Job fairs can be intimidating. There are a lot of unfamiliar faces roaming around the room and anxiety levels are high. Should you be aggressive and push your way through to talk to employers or should you take a gentler approach? There are different strategies you can try, but it is important to go into job fairs being prepared with a strong resume, having a sense of what type of employers or work you would be interested in, and the willingness to network.
Resumes are a way to succinctly showcase your education and work experiences to potential employers. Your resume should, at minimum, include any of the following components in reverse chronological order:
- Contact information: name, email, phone number, and location
- Education: name of college or university, major, and anticipated year of graduation
- Experiences: job, research, and extracurricular activities
- Job: any relevant job experience and your responsibilities
- Research: any academic research you may have led or been a part of
- Extracurricular activities: any activities you were involved in through school or outside of school
Having a resume prepared will give you something to talk to and give employers a sense of your experiences.
Along with having a strong resume in hand, go into job fairs with a sense of what employers and types of work will be available. If you’re able to, access the pamphlet beforehand and do a scan of the employers. Having a sense of what jobs will be available will help you craft your messaging to employers. Ask yourself the following questions before you head in:
- What type of work am I interested in?
- Who are the employers that I am interested in? Do I know the basics about their company/organization?
Often times, employers have human resource recruiters at job fairs and they are trained to talk to people and get a gauge of your interest and fit with their company/organization. It is important to have a sense of what you would be interested in, so that they can see your genuinity from the beginning.
Being willing to network is another key part of job fairs. It can be intimidating to introduce yourself to people you do not know, but it is very likely that most of the people in the room also do not know each other. Networking is an important part of building professional connections and relationships and will open up many opportunities in the near and far future. Determining commonalities, sharing professional experiences, and ending with exchanging contact information are all parts of networking.
As job fairs come and go, you will become more familiar and comfortable with the lay of the land. Heading into a job fair is the first step in potentially landing a job, but there are many other steps that follow and listening to The Grind is a resource that can help you navigate today’s working world. In the first season of The Grind, we’ll follow four brave college students as they try to rewrite the rules and land great jobs. Each episode will pose a question drawn from their experiences that we’ll try to answer with help from experts and professionals living it.
This post was written by Trang Le, Marketing Director of The Grind Podcast, for the Bucknell Career Development Center.