Application tips

Visiting a job fair is top sports: 9 tips for success!

20 Dec 2019
Visiting a job fair is top sport. You can visit them 'anonymously' and get few results, but you can also profile yourself and go home with a number of job interviews or job offers.

In this article, we tell you how you can stand out to potential employers in a positive way during a job fair. We give you practical tips to optimize your chances before, during and after a job fair.

Stand out from the crowd

Winter is coming to an end, the days are getting longer and… the first job fairs are coming up! It’s high time to get ready! Because success at a job fair depends on 3 things: your preparation before the job fair, your visit to the job fair and your follow-up after the job fair.

In this article, we tell you how you can stand out in a positive way to potential employers and optimize your chances of success.

Prepare well for every job fair

Tip 1: Bring enough resumes 

A CV is still an important tool in the application process. After all, recruiters speak to many candidates at job fairs and they often have too little time to take notes.

That is why recruiters often use the received CVs after a job fair to determine which candidates they will invite for a follow-up interview. Make sure your CV stands out in a positive way.

In our article 21 ½ tips for written communication during the application process, we gave you some tips for a solid resume. Some important points for a good CV:

  • Make sure your CV is up to date.
  • Make your CV easy to read. Formatting is important!
  • Start your CV with a short version of your CV (summary of 2/3 sentences). This allows recruiters to scan your CV quickly and easily.
  • Don’t forget to include your phone number, link to your LinkedIn and email address. This is forgotten too often!
  • Add a professional photo. This way the recruiter will recognise you immediately when he or she looks at your CV after the fair.
  • Bring several copies of your CV with you. After all, you will speak to several companies.
  • Put your CVs in separate covers (one for each company you want to deliver your CV to) so that your CVs don’t crease.

job fairsTip 2: Determine in advance which companies you’d like to visit

Good preparation is half the work. Before the job fair, study the list of companies that will be present. You can usually find this list in advance on the website or in the brochure of the job fair.

Read in the brochure how the different companies present themselves. Make a list of companies where you want to work and then study their websites. Then update your list so that you only have the companies where you really want to work.

Then try to summarize in 2 sentences why you want to work for each company on your list and why you are a good choice for that company. You will certainly have to answer these questions. You’d better be well prepared.

Tip 3: The elevator pitch: what’s your story?

Chances are that a recruiter will ask you: “Tell me something about yourself”. Make sure you can easily tell him/her in 2 to 3 sentences who you are, what your ambitions are and why you fit in well with the recruiter’s company.

An elevator pitch should roll off your tongue. Practice your elevator pitch often and forget the reluctance to praise yourself. Dare to tell your story. After all, it is about your future!

In our article about the ideal elevator pitch you can read more tips for a good elevator pitch.

“Work the room during the job fair”

Tip 4: Dress properly

You only get one chance to make a first impression! So make sure you look neat and tidy. At a job fair, you don’t have to wear a costume or suit, but you also don’t have to wear a jogging or washed-out jeans. A good candidate is a well-groomed candidate!

job fairsTip 5: Pay attention to your verbal and nonverbal communication

In this article, you can read more tips on verbal and non-verbal communication during a job interview. A job fair is a test of your social skills. From a solid handshake to the tone and volume of your voice. Make sure you radiate peace and quality. Give a powerful handshake, speak clearly, slowly, eloquent and always be positive.

Tip 6: and… Action! 

When you research these companies, you’ll undoubtedly still have some questions. That’s good! This will kill two birds with one stone. If you ask intelligent questions at a job fair (questions the answer to which cannot be found on the internet and which show your personal ambition), you not only get answers to your questions, you also show that you are really interested in the company.

Also dare to ask ‘difficult’ questions about challenges, ambitions and the future of the company you are talking to. As long as you can link the questions to your own ambitions. Also, be critical about the answers you get.

After all, at job fairs companies are in a ‘war for talent’. Make sure you talk to all the companies you might want to work for. This is the only way you can be invited for a follow-up interview.

Tip 7: Inspector Gadget

One of the most annoying phenomena at a job fair (from a recruiter’s point of view) is the proverbial “Inspector Gadget”: the job seeker who tries to collect all the gadgets.

Ballpoint pens, balloons, USB sticks… don’t just take a gadget. Only take a gadget if a recruiter offers you one. That is correct behaviour and necessary for a good first impression.

Follow up on your contacts after the job fair

Tip 8: Make a personal report of the job fair

Make a personal report as soon as possible after the fair. Which companies did you find interesting and why? Which companies did you not find interesting and why? Which recruiter from which company did you immediately ‘click with’ and why?

Don’t wait too long with this report. After a few days, all companies and all conversations will look alike. Then the important details fade away. Networking is about making and maintaining a connection. And you only get connections with other people if you pay attention to the details.

job fairsTip 9: Send thank-you emails or a LinkedIn invite

Did you have some pleasant conversations and did you receive contact details of recruiters? Then send a polite thank-you e-mail. It is also recommended to add these people on LinkedIn.

Always make sure that you don’t appear to be too ‘pushy’ and that you define a clear call to action. End your thank-you e-mail or LinkedIn invite for example with ‘If you have any further questions I would be happy to help you’ and/or ‘I look forward to your response with interest’.

If you have spoken to several recruiters and/or employees of one company, you can send them all a personalized e-mail and/or LinkedIn Invite. Few job seekers do this. And this can make all the difference!

Be prepared, stand out, follow up!

In this article, we gave you 9 tips to get the maximum out of your next visit to a job fair. Good preparation is half the work, but don’t underestimate the importance of verbal and nonverbal communication during the job fair and a swift follow-up afterward.

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Maxime van Belle Content Marketeer