Since starting Elarie, we've had the opportunity to visit a few job fairs in the Metro Detroit area.
During this time, we have taken advantage of not only helping job seekers create better resumes but also talking directly to recruiters.
We decided that holding onto all this information was no good unless all of YOU could benefit from it! So here are some of the BEST tips and advice we received from recruiters in the Metro Detroit area on Job Fairs, Resumes & Interviews!
Before a Job Fair
Research the companies that will be at the job fair, before heading out. Companies want to know that you're interested in them, their business and goals, or at least willing to do the work to show interest!
Don't just blindly send all of the companies participating in a job fair your resume and cover letter. Over 80% of the time when we ask recruiters what a turn-off is for them with a candidate, they say it is that the candidate did not direct a cover letter or resume towards the position they are applying for. Job fairs are a great resource to get to open positions, but many of the same techniques should be applied whether using a job fair or career website. Stay focused, just like looking for any other job, and make sure your skills at attributes apply towards the position!
The most common question that recruiters will ask at job fairs is, "What can you tell me about yourself and work history?" Make sure you have your personal sales pitch down to two minutes or less while giving them a great overview of your experience, education, and expertise! Remember, the recruiter may have a line of people waiting to speak with them, so make sure you stand out with your pitch.
At a Job Fair
First off, remember that recruiters are looking for a resume at a job fair - bring it with you, and bring several copies (if you have different resumes geared towards different industries, you're even more prepared!). Our most recent show had over 20 employers all seeking qualified and prepared applicants to fill their openings!
"I'm looking closely at your transferable skills. I want to see that you have some sales experience, regardless of what field it may be in. I didn't have jewelry experience when I first came to Kay, but I definitely had sales experience."
- Recruiter for Kay Jewelers
Dress professionally for the event you are attending. If you stop at a school job fair and are in between classes, you may not need to be wearing a suit, but business casual, at the very least. If you are attending a professional (non-school) job fair, try to dress your professional best in the business professional category (yes, even if you are going on your lunch break).
Follow up with hiring managers you spoke with after the job fair, and within a day or two. This can significantly improve your chances and put you back on the top of their mind (and pile!).
Eye contact is incredibly important at the fair and during the interview! Shake the recruiter's hand when you introduce yourself, smile with enthusiasm, and always ask for their personal business card to reach out in the future.
Look at a job fair like a bunch of mini-interviews. Make sure you're prepared and ready to answer common interview questions, even if it appears to be a casual interaction.
"Eye contact is huge. I want the employee to be confident in what they are saying and what they are qualified for. When we place them [with a client], we want to make sure it's a right fit all around."
- Recruiter for Entech Staffing
Resumes & Interviewing
If you've been able to land an interview from follow up, job fair or otherwise, make sure that you are fully prepared! When you show up to an interview, make sure you have extra copies of your resume. Don't guarantee that they printed them out for you, and anticipate that there will be people in the interview room who have not been briefed on you or your background.
"Bring your references to the interview or send it with your resume. You don't have to put "References available upon request", I expect that if I request them you have them - it's just wasted space. Just be prepared."
- Recruiter for Westin Hotels
And, the most important tip we've heard from all these recruiters...
MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A PROFESSIONAL RESUME!
Always, always, always bring a professional and easy-to-read resume with you. At our most recent job fair, a coordinator was collecting resumes at the door! If that resume is going out to all of the employers involved, you want to make sure they are seeing everything you have to offer!