Getting the Most out of a Career Fair


Fri, Nov 28, 2014

Career fairs are becoming well-known as exceptional places to gain exposure in the career field of your choice. However simply showing up to a career fair will not pay dividends unless you are prepared to make a case for the job you desire.  What should you do to ensure that you are getting the most out of attending a career fair?

You might already know that your resume is your calling card and gives a general overview of who you are in amongst the world of professionals in your field, so bringing at least two copies of your resume for every employer is crucial to getting the most out of a career fair. However, many people don’t stop to consider how that calling card will appear to the person to whom it is handed.  When was the last time you reviewed your resume? Begin by determining the type of jobs you believe will be available at the career fair and rewrite your resume focusing on the type of job you desire and the type of employers who are expected to make an appearance at the career fair.  Make sure to stop by each booth and at least drop off your resume.

The second way to get the most out of a career fair is to treat it as a networking event.  Employers are there to network with potential employees, and job seekers should be there to network with both employers and fellow job seekers.  It is impossible to know who might be able to provide you with the lead that lands you the interview, or a job offer. Ask each person that you meet if they know if anyone who is hiring a professional with your talents.

Use the career fair to brush up on your interview skills. Treat each booth that you walk up to like an interview and introduce yourself.  Shake the hand of the person who is sitting behind the booth and attempt to strike up a conversation. One of the best ways to strike up a conversation is to compliment the person, or ask a question about their role, or the company. 

One of the best ways to get the most out of attending a career fair is to request the card of each person you meet, and ask who you should send an electronic copy of your resume to based on your qualifications and the type of job you are seeking.

Career fairs offer an excellent forum to learn about the types of qualifications that are in high demand, the employers who are hiring, and who you should speak to in order to schedule an interview.  Make sure to show up to the career fair dressed appropriately, with a smile on your face, ready to tackle even the toughest interview questions on the spot.  After all, you never know if your next employer could be watching the impression you make from two booths away, and using that information to determine whether or not they should bring you in for an interview or make an offer on the spot.