Six Easy Steps to Get Ready for an Upcoming Job Fair
As a job seeker who faces tough competition in the market, you should already know how important it is to keep your ears and eyes wide-open for any potential career opportunity. Finding the perfect job in the Middle East and North Africa requires making use of all potential avenues, job search technologies, and networking tools. In addition to your regular job search activities on Lebanese Jobs, career fairs are a great resource that can put your CV out there and increase your hiring potential.
Job, career, or hiring fairs are all different terms for an event, during which multiple employers gather in one space (physically or virtually) to meet with job seekers, obtain their information, interview them, and identify their next batch of employees. Job fairs are highly effective because they expose you, the job seeker, and your CV to many career opportunities in a very short period of time. They also work as a networking tool, whereby you can meet with other professionals and identify further opportunities based on your common goals and interests.
That said, and as easy as they may sound, job fairs do require some preparation. To get the most benefit from attending them, we advise you to take some time to get ready, do some research, and be in the best shape. Below are six tips from Lebanese Jobs, the Middle East's number one job site, to help you make the most of your next job fair experience.
1. Answer the Five W’s
These are: what, when, where, why, and who. Gather as much information as you can about the upcoming career fair. What is the even all about? (I.e. engineering career fair, marketing and advertising job fair, fresh graduates’ university drive, etc.). When and where is the fair taking place? Who will be there? Are the companies and organizations attending align with your interests and career goals? What job seeker demographic is the event targeting? Why are you interested in attending? Are you using the event as a job search tool or a networking activity? Are you unemployed or simply browsing for potential career changes?
It is very important that you know all of these details well in advance. For instance, by knowing which companies will be represented at the fair ahead of time, you will be able to research the ones that interest you and learn more about their corporate culture, their values and their mission statements. Based on that, you can then assess whether you would like to be part of their corporate vision or find another potential employer. Likewise, defining the reasons why you would like to attend will allow you to set measurable goals (i.e. talk to 20 attendees, share CV with 10 employers, etc.) so you can work towards achieving them and making the most of this fair.
2. Gather Your Toolkit
Not only do you need to do some research in advance, you’ll also need to gather your tools and ensure you are fully prepared for the fair. Start by making numerous copies of your CV. Based on the different employers you have identified and would like to target, make tailored versions of your CV and, if possible, cover letter. Make sure your most highlighted qualifications are relevant to the company and the industry in which it operates. Attaching a cover letter to your CV is always a plus and it helps attracting the attention of employers. Keep in mind that thousands of job seekers visit career fairs and take advantage of this event to submit their CVs to the biggest number of employers. So, you should make use of every tool to stand out from the crowd.
Without doubt, if there is any other material that you feel would benefit your candidacy, such as a portfolio or work samples, then you should also bring these to the fair to showcase and prove your qualification and suitability for the job.
3. Master Your 30-Second Introduction
Career fairs can be hectic. With hundreds or thousands of job seekers, employers have very limited time and need to identify their potential hires as quickly as possible. This is why first impressions are of utmost importance in career fairs. Make sure you prepare a concise, yet very appealing, introduction of yourself that would catch the employer’s attention and trigger their curiosity to know more about you. Think of it as an elevator pitch or a 30-second summary that will make the employer say: tell me more!
4. Prepare Questions and Answers
In addition to your powerful introduction, preparing a list of questions is equally essential to show your interest in working for the company. It is also a way to prove to the employer that you have actually done your research and have taken the time to learn more about the company. When preparing your questions, think about what matters to you the most (i.e. career growth, learning and development, job responsibilities, etc.), as well as what can help you land the job (i.e. the most important skills, hiring process and timeline, etc.).
Another must do is to prepare some answers to the most common questions asked by employers or interviewers. Many companies perform on-site interviews as a first phase of screening candidates and filtering CVs. You want to make sure you are ready to perfect these interviews on-the-spot.
5. Dress Properly
Each career fair has a dress code; while some require business attire, others are business casual. It is very important to visit the fair’s website to get as much details as possible about the event’s guidelines. Remember, if you are unsure what the dress code is, go with business attire and dress as if you would for an official job interview. It is better to overdress than under-dress in these situations.
6. Be Active
The last thing to keep in mind is that you should be prepared to actively walk around, meet people, network, talk about yourself and others, and do some convincing. In doing so, you might be moving out of your comfort zone. However, as overwhelming as the event may seem at first, after you start meeting people and having some genuine conversations, you will shortly feel like it is just a breeze.
It goes without saying that good manners are essential components in leaving very positive first impressions. Remember to be polite and professional to everyone you meet; speak up clearly and have a good posture. Do not come off as angry or arrogant (know the line between confident and conceited). Do not present yourself as desperate either. It is all about balance.
Aside from these preparation steps, keep abreast of all career fairs happening in your country and participate in the ones that interest you. If your time does not allow you to visit physical fairs, you can always attend virtual job fairs from the comfort of your home/office.
Lebanese Jobs brought the Virtual Job Fair Series to the Middle East several years back and these continue to prove to be a great success. In addition to the same benefits traditional career fairs offer, virtual job fairs are accessible 24/7 and provide a confidential environment for candidates to enter a career fair and apply directly for that jobs that interest them.