You’ve heard of eight-minute dating. That’s where each perspective dater meets a counterpart, exchanges important and unimportant details of their lives for eight minutes, and then moves on to the next potential suitor.
Well, career fairs are the eight-minute dating of the job-search world. Except, you don’t have eight minutes to explain yourself! However, if you come prepared, career fairs can be the first step to getting your foot inside the door.
Here are some tips to help you successfully navigate the floor of a career fair:
- Look the Part. First impressions do count…a lot! Look professional by dressing professionally. Dress as you would for a regular interview because that’s what you’ll be doing—only in an abbreviated form.
- Be Prepared. Research the companies that will be set up at the career fair, and which ones interest you. Practice what you want to say about yourself—your 9-15 second elevator pitch. Be positive, be specific, be concise, and be confident!
- Act Professionally. Introduce yourself, use a firm handshake, establish eye contact, speak clearly, smile, thank the company representative for the opportunity, and ask them for a business card (this will help you in Follow Up!).
- Be Well-Armed. Bring your résumé, and plenty of them. Make sure they look and read professionally, and are clean of errors.
- Follow Up. Contact the company representatives you met within a week or two of the career fair. Call the company representatives, thank them for the opportunity to speak with them, and again express your interest in the position.