What is a Career Fair?
A career fair is an opportunity for employers and job seekers to interact with each other in an open setting. Expect to be evaluated or interviewed on the spot. The following tips will help you make an excellent first impression and have a positive experience.
Finding a Career Fair
Look for job fair announcements on the Career Center's website, check newspapers, employer websites, and Internet sites such as CareerJournal.com.
Preparing for the Fair
- Obtain a list of participating employers and identify those that are of interest to you. Research the employers and be prepared to explain why you are interested in working with them.
- Prepare your résumé and have it reviewed before the fair. Make several copies to bring with you, at least two for each company for which you have an interest.
- Dress professionally as you would for an interview. Bring a pad folio to hold copies of our resume and materials you collect at the fair.
- Prepare a brief "commercial." Be prepared to summarize your education, experience, strengths and accomplishments. Practice until it sounds natural.
- Follow-up. Write a thank you note or email and send it the next day to the address/email on the recruiter's business card. In the letter, thank the recruiter for his/her time; reiterate your interest in working for the company and your qualifications.
What to Expect
Job fairs can be very busy and you may stand in lines waiting to meet with employers. Expect to be evaluated or interviewed on the spot. Don't expect a job offer; your goal is to make an impression and get a second interview.
What to Take
- Résumés. Bring copies for each employer you plan to meet with, plus several extras.
- Several pens and note pad for taking notes about each employer.
- Business case for your résumés and employer materials you collect.
- Professional portfolio that includes a collection of writing samples, artwork, transcripts, list of references, reference letters, or other documents which may be of interest to the employer.
Day of the Fair
- Arrive early so that you have time to meet with all of the employers in which you are interested.
- Refer to the directory of employers and find them on the event floor plan. Determine which organizations you will visit first. If you visit a table with an unusually long line, continue on and return when the line is shorter.
- Walk up to the table and introduce yourself with a smile and firm handshake. Have a copy of your résumé ready to hand to the employer and be prepared to perform your "commercial."
- Ask questions and take notes on the employers' responses.
- Obtain the business card or contact information of the persons with whom you speak. This will enable you to send a letter thanking them for their time and reiterating your interest in the organization and the position. Include another copy of your résumé with the thank you letter.
Want more details or other strategies? Follow this link for more Career Rair Resources.