I know how intimidating job fairs can be. Standing in a crowded room where you can barely find the recruiters from the companies you're interested in and there's so much competition that you can all but smell it, is absolutely no fun. Honestly, if any of you out there enjoy job fairs, please, do share your secrets!
I personally dread going to career fairs but I've found that they are much less scary and intimidating if you prepare yourself ahead of time so I thought I'd pass a long a few tips and let you learn from my mistakes.
Here is what you can do to make sure you're as ready as possible:
- Print out several copies of your resume. Trust me, you'll need them and you won't want to be without one if a recruiter is interested in you and happens to ask for a copy. And, even if they don't ask for one, you can always give whomever you talk to a copy anyway. You never know, they might be interested.
- Talk to as many people as possible. I know it's no fun but that is what you're there for after all. Introduce yourself first and then ask a general question about the company or, if you know what position they're looking to fill, you can be more specific and ask about that too. Be polite and friendly, and ta -da! You can move on to the next one.
- Dress appropriately. Recruiters understand that you will probably either have class right before or right after the job fair, but you should still try to make a little effort. Think business casual. A nice shirt and a pair of flats will do - you really don't have to go over the top. That being said though, definitely don't wear jeans or sneakers. You can bring your backpack and leave it in a corner somewhere or a coatroom, if that is available to you. Lastly don't get too stressed about what you're wearing; how you present yourself and what you say is one hundred times more important.
- Be confident! You have to, have to, have to be proactive. Being shy really doesn't work in a job fair setting - really, the phrase "you snooze, you lose" seriously applies here, so whatever you do, don't snooze!
Lastly, don't worry if you come out of the job fair with nothing to show for it. Just because you didn't find something there doesn't mean you wont find something somewhere else, so don't be discouraged and keep looking. Remember, it doesn't matter how many no's you get, you only need one yes.