They are an opportunity for job seekers to speak directly to employers that might have job openings, but they can be a mixed experience. It's important to have the right expectations for what you can and cannot do at a job fair.
- Build your professional network
- Introduce yourself to potential employers and answer employer questions
- Get information and leads that are not available on the employer's website
Do not expect to:
- Have on-the-spot interviews (but be prepared, just in case!)
- Be given a job offer
Before the job fair
- Register. Although not always required, having your name on the list of pre-registered attendees shows professional courtesy to both fair organizers and exhibiting employers.
- Research participating employers. Find out ahead of time which employers hire people with your skills. Even if the company is not on your list of target employers, treat them as if they were.
- Know your career objective.
- Make a list of questions for employers. Ask about how they recruit and hire people with your skill set. Your target employers will likely have similar hiring practices.
- Polish your resume.
- Practice your elevator speech. Begin with a firm handshake and good eye contact. Use a clear voice and provide the employer with concise and relevant information. It's a good idea to practice with someone else.
- Practice interview responses.
During the job fair
- Dress professionally.
- Bring several copies of your resume, pen and paper for notes, and breath mints.
- Talk with recruiters, but not for too long.
- Get business cards, names, and contact information.
- After meeting someone, make a few notes. What did you discuss with them? Did you commit to any follow-up?
- Talk with other job seekers at the job fair.
- Be professional, polite, and positive.
After the job fair
Send a thank-you e-mail or letter to remind your contacts of who you are and any specifics you discussed. Thank your contacts for their time and ask about next steps. Make sure to organize your job fair notes and contact information.