Instead of discussing the best uses of your time and efforts to impress employers, let’s talk about a few things you shouldn’t do at your next job fair. Here are a few helpful job fair “Don’ts”.
Don’t Bring The Kids
Most people like kids, and pushing a stroller around at a job fair will likely have people cooing at your adorable offspring. Even so, it’s best to leave the kids at home (with a trusted caregiver, of course) while you attend the job fair. Why?
Distraction is one reason. The time booth attendants spend fussing over your little one is time that you aren’t able to market yourself to potential employers. While your priority will rightly be your child, at a job fair it should be on your future employer.
Secondly, a child can introduce doubt. The employer may wonder, “If they can’t find child care for one hour, how will they manage childcare for a full-time job?” If you want to appear serious about finding a job, securing a babysitter for the job fair will be worth it.
Don’t Show Up Underdressed
While you may have an amazing resume that lists every skill required for the job, as the saying goes, you only get one chance to make a good first impression. Treat a job fair as you would a job interview and dress for success, because many employers pre-screen at job fairs and appearance matters. Showing up at a job fair dressed in pajamas, your best sweat suit, or beach clothes will deliver a “less than serious” message loud and clear. When choosing what to wear, business casual attire is always your best solution.
Don’t Let Them See You Sweat
Networking can be difficult, and it puts nearly everyone out of their comfort zone. Even so, try to always keep your head up and shoulders back and “own that room”, so to speak. Make eye contact and smile as you walk by, even if you’re passing a company you don’t wish to join. Difficult as it may be, resist the temptation to stare at the floor when you walk past booths. It’s helpful to remember that even those running the booth get nervous, and you aren’t the only one nervous about putting yourself out there and making introductions. Be the one to break the ice and you’ll be successful.
Don’t be Unprepared
It’s common for nervous job seekers to say nothing at all, or, even worse, say way too much – at times even telling employers all the reasons that they shouldn’t be hired. An easy way to avoid this is to practice your elevator pitch before your next job fair. A 30-second elevator pitch is a great way to introduce yourself, explain what you are looking for and give a prospective employer a glimpse of your skill base. A good pitch will peak their interest enough to call you in later for an interview.
If you seize the opportunity to make a good first impression, a job fair can be a great opportunity to do some networking, work on your personal marketing skills and open the door to some great job prospects.