Career Fair Etiquette 101

With the JobsCentral Career and Education Fair 2014 coming up, throngs of jobseekers will be navigating their way through the expansive halls of Suntec Singapore Convention Centre.

Seeing that more than 90 employers will be present at the fair, proper conduct is important if you want to leave a positive impression and raise your chances of securing a job offer.

Here are five basic protocols to follow to show employers that you are a serious job applicant (and one with good manners):

1) Dress Gracefully
It is no secret that you will spend most of the day visiting booths and standing in line for long periods of time. Even so, showing up in casual attire, such as T-shirt and jeans, could hurt your chances of getting a job offer. As a career fair is akin to a series of job interviews with different employers, smart casual or semi-professional attire would be a more appropriate option.

Guys should also sport a neat, clean-shaven appearance while ladies should dress to look professional, and not like it’s a night out at the club.

2) Bring the Essentials
Besides bringing a pen and a small notebook for taking down notes, you should also have at hand copies of your resume, preferably in all versions tailored to different career options. On-site interviews are common at a career fair, so bring along your portfolio to impress recruiters with your work and talent.

3) Be Polite and Patient
Queues at career booths can sometimes stretch a mile, especially for the most popular or sought-after employers.

No matter how tempted you are to cut in line, complain aloud or shuffle your feet in dissatisfaction, it is wise to note that employers are always observing the crowd. Such behaviour would only make you appear unprofessional and uncouth, and you could even earn a bad rep amongst the other jobseekers waiting in line.

To stay preoccupied, study the career fair’s Event Guide/Booklet or read a good book. Who knows, a recruiter might notice that thought-provoking book on How to Win Friends and Influence People in your hand and start a conversation with you.

Since first impressions count, you should also be extra courteous to employers and everyone at the fair. After all, you never know when the person whom you rudely bumped into turns out to be a hiring manager for one of the companies you are eyeing.

4) Respect the Employers
Employers usually have to meet with hordes of candidates, some of whom are extremely anxious or zealous to make an impression. And just like you, these employers are having a long day too, so stick to time limits when you are in an interview and do your research before approaching a company. You can also practice your answers to common interview questions beforehand, which will boost your confidence during an actual interview at the fair.

5) Follow-Up and Send Thank You Notes
If you promised something to an employer during an interview, such as providing references or an online portfolio, be sure to do so in a timely fashion. Following up shows that you are serious about the job opportunity and may help you stand out from the dozens of other job applicants.

For an added touch, you can include a personalised Thank You note in your follow-ups to let the interviewer know that you appreciate their time in meeting with you. This is also where you can remind them why you are the best candidate for the job, and be sure to include your contact details. While Thank You memos via E-mail are fine, an actual card or letter mailed to the employer can leave a more lasting impression.

What tips do you have for jobseekers attending a career fair? Share with us in the comment box below!

Featuring over 100 employers, the JobsCentral Career & Education Fair 2014 is a must-go event for jobseekers, professionals, and those who want to upgrade themselves through higher education or workshops. Register here for entry to the fair now!

The JobsCentral Group, a CareerBuilder company, is the owner of JobsCentral.com.sg, one of Singapore's largest job and learning portals. Get a free career personality test and more career- and education-related articles at JobsCentral and JobsCentral Community. Alternatively, Like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter for more career-centric content!

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