Job Fair Preparation

A job fair is an amazing opportunity to browse through a multitude of companies and organizations to find your dream job!  This event hosts various employers actively seeking potential employees, bringing the action directly to you!  This is one of the most effective and quickest methods to get connected with a recruiter, learn about career opportunities, meet and connect with other professionals, and hone interpersonal skills.

Prepare for the Job Fair
  • Research the companies attending and positions available.
    • A job fair is not the place to simply “show up.”  You need to know about the organizations in attendance and what they are looking for in a new hire.
      • Learn about the company.  What is their primary function?  What are the company’s goals?  What type of professional opportunities do they offer?  What type of skills are needed to be successful with the company?  What are some opportunities for advancement?
      • A simple online search should assist you in learning about open positions.
  • Create a strategy for when you attend the job fair.  Identify the top five companies you hope to connect with at the job fair and tailor your approach for them.
  • Find out how to attend the job fair.  Do you need to register in advance or is it a walk-in event?  This information is often published by the organization hosting the job fair.
  • Click on the link here to see the employers who plan to attend
Gather Materials for the Job Fair
  • Update your résumé to distribute to your chosen companies.  Match the number of résumés with the organizations that interest you and have extras for any other interesting companies you see.  Remember to use descriptive language in stating your own work and professional experience.  (i.e.: managed money for inventory, executed five hundred projects, led and organized a cohort of thirty employees, etc.)  Due to the nature of job fairs, it is okay for résumés to be more generic, instead of tailored to each job.
    • Create a Career Portfolio, in addition to your résumé, to present to the recruiters, if requested, at the job fair.  This may consist of certificates, unofficial transcripts, credentials, sample work, and anything that will demonstrate your abilities as an employee.  Remember to be courteous of the recruiter’s time.
  • Ensure that the clothes that you will wear to the job fair communicate professionalism, competence, and cleanliness.  Select an outfit ahead of time.
    • For men, wearing a dress shirt, coupled with dress pants and shoes, is the bare minimum.  Wearing a tie or a suit strengthens your appearance and makes a stronger impression.
    • For women, hair, makeup, and outfits should be conservative and classy.  A dress skirt/pants, coupled with a blouse and flats or heels, is the bare minimum.  A suit strengthens your appearance and makes a stronger impression.
    • DO NOT wear jeans, t-shirts, sneakers, flip-flops, or other casual attire to a job fair.  This demonstrates an inability to prepare and looks sloppy to a job recruiter.
    • If you are in a program that has a specific dress code (i.e. clinical health care, some line of trade), it is appropriate to wear the uniform to the job fair.  Nonetheless, the attire must be clean and neat.
Practice for the Job Fair
  • Jobs fairs are very busy, as there are hundreds of candidates buzzing about and recruiters are meeting many people in a short period of time.  Therefore, it is imperative to have a 15 second “sales pitch” that catches their attention and makes you memorable.
    • Your “sales pitch” should quickly summarize your abilities and explain why the company should remember and eventually hire you.  Make sure you have done your research and can speak specifically to the organization!
      • Sample Pitch: “Hello, my name is Jane Doe.  I have worked in Project Management and Software Creation.  I specialize in customer service and created an online platform that increased customer satisfaction by 75%.  I believe that I would excel in XYZ Organization and would love to know more about what you are seeking.”
  • Be prepared to answer some questions.
    • “Why are you interested in working for us?”  Here is where research pays off.  Explain what interests you about the company; this could be anything from your interest in helping the organization meet their goals to you wanting to broaden your horizons in that given specialization.  Do not talk about money; make the conversation work and production-oriented.
    • “What are you looking for in a job?”  Identify and elaborate upon three key points that make a job stand out to you—such as working with the public, having a structured goal, receiving the opportunity to advance in the position, having the flexibility to work from home, or good evidence to strengthen your skills.
    • “What makes you a good candidate?”  Do not simply repeat your résumé, but expound upon things like critical thinking skills, ability to work in diverse environments, problem solving abilities, and conflict management.
Attend the Job Fair
  • Relax and enjoy the experience!  If you are prepared, you do not need to be nervous.  Make sure to visit your chosen companies and browse through others that you find interesting.
    • Show your humanity in the process—do not feel that you must behave as a robot to be successful at the job fair.  The companies and recruiters want to get to know you as a professional.  Take breaks, if needed.
    • Pick up the handouts at the various tables.  Exchange contact information with the recruiters and express direct interest in working for that company/organization.
  • Ensure that you are comfortable and can project confidence.
    • Eliminate slang, distracting dialects, and profanity.  Speak with proper grammar and use professional language.
  • Ask the recruiters different questions.  If you want to know something about a position that cannot be found by doing research, a job fair is the place to ask.
Follow up After the Job Fair
  • Remember the companies whose booths you visited.  Follow up by sending a brief thank-you note to the recruiter for spending time with you at the job fair.
    • Sample thank you: “Thank you for taking the time to speak with me at the job fair at Piedmont Technical College.  I enjoyed discussing project management with you and would love to work for XYZ Organization.  I just submitted my application and hope to reconnect with you at some point in the future!”
  • Keep in contact with all companies in case something opens up in the future.  You never know where your connections may lead you!