While job fairs may seem outdated, they can provide a lot of help for almost any applicant in the market. Knowing how to properly spend your time at such a fair will help you better guide your efforts.
Before you even get to the event, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune recommends doing research into the companies expected to be there. This will provide you with information about what they're expecting from applicants. Once there, you can be more confident. If you meet someone from the company at the event, you can specifically mention your interest in the position itself, which will impress the company's recruiters.
It's also important to bring a number of copies of your resume. Everyone you meet, especially those in hiring roles, will want to see your resume and your previous work history. Every introduction and conversation you enter should be treated like an interview, so you'll want to be as professional as possible. A resume, or at least a business card, can help you as the people you meet will hold on to them.
You should also be respectful of every opportunity you find. As each meeting is the same as an interview, you should make sure that every person you meet comes away with a positive impression of you. There's no telling the types of opportunities that may arise from any conversation, no matter how inconsequential it may seem. You never know who you're going to meet.
At the same time, it's not necessary to get there exactly when the fair opens, nor is it important for you to be there the entire time it's open. Having a plan, such as meeting with 10 people in two hours, will be much better, as you'll be able to work with specific leads instead of trying to dig up information in a relatively blind approach. Working with a staffing agency can also help, as you can gain additional guidance as to where you should and shouldn't spend your time.
At the same time, many job fairs will have hundreds, if not thousands, of open positions for applicants. One recent fair in New Orleans had more than 1,000 positions open for part- and full-time employees, according to The New Orleans Times-Picayune. As a result, some of the best advice anyone can get is to not worry too much. If one meeting doesn't go well, just move onto your next potential employer. You'll be able to spread your name much farther this way.