How to Successfully Work a Job Fair
Face-to-face contact with employers is crucial in any job market. Direct interaction with employers at a job fair allows you to deliver a “quick commercial” selling your skills and qualities to the employer, ask questions and make a great impression! What an opportunity to meet many employers in one location and get to be known!
Employers’ primary goal at a fair is to promote their company as a great place to work and screen potential candidates for open positions or supplement their “talent pool.” Companies put a lot of effort, time and expense into attending career fairs and expect you to be prepared and serious about your job search.
This video is a short introduction about what you should expect at the job fair. Keep reading though for additional and important information!
- View the participating employers; a directory is available on Handshake
- Make a list of companies that best align with your skills, goals, values
- Research the companies of interest to you – mark your top prospects
- Think about what you have to offer
- Review job descriptions
- Determine the key requirements and skills needed for positions of interest
- Develop your 30-second commercial – be able to articulate a clear and specific description of yourself, your area of study, experience that can demonstrate relevant skills, and what you want to do
- If you do not have a résumé, learn more on our Résumé page or contact the Center for Career Development for guidance on developing your résumé.
- Have your résumé reviewed at the Center for Career Development, at ResuMANIA or participate in Recruiter in Residence.
- Focus your résumé to the requirements of the position and the skills you offer
- Highlight your education, relevant and related experience (paid and volunteer), projects, accomplishments, volunteer/service involvement, other work experience
- Consider developing various versions of your résumé depending on the skills required or multiple career interests
Have a plan
- Go early – before approaching the companies, review the directory for the layout of the fair and take a walk through; also, recruiters are fresh, alert and attentive earlier in the day
- Work out nervousness by approaching one or two companies not on your list to become familiar with the process; then, work your priority list with more confidence
- Don’t neglect companies that are not “brand name employers” as they may have lucrative opportunities
Dress the Part
- Dress to impress – proper business attire!
- Men – suit, dress shirt, tie
- Women – suit, shirt
- Everyone – neat, clean, impeccable grooming – dress the part of an aspiring person who would like to be employed!
At the Fair
- Survival kit – plenty of résumés in a portfolio, blank notepad, pen, questions
- Smile, introduce yourself, offer a firm handshake, be enthusiastic, maintain eye contact, ask questions, say “thank you”
- Ask for a business card from everyone you talk with and write down notes after speaking with the recruiters; use this information to follow-up with the recruiter
- Don’t be discouraged if an employer won’t accept paper résumés; many employers only accept electronic versions
- Not a group activity – employers are interested in you, not you and your friend
After the Fair
- Make a list of the employers you spoke with and read the notes you took
- Send a short email or handwritten thank you note pointing out your strengths and why you are interested in a position with them
- Continue to monitor the employer’s website to learn of new opportunities
- Assess your fair experience and what you might do the next time