Career and job fairs are a great way to network with recruiter contacts who can help you gain a better understanding of the transferable skills your degree has given you that can ultimately help you in your career.
Talk to recruiters about workplace trends; the skills, experience and knowledge required to get hired into the industry; and what will set you apart as a potential candidate. Be sure to research organizations in advance so that you are knowledgeable – bring a list of questions to show what you’ve learned about the company, and to find out more.
Be prepared to make a lasting impression on the recruiter so they will remember you when your application comes in!
Job/Career Fair Etiquette 101
What to do before, during, and after to make the fair work for you!
Before the Fair:
Frequently review the organizations attending on our list of participating organizations as new attendees are continually being added.
Visit the participating organizations’ websites to gain an understanding of who they are and what they do. Note any positions currently posted on their website or on CareerCentral and prioritize a list of those you would like to target.
Develop and practice your “30-second commercial” (i.e. how you will introduce yourself and your strengths, interests and career goals) and your firm handshake
At the Fair:
Start with organizations that you have a general interest in as a way to become comfortable with introducing yourself and interacting with the representatives. Then, move on to your first choice recruiters!
Greet recruiters with a smile and a firm handshake. Sell yourself, using a 30-second commercial which clearly identifies your strong points and your goals.
Take a portfolio folder to hold resumes and organizational literature that you will collect.
Listen attentively to the company representatives. They may say something that will generate questions for you, or provide you with an opportunity to highlight additional skills. If you are waiting in line to talk to a representative, listen carefully to what the representative is saying to other students or the questions he/she is asking. This may answer some of your questions and will also help you to prepare for your turn.
Network - talk to others while you are waiting in line.
Gather company literature as this could be very helpful later on. Get the representatives’ business cards - very important! You'll need this for your follow up. If they are not providing business cards make note of the name of the person with whom you spoke (they usually wear a name tag at fairs).
Write notes after each contact (e.g. information about vacancies, organizational philosophy, hiring process, contact names, or anything else you observed during your conversation that might be of help later).
Keep a positive attitude - be enthusiastic and keep smiling!
Get tips and advice on fair preparation from our video below
After the Fair:
Thank you notes/calls - The following day, email or mail a thank you note to the company representatives you are interested in.
Make your communication short but powerful.
Remind them who you are and in what position(s) you are interested.
Request an interview and include a more targeted resume if appropriate.
Additional Preparation: Stand Out from the Competition
Find out how you can make yourself stand out in a room full of job seekers! You can learn how to make the most of the fair and leave a positive and lasting impression on the recruiters you meet.