‘’Hey! I’ve never heard of your company, what do you do?’’ This is a question a few attendees asked me during a recent startup job fair we participated in with Enhancv. What signals does it send out to a potential employer? The person didn't do any research and is not detail oriented. They’re not very good at planning. I could think of a few more but you get the point.
To help you be prepared for the next job fair, here are 7 tips to make your day stress-free and successful. You will not only triple your chances of getting hired, I guarantee they will not forget you either.
1. Think ahead and plan your day
A goal without a plan is just a wish. - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
One of the first mistakes people make is attending a job fair without planning and preparing beforehand. It is essential to plan ahead in order to work out what your objective is. Is it networking and gathering new contacts, meeting new people or making an impression that can essentially get you a job they offer?
Having a plan at hand will enable you to take the full advantage of a job fair. Also, you'll decide easier on who to talk to and who to skip. You'll set up your expectations and be prepared to evaluate afterwards.
2. Research beforehand
Some people who came to talk to us at the recent job fair had no idea who we are and why we’re there. It’s almost like attending a party you were invited to a month ago without checking whether it’s a birthday, casual dinner or a family gathering. Do you need a present? Or is there a dress code you should adhere to?
Before attending a job fair, answer these questions about each company, or at least the ones you want to talk to:
- What do they do?
- What products or services do they use?
- What do you like about them?
- Are you interested in any of the job positions they’re advertising?
Doing this will not only help you increase your confidence, but it will also allow for starting a conversation easier. In general, you will give off a positive vibe and they will remember you as the smart guy who recognizes their work and efforts.
3. Smile and be curious
It is proven by research that smiling is contagious. Just imagine looking at a picture of a smiling baby, for example. It is almost impossible not to smile too. When you walk around stands of company displays, bring your smile with you. You will look more approachable and pleasant to talk to.
Also, be curious. As mentioned in the first point, doing the research is important and it might raise more questions in your mind. There’s nothing more flattering for employers who are promoting themselves at a career fair than a curious person asking about their product or giving them feedback. Keep that in mind.
4. Bring your resume
Sometimes, companies don’t advertise a position suitable exactly for you and your expertise at a job fair. Which might make you feel that there’s no point leaving your resume with them or maybe even stopping by. At Enhancv, we always look out for new talents and if we spot someone special, we will consider hiring them. After talking to other employers, I know that other companies do the same.
Therefore, make sure you have your resume at hand, have enough copies and put effort into crafting a high-quality one. Find a list of the most common mistakes people make on their resumes here and avoid them.
In case your aim is to approach a company that advertises a job perfect for you, create a specially tailored resume for them. Use the company’s colors and include skills they mention in the job requirement. Your resume should answer the question they will have - ‘’Why should we hire you?’’
5. Exchange emails with others
There’s nothing more frustrating for me than meeting the perfect fit for the job that we're offering at a job fair and realizing I don’t have their email. Usually, it’s because they didn’t have a business card, or they ran out or they wrote their email on a piece of paper that got lost in the chaos.
To avoid such situations, always have enough of business cards with you. In case you don’t have any yet, make them write your email down on their phone or in a spreadsheet that’s saved on their device. This way you’ll be sure it will never get lost.
6. Follow up with them
After you talk to your potential employer on a career fair, they don’t spend weeks thinking about how amazing you are - surprise! The best you can do is reminding them about it by dropping them a line afterwards.
The memories of the experience will be fresh in both your and their mind and they’ll be more capable of forming an opinion about you. When I was a student, I didn’t realize how important it is to follow-up with someone I met or talked to after a networking event. I understood the power/importance of it ever since I started working ‘’properly’’. There's nothing more refreshing than an enthusiast emailing you how great it was to meet you that day. Consider it without a doubt.
7. Take your time to evaluate
When the (hopefully) exciting day is over, evaluate it. Did you meet your objective? How was the vibe of the event? Was there anything you could do better?
All that will help you to do much better next time. Also, the whole process of planning will get easier and faster, I promise. ;)
Back to you
Have you attended a job fair recently? What advice would you give to others? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!