Career Center Blog
The Job Fair Tips that get you in the center of the attention
Bellevue College Annual Job & Networking Fair is quickly approaching, and with that in mind we would like to give you some tips and tricks to better prepare for this exciting event.
Before the Fair
Research: Many people go to job fairs just to see who’s there and are not prepared to interview. You can get a huge edge on the competition by being prepared. Get a list of the companies attending the fair and do some research. Make sure you know what each company does and what they value.
Resumes: Bring a lot of resumes to the fair – at least two for each company that interests you. If you have multiple interests or objectives, make sure you bring copies of each version of your resume. For tips on writing a resume, read our Resume Essentials Guide, which can be found on our web site.
Need help with your resume?
To help people prepare their resumes beforehand, we have free, weekly group resume sessions in the Center on Tuesdays, 2:30-3:20 p.m. and Thursdays, 11:30-12:20 p.m.
On May April 30th, May 2nd and May 6th, 11 a.m.-1:00 p.m., we’ll be in the Cafeteria/Student Union to provide drop-in resume help. We also have individual appointments
For more information, please call our intake desk at (425) 564-2279, or stop by our Center, 2nd floor of the Student Services Building.
Portfolios: Career experts emphasize the importance of portfolios. A portfolio gives a visual survey of your work history and accomplishments. It should include your resume, a list of references, and samples of your best work.
Attire: Business casual attire is essential. Know the expected attire of your profession and dress accordingly. It is always better to be overdressed than underdressed.
During the Fair
Strategy: You’ve already done the first step by researching the companies that interest you. The second step is seeing if any new companies have registered when you arrive. The third step is surveying the layout of the fair and determining the order of your approach. Some experts suggest meeting with your top choices first, talking with the other companies next, and then returning to your top choices at the end of the event to thank them again for their time.
Interviewing: You may only have a few minutes to market yourself to the company representative, so you need to make the most of your time. Many experts suggest that you develop a one-minute “commercial” that highlights the key benefits that you can offer the organization. Also remember the three keys to all interviews: make eye contact, offer a firm handshake, and show enthusiasm. You should also prepare answers to interview questions just as you would any employment interview. The most common question you will face is something along the lines of “what are you here for today?” Make sure you also have some questions ready for the representative. A great concluding question for you to ask is, “What do I need to do to obtain a second meeting with your firm?” Finally, make sure to avoid poor communication bad habits, such as fidgeting, rocking, chewing gum, etc.
Intangibles: There are several other things you can do to help make your job fair experience a success.
- Don’t waste your time meeting with companies you have no desire to work for; do make sure to interview with all the companies you do want to work for.
- If you did not prepare for a company you want to interview for, try eavesdropping on several of the interviews ahead of you so you can better prepare; do also try to get some company literature from the booth before getting in line so you can read about the company while waiting; don’t just stand in line doing nothing.
- Extend common courtesies, such as offering to get the recruiter a beverage or snack; don’t be upset if the recruiter has to take a break before your interview.
- If your ideal company is looking for computer technicians and you want to work in accounting, do still interview with the company at the fair, being sure to leave the interview with the contact information of the person responsible for hiring in that area; don’t be discouraged and walk away.
Networking: Job fairs are all about networking. Of course, you are building a network with the recruiters – this task is your most vital goal. However, you can also network with your fellow job-seekers in terms of sharing information about job leads, companies, and their recruiting strategies and styles. There may also be professional organizations or employment agencies on hand at the fair, which are also good sources for networking.
After the Fair
Follow-up: You would be surprised at how few job-seekers actually take the time to follow-up their job fair interviews, thus when you do it, you will get an edge over the many others who do not. There are two main methods of follow-up. Some experts suggest actually calling the recruiter the evening of the fair and leaving a voicemail message thanking the recruiter again for his/her time that day. A more concrete and traditional method is to write a thank you note and mail it the next day to the address on the recruiter’s business card. In the letter, thank the recruiter for his/her time, restate your interest and qualifications for the position, reiterate your interest in a second interview, and make a promise to follow-up the letter with a phone call (and then make sure you do in fact call). You probably should enclose another copy of your resume to be sure.