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5 tips for your next nurse job fair

Creatas | ThinkStock

Creatas | ThinkStock

We’ve written before about how great job fairs can be for nurses looking for work, and how they can also be fantastic networking opportunities. But knowing what to do and how to act once you get to the job fair will determine how successful your experience there actually is.

To help out, we’ve put together a few tips to consider the next time you head to a job fair in your area. Some may seem obvious at first, but recruiters tell us that most are not obvious to everyone.

Additionally, be sure to research the workplaces that will be at the fair before you go. A great resource is our Nurse’s Guide to Hospitals.

Dress Professionally

This may seem like the most obvious tip, but those working job events report that far too many candidates attend in far less than professional attire. Sure, the world is more casual now than it was a few decades ago, but that doesn’t mean you can get away with wearing flip-flops to a job fair.

Unless the event you are attending has a specific dress code that allows more casual attire (or even your work scrubs), play it safe and dress up. For guys, that likely means a suit or at least a blazer and tie. Women should wear a professional dress or suit.

Bring Copies of Your Resume

This advice applies to job interviews as well, but may be even more imperative at a job fair. After all, how will any recruiter remember you if you don’t have anything to give them (unless they remember your flip-flops, which probably isn’t the ideal situation!)?

Have more than enough copies of your resume, and be sure to actually hand them out to anyone you speak with. If you don’t get an interview out of the fair itself, there’s a chance your resume will be reviewed at a later date.

Be Confident and Assertive…

It’s easy for the shy among us to shuffle through the aisles of a job fair with our heads down, hoping the recruiter at our dream hospital picks us out to talk to. But, of course, that’s unlikely to happen.

Instead, you’ve got to put your best foot forward and go up to any recruiters for hospitals you are interested in, introduce yourself and start a conversation. This is a way to get noticed and not be just another nurse in the crowd.

…But Don’t Get Cocky

While you want to make an impression, you don’t want to come across as the kind of nurse you wouldn’t want as a coworker. Therefore, keep basic rules of etiquette in mind as you talk to prospective employers.

Smile and make eye contact as you speak to the recruiter. Being friendly is an obvious way to open up the lines of communication as you discuss your nursing background and the available positions.

Listen to the Recruiter

Finally, be sure that while you are trying to present yourself as a confident future employee, you don’t stop paying attention to the recruiter. This can be an inadvertent action as you get so wound up in talking about yourself and your nursing background that you don’t answer any of the questions you are being asked.

Additionally, be sure to ask the recruiter questions about their facility. Ask specific questions about the workplace, like nurse-to-patient ratios, mission statements and other topics that will show you are genuinely interested in a career at that specific hospital.

Nurses, do you have more tips for how to wow recruiters at job fairs? Share them below!

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