To Succeed At Career Fairs
This issue will quickly cover the following:
A) Purpose of Career Fairs
B) How To Best Prepare
C) Tips & Strategies During The Fair
D) Career Fair Follow-Up
A) PURPOSE OF CAREER FAIRS
Career fairs are designed to provide job seekers a way to
explore career opportunities within a variety of companies
at one location. Job seekers should take advantage of these
fairs to be better informed about the job market. Career
fairs must be a part of your overall job search process.
It’s a great way to learn about job openings, research
companies and practice your interviewing and networking
B) HOW TO BEST PREPARE
Its important to make the most of your time at career fairs.
There will be many employers and even more job seekers vying
for attention so its critical that you prepare in advance of
setting foot into the career fair.
Here are 5 tips that can help you be well prepared:
#1 - PRIORITIZE
Find out what companies are going to be attending prior to
the day of the career fair and identify and prioritize the
top companies that you definitely want to visit.
#2 - RESEARCH
Spend a little time researching these companies; the more
you know the better. Use the Internet, library, etc.
Employers love talking to candidates who are familiar with
their company and business. It also makes you look smart.
Candidates who are knowledgeable about a company come across
as intelligent and interested.
#3 - YOUR RESUME
Create and/or refine your resume and bring many, many clean,
crisp copies to handout. This is very imporant!
#4 - APPROACH
Create a one-minute introduction that summarizes your
skills, goals, experience, etc. Practice this until you are
comfortable using this as your opening. The career fair will
present many mini interviews and you need to be prepared for
this. Anticipate interview questions and practice your
#5 - APPEARANCE
Dress professionally – don’t wear shorts and sandals. Use
good judgement in what you wear and project professionalism.
Bring a nice folder to carry your resumes and a notepad and
pen for taking notes.
C) TIPS & STRATEGIES DURING THE FAIR
Follow these tips below and you are on your way to a more
productive career fair.
Relax and plan on spending
time at the fair. Career fairs are not that frequent so plan
your time well. Try to avoid standing in long lines. Go
early if possible because the first hour is usually the
Always request business cards
or at least get an email address so that you can follow-up
and pursue leads.
When you get to actually talk
to a company representative – remember to shake hands firmly
and introduce yourself. This is your chance to make the best
Be mentally prepared with a
list of question to keep the conversation flowing. Ask about
the company, the industry, what job opportunities exist,
etc. Always try to relate your skills and experience to the
company or jobs that may be open at the company.
Visit companies outside your
industry. You will be surprised at how many companies hire
in all types of professions (ie. hospitals, banks, etc.)
Visit your lower priority
companies first. This way you can practice and fine tune
your approach. When you are ready, then proceed to the top
priority employers on your list.
Network! Talk to both
employers and other job candidates. If you are standing in
line, don’t be shy talk to the people in line. More jobs are
filled by networking than any other means.
Conduct yourself with a
professional manner at all times. Employers are watching at
all times. So when you are walking around or waiting in
line, always maintain professionalism.
Be aware of time. Don’t stand
and monopolize an employer’s time. Its not good for them or
for you. Ask specific questions, get to the point and most
importantly get the contact information for later follow-up.
D) CAREER FAIR FOLLOW-UP
Its important to keep yourself
fresh in the mind of the employers. To do this, you must
send follow-up or thank you letters within two days. Always
refer to the date and location of the job fair. Try and
highlight any part of the conversation that stood out to
make it easy for them to remember you. Always include a copy
of your resume. You might also want to follow-up with a
Also its important to re-group after a career fair and
evaluate your experience. Try and understand what you did
right and what can be improved upon, as this will help you
be more productive at the next fair.
Most importantly, just have a very positive attitude. Always
have a smile and thank each person you speak to for his/her
time. You have something to sell and employers are there to
shop around, and vice versa.
Nathan Newberger is the job and career expert at
http://www.WorkTree.com Nathan has over 10 years
experience in staffing and human resources. He has worked
both as a recruiter and career counselor. Mr. Newberger has
been the Managing Editor at http://www.WorkTree.com for the
past 5 years and his articles have helped thousands of job