Maximise Your Time at a Career Fair

Whether you’re a veteran of career fairs or a newbie braving the crowds to land that coveted job, walking through the expansive halls can be a tiring and unrewarding experience if you’re not sure what exactly you’re looking for.

However, career fairs will reward those dedicated enough to do the legwork with a treasure trove of new networking contacts, job openings and learning opportunities.

Here’s a short cheat sheet that will come in handy when you’re navigating through the halls of a career fair, such as the JobsCentral Career and Education Fair 2013 happening on 24 and 25 August at Suntec Singapore.

Before the fair

1. Research, research, research
Before venturing into any career fair, find out the different companies that will be present. This can be easily done through a quick search through the event’s official website. Any career fair worth its salt will have a printer-friendly list of exhibitors on its site.

After identifying the organisations that you are interested in, conduct thorough research on each organisation to understand their corporate profile, company culture, and even the kind of people that they are looking for.

2. Dress to impress
At most career fairs, recruiters from each organisation will be physically present to evaluate each jobseeker that comes up to their booths. They will be meeting throngs of people, so make sure you stand out from the rest by wearing semi-professional clothes that flatter you. Also keep in mind to dress for the company that you are interested in.

For instance, a finance company would probably prefer slightly conservative dressing with muted colours whereas an organisation that deals with creativity might welcome a more fashion-forward style. This is where your research on the company comes in handy.

During the fair

3. Master your elevator pitch
Recruiters only have a set amount of time for each person they meet, so you only have a few minutes to dazzle them. Keep in mind that at most career fairs, a company will not immediately hire you on the spot but instead, shortlist you as a potential person for the job, so don’t bombard the poor recruiter with a laundry list of your academic qualifications, work experience, co-curricular activities, etc.

Instead, think of it as an elevator pitch where you only have two minutes to impress the listener. So, express yourself in a sharp and concise manner.

4. Pick and choose
There are tons of companies at a job fair and physically visiting each booth can be a tiresome affair. Coupled with the rowdy atmosphere and constant seminars, you might feel overwhelmed by the whole experience. This is where the Event Guide that you’re holding comes in handy.

With information and detailed profiles on every company in the fair and a complete list of all the activities (e.g. seminars, talks, etc.) happening round-the-clock, you can safely pick and choose which company and event you’re interested in.

5. Evaluate
Understand that there are plenty of companies at a job fair and you should not jump at the earliest opportunity. Assess the people that you meet at the different companies. Are they interested in talking to you and listening to your questions? Are they dressed professionally? Do they seem like they know what they’re talking about?

If you’re unsure, gather opinions from friends, family members or business contacts. It is always beneficial to listen to different viewpoints since they are not as emotionally or physically invested in the career opportunity as you.

After the fair

6. Follow up your leads
Like with any job interview, it is good etiquette to email or call each individual representative of the different companies that you are interested in to follow up on your job applications or enquiries. Hence, it is important to collect their name cards during the fair for this purpose. Conducting a follow-up ensures that your name and application spring to the top of the pile when the recruiters finally start short listing candidates for the position.

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 2013 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, 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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