Applying for jobs online can feel stressful. Who is looking at your resume? What if you have questions about the job description? Will you hear back from anyone? Where should you even start the job search? It’s enough to make your head spin.
While the art of searching and applying online can be learned, there’s other measures you can take in the meantime: attend job fairs, especially Hiring Fest. These events are a great avenue for exploring things online job hunting simply can’t offer, like in-person interactions and immediately accessible resources. You can network, learn about job openings at multiple companies, and leave a lasting impression on employers. And maybe best of all, you can directly hand over your resume.
With so many exceptional benefits to be gained, you want to show up as your most prepared self. Below we cover some steps you can take before the big day (March 29!).
Bring copies of your resume
Perhaps a bit obvious, but still good to cover. Make sure to bring several copies of your resume printed on quality paper. To prevent them from getting any wrinkles or creases, put them in a sturdy folder you can easily carry with you. If applicable to the jobs you’re interested in, you can also bring a small portfolio of relevant work and a few references.
Dressing for anything work related—interviews, job fairs, general Monday-Friday office time—is often contingent on understanding the company or industry culture. For a job fair, think about a couple things ahead of time so you’re not left staring blankly at your closet the morning of Hiring Fest. First, think about the industry you’re looking to join. If you’re totally unsure of this, or you’re interested in multiple fields, go with a neutral business casual. This generally means no jeans, no shorts, no sandals, no tanks or tees—nothing you would wear during the Phoenix summer. Instead, dress pants, skirts, nice shirts, jackets, minimal jewelry, and more formal shoes are safe options. You can wear comfortable shoes to Hiring Fest since it’s a lot of walking, but go with flats or loafers over sneakers.
It’s standard practice to research a company before an interview and the same practice goes for Hiring Fest. If the information is available, look at which companies will be there before you arrive. This will help you develop focused and informed questions when you’re talking to a recruiter. If you’re not sure who will be in attendance, research some current facts about the fields you’re interested in joining. What trends are happening in finance and technology? Even basic facts like this will show you’re prepared.
Prepare a small pitch
Write out a small pitch that introduces who you are, your experience, your interest in the company, and your relevant background. Memorize this and practice it a few times so it sounds natural and not too rehearsed come Hiring Fest.
Bring a notebook
Carrying a small notebook will let you take notes from your conversations with recruiters and gives you a place to store contact information.
It can feel scary to approach recruiters, but they’re there to meet candidates. Try to move independently throughout Hiring Fest and not in a group of peers as this will help you stand out. When you approach someone, smile, make eye contact, shake their hand firmly, and remain friendly.
Think of similar questions you would ask at the end of an interview. You want to show that you’re engaged and interested in working with a company.
Ask for contact information
Taking the initiative to ask about next steps and contact information can make a big difference especially if you submitted your resume to a recruiter or had a short, on-the-spot interview.
After all the hard work you did at Hiring Fest, it would be a mistake to not follow up with recruiters. Be sure to send a thank you note to anyone you spoke with and express your interest again in pursuing opportunities at their company.
You can visit a no-cost Goodwill Career Center where a dedicated career advisor can assist you with preparing for Hiring Fest by helping you update your resume, cover interview techniques, and go over general job fair etiquette. Call 602-535-4444 to find a center near you or visit our locations page.