How to Successfully Work a Job Fair

For a quick tip on career fair success, click here.

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.

  • 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
  • Update your LinkedIn profile prior to the Expo
  • Develop your 30-second elevator pitch – 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
Résumé Development
  • 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
  • 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
  • This is your chance to interview the employers - ask good questions to determine if the organization is a good fit for you.
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