By Kirsi Donovan, Human Resources & Recruiting Assistant
Remember this saying? It only takes three seconds for someone to make a first impression (and that is the one that sticks!). Every time you see that person, the first encounter is the one that enters your mind. It is not easily altered if the impression was not a memorable one. While you are at a Job Fair or Career Fair, make sure that your first impression is right on target and a positive one. Here are few tips to help you prepare for the Fair, how to “work the room” and how to follow-up properly:
- If the Fair is being held by your school’s Career Center, be sure to ask the Counselor(s) for a listing of the companies attending beforehand so that you can do your research on the website for any job openings and company information. If it is more of an open to the public job fair, still be sure to do your research! I am always impressed and remember the candidate who says to me “I was researching your website the other night…” or “I saw the job opening for ….”
- Seems like a no brainer but remember to BRING YOUR RESUME! Ensure you have proofed it thoroughly, print out a good amount of them and bring in a nice folder or portfolio. We do review those resumes and we do take them with us back to the office for further review. My colleagues and I have placed many candidates over the years whom we met at the job fairs!
- You’ve done your research, have your resumes in hand and now the finishing touch of what to wear. Treat a job fair like you would an interview, by looking your best, showing confidence and being an absolute professional at all times. Wearing a suit is preferred along with good grooming and hygiene.
- As you enter the job fair, be sure to greet those at the main desk, get a name badge if you are able to and other material such as a map of the facility and what company is located where. Be polite, professional and courteous at all times to those around you as well. If you accidentally bump into someone, be sure to apologize and say excuse me, you never know if that person could be the company representative for the firm you are looking to get into!
- As you approach the table or booth, be patient if others are in front of you speaking with the company representative and review what you are going to say when it is your turn. Be sure to make eye contact immediately, introduce yourself to the representative, shake their hand and proceed as practiced. Have your resume ready and share with them upon their request. At the end of your “interview” ask them who you can follow-up with and take a business card.
- Actually Follow Up! Depending on the size of the job fair, a company could have 100 resumes, or 1000! Stand out by following up. Email or send a thank you note to the Representative or Recruiter that you spoke with, remind them of your conversation, position you are seeking, and say you are looking forward to hearing from them.
If you take away one piece of advice, let it be this: Practice how you will introduce yourself, as the first three seconds of meeting with someone will make or break your lasting impression!
For other job seeker advice, connect with Kirsi Donovan at Contemporary Personnel Staffing firstname.lastname@example.org