NEWS + ADVICE
Tips for a Successful Job Fair
Our top tips to help you work a job fair like a pro.
Cleared employers spend significant time and money to come to job fairs because they’re looking for cleared talent to meet their hiring needs. Want to be one of the attendees to really grab their attention and make the most of your time and effort? Read these tips for the inside scoop from cleared talent acquisition professionals.
Before You Attend
1. Pre-register and upload your resume before the job fair. Recruiters receive a pre-registrant resume file about a week before the job fair and may contact you to set up an interview. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear from an employer before the event, as not all employers will have time to review resumes beforehand.
2. Prepare ahead of time. Review the Job Seeker Handbook and have a strategy for each employer you talk to. Which positions interest you? What specific information can you gather to move your job search forward while making a great impression? The Job Seeker Handbook may not include all of a company’s job openings as hiring needs change dynamically.
3. Get in the right frame of mind. If you ask recruiters and hiring managers about the importance of attitude in a job search on a scale of 1 to 10, most of them answer 11. We all get nervous, but focus on being enthusiastic and friendly when talking to recruiters, hiring managers and other job seekers.
4. A job fair is an interview, so look the part. Dress like the professional you are, or seek to be. If you’re transitioning military it’s okay to come in uniform or cammies.
5. It’s never too early to start networking, so if you’re transitioning out of the military or government in the next year or two it’s time to start attending job fairs.
During the Job Fair
6. A job fair is a networking event filled with hundreds of people with information about jobs and contracts. You’re here to network with job seekers as well as employers to move your job search forward by making connections and gathering information.
7. Talk to every employer if you have time. You’ve probably prepared for employers you’re targeting, which is a great strategy. But talk to every employer in the room if you can. Give all of them the opportunity to learn about your skills and talents.
8. Attend the resume reviews or career seminars being offered. It’s an opportunity to learn and to interact and network with additional job seekers.
9. When appropriate, ask for feedback. Many recruiters and hiring managers really do want to help candidates improve their skills and get hired. Be mindful of their time, but if someone is offering advice to you, pay attention and thank them for doing so.
10. Be sure to get the hiring manager or recruiter’s name and contact information so you may follow up. Even if today’s discussion was not a fit, remember the value of networking for the future.
Have Your 10-30 Second Introduction Ready to Flow
Hi, I’m Cindy Thomas, looking for an Intel Analyst position, with Air Force service in Intel plus two years CT with your new client X, and I’ve got a TS/SCI. I’ve been recognized for both my analytical and writing excellence.
That tells the recruiter you’re looking for work in a field they need, you’ve done your homework so you’re a proactive professional, and gives them an idea of your capabilities, veteran status and clearance. All in 20 seconds!
After the Event
11. Connect and follow up with the individuals you met at the job fair, both employers and job seekers. Whether it’s via LinkedIn, email or another social platform, be sure to follow up within 24 hours with everyone you met. For company reps, include one or two key points about why you would be an asset to their company.
Don’t underestimate the power of making face-to-face connections at a job fair with individuals at the companies you want to work for. Cleared employers use job fairs as a recruiting tool because they work. At an all clearances event about 1 in 10 attendees will receive an offer; at a polygraph event about 1 in 3 attendees will receive an offer. Be a valued candidate by presenting yourself well and being positive in the process. Your future is worth it.
“When you talk to a recruiter or hiring manager at a job fair think of it as an interview. The first impression you make is really important. Be polite, respectful and have a positive attitude – it really does make a difference.”– Lisi Mueller, Novetta