If you're seeking employment, job fairs can be highly effective for meeting recruiters and professionals in your field of interest. Since these fairs can make superb career networking opportunities, it's always crucial to make sure you have your resume readily available for every potential employer you may encounter.
If you're at a job fair, chances are you'll see dozens of employers at company booths. This means you'll probably be meeting a lot of different people. Bring sufficient copies of your resume -- a minimum of 20. You want to avoid the undesirable scenario of meeting a recruiter who seems enthusiastic about talking to you only to have just given out the last copy of your resume five minutes ago. Business cards alone aren't usually as effective as resumes at job fairs. Employers who attend these events often encounter hundreds of new faces in a single day. If your name is all they see, they might forget you. If they see information on your education, past internship and job experiences, they'll likely remember you.
A good resume doesn't only indicate your education, experience and special skills, it also looks good while it does all of those things. A tidy, organized and professional resume can go a long way at career fairs -- and in job searches in general. Make sure your resume is printed with an easy-to-read font, on light paper in a color such as pure white or off-white. Carefully proofread your resume before attending these fairs. Make sure it's devoid of spelling, grammar and typing errors. Keep the paper looking immaculate by placing it inside a folder. Crumpled paper with a cappuccino stain over your skills list does not make a good impression.
Have it on Hand
When you attend a job fair, always have your resume in quick reach. If it takes you five minutes to figure out where exactly you placed your copies in your binder, you'll risk appearing chaotic and unready -- both things that aren't exactly appealing to potential employers. If you can pull a resume out of the pocket of your folder in an instant, not only will you seem like a structured person, you also won't waste anyone's time. If you have different versions of your resume, assign them different paper colors so you don't confuse them. If one resume is targeted toward public relations, for example, put it on white paper. If another version is focused on advertising, use off-white paper.
Be Ready to Talk About it
While it's crucial to hand out your resume at job fairs, it's also crucial to be fully ready to talk about it to employers as well. If an employer quickly scans your resume and notices that you majored in marketing or interned at a certain company, be ready to speak about it. The point of a job fair is not only to show employers your resume, but to show them how you come across as a person too.
Sending a "thank you" to the potential employers whom you met at the job fair can make a great impression. Do so promptly -- in a span of one day after the event. This action helps you appear polite and enthusiastic -- both serious career assets. Send the thank you via letter or email. Be extra thorough and include your resume, even though you already gave a physical copy to an employer at the fair. Let an employer know how much you enjoyed the chat and how much you appreciate her taking time out to have a discussion with you. Since you need contact information to send your thanks, don't ever walk away from a career fair meeting without an employer's business card.
- University of Maine Career Center: Career Fair Tips
- Monster: Resume Tips for Job Fairs
- USC Career Center: Career Fair Tips
- University of Maryland Career Center: Career Fair Preparation
- University of South Carolina Career Center: Job Fair Tips for Students
- VirginiaTech Career Services: How to Prepare for a Job Fair/Career Fair
- AOL Jobs: 3 Crucial Career Fair Tips for College Students
- Stanford University Career Development Center: During and After the Career Fair
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