Getting a Job

What to Bring to a Job Fair

When you attend a job fair, preparing ahead of time will ensure that you have everything you need to meet with employers and establish networking contacts. Job fairs can be crowded events, and you can take the opportunity to demonstrate to employers that you are better positioned for an interview. This article shares some of the vital things you need to bring to a job fair.

What is a job fair?

A job fair, also known as a career fair, is an event held to introduce employers to employee candidates and vice versa. Job fairs usually consist of several different booths set up in one large area. As a prospective employee of all the companies, you can visit the available booths, introducing yourself to recruiters and passing out your resume. 

What to bring to a job fair

Here are some important things to bring with you to a job fair:

Information about relevant companies

Before attending a job fair, you should take some time and identify the specific companies most likely to participate in the recruiting event. Prioritize the ones that you are interested in, then do more research about them. Most companies offer information about their operations, policies, job descriptions, and corporate mission on their websites. Remember that you are going to be meeting the employer for just a few minutes, and you have to ensure you win their attention. 

While gathering information about the companies you are interested in, you should also consider the job opportunities that match your professional qualifications and skills. You should identify how your skills and qualifications match the needs of the company. You can then write down some questions to ask the recruiter once you have a session with them. Also, you can find out if a company might offer the option to register for an appointment or submit your resume prior to the job fair. Be sure to verify or request an appointment at least one day before the job fair. 

Several copies of your resume

The number of copies of the resume you will need to carry with you is dependent on the size of the job fair event. You may have to carry up to 40 copies of your resume. For example, if you create a list of 15 companies you are interested in, you can then double the number and carry 30 copies of your resume. It is better to have a few extra copies of your resumes left at the end of the event than to have a shortage. The most important thing is that your resume needs to look professional and easy to read. It should be free of typos and should be on cream-colored or plain white paper. 

A well-composed sales pitch

Once you hand the recruiter a copy of your resume, you should be prepared to expand on it very quickly. Given the many resumes the recruiter has likely received throughout the job fair session, it may not be possible for them to read through each one in detail. A 45-second sales pitch can make you stand out in the crowded fair. In the sales pitch, you should quickly share basic information about yourself and your career interest. Tell the recruiter about your professional qualifications and the reasons you chose to take your career path. When possible, tell the recruiter about other relevant training you have pursued that can positively impact on their company. 

A smartphone 

Bring your smartphone with you, but always ensure it remains in silent mode until you are done with all the booths. You will need it to review the questions you intend to ask the recruiters and the information that you saved. Your smartphone can also be a helpful tool for taking a picture of the recruiter’s business card immediately after you meet them so you can send an email with a thank-you note. 

Business cards

Though this might be optional, it can boost your visibility to have a card. The card should have vital information such as your name, a valid phone number and your specialties or the field you work in. Although your resume may have that information, a business card can show more professionalism and give the recruiter something more to remember you by. 

A tote bag

As you will be moving from one booth to another, you will be dropping off your resumes and picking up new items such as brochures and business cards from the recruiters. You need to have a professional-looking bag where you can keep all these materials, plus your other valuables such as pens, magnets, sticky note pads and other supplies. A tote bag will provide sufficient room for you to store all these items as well as a binder or notebook.

Some extra clothes

You may find it necessary to carry an extra pair of professional clothing with you. Although you may not need it, it is best to be prepared in case you spill something on your clothes. Always clean and iron your emergency change of clothes when preparing for the career fair.

A bottle of water

Most career fairs are heavily attended, and the whole event may be quite lengthy. You are going to be talking at each booth you visit, and the entire activity of moving back and forth may be quite draining. At any point of the day, you will need some water to sip when your mouth gets dry. It’s a good idea to keep a bottle of water in your bag, but be sure to screw the cap on tightly every time you take a drink to avoid spilling any liquid on your job materials.