The Interview GuideAttending a job fair is an entirely different ballgame than going on an individual interview. The biggest mistake people make with job fairs, is they prepare the same way they do for interviews. While it is a good idea to be familiar with common interview questions, there are specific things you should do to get attention and succeed at a job fair. Here are tips to help you before you attend your next job fair:

Do your research.

At least a few days in advance, research what companies will be at the fair. This allows you to select which companies to visit and talk to. Even though there could be dozens of companies, it is best to choose the companies you are most interested in and that are offering positions that are suitable. While you are researching the companies, try to come up with an answer to why you are interested in the company, what you like about the company, or why you are a good pick. Take notes on what the company does and why you are interested in it.

Know what positions are available.

Going right along with the research, look at the career openings on the company’s website. This way you will be able to see what jobs are available that you qualify for. You can approach the recruiter with knowledge of the position and why you’re qualified. This sets you aside since you are interested in a specific role proves you have done your research in the company.

Check your LinkedIn before you go.

career_fairFirst, be sure you have updated your information to have a fantastic LinkedIn page. This will help you stand out to any employer who is looking at you. Second, type in the specific companies you are planning to visit. This will then show you any connections you may have that are already working there or have worked there in the past. You can reach out to your connection for advice or ask them to put in a good word for you.

Dress appropriately.

You could easily be walking around, navigating through crowds, and standing for hours so dress comfortably. Keep in mind the room can be hot and crowded. A good rule of them is business casual unless otherwise noted.

Pack appropriately.

Just as important as how you dress, is what you have with you. Bring the notes you took and blank paper and pen to take additional notes. Be sure to keep any applications, business cards, or other materials organized. Take a brief case or bag that is easy to carry and that allows you navigate your resume and business cards. Besides your resume, you’ll also want to bring samples of your work or a portfolio if it is applicable.

Go early.

Allow yourself ample time to be at the fair. Some companies won’t stay the whole time or may get there late. So getting there early allows you to take advantage of those who are there early and gives you time to talk to those who get there later. Plus, this gives you time to familiarize yourself with the layout of the area and any surprise companies that may gave showed up last minute.

Stay organized and collected.

Once you get to the fair, it is easy to get overwhelmed. Pace yourself. After each interaction, do not rush to the next. Take a moment to jot down a few notes about the last position. Be sure to note the recruiter’s name, if the recruiter gave you a card, told you to e-mail them, or instructed you to apply to something online.

Follow up.

Not following up with who you spoke with is a mistake people often make as well. The recruiter met with hundreds of people so send them a personal e-mail so they can remember you. Thank them for their time and be sure to include anything you spoke about that would refresh their memory that you spoke. Attach your resume or portfolio to the e-mail as well.

What are your job fair tips?

Kristen Kuchar
Kristen Kuchar

Kristen Kuchar is a freelance writer and editor who has learned how to save money without giving up a passion for travel, food, and living a fun life. She has written about personal finance for several years and graduated with a degree in Journalism. Follow her on Twitter @KristenKuchar.