Career fairs are great opportunities to meet prospective employers, interact with potential future co-workers, and learn more about potential physical therapy job openings across the country. Career fairs present a unique opportunity for both job seekers and employers where they can meet hundreds of applicants in one day, including Upstream Rehabilitation!

Whether you’re a new graduate or an experienced professional, career fairs are a great way for you to stand out and secure your next physical therapy position. Take a look at some of the best ways you can stand out and take advantage of an upcoming career fair.

Do Your Research

One of the first things you should do as you’re getting ready to attend your next physical therapy career fair is to do your research. In the same way that you’d prepare for an interview, you should prepare for a career fair. Make a list of things you should figure out and write down the answers you find so you can have it with you on the day of the event:

  • Which employers will be attending the career fair?
  • How long will the career fair run?
  • Where is the venue located?
  • Where is the best place to park?
  • Is there a registration process and/or registration fees?
  • Is there a map of the venue with booths labeled?
  • Are there interesting presentations or seminars to attend?

Conducting research before the career fair will help put some of those pre-event jitters to rest so you can focus on the important things like figuring out which employers you’d like to approach, attempting to learn about more interesting companies, and mapping out the best way to traverse around the venue to get everything accomplished in a reasonable time frame.

Carry a Portfolio

Instead of walking around the event with a hefty backpack or large purse, you should strive to only bring a leather binder or a portfolio. Carrying around a small portfolio or binder will give you the opportunity to store copies of your resume, the notes you gathered from your research, a map of the venue, and a place to keep small things you receive from employers or recruiters like business cards or application instructions.

In addition, small portfolios are great for storing all of the essentials without having to worry about carrying a heavy backpack, briefcase, or purse.

Dress to Impress

You’ll be interacting with and meeting a bunch of people at your next physical therapy career fair, which is why you should strive to put your best foot forward and dress to impress. Unless the venue instructions say otherwise, you should try to dress business professional. Take some time to plan your wardrobe the night before and have it set aside so that you don’t have to stress about it in the early morning hours as you’re getting prepared.

Be Confident!

The next thing you can do to find success at your next physical therapy career fair is to be confident. Being confident while meeting new people is a skill that can take time to develop. If you’ve been shy in the past, start practicing your ability to be approachable and confident well in advance of your next career fair.

One of the best ways to build your confidence is to practice the elevator pitch you’ll use when meeting new people at the event. An elevator pitch is a one-minute summary of who you are, previous accomplishments, and the value you can provide potential employers based on your skills and expertise.

As a physical therapy professional, you’ll want to work on your ability to convey your desire to work with patients, your previous healthcare or clinical experience (if you have it), and how your previous experience will be able to translate into your ability to provide value to potential employers.

Over time, as you practice your ability to speak confidently to fresh faces, you’ll find that it gets easier and you can introduce yourself concisely. It’s important to remember that there is a chance the recruiter or hiring manager you’ll interact with at a career fair might interact with several hundred faces over the course of several days.

That’s why you need to make sure that you practice your elevator pitch for when the moment arrives and you can avoid stammering or dealing with awkward pauses as you introduce yourself. Ask your friends and family members if they’d be willing to spend a couple of hours with you to work on your elevator pitch and see if they’d be willing to go through different scenarios with you to help you build up your confidence.

Provide an Updated Resume

In your portfolio that you’re carrying around the event, you want to make sure that you’ve got an updated resume to pass out to recruiters and hiring managers. As you begin your introduction and provide an elevator pitch, make sure that you give them a copy of your resume. As they review it, they might have questions you can answer on the spot or speak to certain points you’d like to highlight from your past experience. As we mentioned earlier, recruiters and hiring managers might speak to dozens of people per hour, so it’ll be difficult keeping track of all the different names and contact information they interact with.

Make sure to print out several dozen copies of your resume, as you don’t want to run out of copies to hand out.

Don’t Hesitate to Ask Questions

One of the best things about career fairs is the ability to ask questions based on your conversations with other recruiters, hiring managers, or professionals at the event. As you interact with and converse with others at the career fair, you might learn which questions to ask or be genuinely interested in certain topics you learned about during your research that only they can answer. Be prepared to ask questions and showcase your interest as the conversation progresses with each recruiter you interact with.

In addition, be prepared for the questions they might ask you. Some of the most common questions you might get at a physical therapy career fair include questions related to your interest in physical therapy, why you decided to come up to their booth, and why you think you’d be a good fit for an open position they might have.

Work on your ability to ask and answer questions as they come up naturally in a conversation.

Thank Them!

As you begin to wrap up your conversation with the recruiter or HR professional you’re speaking with, make sure you close the conversation with gratitude and thank them for the conversation and ask about the next steps. In addition, ask for their business card so you can remember the best way to get in touch with them when you leave and begin following up later in the day.

Reach Out After The Event and Follow Up

Once the day has come to a close and you’re headed back home, you want to start game planning how you will follow up with those you met during the career fair. If you took notes during the event, this would be a great way to tie in your conversations to help them remember who you were.

Send a short follow-up email to the recruiters or hiring managers you met and once again thank them for their time and acknowledge your interest in the role once more.

Grow Your Physical Therapy Career with Upstream Rehabilitation

Physical therapy career fairs are a great way to meet fantastic employers, including Upstream Rehabilitation. Upstream Rehabilitation and our family of brands are growing across the nation. As the largest pure-play provider of outpatient physical therapy in the country, there are opportunities for those looking to start, build, or elevate their career in physical therapy.

We’re actively hiring for clinical and non-clinical physical therapy positions across the country. Browse and apply to open physical therapy job postings with Upstream Rehabilitation today!