Job fairs are held by many different organizations.
They are an opportunity for job seekers to speak directly to employers that might have job openings.
A job fair is an event in which employers and recruiters give information to potential employees. Job fairs are a great opportunity to connect with multiple employers at one time in a single location. Job fairs can vary in size and scope and be performed in person or online.
Some job fairs are quite large with a collection of employers from a variety of industries, and other job fairs are smaller and targeted to a particular audience. There are a number of “military friendly” job fairs that are targeted specifically to transitioning veterans and military spouses.
To succeed at a job fair, you must prepare in advance by polishing your professional introduction, researching the companies you are interested in talking to, and developing a “plan of attack” for your time at the job fair. It is not possible to talk to every one of the companies in attendance, so you will have to choose your top 5-10 and focus your efforts on meeting and connecting with those companies.
- 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.