How to Get Hired at a Hospitality Job Fair
“Eighty percent of success is just showing up,” or so the adage goes. Yet, that’s not quite true of career fairs. These job seeking events are unique opportunities that allow you to meet face-to-face – albeit briefly – with multiple potential employers as you directly hand them your resume. Sounds simple, but to really make the most of a career fair, follow these five preparation tactics:
Map out your game plan
After reviewing the companies that will be an attendance, prioritize those that you’re most interested in working for and keep in mind that if it’s a two-hour event, you’ll likely have about 10 minutes with any given recruiter. So plan to meet with five or six companies, accounting for a few additional minutes with some of those recruiters as well as wait times since there will likely be other job seekers in line ahead of you. You may also want to allot some time to shop around and meet with recruiters from companies you may not have previously considered.
Choose your words carefully
Yes, you’ll want to present each recruiter with your resume, so be sure to have multiple copies with you. If the career fair has an online resume submissions forum where you can upload your resume prior to the event day, be sure to take advantage of that too. But you should also plan on how you’d like to introduce yourself to each recruiter – the proverbial “elevator pitch” – tailoring, at least to some extent, your introduction to the particulars of each company, brand or hotel. So you’ll need to have done your research and spent time perusing each company’s website before arriving, so that you can tell the recruiter specifically why you’re interested in that company.
Use all of the tools that are at your disposal
If you’re still working on your degree, make an appointment with your college or university’s career services office in order to ask about the recruiters attending the event. You’ll want to have specific questions about those companies that you plan to meet, such as is it their first time attending the career fair or do they have a successful track record of hiring from your school. Also ask broader questions that pertain to your interests. So if you’re looking for a front desk position or a revenue management role, find out if the career services officer knows which if any companies might be focused on hiring for these.
First impressions matter
Of course, you’ll want to be dressed appropriately in business attire. Also keep in mind that you’ll want to present yourself just as you would if you were working in a hotel. That is, even hotel employees who are not in guest-facing roles are still expected to have the professionals and social skills to suitably interact with guests as they likely will on occasions. So smile and show that you enjoy meeting new people, even if it’s your first career fair and you’re feeling a bit nervous.
Take advantage of any included networking events
If the career fair includes a breakfast, lunch, coffee break or reception where you can make still more contacts, make it your business to attend. Checking your phone and email can wait until the end of the day. This is an opportunity to meet more recruiters in a somewhat less formal setting and collect business cards so that you can either stop by their table after the networking event or, if time doesn’t allow, follow up with them after the career fair.
While your time at a career fair should target those businesses that you’d most like to work for, it’s also a good idea to allocate some time to meeting with recruiters from companies that you may not have previously considered. It could lead to unexpected opportunity or it could help you rule certain companies out from your search so you can spend more time focusing on those that matter most to you. This is also another forum for practicing the professional demeanor that you will need to put across in job interviews.