For some of us, it might be too soon to think about summer, but it is a right time to plan for a summer job, internship or first job after graduating. This winter and spring, universities across Canada will host in-person and virtual career fairs. Standing out and marketing yourself to potential employers are no easy tasks. You will be competing with not only your local peers but potentially with students and graduates across Canada. However, if you arrive prepared, present yourself well and follow up the right way, you will be ahead of other attendees and ultimately find your next job. Here are five steps to make the most of any career fair you attend.
Research employers attending the job fair
Look for a list of all companies and organizations attending the event. As you may not have enough time to approach everyone, narrow down the list of those you want to meet first. You should also do some research ahead of time as it shows your genuine interest and enthusiasm in the company when speaking with the recruiters. While you must prioritize your list, keep an open mind for other employers too. It is easy to overlook smaller companies and organizations, but they may offer invaluable benefits in a greater career journey.
Prepare and print out resumes
While you may be unable to create a customized resume for each employer, you can research the general requirements and skillsets needed for entry-level jobs in your field. Ensure the resume is well-written and free of errors. It is important to bring at least one copy of your resume for each employer you would like to meet and a few extras.
Dress for success
Treat a career fair as a job interview. Dress professionally but also comfortably. You might be on your feet for several hours, so comfortable shoes are a must. We have a few tips to help you choose your career fair outfit this winter season.
Be confident and prepared
If you research employers ahead of time, you know a little bit about them and what roles they are hiring for. Use your time wisely and prepare a short introduction – an elevator pitch – on what you want the recruiter to know about you. A concise message on your career goal, why you are interested in a particular role and how you meet the job requirements will go a long way. Some companies will likely do short on-site interviews to narrow down the applicants during the career fair. Check out our list of different interview questions to prepare your answers beforehand.
Ask for business cards and follow up
Ask for business cards from everyone you meet, connect with them on LinkedIn and send a thank you email within 24 hours of the career fair. Whether you are interested in the company or not, or perhaps they were not hiring in your field, you never know what opportunities they might have in the future. Making a great impression at the career fair and afterwards may change a recruiter’s mind. Therefore, it is a good practice to thank the company representative for their time with you. You can also attach another copy of your resume to the email. Additionally, if a recruiter mentions that you must submit a resume online, be sure to do so within a few days of the career fair.
What about virtual career fairs?
Success at a virtual career fair requires the same steps as an in-person job fair. Potential job seekers need to do the research and be well-prepared. While some don’t think dressing appropriately is necessary, you should always turn on your camera if you get an on-the-spot video interview. Either way, wearing a professional outfit also puts you in a “business” state of mind. In addition, ensure your background looks professional, and your space is free from noise and distractions. Do not take virtual interviews from a local coffee shop. The environment is too unpredictable. Head to the library or an unoccupied classroom and always test your Wi-Fi ahead of time. Looking for more tips on virtual interviews? Read our blog.
From making a positive impression to landing an interview, it takes some preparation to distinguish yourself from the crowd. However, by following these steps, you will be one step closer to landing a job in your career path.
For more than 46 years, Agilus has served our candidate and employer networks, connecting great job seekers with meaningful employment. We place nearly 10,000 job seekers in roles every year in Engineering, Technology, Professional/Office and Light Industrial roles. We have 100 recruiters across Canada who can help you find your next role or help you find that new career path. For more information about Agilus, please follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or check out our current open roles.