Tips on How to Make the Most of Career Fairs
Have you ever wandered aimlessly around a career fair to find at the end of the day that you have achieved very little, other than bagging some freebie novelty pens and chocolates!? If so, you’re missing out big time. Career fairs offer endless opportunities to network, meet recruiters and make that first impression that may ultimately land you your dream job.
As there’s a lot at stake (and we don’t like to see you waste your time or ours!) we’ve asked Mark Owens of Skylight’s Recruitment Division, to share some tips on how to catch the eye of recruiters.
Mark’s Top 6 Career Fair Tips
Tip 1. Do your research
I’ve started with what I think is the most important piece of advice which is doing your research before you go anywhere near the career fair. I would advise that you firstly look at the list of who is going to be there and shortlist any employers you want to visit. Then when you have identified your target employers, trawl through their websites to find out what the firm does, what people in your intended role do and the name of the people who work in recruitment.
The next stage is to work on questions you will ask – focus on specific, insightful questions that demonstrate that you know your stuff and have researched the firm. You won’t believe how many people walk up to me at a career fair and ask general questions like “Tell me about Skylight?”! For me, this is a total no-no as it signals a complete lack of interest in the firm and the role.
Tip 2. Be ready to talk and be enthusiastic
At a career fair, our team can meet upwards of 500 people. That’s a lot of people so you need to ensure you stand out. You need to be able to confidently introduce yourself, briefly explain what differentiates you and what you can offer the firm. Then move to your specific questions.
It’s also really important to maintain good eye contact, smile and have a firm handshake. These are the kind of things we’ll remember and will make us look out for you when it comes to scheduling interviews.
Tip 3. Dress appropriately
If you want to endear yourself to recruiters then it’s not a good idea to turn up wearing flip-flops, shorts and carrying a backpack! Although many do. This is definitely not the image you want to project. You need to be presentable so invest in a business casual outfit or a suit (if you haven’t already got one). If you do get a new suit, remember to snip the thread (it’s a different color than the suit) that secures the vent or flap on the back of your jacket. I’m not such a stickler, but I know it annoys other recruiters!
Tip 4. Bring your resume
Make sure you bring plenty of copies of your resume to hand out. You’ll need a resume which is professional, well-structured and stands out. See my article 8 Tips to Make Your Resume Stand Out from the Pack
Tip 5. Go to socials
If you are interested in a firm and you’ve been invited to a social then definitely go. It’s a great way to get to know people, the firm and its culture and for us recruiters to get to know you. Be savvy – even during a social you are being judged so don’t forget about creating that good impression. Many of the job seekers that we meet at socials go on to attend an interview so don’t underestimate this opportunity and make the effort!
Tip 6. Take notes
Lastly, it’s a good idea to take notes and records the names of recruiters you have spoken to. It’s amazing how quickly you can forget these things. They can form part of your network not just for the immediate, but also for the long-term.
Well … I think that’s it other than to say that Skylight Financial Group will be attending career fairs in Ohio and beyond, in August, September, and October so check out dates/venues. We’d love to meet you so please come up and introduce yourself!