With COVID restrictions subsiding, in-person job fairs are coming back. These events offer you a chance to connect with top employers. However, you’ll need to learn how to stand out from the other candidates who flock to these recruiting hubs.

Many employers rely heavily on job fairs for recruiting. One study found that large companies with more than 20,000 employees attend an average of 77 career fairs during a year. Even small companies tend to get the most out of these events. The same data set showed that firms with 500 or fewer employees attended an average of 11 events during a 12-month span.

These are pre-COVID numbers. However, with such value received by employers, these events will quickly return to their prominent place in the process. Your job is to get the most out of these opportunities.

After all, connecting with employers represents the central goal of any job search. A top recruiter, like SmartTalent, can accelerate this process, linking you with the best companies in your area.

However, when operating outside of a recruiter, a job fair offers an excellent chance to make your own contacts. With that in mind, here are steps you can take to stand out at a job fair and make sure employers will call you:

Research Attendees in Advance

Don’t go into the job fair blind. The venue or the firm hosting the event will provide some information about the employers planning to attend. Gather whatever information you can about the companies, so you’ll know how to use your time most efficiently.

Have a Game Plan

Once you’ve done your research, you can use that information to structure a plan for attending the event. Choose the employers you most want to meet. From there, prioritize your favorites, while leaving some time to wander around and seek out unexpected opportunities.

Beyond mapping out your day, see if you can get a jump on the conversations. Reach out to the employers you like best. See if you can make contact with the individuals planning to attend the job fair. If you can build a relationship ahead of time, you’ll get more out of the discussion on the day.

SmartTalent can give you the background you need to understand your chosen industry. You’ll learn the market and make connections with some of the area’s top players. Connect with SmartTalent to boost your knowledge level and get the most out of every interaction with prospective employers.

Bring Any Materials You’ll Need

Your research will allow you to prepare mentally for the job fair. However, don’t forget the physical side of things. Pack a few items to get through your day:

  • Copies of your resume
  • Business cards
  • Water and snacks
  • A professional-looking bag to carry everything

Dress Properly

Unfortunately, you won’t get much of a chance to make your case to prospective employers. They’ll be busy and you’ll be moving around. As such, you may only get a minute or two to make a first impression.

In these circumstances, appearances matter. As such, think about your wardrobe. Dress for success. Take a cue from the industry about what the expectations will be. But remember, it never hurts to overdress.

The only caveat to consider: at a job fair, you’ll be on your feet a lot. Going from booth to booth will involve a significant amount of walking. As such, select comfortable (yet work-appropriate) footwear.

Practice Your Approach

Headed into the job fair, work on your opening lines. Generally speaking, you’ll deliver the same information over and over again. It helps to have a little practice. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Don’t Be Shy
  • Consider Your Body Language
  • Prepare for Common Questions
  • Craft an Elevator Pitch

Follow Up After the Job Fair

The job fair offers an excellent opportunity to make connections to great employers. However, these brief talks only represent the first steps.

Use the contacts you make as a jumping-off point. Follow up after the fair by reaching out to the people you’ve met. Use what you’ve learned to focus on the best opportunities.

Job fairs represent one part of a well-rounded job-search plan. Along with this, consider teaming with SmartTalent. You’ll get the support and guidance you need to make the most out of your next career decision.

Contact SmartTalent today to get started.