How to impress employers and get the job you want at a hotel job fair
If you’ve ever searched for a job before, you know the process takes time. From finding hospitality employers with open positions to customizing resumes, writing cover letters, and practicing for interviews, it’s common for jobseekers to spend much of their free time trying to land a new opportunity. Fortunately, attending a hotel job fair is an easy way to maximize your efforts – if you’ve prepared properly. While most job fairs give you the chance to meet with dozens of potential employers within the space of a few hours, you’ll also be competing with hundreds of other professionals for their attention. It pays to be memorable in the right way, and the following tips will help you do just that.
1. Find out which hotels will be there.
Most job fairs publish a list of attending organizations in advance. Make sure you review it and put together a prioritized list of the hotels with which you want to meet. This will guide both your research before and your plan of attack on fair day. Study up on the positions your top employers have available, their company culture, and recent news. Then create specially-tailored versions of your resume for each of your top choices.
If the hotel job fair you are attending allows jobseekers to pre-register, take the time to do so. Some employers review the list and qualifications of pre-registered applicants ahead of time and reach out to schedule brief on-site interviews during the event.
2. Carefully craft your elevator pitch.
An elevator pitch is basically a brief commercial selling your skills, qualifications, and career goals to an employer. In a couple of sentences, or about 30 seconds, you should be able to explain who you are and why a particular hotel should consider you for an open positon. You’ll use this pitch when introducing yourself to potential employers at the job fair. Practicing your delivery beforehand is essential; you don’t want to speak too fast or in a monotone, two mistakes many nervous jobseekers make.
3. Choose appropriate job fair attire.
While business casual may be fine with some employers, it’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed when attending a hotel job fair. Many experts recommend a dress shirt, suit jacket and slacks for men and a blouse and skirt or dress for women. Whatever outfit you choose, it should make you appear confident and approachable.
Keep in mind that you’ll be standing throughout the event so comfortable yet professional shoes are important. And regardless of the season, the temperature inside the building where the job fair is held may be quite warm, especially during the busiest hours. Consider layers and lightweight or breathable fabrics to minimize sweating.
4. Gather what you need for the event.
While you want to be prepared with the items you might need, you don’t want to be weighed down with a bulky briefcase or enormous handbag. Many job fairs provide refreshments, so you can probably leave your water bottle and snacks at home.
Pack a small purse or bag with a notebook and pen, business cards (if you have them), and several copies of your resume (including the customized versions you created for your top employer choices). This way you’ll be free to engage in a non-awkward handshake as you introduce yourself to recruiters.
5. Respect the recruiters’ time.
At a large, popular hotel job fair, a recruiter may meet with a hundred or more jobseekers. Even at five minutes per person, this requires a significant amount of time. Make things easier for the employers you meet by handing over your resume as you introduce yourself and pointing out the most pertinent details. If you’re given time to ask a question or two about the opportunity, make sure an enquiry into next steps is one of them. Then get the recruiter’s business card so you can follow up after the event.
6. Don’t hesitate to network with others.
Regardless of the size of the hotel job fair, it’s likely you’ll occasionally find yourself waiting in line with other professionals. Rather than staring at your mobile phone, network! Ask other jobseekers about their current employment situation and career experiences. Exchange business cards so you can connect with them later on a social media site such as LinkedIn. You never know who might be able to put you in touch with a great opportunity.
7. Follow up promptly after the event.
Within one or two business days of the hotel job fair, send a thank you email to every recruiter you met with. If you were given next steps to follow, take them promptly. This may mean submitting an application online or forwarding additional information about your experience and/or credentials. If you were rushed and unable to ask about the hotel’s timeline for hire, you can also enquire about this in the thank you email and then follow up later accordingly.