Top 5 Networking Tips at a Job Fair
remember my first job fair: shy and intimidated, I just strolled around, collected some really cool notebooks and pens, left my CV in a pile of applications or filled in an online form, and went home.
I thought that I had done a pretty good job.
No wonder, I received zero call-backs, replies or follow ups. Not that I did any follow up, either. And then I thought… what a big waste of time.
Don’t make the same mistake.
Want to land a job offer or get quality connections?
Make an effort, do the research, prepare, reach out and network!
1. Do your homework
Don’t just go to a career fair for the sake of being present. Do your homework, research the companies attending, identify the ones that are a perfect match for you. Read recent PR articles related to their work. Familiarize yourself with the brand, the spirit of the company.
Prepare questions, avoid generic ones like “What does your company do” (the best case scenario — you should already have some understanding of their field).
Ask about the skills and expertise the company is searching for, express interest for their culture, show some curiosity about the hiring process.
2. Prepare your elevator pitch
Before even considering to visit a job fair, make sure you know what you want, what type of a job or career you aspire for, or at least which direction you would like to take. Are you a tech or business guy? Are you more into front-end development or back-end? Interested more in software testing or technical support? Don’t be shy to tell this to recruiters at the stand. You will open up a conversation that may end in a scheduled interview.
Prepare your elevator pitch, the two-minute intro about yourself, the moment to shine and intrigue the recruiters.
Make sure to be natural and dynamic, you don’t want to sound like an automated robot reading the credentials of your CV. Try to engage in a conversation, do not just recite your skills.
3. A smile can get you a long way
You just pulled an allnighter for your finals? Doesn’t matter. Go home, get a few hours of sleep and bring your A game at the career fair. Leave your moody attitude at home.
Make sure you are in positive state of mind, have a friendly and warm manner. Radiate with confidence, bud don’t be cocky. And last, but definitely not least, dress for success. No need for a suit, but please don’t wear your favorite jeans with holes, just don’t!
4. Network, network, network.
Career fairs are actually networking events. Obvious, right? Why, then, are you staring at your phone?!
Keep your mobile tucked away, even when you are waiting in a line. Show some interest about the conversation happening at the moment. The person in front of you may have some informative questions. When you do get your turn, present your elevator pitch. Be intriguing but don’t dwell on details. Network, don’t interview.
Also, remember to interact with people around you. Don’t be a faceless name in the crowd. Peers may have info about additional job opportunities. They may even recommend you to someone else in the future.
5. Follow up after the event.
Be aware that recruiters meet many, many people at this event. You may have left a great impression, but why leave anything out to chance? Follow up after the event and connect on LinkedIn. Moreover, follow the company across Social Media channels, subscribe to their newsletter, join their blog.
Hope the above statements will help you at the next career fair or some other networking event. Are you located in Skopje, Macedonia? Join us at #JobFair at FINKI, the biggest job fair for the tech community, and test all these tips out. 😉