Successfully Attending a Career Fair
Career Fairs are popular among job seekers and employers alike. They offer opportunities for individuals seeking employment, or in some cases internships, to meet with several employers. Employers are located in booths or at tables in a large auditorium or conference center. In order to meet with employers, candidates wait in line to speak briefly with employment representatives. Employers use this process to meet many candidates and identify individuals who will be invited for a more in depth interview.
The value of a career fair to a job seeker will vary depending upon the "match" between the qualifications being sought by employers and the background of a candidate. The types of positions that are being offered, reflect the current labor market, and will likely influence whether or not a job seeker will perceive a career fair as a worthwhile experience.
Guidelines for Success
- Do your homework. Learn as much as you can about the employers who will attend and the positions which they are hoping to fill prior to the event. Check company websites and Vault.com.
- Develop a prioritized list of targeted employers.
- After you have visited your targeted employers, visit as many other employers as possible.
- Bring 25 copies of your resume and a portfolio for taking notes and holding employer information.
- Present yourself in a professional manner. While employers may consider you if you are dressed in business casual, professional attire gives you an edge.
- Rehearse a brief introduction of your skills and qualifications to "hook" employers.
- When an employer asks "What are you looking for?" let them know that you did your research and tell then of your interest in their company.
- Request a business card from each employment representative with whom you meet and send a thank you note to each of these individuals.
- Be aware that you will probably have to wait in line for a considerable period of time if you hope to meet with "popular" employers.
- Maintain a positive, up-beat attitude throughout the event. Be polite to everyone you meet.
- Go early - usually the slower time of a career fair is the first hour, so arrive early and employers will be able to give you more time.
- Talk with other candidates. A job fair is a perfect opportunity to establish new networking contacts.