How Students and Graduates Can Get More from Job Fairs
Many universities host job fairs, or career expos, that give students and other job seekers a chance to meet potential employers. Al-Fanar Media has gathered some advice on how to make the most of these opportunities. We recommend a structured approach, following steps divided into three stages.
1. Before the Job Fair
Get Prepared. Learn about the companies participating in the job fair before attending and familiarise yourself with their products and services. You can learn about the companies by visiting their websites and social media pages, and reading their customers’ comments and opinions. This information will help you choose the ones that best suit your qualifications and career aspirations.
Identify Job Opportunities. After identifying the companies that match your interests, focus on the jobs you would like. Look at the job vacancies on each company’s website and learn about the requirements and skills needed. Knowing these details will help you focus on the jobs you can apply for, and prepare for a potential interview during the fair.
Prepare Your CV. Prepare your CV or résumé well in advance of the job fair. When you write your résumé, use your knowledge of the requirements of the participating companies, and incorporate them. You can rearrange the content of your résumé for each company you want to join to focus on experiences and skills you believe are most useful to the company. Keep your CV brief and put the most important information first, to help the employer’s sorting process.
Get Ready for Interviews. Prepare answers to common interview questions and practice your communication skills by making quick presentations about yourself. You should also review the personal information on your ID card to ensure it is clear, concise, and error-free. Try to get someone else to review your card, give feedback on your résumé or ask for more details.
2. At the Job Fair
Be Personable, Confident and Well-Prepared. For jobs like sales and customer service, companies want to see that you can represent them in an appropriate way to their customers. So, your behaviour, appearance, self-confidence, and ability to attract their representatives’ attention are important factors in their initial evaluation of you. You may succeed in earning a job interview during the job fair, so make sure you are dressed in clothes appropriate for meeting prospective employers. Prepare your papers and certificates and upload them to your email in advance, so you can deliver them immediately if requested.
Take a Quick Initial Tour. When you arrive at a job fair, take a quick initial tour to locate your target companies’ booths, and organise versions of your CV in the order of each company you plan to visit. Looking for the right CV while standing in front of a company representative may not create a good impression. It also wastes time that you can better use on presenting yourself confidently. So, it is better to arrange everything in advance, to give a better impression and show how organised you are.
Attend Relevant Seminars. Some job fairs provide seminars and interactive meetings that reveal different companies’ reactions to job seekers. If possible, attend such events to benefit from expert advice and take part in discussions. Some of these seminars can be a valuable opportunity to draw a company’s attention to your qualifications and interaction skills. Asking an appropriate question may give you the chance to have a conversation on the side with an employer who may find your behaviour and skill set appropriate for what their company needs.
Behave Tactfully. Treat companies’ representatives and managers politely and respectfully to get the best response from them. If someone gives you advice, thank them warmly and accept it with an open mind, even if you think it isn’t exactly suited to you. When you get the chance to interact with company representatives, do so immediately, but be careful not to be overly friendly or overconfident, because leaving a good impression should be your first concern.
Refine Your People Skills as You Go. Try to assess your interaction with each company before moving on to another. Otherwise, you might end the day repeating unnoticed mistakes. Try to learn from each interaction with a company representative, prepare your questions, ask them immediately after introducing yourself, and evaluate how your questions and replies were received before using them with another company.
3. After the Job Fair
Evaluate Your Experience. Once the job fair is over, it is important to analyse the experience as a whole. Reflect on how successful your interactions were and identify your mistakes, to improve your performance next time. You may be able to attend more than one such event in a year.
Stay in Touch. After the job fair, do not forget to communicate with company representatives you met, and learn about the job or training opportunities they might have available. You can also re-contact companies and let them know that you are still interested in their opportunities. Your continuing follow-up communication will give companies a good impression of your determination and enterprise, indispensable qualities in the labour market.
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