Congratulations! You’ve Registered for the Job Fair…..Now What?

Good for you!  You’ve taken the first step in finding your dream job and you’ve registered for the upcoming WIT Job Fair on November 14, 2019 from 4-7 pm in Tysons Corner at the Sheraton Premier.  (If you have not done that yet, let’s change that immediately by registering here -  https://www.womenintechnology.org/index.php?option=com_jevents&task=icalevent.detail&evid=373)  Now the real work begins!  Make the most of that valuable time in front of hiring managers and recruiters from more than 60 of the region’s hottest employers.  Here are a few tips to make sure you shine at the event, help to relieve some anxiety by knowing what to expect and how to capitalize on the networking you did after the event. Attending a job fair is like speed dating.  You want to make a great first impression, know what you want so you can spend the most time with the most relevant exhibitors and have a plan of attack for following up that demonstrates interest, but not desperation. 

Before The Event:

Update that Resume!

There are several excellent free templates available on the internet if you need a refresher.  Don’t just dust off your old resume, slap your latest role at the top and hit print!  Take the time to ensure your resume is aligned with your brand and that it tells a great story about what you’ve done.  Review it for action verbs, quantifiable results, and industry-relevant key words.  Of course, you also want to ensure that it is free of pronouns, grammatical errors, and spelling mistakes.  Keep it to 1-2 pages if possible and Include clearances, certifications, etc.  Once done, save it as a PDF and then print out several copies, emailing one to yourself (so you have it on your phone).  Most importantly, upload the resume to the WIT Job Fair portal.  This way, employers can start to learn about you now and possibly connect with you before the fair.

Update Your Linked In Profile!

Employers frequently research prospective employees online now so take a few moments to ensure that your Linked In profile adds to your overall credibility, rather than detracting from it.  Make sure your professional experience is accurate and consistent with your resume.  Gather some recommendations, upload a professional headshot and create an outstanding elevator pitch as your summary.

Dress For Success!

Start thinking and planning now for an Interview-worthy outfit and comfy shoes for the event.  If you need to clean or press existing clothes, plan ahead and make sure everything fits well, is conservative and work-appropriate, while showing off your personality in small doses.

Prepare Your Agenda!

Check the WIT Job Fair page for the current list of exhibiting organizations and start now researching those that spark your interest.  You can check their online career sites to see the types of roles open and how they align to your career goals.  Consider following these firms on Indeed.com, Linked In, and other social media platforms.   If roles spark your interest or if a specific exhibitor is your target employer, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of their Recruiting team members online and introduce yourself prior to the Job Fair.

The Big Day is Here – Day of Event Preparation!

Make sure to plan your day according to the time you will spend at the job fair.  The event starts at 4 PM, and you’ll want to stay for at least 90 minutes.  If you’ve done some research ahead of time, you can be much more efficient about meeting your target employers first and then filling in with some impromptu introductions after.  If you’re currently working, you may not be able to get there until a little later, but keep in mind that the event ends promptly at 7 and many exhibitors will start to pack up around 6:40.    

Remember to wear those comfortable shoes and bring water.  You want to stay hydrated and all that talking can definitely lead to a dry mouth!  Have some breath mints handy as well.  Don’t forget to bring several copies of your resume and have a soft copy available on your mobile device to share. 

There is plenty of free parking at the event and the hotel is metro accessible so accessing the location should be easy. 

Consider bringing a larger tote bag or purse to hold your water, resumes, personal items, and any marketing swag you gather at the event.  Most tables will offer something to prospective employers and don’t be shy about taking it!  The exhibitors want to see you are excited about their brand and they definitely don’t want to bring the marketing items back to the office.

Once you arrive, check in at the front table and get your badge.  Maps will be made available so you can quickly find your highest priority exhibitors/employers and plan your entry into the exhibit hall accordingly.   In addition to the Exhibitor tables, there will be a photographer present, offering outstanding professional headshots at a reduced price.  We will also have a WIT Membership Table on-site so you can earn more about what a WIT Membership can do for you.

Don’t Be Shy!

Approach exhibitors with a friendly smile and a confident attitude.  Engage and ask questions.  This is your time to shine and differentiate yourself!  Be prepared to answer the age-old question – “Tell me about yourself?”!  A great answer tells the recruiter or hiring manager who you are, what you’re looking for, and what you can do for them.  Be honest and authentic and friendly!

Event Follow Up – Best Practices for the Days After the Event

Follow Up!

Within 48 hours, email all the firms you met and may be interested in.  Make sure they have a copy of your resume and follow up on any specific details or conversations that you may have had. Include a short thank you for taking time to speak and summary of what you’re seeking.  Consider connecting with company representatives you met on Linked in, Twitter and other social media. 

Make An Introduction! if you see a job posted for one of the exhibitors you met that is fit for someone you know, make an introduction.  This positions you as someone genuinely interested in the company and as a well-connected professional. Recruiters will remember that for sure!

Introduce Yourself!

You may not have had the chance to speak to every table that was of interest to you at the Job Fair.  Don’t hesitate to reach out post-event to any that you did not get a chance to meet and share your resume and your career goals.  Companies are attending the fair to hire immediately, and to build their hiring pipelines for future needs so keep the conversation going as much as possible.

Stay In Touch!

Be persistent and consistent but not overwhelming.  A great follow up tactic is to call on Day 2 after the fair, email on Day 4, and then, send a Linked In message on Day 7 (you can switch up that order).  If you have not heard back, take a one week break and then follow the cycle again.  When you reach out, reference any specific roles that are of interest to you or share an aspect of your conversation that might spark their memory of you.  Remember that exhibitors may be meeting nearly 300 candidates that day and they may attend multiple networking or job fair events in a month, so help them remember who you are and why they want to talk to you, but be respectful of their timeline as well.

We hope these tips help you maximize the opportunity that the Job Fair offers.  We want you to put your best foot forward, have high quality engagement with multiple exhibitors and hopefully, land your dream job!  Our exhibitors are as excited to meet you as you are to meet them.


 

Daphne Wotherspoon is the President Elect for Women in Technology and has been in leadership roles in the Technology Staffing industry for more than 20 years.  She is an expert at driving organizational growth for her clients by placing people in the right jobs for their individual skills and talents.  Daphne has been very involved with the WIT Job Fair for many years and has shared a few thoughts on how to make the most of a Job Fair.

 

Share this post:

Comments on "Congratulations! You’ve Registered for the Job Fair…..Now What?"

Comments 0-5 of 0

Please login to comment