Job Fairs: How To Make Them Work For You

Learn Who’s Attending Ahead of time:

  • Many fairs are geared specifically to certain fields, is it your field of interest?
  • Find out the companies attending, check websites /newspaper listings.
  • Narrow the list of companies you are most interested in.
  • Gather information about the employers located on their websites, at Career Center, public library, resume etc.

Be Prepared:

  • Prepare a succinct summary of your qualifications.
  • Rehearse your qualifications, demonstrate your ability to articulate your skills and your preparedness.
  • Prepare questions to ask employer representatives, minimum of 2.
  • Bring extra, updated resumes without objectives.
  • Bring paper, pen /pencil, paper clips, etc. with you.
  • Carry items in a folio/file with extra resumes, note paper, allowing room for materials collected: business cards, brochures, etc.

Dress Appropriately:

  • Dress professionally, yet more conservatively, in clean pressed clothes.
  • Regardless how the representative is dressed, you want him/her to know you are a professional job seeker.
  • Avoid extra coats/jackets and briefcase, eliminates extra bulk.

Expect to be Evaluated:

  • Remember, 1st impressions count, even if you are only gathering 
    information.
  • Your initial contact may be the company’s 1st screening.

Strategize:

  • Check in at the registration table, obtaining a list of attendee and their location.
    -Acclimate yourself to the layout of the fair.
  • Know the amount of time you’ll spend at the fair and pace yourself.
  • If you’re planning several hours, you may wish to bring a snack/energy bar, to maintain your energy.
  • Avoid eating, drinking or carrying food when visiting employers’ tables.
  • Practice conversing with other companies before targeting your favorite ones.
  • After leaving an employer, take time to jot down notes if they interest you.
  • Use the fair as your own screening device. It’s your opportunity to make contact with dozens of employers , learn more about them and decide if follow-up is worthwhile.

At the Employer’s Table:

  • Wait patiently, avoid approaching the table if someone else is conversing, respecting their privacy.
  • When approaching the representative, establish eye contact, smile, shake hands firmly and introduce yourself.
  • Tell them why you’re interested in their organization, hand them your resume.
  • Be prepared to state your qualifications in 30 seconds or less.
  • Look for job postings, current or anticipated. Ask, if you don’t see any available.
  • Collect business card, application and information if you’re interested.

After the Fair:

  • Write further notes while information is still fresh in your mind: key names and important facts concerning the companies you ‘re interested in following up.
  • Send thank you notes. They demonstrate professionalism and your continued interest, especially if you were given a brief interview.
  • Copy applications prior to filling them out, in case you make a mistake, or use an erasable pen.
  • Fill out applications , prioritizing them and turning them in on a timely manner—one to two weeks.
  • Include a note with the application stating the representative you talked to and which fair you attended.

Websites with additional information: