Career Fair Confidential: Making the Most of Your Opportunities
Hospitality career fairs are like a rehearsal for a job interview. You have the opportunity to meet with prospective employers, present your skills and credentials, and plan your employment strategy. But as with any job interview, you must prepare properly to make the most of the fair.
First a couple definitions: there are job fairs and career fairs. Job fairs in the hospitality industry are generally hosted by individual organizations, like Starbuck’s looking to fill specific positions and holding their own recruitment days, or big resorts hiring seasonal staff. Career fairs, on the other hand, are organized by universities and colleges on the institution’s premises, where job seekers looking for a hotel job, for instance, can visit booths run by different companies. If you’re embarking on a hospitality career, these fairs are ideal for getting the right information on the industry.
Why the career fair?
The career fair is an indispensable recruitment tool for hospitality companies hiring both reactively and proactively – for specific positions and future openings. In addition to scouting for talent, they are also branding themselves, putting their companies on the map, and creating a positive buzz among job seekers.
How can I make the most of the career fair?
You need a strategy to attend career fairs successfully so you avoid information overload and hone your search, just as you would if you were sifting through job postings online.
The best way to approach a career fair is to come prepared. This means dressing professionally, having several copies of your resume on hand, and researching beforehand the employers or companies you want to talk with. Be prepared to listen to the company representative and ask questions as well. Leave a resume with the representative and get a business card so the next day or so, you can follow up with a thank you letter or note indicating that they enjoyed speaking with them about job possibilities and look forward to hearing from them.
Tips to benefit from your hospitality career fairs
- Get the list of presenters before you attend the fair.
- Concentrate your time with potential employers who are closely aligned with your vision. For instance, if you’re interested in a career with a large hotel chain with properties worldwide, find out which of these companies will be attending.
- Research your “hit list” beforehand. Online information coupled with the career fairs makes you a more intelligent job seeker.
- Set your goal for the fair. Your strategy should be to come away with an opportunity for follow-up and/or an interview.
- Make sure your resume is up-to-date and professional, and bring several copies to give to prospective employers.
- Engage employers in conversation about their businesses, their possible openings, and where you might fit into their organization.
- Don’t forget your follow-up. This ensures potential hospitality employers know you’re interested and available.