Last year, I attended a HUGE Job Fair in LA, aptly called Tech Fair LA. The whole experience was really… well, overwhelming. For one, there were so many people there that folks didn’t actually have time to fully listen to your pitch. There were also long lines for well-known companies and a lot of ground to cover.  I had to be smart about how I tackled this beast.

The Strategy

I quickly created a strategy in order to get the most out of my experience. Having a design background, I wanted to shoot into an offspring of UI/Front End. I quickly learned that these positions were often filled or the first to be filled for tech companies (go figure). Marketing roles were often available and not even mentioned due to it being a Tech Fair, so depending on the table,  I looked at that angle.

I began looking at mostly mid-sized and fairly established companies that didn’t really a lot of love because they weren’t as shiny as Buzzfeed or SpaceX. If I did like a table with a really long line, I took down a name and a pamphlet and kept it moving. These people were speaking to hundreds of folks, they weren’t going to remember everyone.

Table Manners

Something else I took into consideration was what the employees were wearing and how they interacted. Company culture is very important to me. If they were cliquish or stand-offish to each other, I avoided that table. If they were wearing embroidered t-shirts (an investment from the company) they probably were full-time employees. They would be able to give you detailed information. If they wore t-shirts and didn’t really speak to one another, they were probably just hired for the event. They wouldn’t have a lot of clout and usually just pointed you in the right direction (aka their website).

Be Nice

I was also sure to be really nice to folks. I actually got in one of the shiny tech lines, and the guy I spoke to was really nice (Everybody was really nice at this table! I was impressed). However, a job seeker was very rude, brisk and left in a hurry. The employee (he had on an embroidered shirt) thanked me for being nice. I ‘m sure he remembered me because I made an extra effort. Make the effort to be polite.

The Waiting Game

When I happened to get in a line, I would skimmed tables and websites to see what positions were available  It made it a lot easier to pitch the employee when I finally got in front of them.

Look Past the Gimmicks

Some tables had really cool gimmicks, but it resulted in people taking the gimmick and not noticing the company. I made an effort to actually speak to employees. I got a lot of business cards behind this effort.

That’s my experience at the LA Tech Fair! What are your favorite job fair tips?

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