Biotech Career Fairs for Job Seekers 101: Control Your Experience

By June Salvati, Director of Events and Corporate Services, BioSpace

Unhappily employed? Searching for a new job? Passively checking-out the job market to see what is available? Industry specific career fairs can be the answer to all of your problems. That is where BioSpace comes into play.

A job fair is a great way to gather information, connect with recruiters and HR staff members from big companies, network with other professionals in your area, and get your name and resume out there. BioSpace Career Fairs, which are specific to the biotech, pharmaceutical and medical device industries, bring together a community of biopharmaceutical professionals to network, connect, and evaluate job opportunities.

There are a few key factors to finding success at a job fair. Follow these tips and see how productive a few hours of your time can truly be.



Pre-register
BioSpace Career Fairs allow candidates to pre-register prior to the event. Always take this step if it is available. This will enable the exhibiting companies to have access to your resume before the event, and they may even schedule interviews with qualified candidates on the day of the career fair. Pre-registering will also allow you to make certain that the career fair is the right place for you. BioSpace will take the time to let you know if your background will not match the job openings available at that career fair. This will ensure that neither you nor the exhibiting companies are wasting time with a mismatch.

Dress for Success
When you step up to a recruiter at a career fair, you only have a few short minutes to convince that person that you are a great candidate. First impressions are extremely important, so be sure your clothing is business casual or a business suit. As a jobseeker, you want to show the recruiter that you made an effort and that you want to be at this event. Dressing sloppily or showing no regard for appearance displays lack of interest by the jobseeker. The recruiters and HR staff present at job fairs have very demanding schedules, so show that you value the time and energy they are spending with you by being professional and composed.

Be Prepared
The most obvious objective of attending a job fair is to present yourself and your resume to exhibiting companies. In order to do that, you must bring lots of copies of your resume. Amazingly, candidates will still show up without a resume or run out during the day. If you do not have a resume to present to recruiters, there is very little they can do to evaluate your qualifications as a match for their company. BioSpace Career Fairs require a resume for admittance. Plan on bringing at least one copy of your resume for each company present.

BioSpace.com has a unique page for each career fair containing a list of companies who are exhibiting. Do your homework before you go the career fair. Take the time to research each company who will be there, what they do, and what types of positions they have open. This will help you to narrow down which companies are worth taking the time to approach. It will also make a good impression on the recruiter if you know what they are looking for.

Recruiters spend most of the day answering the same two questions. “What positions do you have open?” and “Tell me about your company.” Instead of blending in with the crowd and asking these same questions, take the time to plan out what you will say as you approach each booth. A recruiter is much more likely to remember a candidate who approached with confidence, introduced himself, stated which job opening he is interested in, and why he is a great match.

Plan your time wisely
When you arrive at a career fair, take a few minutes to look over the floor plan and where companies are positioned. You will find a floor plan at the BioSpace registration booth to help you navigate the ballroom. Prioritize the companies you want to speak with and visit the most important booths first in order to ensure you have enough time to speak with them.

Collect information
Be sure to gather as much pertinent information as you can when speaking to a recruiter at a job fair. Make note of the name of each person you speak with, their position if they provide it, and collect any business cards you can. This information is necessary to follow-up on job openings after the career fair.

Additionally, many companies will provide flyers or pamphlets containing general information at their booths. These can contain anything from job openings to company history to benefits, so be sure to take this information for review later.

Post-career fair follow-up
Recruiters spend all day talking to qualified candidates at a career fair. Following-up with companies you are interested in is extremely important. Use the contact information you collected from the recruiter to send a personal thank you note or email. If they instructed you to apply for a position directly online, do so before you send your note so that you can include a reference to the position that you applied for.



Career Fairs can be much less intimidating if you are well prepared. By spending the time to do some research, you can approach a career fair with the confidence that is needed to make a lasting first impression.

Even if you attend a career fair and do not find your dream position, you are still gaining valuable interview experience with each recruiter you approach.

So find a career fair near you and get ready for the most productive day of your career.

For upcoming BioSpace Career Fairs in your area, please visit:
http://careers.biospace.com/jobs/Public/ReceptionList.aspx