Job Fair Etiquette

Tomorrow, I’ll be attending a job fair for a company at which I’ve been hoping to obtain a job.  (Wish me luck!)   In the spirit of helping others who are in a similar position, I’ll follow up my advice on applying to jobs and going on job interviews with a few tips on job fair etiquette.

First, there are in general two types of job fairs, the ones that seek a particular type of profession and the ones that cover a wide variety of companies and fields at one fair.  The former are sometimes used by a company in order to fill openings that they have, and can be a good way to get your foot in the door at company you are interested in joining.  (Such is the case with the job fair I will be attending on Tuesday.)   The latter tend to be rather less formal, particularly if they focus on entry level positions.  Be sure to check the published list of employers to ensure that at least one company you are interested in joining will be represented at the fair.

When attending a job fair, try to dress well; you will have only a short time to talk to the recruiters at the fair, and you want to make a good impression.  Be sure to bring copies of your resume; in most cases, you may only have enough time to drop off your resume before you have to leave.   When you get to the front of the booth, feel free to talk with the interviewer as long as you are able.

Depending on type of job fair, you might be able to talk with the recruiter for a just a short period of time, or you might be able to sit down for a short interview.  If you don’t have much time to speak with the interview, be sure to make your salient selling points during the short time you have available.  During a longer interview, you’ll have the opportunity to share more of your experiences and qualifications; brushing up on your job interview skills and considering some of the questions you may be asked will serve you well.

With most job fairs, the recruiters you meet will not be in a position to hire you directly.  It’s enough to share your resume, meet some contacts at some companies in which you are interested, and get your name out in front of them.  If you are able to make a connection or two, all the better.  Job fairs are all about planting the roots for future job opportunities.

While they shouldn’t be your only job hunting resource, job fairs can be a valuable resource for finding employment.  They allow you to speak directly to employees at a variety of companies, setting the stage for more substantial interviews in the future.  Plus, they’re more fun than many job hunting activities; you can usually pick up plenty of good swag while visiting some of the bigger job fairs.  Have fun, and enjoy the job hunting!

Some other job fair resources:

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