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Should you attend a career fair? The opportunity to meet multiple recruiters in your target industry is networking gold and could help you access a hidden job market. Read our guide to making the most out of career fairs and finding a job that fits you.
When you’re conducting a job search, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Scrolling the job boards and checking in with network contacts are natural places to start, but there are other options you might not have considered. Have you ever thought about attending a career fair to find a job that fits you?
Career fairs may be events you associate purely with students and new graduates, but they can be a great resource for more experienced professionals too. When you think about the chance to meet multiple employers and recruiters in your target industry, all in one place, then it seems crazy to overlook this opportunity. Ready to get started? In this article we’ll explore where to find career fairs and how to successfully navigate career fairs to your best advantage.
According to Forbes, from 50% to 80% of all jobs are filled through networking, while some 70% of jobs may not even be posted on public sites. Attending career fairs is one way to grow your network and access this hidden job market.
Career fairs can provide you with the opportunity to learn about upcoming job openings, network, hear some insightful career talks, and catch up on industry news. Here’s how to maximize the potential of these events:
Completing some background research on the companies attending the career fair and any job openings they are advertising will help you make the most out of your time at the event. Identify which booths and employers are of most interest to you so you can prioritize meeting these companies first, then try to factor in some time to meet other recruiters too as you never know where you’ll hear about an exciting job opportunity.
When you’re meeting prospective employers for the first time, it can be easy to let nerves take over and either go blank or launch into a convoluted story of your professional history. Preparing an elevator pitch ahead of the event–a snapshot statement of who you are, your capabilities and your professional aspirations–will ensure you make a great first impression.
If you’re wondering where to find in-person or virtual career fairs, check online for upcoming events on sites such as Eventbrite, National Career Fairs or via a Google search of “career fair” combined with your target sector and location. Check in with your existing network, family, friends, mentors, or career coaches too to see if they have any recommendations.
Once you’ve introduced yourself to a prospective employer via your elevator pitch, you don’t want the conversation to grind to a halt. Having some insightful questions ready will show that you’ve done your research and you’ve a strong interest in their company. Here’s some suggested questions:
What does a typical day look like in the [Job Title] role?
Why did you join [Company Name] and why have you stayed?
Are there growth and development opportunities at [Company Name]?
I recently read in the news that [Recent event, announcement or company news]. How did you find that experience?
What’s the best way to stay in touch with you?
Following up with any new contacts you meet at a careers fair is vital, as otherwise they might just forget about you. Within 24 to 48 hours of the event, send a thank-you email to the recruiter and personalize this as much as possible. This could include thanking them for their time, expressing your strong interest in a job opening and working for the company, or complimenting a career talk they may have delivered.
If you’re looking to navigate and plan your future career, check out Career.io’s Explore Careers tool to find out more about your desired job role, salary prospects, and career progression opportunities.
Career fairs provide an opportunity to meet recruiters from multiple organizations virtually or in-person, whether you’re a graduate or more experienced professional.
Conducting research on participating companies, preparing an elevator pitch and questions to ask recruiters, polishing your resume, and dressing appropriately are all ways to make a great first impression at a career fair.
Don’t forget to secure contact details for recruiters and employers you meet at the career fair. Then send a follow-up email to thank them for their time and your interaction so they don’t forget you!
Helen is an experienced content writer, with expertise in corporate law, business, sales, marketing and education. Prior to this, she worked in recruitment and human resources, so she has a strong sense of what recruiters are looking for in terms of a potential employee. Helen loves exploring new places, writing blogs of her travel across Europe and enjoying trips to the US, Thailand and the Middle East. She is an avid reader of fiction, poetry, self-help books and factual content and also enjoys creative writing in her spare time, including poetry and children’s fiction.