5 Ways to Make the Right Impression at a Job Fair
If you have ever attended an industry job fair then you know it is a somewhat unnatural way to meet a potential employer. Crowds of candidates wandering past employer booths is about as impersonal a way to make a connection as one could imagine.
The flip side is, if ever there was an opportunity to make yourself stand out, a job fair is the place! As an employer you are talking to large numbers of candidates in a short time period. It’s a numbers game. If I speak with 100 students or job seekers at a fair, I am hoping that a handful of them will be qualified and potentially be someone I am interested in.
After the crowds have gone, the tables and giveaways are cleaned up, employers review the resumes and contacts they made. Will you be on the list of people who stood out that will be getting a follow-up email?
Here are 5 tips to help you be memorable to a potential employer:
- Seem interested. This sounds like a no-brainer right? I can’t tell you how many times I have watched candidates wander aimlessly through a job fair staring at their notebooks. I get it, especially if you are not an outgoing person, standing in the background waiting for an opening in the crowd to step up and introduce yourself is not a lot of fun. The truth is employers are going to remember candidates who they make a connection with. Who seem like they actually want a job with their company.
- Do your homework. Most job fairs will either post directories of employers being represented at the fair or will give you a directory when you arrive at check-in. Identify the employers you are most interested in meeting and be sure to allow enough time to speak with their representatives. If you seem like you are rushing to get to the next booth why would an employer feel engaged with what you have to say?
- Have an elevator pitch for yourself. The reality is you may only have a few moments with each employer you are interested in if the fair is large and has good attendance. Make a memorable first impression by communicating your desire and differentiating abilities that would make you the right choice for a job offer. What are they going to remember about you when they are looking back over your resume after the dust settles?
- Be genuine about your skill level. I know that some people say they “stretch the truth” on resumes regarding experience to seem like a better candidate. Let me tell you, in a technical job like collision repair, shop owners will see through this pretty quickly. If you have entry-level skills promote yourself as the best entry-level candidate at the fair.
- Be confident and follow-up. This is a two-way street. Remember what I said about making an impression and standing out at the job fair? Well here is the secret…Doing all of these things at the job fair will help you stand out in the memory of the employers you meet. What you do afterwards to reach out to the employers and remind them about yourself may be the difference between getting an interview and being lost in the resume pile.
Co-Founder Talent Monger LLC