How to Make the Most of Job Fairs
Job fairs offer much more value than people normally realize.
These events are great because they create an environment where companies looking for new recruits and people (like you) looking for new opportunities are all able to mingle face-to-face in the same area.
Recruiters are keen about job fairs because they get to see their potential recruits in front of them (instead of just as a name on a piece of paper), and jobseekers feel the same way because they are able to ‘window shop’ at different companies without necessarily going through traditional application processes.
Very few people take full advantage of the value that job fairs have to offer, and if you’re reading this post, odds are you’re not like most people. You want to know how to make the most of every job fair that you attend; maximizing your time and effort to get the most value possible.
Here are a few things to consider.
Do your homework
First and foremost, do your homework. Do not go to a job unprepared and unaware of what’s happening or who is going to be there. Organizers of job fairs typically publish a lot of the information openly on their website or social media channels well in advance, so that you can actually plan accordingly.
Look at the list of companies that will be present at the event. Do some research on them and figure out which ones are relevant to you. Ask yourself, “Which companies can I picture myself working for?”
Figure that out, make a list, and then take note of their locations (i.e. the booth numbers they’ll be occupying). This way, you’ll be able to hit the ground running the moment you walk into the job fair, wasting no time having to search for the people you want to meet and talk to.
Dress to impress
Even though you’re not at a formal job interview, you must remember that you are still creating first impressions. Sure, perhaps the recruiters you meet might not be the actual people who might interview you, but they’ll be the ones to communicate back to their companies which candidates are worth exploring further.
Get yourself noticed. Dress properly, speak confidently, shake lots of hands and act as if the job fair itself is an informal interview, because that’s exactly what it is. Odds are, at the end of the job fair the recruiters you spoke to will gather and decide which candidates they find to be the most promising.
Take advantage of free support services
Here’s a new perspective for you to consider: the people who organize job fairs are also in competition. They’re in competition with other job fair organizers who want to be able to attract the best candidates and the best recruiters to their events.
So how do these organizers gain the competitive edge?
A lot of them offer free or discounted support services on-site. These could be anything from workshops to help you ace your interview, talks by experts, people to help you improve your CV, photo booths to take more professional photos and much more!
Find out what services the organizers offer on-site and take full advantage of them!
Find out what companies want
When you’re on the floor at the event speaking to recruiters, remember that you’re also speaking to the companies as a whole. Don’t just pass them your CV and walk away. Engage them in conversation, get to know them, and try to understand their needs as recruiters.
What type of strengths are they looking for? What type of candidates do they want? Or even ask questions to understand what their peak hiring seasons are (if any). No matter how many job postings you read online or in Malaysian newspapers, you’ll never fully understand a company’s needs until you speak to the people who are actually doing the recruiting on the ground.
At the end of it all, do not forget to follow up on the jobs that you really want for yourself. Getting to know the recruiter serves another purpose: to have a contact point you can call or email later on to get feedback or even find out what’s going on with your application.
Job fairs are short-term events, so for this reason you should do your best to squeeze as much value as you can from them, so that you can land your dream job and build yourself a great career!