Career fairs are a great way to make face-to-face introductions with recruiters and potential employers. They offer a social networking experience that you can’t replicate online, by phone or by simply submitting your resume. To maximize your time at your next career fair, you can take steps to make sure you’re prepared. Here’s what you can do.

The top eight ways to benefit from your next career fair

Planning and preparation are great tools for making the most of your time and effort. Try the following career fair strategies:

  1. Have a plan for your day.

    Review the website, Facebook page or email announcement for the career fair so you know what organizations will be in attendance. Form a plan for whom you’d like to meet so you can prioritize your time. But, also leave yourself a little wiggle room in your schedule to network with employers, recruiters or contacts you may not expect to run into.

  2. Dress to impress

    Treat a career fair as you would an interview. Dress professionally, keep your hair neat and don’t wear too much jewelry. Make sure your shoes are in good condition, too.

  3. Do your homework.

    Decide which questions you want to ask a potential employer. Check out PT Solution’s list of therapy specific interview questions that therapists should ask before they accept their next job. Research open positions, press releases, accolades, and accomplishments of the companies who will be attending.

  4. Have your elevator pitch ready to go.

    Of course you’ll need to be prepared to introduce yourself and mingle, and this includes answering questions about yourself. A great way to open is with your elevator pitch, a brief synopsis of who you are and what you do. If your research has uncovered an open position, you might want to tailor your pitch to the skills and experience that position requires. Otherwise, keep your pitch brief and list out your field, a few key skills and experiences, and what you’re looking for in your next job.

  5. Be positive and enthusiastic.

    Employers want to hire talent that is motivated and will add to the company culture and productivity. There’s no substitute for a firm, confident handshake and plenty of eye contact. Remember to exchange contact information with everyone you meet.

  6. Bring copies of your resume — but don’t forget to apply.

    A career fair is a perfect time to hand your resume out to potential employers or recruiters. However, don’t make the mistake of assuming that just this act means you’ve applied for an open position. When you get home, visit the organization’s website and formally apply for a job.

  7. Be a good listener.

    While you’re waiting in line to meet with someone, keep your ears open. For example, a potential employer might mention something you can include in your own conversation with him or her.

  8. Send a follow-up email.

    Close the circuit after you meet employers or recruiters — send a follow-up email to thank an individual for his or her time. This will help extend your business relationship beyond the career fair, and will also help you stay top of mind.

Discover your employment preferences

Therapists who attend career fairs get “just a taste” of the many employers who are looking to hire. These brief conversations will help you decide which companies you want to learn more about. Therapists work with many different types of employers, and a career fair is a great first step towards discovering which type is best for you.

Are you looking for your next position?

PT Solutions can help. We place physical and occupational therapists, and speech language pathologists with travel positions across the country. To learn more about our open jobs or to speak with a recruiter, contact PT Solutions today.

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