Job Fair Tips

November 30, 1999

The Washington County One-Stop Job Center has prepared this information based on a survey of employers. Employers were from Washington, Allegany and Garrett Counties and represented a wide variety of industries. Here's a sampling of what they had to say:

1. What are the top three things an applicant can do to impress you at a job fair?

Be prepared. 31% of respondents said you should come to the job fair prepared to complete

an application, provide a résumé, introduce yourself, ask appropriate questions, and participate in a pre-screening interview. (See the Washington County One-Stop Job Center's

"Sample Introductions," "Possible Interview Questions," and "Questions You Can Ask" primer on the next page).

Be on your best behavior. 22% of the employers said job seekers should make good eye contact, smile, have a firm handshake, and demonstrate sincerity, politeness, confidence and enthusiasm.

Practice good communication skills. Another 22% said job seekers should be honest and articulate. Be a good listener. Use good grammar. Present your qualifications and interest


effectively, speaking clearly and confidently. Remember to thank the employer for his or her time. Bad communication skills listed by the employers included criticizing former employers or co-workers, being evasive, lying, mumbling, being a know-it-all, talking too much or too little, bragging, using foul language, bad grammar or slang, and not being able to communicate your skills.

2. What are the top three things a job seeker should avoid doing at a job fair?

Don't forget your manners. 39% of respondents said poor behavior is a turn-off. Don't chew gum, talk on cell phones, come with friends or bring children. Don't be too pushy or too shy. Never interrupt conversations or act as though you are in a hurry. Don't avoid making eye contact and don't forget to smile. Never grab giveaways first.

Don't show up unprepared. 23% of the employers made comments about lack of preparation.

Have a career or job goal in mind and know at least a little bit about the company or their jobs. Don't ask questions about pay and hours first. Don't show up without a résumé or the information you will need to fill out an application. Don't appear to be unorganized.

Don't dress inappropriately. 18% of the employers said many job seekers make the mistake

of wearing clothes that are too casual. Don't wear jeans and t-shirts. Body piercings or tattoos can be a turn off so tone them down or make sure they aren't visible. Don't wear clothes that are torn or dirty or clothes that don't fit. Don't dress too far above or below the position you are interested in. Whatever you wear should be neat and clean. Choose your outfit based on the type of work you want. How you dress will make you stand out and gives the employer either a good or bad first impression.

3. What else can give me an edge over other job seekers?

Match your skills and qualifications to the employer. Demonstrate a steady work history, dependability, a willingness to learn, and appropriate education or training. Don't apply for jobs you can't do.


Hi. (Smile, shake hands and make eye contact.) My name is John Smith. (Pause here in case the employer wants to give you their name.) I saw in the newspaper that XYZ Warehouse will be expanding. I have 9 months experience as an order picker and I'm interested in hearing about employment opportunities at your company. What kind of openings do you have?

Hi. (Smile, shake hands and make eye contact.) My name is Jane Doe. (Pause here in case the employer wants to give you their name.) I have an Associates Degree in Accounting and Business and 10 years of experience as a secretary. I have an excellent knowledge of Word, Excel and Access and I'm a fast typist with a speed of 80 words per minute. I saw on your website that you are looking for secretarial candidates and I feel that my skills would be a good fit.

The more professional the job, the longer and more detailed you will want your introduction to be. It should never be longer than 30 seconds. Practice until it sounds natural.


What type of position are you looking for? (Don't say: "I'll take anything." Be specific.)

How much experience do you have? Tell me about your work history.

What hours are you looking for?

Are you available for overtime?

Can you work weekends?

Do you have reliable transportation?

Why did you leave your last job?

Why do you want to leave your current job?

If I were to call your former supervisor, what would he/she say about you?

Do you enjoy working with people or independently?

Can you give me an example of your problem-solving skills?

How do you handle criticism?

What are your salary expectations?

What is your long-range goal?

Where do you see yourself in five years?

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