When you first arrive at a job fair it can be a little overwhelming. If
there are 20-40+ booths set up you may not be sure where to start. Some
job seekers take a minute to just walk through the entire room (or maybe
there are multiple rooms) and quickly checkout the signs, marketing
materials, and even the company representative before deciding who to
approach first, or if you even want to approach them at all.
Many companies do their best to create a job fair presence that entices
you to come over and talk. They may use bright colors, large and
attractive displays, and even giveaways and prizes to get your attention.
Just like you want to stand out at a job fair, they also want to stand out
against all the other employers vying for the best candidates. All of this
effort works because most candidates will be compelled to stop at the
employers who seem to be the most interesting, even though they may be
missing out on the hidden gems.
What employers do when no one is applying.
We've already talked about arriving to the job fair later in the day when
the initial crowds of applicants have died down. With far fewer people
coming up to their tables, company representatives have a little more time
to let their eyes wonder.
Just like you checked out each employer's booth before approaching them,
each employer will now be checking you out since there is much less
activity going on. Use this to your advantage. Here's how.
Visit every booth at the job fair. Visit every single booth at the
job fair and give each employer the same amount of energy as the last one.
Even if you have no interest at all in that company:
1. Introduce yourself.
2. Shake hands with the representative.
3. Ask a thoughtful question about the company.
4. Take their business card and marketing materials.
5. Hand them a resume.
6. Thank them for sharing company information with you.
Be friendly and enthusiastic. Behave as if each one of these
representatives is someone you really like, haven't seen in 6 months, and
just stumbled upon. Tired hiring managers will light up at your
enthusiastic approach and your enthusiasm is going to attract a lot of
attention from the right people around the room.
What all the employers in the room will see:
1. An applicant who stood out and is confident, polished, and
2. Someone who seems to be able to quickly establish a rapport with
3. Someone with a smile and handshake for everyone and seems friendly and
4. A potential employee who would treat every customer with respect.
5. A person who is great at networking and meeting new people.
6. Someone who would represent their company extremely well.