Job fairs are a great way to learn about jobs that may be available so you can take the next step in your career, since you likely will be meeting the people who actually are in charge of hiring employees. Here is some advice for those networking at career fairs in NJ.

5 Tips for Attending Career Fairs in NJ

Remember that a Career Fair is for Networking, Not for Job Interviewing

One of the biggest mistakes that most people make when attending career fairs in NJ (and anywhere else, for that matter) is that they try to turn the career fair into an interview for a job. Career fairs are a golden opportunity for networking and meeting the people in charge of hiring for any given company. This is your opportunity to introduce yourself to these very important people, tell them a little about yourself and your background, and get their contact information. 

It is your opportunity to make an impression, not to interview for a job. Once the fair is over, you can then contact the person and follow up with a call or email, tell them how much you enjoyed meeting them, and then express your interest in working with their company. If they request your resume, send it along.

Come Prepared

When attending career fairs in NJ, or anywhere else, you need to come prepared to make the best impression possible. Dress well, be personable and confident, and make sure that you have plenty of resumes to leave with the company’s hiring manager. You also need to be prepared to tell your contact who you are and what you do clearly and concisely. Don’t make a speech or be salesy, simply be prepared to present yourself in a professional manner. Preparing a 30-second career fair elevator pitch is key.

Do Your Research in Advance

Most career fairs are a mixed bag, with several companies in several different fields sending representatives. Normally there are a list of companies given out prior to the fair, which gives you the opportunity to discover what companies are in your field and which ones are going to be hiring. Focus your research on these companies and be prepared to show the representatives present that you know about their company and their mission, and that you share that mission. This will help set you apart from other job candidates. Visit the Department of Labor and Workforce Development website in your state, such as New Jersey, to find the upcoming job fairs in your area.

Visit the Booths of Only Those Companies in Your Field

You want the time to introduce yourself to important people in the companies that are in your field, so you need to select and concentrate only on those companies in your field. Don’t feel the need to visit every booth and try and make your skills fit in with a company that is out of your field.

Make Yourself Stand Out

Keep in mind that those company representatives you will be meeting will be meeting hundreds of people in course of the career fair. After a while, all those people blur together, so unless you do something to stand out you’ll have wasted your time because the people you meet will not even remember you. Find some way to make a favorable impression that is different from anyone else, so you will be remembered when you make that follow-up call or send a follow-up email.

By following these tips for networking at career fairs in NJ, you’ll be more successful in taking the next step in your career.