How to Nail a Career Fair Networking Event

As summer draws to an end (sorry, but it’s true!), organizations in all industries—including those in tech—are going all-in on talent recruitment initiatives. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the next decade will provide a continued demand for skilled tech professionals. With such a high demand for qualified and skilled employees in a growing industry, many organizations are focusing part of their recruitment efforts on face-to-face events.

Whether you’re a tech professional looking for a new opportunity or a fresh graduate ready for your first post-academic endeavor, career fairs and networking events can help you get your foot in the door with world-class companies. With 85% of jobs filled through networking, there’s no overstating the value of career fairs, job fairs, and networking events for recruiters and job seekers alike.

If you’re looking for a way to stand out at your next career event, use these tips to present yourself—and your skills—confidently.

1. Get prepared ahead of time.

Like most achievements, preparation is key to ensuring that you’re ready for whatever the day throws your way. For networking events, having a succinct and engaging elevator pitch is vital to your success. This pitch shouldn’t be more than 30-seconds long and should clearly communicate who you are, what you do, and where you’d like to be professionally in a way that sounds natural. To hone your elevator pitch, try watching this video from Lauren Berger, or gain insights from a tech professional with an Insider call from nexplay.

Other important preparation methods include:

  • Researching the companies that will be at the career fair

  • Optimizing and printing copies of your résumé to share with new connections

  • Creating and printing business cards with your name, title, and key contact information.

2. Visit the companies you’re most eager to meet early in the day.

If possible, try and get to the career fair early in the day. Not only will you demonstrate your dedication to making new connections, but organizational reps may be more eager to chat with a coffee in hand.

Once you (and your power shoes) have arrived at a networking event, take time to scope out the space and find the companies or individuals you’re most excited to chat with. Although career fairs are informal ways to make new professional connections, they may also be the events where you meet your next manager. Confidence is essential as you chat with organizations, so don’t be shy, and always be curious, asking leading questions to learn more about their business. Take time to explore other businesses, as you never know what opportunities may interest you.

3. Follow-up with new connections.

Career fairs can be a bit overwhelming, so give yourself a day or two before reaching out to professionals you met at the event. After a day or two, your meeting will still be fresh in their mind, but all parties will have had time to decompress and consider the best next steps.

Whether it’s through LinkedIn or email, sending a personalized thank you letter can go a long way in helping you solidify new connections. Who knows—you may even land a coffee chat or interview! If you’re serious about finding your dream position in the tech industry, nexplay can help you make connections—and get noticed—with some of the best tech companies in the world. To learn more about our personalized approach to the modern career search, get in touch with us today.

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