8 Steps to a successful job fair

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By Melany Hallam

Spring is job fair season – the time of year when many Powell Riverites begin looking for summer employment. Job fairs are a great idea in theory, but successfully getting hired as the result of one takes planning and a lot of work. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Do some background research on registered employers. Visit the companies’ websites. What positions are they looking to fill and can you apply online ahead of time? This will help you avoid standing in lines to talk to employers who don’t fit with your career goals or skills.
  • Pre-register (if that’s an option) and get there early. If there are a lot of job-seekers at the event, you’ll want to get to the recruiters early so there’ll be a chance of speaking with them before they get too tired.
  • Take lots of copies of your resume; bring pen and paper and a business card/mini resume if you have such a thing.
  • Dress appropriately. You’ll make a positive impression, and you may even get an interview on the spot – you’ll need to be ready for that. Smile, stay calm, be polite and stay positive.
  • Have a plan of attack:
    1. Focus on the employers you’re most interested in and be sure to talk to them – don’t just pick up the literature at their table. Don’t waste time talking to employers you’re not interested in.
    2. Before talking to a recruiter, grab some literature from the booth and read it if you haven’t had time to pre-research (or you may even benefit from eavesdropping on other candidates as they speak to recruiters).
    3. If you’re interested in working for a particular company, talk to the recruiter even if they’re not hiring for a position you’re qualified for. You can still get information on the correct person to talk to later about your preferred job.
    4. You may even want to team up with another job seeker who is looking for a different type of job and share the work of talking to recruiters. If a company you talk to is looking for someone with your friend’s skills (or vice versa), you can report back to them and they can follow-up.
  • Prepare a 1-minute sales pitch tailored to the needs of the company. In your pitch, explain who you are, what relevant skills, experience and accomplishments you bring to the table, and what your career goal is. Be specific. The more you practice this pitch beforehand, the more confident you’ll feel delivering it to recruiters and other attendees at the fair.
  • Network with everyone at the fair. Always ask for a business card (or at least an email address), and then add the person to your contact list, or to sites such as LinkedIn. You can also learn a lot from other agencies at the fair – such as Career Link – and you may get some tips and leads from fellow job-seekers. If workshops are offered, go to one and talk to other attendees. Ask questions of everyone you meet and take notes so that you can remember who you spoke to and follow-up later.
  • Follow-up. If you promised to provide potential employers with more information about yourself, do so as quickly as possible. Send a thank you note or email to any recruiters that you spoke with.

Career Link is holding a job fair in Powell River in late April/early May (check here for updates) … We hope to see you there!


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