Why attend a job fair?
Job fairs are the perfect way to meet face-to-face with employers and recruiters rather than just sending in your resume. This allows you to practice community building (also known as networking) and make an impression when you apply for the job – or perhaps receive an opportunity to interview while at the fair.
What should I do before a job fair?
- Research: Review the list of employers attending the fair and make note of those you are most interested in meeting with. Look up the employer on Handshake, visit the company’s website, and/or view reviews of the organization from a Google search. Make notes about each employer and use this information to formulate questions you want to ask them when you speak with them. NOTE: Some employers will assume you have done your research and may be reluctant to share information with you if you go in cold.
- Prepare questions: Consider what you want to learn about the organization. You can use our Auggie Internship and Job Fair Game Plan document to help brainstorm ideas based on the suggestions listed there.
- Ready your Resume: Make sure your resume is updated, streamlined to share with multiple employers or tailored to be given to just a few, and proofread. We strongly recommend having your resume reviewed by a Peer Advisor or Career Coach in the Strommen Center prior to the fair. Print out several copies to have ready to hand to employers.
- Plan your Outfit: It’s important to understand dress expectations and culture for the organization you want to work with. While you may be coming from class, some recruiters expect certain attire and will make judgements based off of that. We recommend dressing in a way that you feel comfortable in and makes you feel confident. Read this article on What to Wear for an Interview/Career Fair and visit our pop-up Share Shop in the Strommen Center for new business attire!
- Create and practice your elevator pitch/speech: An elevator pitch is a 30 second to 1 minute introduction you can make to employers to tell them about yourself and start a conversation. Use the Job Fair Game Plan document to help craft one or view examples on this Elevator Pitch Examples document.
What should I do at the fair?
- Check-in: Make sure you receive a name badge (usually needed for admission), map of the fair, and whatever additional material might be offered to help you navigate the fair.
- Meet with Employers: Use your elevator pitch to start conversations and pull from your research and notes to learn more about opportunities at these organizations.
- Ask for contact information: An employer or recruiter may hand you their business card or contact information, but you are also free to ask for it yourself to follow up with them regarding other questions, information, and hearing more about their opportunities.
- Use the Coat Check: Job fairs can be crowded and hard to navigate. Save yourself the hassle of carrying your stuff through the fair while juggling your notes and collected business cards by checking it at a designated coat room.
- Engage in Other Opportunities: If you’ve never attended a fair before, check to see if there are options for first timers. Some career fairs may offer mock interview practice, sessions on navigating the fair, and other opportunities or info sessions.
- Recharge: Some fairs have quiet spaces to gather your thoughts, regroup, or have snack/drink water. Take advantage of these spaces, especially if loud, crowded environments are taxing for you.
What should I do after the fair?
- Review your notes: Where there any takeaways you wanted to revisit? Information you wanted to research more? Any actions to complete?
- Follow up with employers: If you connected with employers and promised to follow up with them or thank them for their time, try to do so in the first few days after the fair. Visit our Prepare for an Interview page on tips on writing a thank you note to employers.
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