Are you wasting your time at job fairs?
Oprettet den: Thursday, 6. April 2017 - 16:10 / caf
For students and people looking for a job, job fairs provide a good opportunity for you to get in contact with a range of exciting companies. It is perfect for making yourself noticed, and with the right amount of preparation you can get new contacts, have good talks and you might even find a new job.
IDA’s Career Counsellor Morten Esmann helps young members in their search for their first job. He often sees the same five mistakes that many young applicants make when visiting job fairs. Maybe you can recognize them.
1. Do I really need to plan ahead of my visit?
A viewpoint often heard is: ”No, it is something I decide to do on that same day. And it does not really matter if the fair is relevant for me and my profession. I will probably get a nice goodie bag anyway. And maybe I will be so lucky that a good job opportunity will fall from the sky.”
But according to Morten Esmann, this is a complete waste of time and you run the risk of not getting anything out of your visit. Actually, you should read the catalogue for the fair you are visiting and find out exactly which companies you can meet.
“Beforehand, you can make a list of the companies that you have an interest in – and if you cannot see which specific companies would be relevant for you, then go for the industries you find interesting,” he says in relation to doing good prep work for a job fair.
2. Does my appearance matter?
Often, Morten Esmann hears the following attitude towards appearance from young people:
When looking for a job and trying to give a good impression, my appearance does not really matter. My old jeans and t-shirt will not make me look like I am not serious – my future employer can see through my appearance and see my talent anyway. And why signal that I thought about my appearance by dressing like somebody going to a party?
Not surprisingly, Morten Esmann’s advice sound very different:
“In the same way that companies brand themselves towards future employees, you need to do an effort yourself to show your professional side. And therefore you need to dress in a way that matches the companies,” he says.
3. Why bring a business card or CV to a job fair?
It costs a fortune in print ink. Besides, my winning personality will give me my job and not my résumé. They will just throw that away anyway.
This is the argument from many young people.
”Actually, it is a good idea to bring both business card and CV to a job fair. If you talk to specific companies about job openings or the possibility of writing a project or joining an internship with them, it is a good way to hand out information about yourself so they remember you,” says Morten Esmann.
4. Only rookies prepare for job fairs, right?
You really do not need to prepare for a job fair. There is no reason bringing into consideration what companies I want to talk to and there is no reason at all to plan how to present yourself. You can always improvise.
That is often the answer to the fourth question. And again, IDA’s career counsellor does not agree.
“If you want to impress companies you need to do your homework. Get familiar with the companies’ websites and make sure you know who they are and what they do,” says Morten Esmann.
5. To be honest, no one comes to fairs to get contacts
It is more important to see and listen, instead of displaying yourself. I will not start conversations with companies or other attendants. And I am especially aware of not talking to anybody from the same industry as myself.
Morten Esmann frequently sees this attitude from young people when it comes to using job fairs to get contacts. But if you want to avoid wasting time on your next job or career fair, you need to go home and prepare for doing some networking.
“If you want companies to remember you, it is a good idea practicing your elevator pitch – and be able to very specifically tell exactly what you bring in relation to the specific company. What competencies can you bring to the table in order to solve the tasks they have?,” Morten Esmann states as his fifth advise.