Last update on January 30, 2019

Good preparation can maximise your opportunities at job fairs. Stand out from the crowd using these six steps to improve your chances of finding a job.

Employment events are highly popular for job hunters, although job seekers need to ensure they maximise their opportunities when meeting recruitment agencies and potential employers. Expatica’s International Job Fair can be a successful way to get hired, so make sure you prepare in advance to ensure you’re one of the lucky candidates. Here are six things to do before attending a job fair.

1. Do plenty of thorough research

Large recruitment events often provide a list of exhibitors and speakers that will be present on the day of the fair. Make sure you study this list and visit their websites to get a better picture of who they are, what they are offering, if it’s suitable for you, what type of candidates they are looking for, and perhaps prepare a few key questions you would like to ask them on the day.

There will be many companies present at the event and not all will be suitable for your career path. Optimise your fair time by preparing a list of which stands you would like to visit and rule out those that do not suit your expertise or experience. In doing so, your time will be more focused, allowing more time to talk to the companies that matter to you.

2.  Prepare your Curriculum Vitae (CV)

A Curriculum Vitae is a jobseeker’s vital tool, often rush-written by the unemployed. This document acts as a reminder to recruiters and employers of whom they met on the fair day and who made a lasting, positive impression. Ensure that your CV is up-to-date, clearly presented and well written. Some job fairs enable you to submit your CV electronically before the event, if not, make sure you take plenty of printed copies with you. Think of it as your business card to give to the recruiters you meet at the event.

Remember that exhibitors are likely to have spoken to many potential candidates by the end of the day and will have several CVs to look through; consider what you can include in your personal statement to ensure yours is remembered and saved.

Some recruitment events also host CV-related workshops and presentations, providing advice on how to write and use your CV effectively in the local market. At Expatica’s International Job Fair these workshops are free, so make sure you find out the schedule and arrive early to grab a seat.

3. Make the most of the networking opportunity

Recruitment fairs offer the ideal chance to network, which is a valuable job-hunting source in almost any country. Ensure you start the right conversation with the right people, and do not be afraid to introduce yourself to new people, exhibitors as well as other job seekers. Even if there’s no immediate job opportunity, contacts you make on the fair day might one day approach you with interesting opportunities. Ask for business cards where possible so that names and contact details can be saved – ‘who you know’ still plays an important role in many European countries.

Asking insightful questions can be an effective way to engage in conversation that allows both the employer and job seeker to gain greater awareness of each other’s characteristics.

4. Dress appropriately

It is advisable to dress comfortably but professionally – you should come dressed in interview wear. Speaking to employers at such events can be seen as introductory interviews, so bear this in mind when choosing your outfit. Wear something you feel confident in, so that when introducing yourself you can smile, shake their hand and speak clearly, making a solid first impression. Comfortable and smart shoes are a must – you are likely to be on your feet for the majority of the day and plasters peeking over socks may be noticed and seen as a sign of poor preparation.

5. Attend presentations and make the most of ‘question time’

International Job Fair

Many recruitment events often host presentations throughout the day. These are often delivered by members of  the exhibitors’ teams and/or guest speakers. Study the programme before attending the job fair to ensure you do not miss any talks that could boost skills in the areas you are lacking. Make note of where they are being held and arrive with plenty of time. Arriving late will not only lead to you feeling stressed but this will be noticed by the speaker.

Presentations and workshops often provide additional information and advice about the exhibitors’ stands, personal development, how to be successful, how to write a successful CV, how to use social media networks such as LinkedIn to increase your chances of finding employment, and much more. It pays to look at these: you may be surprised and discover that you might not have ‘all areas covered’.

The speakers will often use the final few minutes of their timeslot to invite the audience to ask questions. Make sure you note down any pressing questions during the presentation, so when question time comes, you can ask informed questions with confidence.

6. After the event, follow up with those you met on the day

Having collected several business cards at the fair, make use of your contact list by reaching out to these people by telephone, email or LinkedIn to ensure you remain fresh in their mind, particularly if you have submitted an application for a potential job opportunity. When they do consider a candidate for their vacant role, you can increase your chances of being considered and invited for an interview.

Effective and creative communication is often the key to success, so good luck on landing your dream job.