Job fairs are not for the faint of heart. But here’s a stat that should add a little swagger to your job search: a recent report from the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce projects the area could see more than a million job openings through 2020. So how can you become one of the new hires? Here are five steps to job fair success.
Research the companies that are going. Stand out from the crowd by doing a little homework. Identify which companies you want to talk to, and get to know a little about them by reading up on their websites, social media pages, and any recent news articles concerning them. Google is your friend here! For starters, make sure you know where they’re located and what they do. This is the quickest way to appear confident, intelligent and prepared. Now you can skip the basics with the hiring representatives and have a real conversation. (Not a bad idea to think of some informed questions ahead of time.) But if you see a company at the job fair that you find interesting but didn’t research, don’t let that stop you from approaching them. Just be honest and let your curiosity lead the way!
Bring more than one version of your resume. Here’s another place where that research comes in handy. If you know you’re going after more than one job type or industry, tailor different versions of your resume to highlight and emphasize different skills or experience they might be looking for. Just be sure you can grab them and tell them apart easily when you’re on the spot at the job fair. There’s only so much space on a resume, and you want to keep it brief and to the point.And don’t make us tell you that your resume needs to be typo-free and easy to read. Don’t make us!
Rehearse your “elevator pitch.”Quintessential Careers advises job-seekers to be able to tell who you are, what makes you unique and what benefits you can provide -- in about 15 seconds. (They also have tips on how to make it interesting.) It should answer the common “tell me about yourself” and “why should I hire you” queries with one smooth, short speech. Practice and polish.
Work the room -- not just the booths. Job fairs are a great place to network and make new connections in your industry. JobMob recommends sharing tips and feedback with the job seekers. You never know what someone else has learned that could be valuable to your search.
Clean up your social media accounts. Just as you’ll be researching theirs, these companies are going to look at your online persona to learn more about you. It’s best to switch all your pages to “private,” and/or take down all the pictures from the bar and/or any status update “over-shares.” Let them discover what a fun person you are in real life... after you get the job.
The Chamber has a helpful calendar of upcoming job fairs here. Good luck!