How to Make the Most of Your Jobs Fair Experience [EdSurge Tips]

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How to Make the Most of Your Jobs Fair Experience [EdSurge Tips]

By EdSurge Jobs     Apr 10, 2018

How to Make the Most of Your Jobs Fair Experience [EdSurge Tips]

Attending a jobs fair can be an intimidating experience, but with the right preparation, you can minimize stress and focus on what’s most important—getting that job! Here are four tips to help you get the most out of your next jobs fair.

1. Prep five meaty questions (and expect to ask three of them).

You only have a few minutes so, as we’ve said before, keep it brief. But that doesn’t mean you need to stick to the script of “Can you tell me about this role?” Ask about how a specific candidate criterion (ideally one that is relevant to you) relates to the role’s day-to-day work. Ask them what challenges this person will be solving. If the company just launched a new product, ask how it’s going. If you have time, ask what the person you’re speaking with does at the company and what they love most about working there. These questions show that you did your homework and have a genuine interest in the company's goals.

2. Make it human.

Jobs fairs can be really intense and nerve-racking—for both sides! While you might be worrying about not saying the right thing or not being a good fit, company representatives are also hoping to make a good impression, know all the answers to your questions and stay calm through 30 candidate conversations in a row. Don’t be afraid to ask them how they’re feeling and how the fair has been. You can start off by acknowledging their effort: “Wow, this must be intense talking to so many candidates! How are you feeling so far?” It’s little more than an ice-breaker, but company representatives may welcome a 30-second mental check-in to pause and be refreshed when you start chatting about the opportunity at hand.

3. Take advantage of off-times.

You get to the fair, you’re fashionably late to avoid awkward networking moments and make a beeline for the food before braving the main room of company tables. You’re hoping to speak to the rep for one of the “hot” edtech companies in attendance. You’re likely going to have to wait in a substantial line.

Here are a few tips for avoiding the lines:

  • Arrive right on time and head to your target first thing—you can get food later when it’s crowded.
  • Plan to stay the whole time and meet with reps when the lines die down toward the end. You’re in it for the long haul—meet with lots of companies (even ones you don’t know offhand), grab food, go to the Q&As and network with other job seekers.
  • If you’re interested in speaking to a company that is on a Q&A, GO! This is a great opportunity to get a more personal impression of the company, its culture and philosophy and what they’re working on. This is also your chance to ask some additional questions and make a good impression. (Read: Do your homework on questions ahead of time.) When the Q&A ends, make a beeline to meet with the hiring manager. If this is a company that would typically have a long table line, this is your chance to cut the line and get their ear!

4. We cannot stress this enough–get their deets!

Do not part ways without that person’s email address. Bring a notebook and take a couple short notes about the conversation. This also goes for people you network with! When you email them in the next few days following the fair (which you are definitely going to do, right?!), reference what you talked about, what role you’re interested in and why you’d be a good fit. Then, request a phone/video call or coffee to discuss further.

Happy hunting!

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