In my years of work in Human Resources I have had the opportunity to attend numerous job fairs. I was constantly amazed at the lack of ambition, preparation, and overall disregard for professionalism. For all of the women out there looking for employment and utilizing local job fairs to do so, here are some tips to remember in order to make a lasting first impression.
Do Your Research.
Most job fairs post the companies that will be attending ahead of time. Do some research to determine what companies may be a good fit for you. Learn about what they do and what they are looking for. I would suggest putting together a little “cheat sheet” to take with you of Who, What, Where, and Opportunities. Who are they? What kind of work do they do? Where are they located? What positions are they looking to fill? This will not only help you spend your time wisely, but you will be sure to impress the employer with your knowledge of their company.
Doctor Up Your Resume.
One of my biggest pet peeves at a job fair was being handed outdated resumes. Be sure to look over your contact information, work experience and educational background to make sure everything is up to date. It would be a shame to make a great impression and be unreachable because your email address was outdated. Be sure to use a professional email address. If you don’t have one- create one. No employer wants to see “baby”, “xoxo”, “lady”, “hot mama”… you get the point. If you have the opportunity have your resume reviewed by a professional. There may be some important information you are leaving out!
Dress to Impress.
You’ve heard the expression “Dress for the job you want…”. Employers are looking to see that you are professional. Break out that power suit and put it to work! There is nothing more frustrating, as an employer, than to see candidates in clothes they may have worn to bed the night before. Ditch the ripped up jeans, leggings, and crop tops for a nice pair of slacks, blouse and jacket.
Don’t Arrive Unprepared.
If you have had the opportunity to do research on the companies that will be attending the job fair print out that many resumes plus ten. The last thing you want is to be left empty handed in the event that companies registered last minute. Have your resumes in a folder and bring an additional folder for information you collect. Having access to your calendar is great for setting up interviews, assessments or appointments. Check for any additional materials employers may request. Again, all of that information can be found on the website of the host of the job fair.
Sell yourself. No one knows you better than you. Highlight your strengths and skills. Let the employer know why you would be a great fit for the position. Don’t forget about the non-verbals. Maintain eye contact, stand up straight, smile, and LISTEN.
With these five tips you will be more relaxed attending any job fair knowing that you are 100% prepared. Above all—be yourself. If the employer doesn’t like what they see it wouldn’t be a good fit anyway.
For those of you that have attended job fairs in the past what has your experience been like? What are some tips you may have for the employers that attend?