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7 tips to help you get the most out of a career fair

Career fairs are great opportunities for job seekers to meet face-to-face with a lot of different potential employers.

For someone who is just entering the workforce, career fairs offer chances for job seekers to spend time in a professional setting, sharpen their interviewing skills and quickly advance their career search.

But, depending on the situation, they can also be overwhelming—especially if you’re not fully prepared for it.

Here are 7 tips to make sure you are prepared to get the most out of your next career fair:

  1. Have your resume handy

It’s not hard to create a brief, crisp and digestible resume to share with potential employers. Print off 3-5 copies of your resume and be prepared to hand them out to prospective employers you speak to. We have tips here to help you write the perfect resume that will get you noticed!

  1. Dress to impress

    Planning out what you’re going to wear to the career fair ahead of time will help you eliminate some of the pre-event jitters that come along with attending these events in person. You’re going to be meeting face-to-face with many prospective employers, and you want to make sure they know you are taking the event seriously. Do your research and find out ahead of time if there’s a dress code for the fair you’re attending so that you can come ready. 
  1. Do your research 

Do your research ahead of the event to find out who will be in attendance. This will also help you prepare any questions you may have beforehand. Without knowing who will be in attendance, you are automatically putting yourself at a disadvantage. It can be overwhelming to walk in the door and see countless booths lining the walls with people everywhere. Start first by looking at the fair schedule and attendees and then reviewing some of the company websites to get an understanding of the company.

  1. Take notes

Come prepared with a pen and paper. You’ll have the opportunity to meet a lot of different people. Having some way to take notes will help you organize your thoughts so that you’re able to remember what you have learned from different employers. It will also help you to remember specific names of people you speak to and will help you keep track of any notes you collect from any workshops.

  1. Figure out your “story of self”

This is your “why,” your story about who you are and why you’re standing where you are today. Think of it like an elevator pitch, and the product you are selling is you. Can you condense your story to 30-45 seconds? If not, start practicing!

  1. Come in with a game plan

If you’ve done your research, prepared your resume and figured out your personal story, then most of the hard work is already done. Now, all you have to do is figure out your game plan: who are you going to speak to first? What workshops are you looking to attend? Who are some of the players that will be there in person? Figure that out and then put it into action!

  1. Be bold 

Look, career fairs can be scary. We understand that. But you need to understand that there’s no reason to be afraid. Everyone is there for the same reason. You’re all looking for your next employment opportunity, and employers are looking for people to hire. So, be bold, ask questions and do what you have to do to stand out!

A career fair is one of the many things you can do to help increase your chances of getting hired somewhere. Look at each of these events as an opportunity to invest in your future career, and an opportunity to help make yourself more comfortable in a setting where you’ll be speaking to a potential employer. Here are some more tips to help prepare you for your next job interview.

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