Summer is just around the corner and with it comes longer days, warm weather and family vacations. Not surprisingly, it’s easy to put your job search on the backburner. While hiring typically slows down in June, July and August, there’s likely to be less competition for job openings as well – and in today’s hot job market, candidates have options.
A recent report from Glassdoor found that there are more than 100,000 job openings in the Puget Sound region. In other words, this is the perfect time to polish your resume and grow your network. That’s where New Tech Northwest can help.
We hope you’ll join us at 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 20 for the next installment of our popular New Tech Job Fair. If you’ve ever been to a New Tech Northwest event and experienced our vibrant community, then you already know that this is going to be a great job fair.
To help you make the most of the event, here are six tips for maximizing your job fair attendance.
- Do your research: You wouldn’t show up to a formal job interview without doing research on the prospective company, department, hiring team, and so on. Take your attendance at a job fair just as seriously. Review the roster of companies attending the job fair and register or pre-register, if necessary, to get access to this list. Think about the companies that you want to prioritize with your time at the job fair. Research those companies’ websites, organizational missions and career opportunities. Come up with a few questions that you’d like to ask recruiter at the job fair, which will demonstrate your enthusiasm and help you stand out from other candidates they speak with at the job fair.
- Practice your elevator pitch: Come to the job fair with a 30- to 60-second professional narrative. Think of this as your response to the first question you’ll often hear in an interview: “So, tell me about yourself.” Highlight specific and relevant experience, skills, education and career goals you have and how they relate to the prospective employer. It’s recommended that you prepare by tailoring your elevator pitch to match the needs of the highest priority employers you identified in your research beforehand.
- Dress for success: As mom or dad always said, “dress for the job you want, not the one you have.” For many of us that work in tech, jeans and a t-shirt is our daily business attire. But for a job fair – as with any interview – you’ll want to kick your wardrobe up a notch. You only get one shot at making a positive first impression, so choose an outfit that will make you feel confident, appear professional and stay comfortable.
- Come in with a plan: It’s one thing to do advance research on the companies that you’d like to speak with at the job fair, it’s another to have a plan of attack in place to maximize your time. Can you get access to a map that shows where all of the recruiters will be stationed at the event? If so, plan an efficient route around the job fair to ensure you have a chance to visit with all of your priority targets. If a map is not available in advance, walk the job fair floor upon arrival to get a lay of the land. When it comes to speaking with recruiters at the job fair, you may want to consider chatting with a couple companies that are not at the top of your list. While this may seem counterintuitive in terms of maximizing your time, it gives you a chance to get your feet wet with a few low-stakes conversations so you’re warmed up for when it really matters.
- Network: Let the fun begin! Relax, be your likeable self, ask engaging questions, and show a genuine interest in the recruiters you speak with and their companies. In addition to hard copies of your resume, be sure to bring a portfolio with a notepad to take notes during and after each conversation. This will make follow up that much easier. In addition, even if it does not appear that the companies at the top of your priority list have a role you’re interested in on their list of advertised openings, it’s still worth investing the time to stop by and introduce yourself. You never know what may happen. I’ve heard of candidates that met a recruiter at a job fair under similar circumstances only to receive a call a few weeks later with an opening that was a perfect fit.
- Follow up: The job fair doesn’t end when you leave the event. Hopefully you’ve collected business cards, landed a few follow up informational conversations, or maybe you were offered a formal interview on the spot. Treat your recruiter meetings at a job fair as you would any other interview. Send a follow up note to everyone you met with – connect with them on LinkedIn, if you’re comfortable doing so – thanking them for their time. If you spoke about a specific position or an introduction to another hiring manager on their team, remind them of that. Share another copy of your resume along with a few details from your conversation that will help them remember you afterwards.
Don’t put your job search on a summer sabbatical. Join us next Thursday evening and take the first step in building your network and finding your next career opportunity. We hope to see you there!