When was the last time you attended a career fair? Do you look out for job fairs or ignore them? Here’s a warning to you – The ease of online job applications should not make you ignore career fairs and viable ways of landing a job.
A career fair also referred to as ‘employment fair’ or ‘job expo,’ is an event were organisations, employers and recruiters find employable job seekers to take up immediate openings or job opportunities in the future within their respective organisations.
Every year, Jobberman partners several organisations to organise or provide support at their career fairs. Jobberman Nigeria recently partnered with Elevation Church Nigeria for its 2019 Career Pro career fair aimed at up-skilling job seekers, providing them mentorship as well as bringing available job opportunities to them.
If you are not attending career fairs available to you as a job seeker, you are missing out on great learning and networking opportunities. Let’s take a look at how to maximise your chances at a career fair.
Create An Elevator Pitch
An elevator pitch is a brief statement that helps you introduce yourself to spark intrigue and interest in your listener. They must never be sugar-coated but true and authentic. An elevator pitch should help communicate your unique selling point, skills and qualification, help you engage and leave them wanting to drive the conversations forward. Ensure that you create an elevator pitch and practise your delivery of same for the career fair you plan to attend.
Don’t Attend Without Your Resume
A Resume vs CV is very well different in size, length and content but for career fairs, regardless of your level of experience, Resumes would do a rather good job for you than a CV. The reason for this in the brevity of the Resume. This would allow recruiters and organisations interested in you scan through your CV.
Research Whom Will Be Attending
Research both the organisation and likely speakers who will be attending the career fairs. This would help you do a background check to learn more about them. For organisations, it would inform you better about their vision, mission and goals but more importantly, prepare you if there are interview opportunities with them or help you request internships.
Researching the personalities and speakers for the event would prepare your mind on ways to network or approach or even ask questions that would unlock industry insights, internship opportunities if there are any at their organisations or any other information that can help you find a job. Be prepared to make the best of any available opportunities.
Get Your Networking Game Up
Most job seekers we have encountered are usually shy do not exude enough confidence when it comes to selling themselves. You need to take your networking game some notches higher if you plan to attend career fairs. At this point, we would ask you to use what you have but do not misconstrue this to mean doing anything unprofessional. Therefore, if you are shy, please be shy confidently. Sell your skills and you might land that opportunity or a connection that would lead to one. Remember the popular saying which goes: “A closed mouth is a closed destiny.” So, please, network.
Follow Up After the Career Fair
The final piece of advice on how to maximise career fair opportunities is to do a follow-up within 24 hours after attending the career fair. The follow-up itinerary would be different depending on the outcome on the relationship you created with a prospective employer, recruiter or mentor.
For mentors, ensure you contact them via less personal and informal channels like a DM or Chat app. You should be formal in all your approach and follow them across the social media platforms. Send a ‘thank you’ email, call or SMS and stay in touch but don’t become a pest.
For employers or recruiters, send a ‘thank you’ email and you may attach your CV stating you are available for immediate opportunities or internship or when they have one. Be strategic in your approach.