These insights are written on behalf Marler Haley, a UK based company who have many years of experience in exhibitions.
Before the job fair
As you should, employers research who else will be attending the job fair. This knowledge of the playing field lets them know how, and how aggressively, to present themselves. They’ll also plan and put together their stand, trying to make it both visually appealing and concisely informative. You can tell by the stand how prepared a company is – those who’ve prepared better are best to talk to!.
At the job fair
Companies will often choose approachable, personable staff members to man the stand – this means that, while it’s daunting, you’ll be talking to people who are good at talking to people. They’ll also have gone through the company’s recruitment process themselves, and so are perfect to answer your questions. Don’t worry about seeming too inquisitive – as long as the questions you ask are relevant.
The staff’s impressions of candidates may be taken into account when deciding who to recruit – bear this in mind and dress smart and carry yourself well. It can sometimes feel like you’re an unnoticeable entity when job-hunting, but this isn’t the case.
Companies will prepare literature in advance to distribute at the job fair, and will prepare responses for the most popular questions. This means there’s a vast amount of information available if you ask for it – make the most of this.
After the job fair
Companies will follow-up the job fair relatively quickly, and will categorise the resumes into ones worth pursuing and ones not worth pursuing. Ensure your resume is in the former pile by following guides to ensure it is written and formatted correctly, and make it interesting. Initiative is favoured by employers – don’t feel like you can’t get in touch after the fair with any further questions or to inquire as to the progress of your application.
This information should give you an idea of what you’re up against when attending job fairs. Just remember that while it’s nerve-racking, you’re talking to real people who were in your position once (probably not so long ago!). Rather than seeing it as an opportunity to drop of CVs under close scrutiny of the staff at the stands, see it instead as an opportunity to ask questions about the companies you’re interested in, demonstrate that you’re a good candidate, and put your foot in the door. That should make it less stressful and more beneficial!
This post aims to outline ways in which students and graduates can gain from attending job fairs, and is written by Chris Lee on behalf of Marler Haley, who have over 60 years’ experience in the exhibition industry.