The time and effort you put into preparing for a job fair will determine, in large part, the success you will have at the fair. Job fairs are not just places for you to find jobs - they're a place for you to establish those all-important contacts that will help you in your career endeavors.
To help you prepare, here are some tips:
- Find out which companies will be attending. Visit Handshake for a list of participating companies and organizations and what types of positions are being advertised.
- Research the companies. If you see a company and/or organization that interests you, do some research on the company before attending the fair. The more you know about the company, the more comfortable you will be when meeting their representatives.
- Dress appropriately. While you may be a college student now, employers are looking to hire professionals. Wearing something besides jeans and a sweatshirt will go a long way toward establishing a lasting good first impression.
- Resumes. Some employers will be looking to interview people at the job fair, while others may be "just looking." It's important that you bring plenty of error-free resumes to the job fair. Many employers will be happy to take a look at your resume, make suggestions, and maybe take a copy or two home to review for possible consideration. Many employers who can't make it to the job fair ask the sponsoring organization to collect resumes and forward them after the job fair. Ask your Career Services professional staff for help with your resume, and you can't go wrong. Once your resume is finalized, visit Career Services to get copies (up to ten) printed on resume paper.
- Attitude. Always maintain a friendly and positive attitude, even at the end of the day when you're tired.
- Shake hands. Even if the employer doesn't offer to shake first, extend your hand, introduce yourself, and let the employer take it from there.
- Meet everyone. Take time to circulate. Ask the job fair hosts to introduce you to some of the employers. Don't worry if an employer doesn't seem to be hiring someone with your qualifications and background. They may know someone who is!
- Grab those business cards. Almost every employer will bring business cards. Grab all you can so you will know who to send a resume to when you're ready to embark on your search.
- Send thank you notes. Do you want to be remembered after the job fair? It's a nice touch to send personal thank you notes to all of the employers who talked with you during the fair. This is another great reason to grab those business cards. They'll help you remember who you talked with.
- Don't be discouraged! Some employers will be talking with a lot of students, so there may be some lines. Seek out those employers who don't have lines at their tables. These can sometimes be the most helpful. Try to meet everyone.
- Attend presentations. Many employers sponsor presentations or seminars, either the day before or the day after the job fair. Going to these meetings allows you to meet the employers personally, and can be a link to a future job. You'll find out about the company/organization, and you can get your foot in the door.
- Use the Career Services office. We have lots of resources available to assist you in making the job fair as beneficial and worthwhile as possible. Call us today to set up an appointment!
If you are attending a virtual fair you should consider all the tips above but here are additional things to consider:
- Create calendar reminders. During a virtual fair you will sign up for one-on-one time slots to speak with employers. You may also be able to register for information or group sessions. Create calendar reminders for each one to keep yourself on track and from being late.
- Get virtually organized! Make sure to have any paperwork you may need close to the device you will be using to attend the virtual fair. You will also want to test your internet, video and microphone connections to make sure everything works before logging in.
- Click here for more information on navigating virtual fairs.
Download our Career Guide - which includes info on how to dress, and what to ask