Whether you’re a recent graduate seeking your first position or an experienced professional in search of a new opportunity, attending job and career fairs is one way to network and find job leads. Job fairs allow you to meet HR managers from various companies and industries, all housed under one roof for the day. These tips will help you make the best impression.
Research Job Fair Companies
It is usually possible to obtain a list of employers participating in a job fair ahead of time. The best-prepared candidates will have already spent time researching corporate cultures of the participating companies.
Develop Multiple Versions of Your Resume
After you’ve done your homework, tailor your resume based on your job objective, and consider bringing multiple versions to the career fair. Once candidates have done their research on participating companies, they can create a few different resumes targeting these companies. For example, someone interested in finance can research typical job titles and types of responsibilities and then create several different versions accordingly. They also might create one resume targeted to working for banks and another one tailored to working for the finance division of a large firm.
You should also prepare a general resume without a specific objective. This way, candidates can be prepared for any situation at a job fair by keeping their options open and having multiple resume versions ready to go.
Bring Supporting Documents
Additional documents that could help support your qualifications will depend on your industry and career goals, but they may include a cover letter, professional portfolio, transcripts (usually for new graduates), reference list, letters of recommendation and job applications.
Note: supporting documents aren’t as important as your resume, and some HR managers won’t be interested in dealing with the extra paperwork.
Request a business card from each HR manager, and jot down a few notes immediately after each conversation, this will help refresh your memory when you follow up. Email a thank-you note within 24 hours of the job fair.
We also recommend that after you meet with an HR manager and learn more about specific positions, alter your resume and send an updated, customized version to the HR manager.