Hello everyone! As a college student I have been to quite a few job fairs. Whether you are in college, about to graduate, or looking for a new job, job fairs are one of the best ways to find out about a company you could work for and network with recruiters and people in the industry. They may seem intimidating and overwhelming at first, but the more you practice the easier it gets. Once you practice and know what to do at them, you will feel more comfortable. Here are some tips on how to stand out at a job fair from the Artisan Talent Recruiters and my own advice.
I recommend anyone who has never been to a job fair to go and see what it is like. The first job fair I ever went to was to practice and to get a feel for how the event was run, what people wore, and learn how to network. I started going to job fairs as a freshman and sophomore, not even looking for a job or internship. I did not know anything about attending a job fair, I had only been to college fairs. At the first job fair I went to I did not have a polished resume, or business cards, or even know which company I had interest in. I did not even know I should have a resume or business card! These would all normally be big mistakes, but luckily for me, I was there to learn, network, and talk to some people from the various companies to see what I was interested in.
So my advice is to not wait till you are about to graduate to attend your first job fair. Go early on so you can learn how to network and watch others. A lot of people have a fear of talking to strangers, so if you go before you actually are looking for a job, you can practice. Now that I am a junior, I am comfortable enough and know what to bring, wear, how to make a connection with the recruiter, and how to stand out which will ultimately lead to a job. You can have a 4.0 GPA, but if you do not know how to network then it will be harder to get a job.
The most important part of going to a job fair is leaving a good lasting impression, you want to stand out among the other people talking to the recruiters. Here is some awesome advice from the Artisan Talent Recruiters on how to stand out at a job fair.
1. Create business cards for yourself, they are reasonably priced and you can customize them to your liking. Put your name, email address, school, major, LinkedIn, and URL address to your online portfolio or website.
2. You should dress like you would for an interview, it is always better to be overdressed than under-dressed. Do NOT wear jeans.
3. Usually the school website has a list of employers that will be in attendance. Research 3-5 of the companies that will be at the fair before you go and see what positions they are hiring for.
4. Write down questions that you may have about the company or job position so you do not forget them. What I have done is researched any awards or projects they have done and said what I liked about it to show I am interested in the company.
5. Have multiple clean and polished copies of your resume and business cards on hand.
6. Have your elevator pitch ready.
7. Always ask for business cards, do not leave empty handed from the job fair.
8. Research who may be representing the company at the job fair. Look on LinkedIn and see if they have a college recruiter, if so see who they are and if you have anything in common with them. They could be an alum of your school, a brother or sister in your fraternity, or know someone you know, you just never know!
9. Make your own informational packet to give to the recruiters you talk to. Your packet should include a cover letter (if applicable), a resume that is customized to the job position or company, samples of your work, and anything else you have depending on the job you are applying for. This will help you stand out.
10. You can also buy a portfolio binder that holds pens, paper, and has pockets for your resume and business cards. This will be more professional that holding a pad of paper and digging through your purse or pocket.
11. Always follow up with an email and connect with them on LinkedIn. Remind them of something you talked about.
Amanda Freeman is our intern, and the Artisan Insider.