So I was recently at the NYC Startup Job fair, and had many interested interactions with several companies I shall not name. For the sake of keeping you engaged, I will share three things you can expect at a job fair. I will also share three excellent ways to stand out and get noticed at said job fair.
A startup job fair is essentially no different from any other job fair: you have small companies, big companies, companies with great set ups…some with not so great set ups…pushy people, shy people, and everyone in between. What’s important to remember is that both you and these companies are here for essentially the same reason. You want to get noticed, and so do they. Some things you might encounter at these job fairs are egos, expectations, and entertainment (no seriously, some companies give out candy). But amidst all that chaos, you can expect essentially three things from companies in attendance:
Level of Formality. Depending on what type of company and how big they are, some companies vary in formality. That isn’t to say that some are “better” than others, but at a startup job fair you will definitely see a range of characters. Some recruiters will sport the tried-and-true business suit, while some will appeal to the ‘younger’ or perhaps ‘lax’ crowd with branded t-shirts and jeans. Regardless of what the recruiter is wearing, realize that they expect utmost professionalism from you: sometimes the t-shirt clad individuals can be more intimidating than those in suits.
Wide Variety. At a startup job fair, more so than other job fairs, you will see a very wide variety of companies: sometimes a financial-based company will be placed directly next to a lingerie company (yes I’ve witnessed this). No matter what company you think you should apply for, be sure to check out as many as you can. Why? Because sometimes the dream job you’ve always wanted isn’t found in expected places.
Egos. When you come into contact with companies at job fairs you will notice that some have a tendency to puff-up for the throngs of job-seekers more than others. Whether it’s overly elaborate displays or bold claims, some will come off as highly intimidating. The key is to stay calm, focused, and charming: charming the pants of a recruiter can be more powerful than trying to hold your ground and arguing. Remember that.
Anyways, stay tuned: Tommorrow will be what to expect from other job-seekers at job fairs!