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Job fairs are very useful in getting a first contact within a company. The people from human resources are usually present in job fairs and can guide you to the right people or hiring managers within the company. You will also know the company’s hiring plans with specific positions they are looking to fill. The following pointers will help you make the most of your visit to a job fair:

 

·        Dress business casual – you don’t want to over dress for a fair neither do you want to be caught talking to a Vice President of a company in jeans and t-shirt.

·        Get a list of companies participating in the job fair from the organizers in advance

·        Make a short list of companies you are interested in and want to talk to

·        Do some preliminary research on the company so that you can talk intelligently and impress the executives and get them interested in you

·        Have a list of questions ready to ask the executives on the booth

·        Do not try to hog the attention of the executives – there will be many potential candidates they want to talk to

·        Do not take more than 2 minutes of their time and plan your conversation for those two minutes

·        Get business cards from the executives and tell them that you will write to them shortly with your application or more questions

·        Tell them something unique about yourself so that they remember you when they see your email – something like you ran a marathon or started your own small business etc. But mention the fact in some context. Don’t just throw it out there.

·        Don’t just hangout at the booth – move with a purpose, loitering is not good.

·        Visit with the right friends if you need to

·        Observe the booths – they tell a lot about the company and their focus on hiring

·        Observe the people from companies, how they dress and interact with people – this tells a lot about the culture of the company

·        Be prepared with a folder or a bag to put all the brochures you will collect

 

Follow-up after the fair

You must make use of the contacts you get from the fair. Most likely they will not remember you. But you now have a lead in the company to talk to for more information. Ask the contact to suggest a person in the division you are interested in for informational interview. Follow up with a phone call. It is very hard to say NO on the phone than on email.

 

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