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How to Land a Job or Internship at a Career Fair

Mon, Apr 23, 2012

Internship Information

So, you heard on the radio that a job fair is going to be going on in your city in a couple of weeks and while you’re considering going, you’re not sure if it’s worth the effort. Well, if you’re seeking some employment, the answer would be a resounding “Yes!”

Whether it’s a job or an internship that you’re looking for, career fairs are one of the absolute best ways to not just network with companies but actually partake in on-site interviews that, if all goes well, can have you walking in needing a position and walking out as a staff employee.

So, how do you land a job or an internship at a career fair? Glad that you asked.

Research the businesses that will be at the job fair. Most reputable job fairs will not just advertise the time and place of them, but the companies that will be partaking in the event as well. A prospective employee that is knowledgeable about the company that they are applying to is someone that many employers will deem as memorable; that’s an asset you’ll definitely need on a day where they’ll be seeing literally hundreds of people.

Treat it like an actual job interview. One of the biggest mistakes that people make in going to a job fair is treating it like a day at the zoo. It’s not a casual outing and so you should show up in business attire and you’re not going to hang out with friends so leave the iPod behind and bring your briefcase, instead. You know, the one that has your resume in it, which brings us to the second point.

Have an updated resume ready. A one-page, professionally-done, preferably on linen paper one is good. Oh, and not just one copy, but several of them. You see, because here’s the thing: A lot of companies do come out to hire people on the spot, but based on how many people show up and apply and the time that you arrive to the fair, all of these factors play a part on if they will be able to spend an ample amount of time with you. Therefore, you don’t just want to have a resume available for people who can meet with you immediately, but also for other positions that have piqued your interest. Be sure to leave a copy with them as well so that they can have the opportunity to speak with you at a later time. Oh, and if you have some business cards (you can make those up yourself on your printer), that’s a nice touch too.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Say the job fair is in London and you’re trying to get one of the many London internships that represented at the fair. When it comes to getting clarity on the kinds of internships that are available and what kind of people the companies are looking to hire, people are sometimes scared to ask questions for fear of how it will make them look. But in asking (relevant) questions, that’s another way to stand out above the crowd because it shows that you have a real interest in the company and in the position. Besides, if they just wanted a bunch of resumes, they probably wouldn’t be at the job fair because they can simply solicit those online. In other words, employers are at job fairs to network with people and they know that a part of that includes dealing with many inquiries.

Follow-up. Again, it was a lot of people that employers saw during the day and even with as fabulous as you might have been, that doesn’t always mean that you were super-memorable. That is, until you jog their memory. After about 7-10 business days following the job fair, if you haven’t heard back from anyone, call the company or send an email (because you did get a business contact from them too, right?) to inquire about your status. The sooner you know where you stand, the sooner you can decide what your next move should be.

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