motivated to get this job position.
- Leave a good lasting impression. This can be anything from thanking them for their time or even sending a thank you email about taking the time to come out to the career fair and talking with you. The interviewers are taking time out of their day to come to this event and seek future employers. They may be experiencing fatigue, hunger, tiredness, and more from standing for hours on end. Just be polite and do not make them repeat themselves because they have given the same speech over and over again. The interviewers want to see people who are fresh, unique, and intriguing, not someone who asks the same questions as everyone else. Also do not forget to get companies contact information so you can reach out to them when you need to. Even if you decide this company is not where you want to work, gethering contact information can be useful.
- Understand the industry standard for the job you want. For example, are you seeking a position in the food industry? How might you manage piercings, long hair styles etc.? Are you looking for a position working with young children? Should you be concerned about the content or style of your visible tattoos? Is your preferred career in Concert Promotion? If so, does your style of dress present you as both edgy and responsible. These are all factors to consider when going to a career fair. Just be aware of the industry standard and what that means about your appearance and how you present yourself.
Overall, standing out at a career fair is something everyone should be capable of doing. People tend to lack the skills when it comes to being professional in a work setting. Hopefully these tips can be useful to you and your next career opportunity. Good luck!
Authors: Leah Kahldon, B.S., Audrey Jung, LPC LPCC NCC