Don’t Throw Away Job Fairs: Part 1 – Candidates

There’s a lot of negative vibes concerning job fairs and other hiring events, and some of the reasoning behind those vibes carry a measure of truth. After all, how many companies can a candidate interact with, in a three to six-hour window? Who wants to put the time an effort into preparation and then travel only to be told to upload their resume online? But wait, maybe the issue isn’t whether to conduct job fairs, but rather how to gain the desired result. Job fairs, both traditional and virtual can be a powerful networking tool when companies and candidates approach them with the right attitude and apply commonsense networking principles.

Candidates – Benefits of Job Fairs

Whether you are looking for a job following college, returning to the workforce after an extended absence, wanting to move forward and upward in your career, or making a career change; networking with potential employers is beneficial. Job fairs are not only a networking event but also an opportunity to:

· Meet with several companies in one location – and compare what they have to offer.
· Learn more about your industry; how it’s changed, what skills are in demand, how industry players are presenting themselves, and the latest job market trends.
· Face-to-face communication and an opportunity to give your elevator speech to company representatives who are typically difficult to reach.
· Stand out as the person behind the resume – getting feedback on your resume, as well as a jumpstart on preliminary screening and interview.
· Interact with the company’s employees and gain insight into the company culture.
· Make connections with and collect contact information for relevant company personnel. (Sometimes these contacts result in a future career opportunity)
· Get the scoop on types of jobs the company offers, qualification requisites, and in some cases, typical salary and benefits.
· Learn about new opportunities for your skill set.
· Take mini-seminars and sit in on panel discussions and talks.

Candidates – Job Fair Success

Yes, there are multiple reasons to attend and benefits to gain, but success is up to you. Output depends on input – and that’s oh-so-true with job fairs. The following steps will help you to succeed.


· Obtain a list of the participating companies and prioritize them in the order of importance to you and your career. Starting with the first company on your list, do your The more you know about a company going in, the more you will gain from your conversation with the company representatives. Make a list of the questions you want to ask. Customize your resume to the positions that interest you – and mark them, you certainly don’t want to hand a resume customized for company A to company B.
· Get ready for the job fair in the same way you get ready for an interview.
· Plan your route and leave in enough time to arrive early.
· Be well rested and eat a low carb, protein-rich breakfast.
· Dress professionally – choose cool and comfortable.
· Wear shoes that fit and support
· Keep your load light – a folder of resumes, pen, and paper for notes, your wallet . . . fill in the rest, but keep a short, light list.

At the Fair

· Be confident, professional, and friendly. Smile, keep eye contact and give a firm handshake. Be ready with your elevator pitch but listen to cues; the company representative will often “lead” the conversation.

· Give them your resume as quickly as possible. Communicate your interest and why your experience and skills are a prodigious fit for their company.
· Ask questions that show your knowledge of the company (this is where your research pays dividends) and your interest in working for them.
·  Pay attention to culture cues and share your personality via your communications.
· Treat your connection like a preliminary interview; ask them the next step. Ask for their business card and give them yours – if you have one.


· Follow-up begins immediately – when you leave a company’s booth, take a couple minutes to make notes about your conversation and your impressions. When you get home and try to write 6-10 thank you’s, these notes will be invaluable.
· When you get home – send your thanks immediately. Whether you take the time for handwritten or send emails, do it. This is rarely a time for texts. Thank them for their time, express your interest in going to the next step, and reiterate why you are the right fit for their position.
· Even if you are not interested, send a note of thanks for their time. You never know where your connection may lead to in the future. That’s the beauty of networking.

With committed preparation, focused participation, and swift follow-up, candidates can build their network, gain career advice, and either win a job opportunity or open the door to a future one via Job Fairs. Learn how our Recruiting Specialist – Jared Fessler is helping win with candidates at Job Fairs. In Part 2, we’ll discuss how job fairs are also beneficial for companies.

If you’re looking to hire the best talent in the business, contact Award Staffing. We will be able to help you find the right employees for your unique business needs. If you’re searching for more tips and trick on how to improve your company’s workforce, check out our hiring solutions blog.



Want to learn more about how Award Staffing can help your organization with your staffing and employment needs? Start by providing our team with a few pieces of information about yourself, and we will take care of the rest.

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