Recently, I attended a local job fair and spoke to several of the employers to solicit their response to the following question: "If you were to offer one tip for job seekers attending a job fair, what would it be?" The two answers given most frequently? "Dress professionally" and "Communicate what you want and what you have to offer.” This seemed like common sense to me, but considering how many employers mentioned these two things, it occurred to me maybe it goes beyond common sense and falls into the category of "you don't know what you don't know.”
Job Fair TipsSo, for those who don’t know, here are ten valuable tips to help job seekers find success at job fairs.
1. Dress ProfessionallyThe general rule of thumb is to dress to fit the job for which you are applying. For some, this may mean a suit and tie; for others a pair of khakis, polo shirt, or button-down collar. It’s not okay to “pop in” to a job fair on your way home from the gym or to the grocery store. Plan your attire carefully. Choose a color that accentuates your best features and make sure it is comfortable. Sneakers and flip flops are never acceptable.
2. Communicate What You Want And What You Have To OfferEmployers are amazed at how many people attend job fairs hoping the employer will play the role of a career counselor or engage in a game of "20 Questions.” Prior to attending a job fair, prepare a 30-second introduction and career overview: your "positioning statement.” Include the following:
- The kind of work you do
- The number of years of experience you have and in what industry(ies)
- Some of your areas of expertise and/or key skills
- What you hope to find in your next job