Best Tips for Attending a Career Fair

Career Fair Tips | Definition, Benefits & Tips |

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Career fairs and job fairs are a fantastic way to job search and grow your professional network. You can choose from different venues and public events to network when looking for a job, depending on your interests and preferences. This article explains what you can do at a career fair, how career fairs can help your job search, and how to make the most out of visiting these types of events.

What is a career fair?

A career fair or job fair is an event where many companies gather to meet prospective candidates. Often, each company sets up a booth with hiring representatives while candidates walk around and talk with potential employers. Some job fairs feature companies from many industries, while others have companies from a single industry such as technology, education, or engineering.

How is a career fair beneficial to your job search?

Here are some of the many benefits of career fairs:

Job fairs include many companies

You have the opportunity to meet with many companies in one day and learn about a variety of open job positions.

Jobs may be listed that you didn’t know about

Some of the jobs posted at the job fair may not have come up in your online search. You might learn about new opportunities that you did not know about previously.

You get face-to-face meetings with hiring representatives

Unlike an online application or a phone call, job fairs provide face-to-face interaction, which gives a longer-lasting impression than a phone call or an email.

Receive immediate feedback

Ask the representative what stands out about your resume. Use their expertise to get direct and immediate feedback on your resume and other application materials.

Employers hire directly from job fairs

Some companies may interview and make job offers within the course of the job fair. Traditional job applications and interviews can take days or weeks, and job offers are rarely made the same day.

Network with like-minded professionals

Use the job fair to make connections with potential mentors or professional connections as you walk around and meet people.

Many job fairs offer workshops

You can learn new job search skills or practice interviewing at some career fairs that offer workshops or seminars with information on job searching.

Job fairs may include resources

Some career fairs have professionals available to review resumes and cover letters, which can be a huge benefit when you are looking for a new job.

Tips for attending a career fair

Use these tips to get the most value out of your career fair experience:

Have a pitch

Before the career fair, create a quick and memorable elevator pitch about yourself to give to employers. A strong elevator pitch will show companies that you prepared appropriately, understand your skill set, and value everyone’s time. Provide a copy of your resume and references at the end of your pitch.

Bring documents

Make enough copies of your resume and references that you can give one to every company at the career fair. It is always better to have too many than not enough, so find out ahead of time how many companies will be attending to assess how many documents to bring.

Do some research

If you can, get a list of the companies participating in the career fair before you attend. Research the companies and have a few facts and questions prepared ahead of time for the employers you are most interested in meeting. Create a general list of questions and comments for other companies in case you find yourself interested in their job openings.

Arrive early

Be one of the first people entering the career fair to meet with the most companies that interest you. Lines may become long later in the day, and the hiring representatives may have less time to talk with individuals. Use your time wisely by being one of the first people each employer meets.

Use the resources

Take advantage of any resources outside of discussing job openings with hiring representatives the career fair might offer. Some provide seminars and workshops related to job hunting, while others may offer resume writing or cover letter editing services. Attend these events to improve your skills and network with the others at the event.

Talk to people

Get to know the other individuals. They may have information about other job fairs or open positions you don’t know about. Additionally, speaking with other professionals can help grow your network and create valuable connections you might want to rely on later.

Be confident

Display confidence to employers through your speech and body language. Approach their booths with a smile, and speak in a clear and controlled tone. Make eye contact, and shake hands with the representatives for each company as you introduce yourself.

Ask questions

Have a few general questions prepared ahead of time to ask when you meet hiring representatives. You might also bring a pad of paper and a pen to jot down thoughts as you walk around and meet employers. Asking thoughtful questions shows that you are seriously interested in the company.

Remember who you meet

Keep track of all the hiring representatives you meet. Many will give you a business card, which you should immediately file in a safe place, so you don’t lose it. If the representative doesn’t give you a business card, take note of their name and company so that you can follow up later.

Be professional

Dress professionally in business attire. Make sure you are groomed neatly, modestly, and professionally. Use appropriate language and avoid distractions like texting or social media while you speak with hiring representatives. Remember, each interaction with a hiring representative at the career fair is like a small interview and should be treated as such.

Consider an itinerary

Consider creating an itinerary for the day to make sure you meet every company you are interested in. This can be an especially helpful tactic for extremely large career fairs or job fairs with lots of seminars and workshops you may also want to attend. Itineraries are also a useful place to jot notes about the companies and hiring representatives you meet.

Stay organized

Have an organized system for keeping things in order, such as copies of your resume and references as well as items you receive from companies, like business cards and job descriptions. Consider a folder or a binder in which you can easily slip the appropriate document into a predetermined and labeled spot for easy access later. This way, you can quickly access your resumes and references when you want them.

Follow up

After the career fair, follow up with all of the hiring representatives you met. Send a thank you email and ask if there is any other information you can provide. Express your interest in the position and thank them for taking the time to meet with you at the career fair.

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