Job fairs, also known as hiring fairs or career fairs, give job seekers the opportunity to network with employer representatives and learn more about organizations and their current and anticipated job openings. Follow the steps below to make the most of your job fair experience.
- Practice your elevator speech, making sure to incorporate your career objective. Be ready to “sell yourself” in 30 seconds or less.
- Polish your resume. It should be mistake-free, clear and concise, and highlight your successes and achievements using quantitative measurements, if possible.
- Research employers attending the job fair and make a list of questions to ask.
- Register for the fair. This is not a requirement, but it may help you get your resume in front of exhibiting employers before and after the job fair.
- Offer a firm handshake, make eye contact, relax and smile.
- Wear appropriate business attire. Be clean, neat and avoid excessive makeup or jewelry.
- Organize your materials in a portfolio for easy access.
- Distribute personal cards containing your contact information and a general title of the position you are seeking. Examples include “John Doe, Marketing Specialist” or “Alice Smith, Legal Administrator.”
- Collect cards from recruiters, job seekers and others you meet at the job fair. Put notes on the cards to make follow-up easier.
- Make a personal connection (mutual interest in a sports team, a college connection or a mutual life event). Recruiters meet hundreds of people at each fair; make it easy to remember you. Leave the booth and make a note about the personal connection you made so you can follow up later. For example, write “Gators fan” or “enjoyed chat about Notre Dame.”
Manage your expectations
- Practice answers to interview questions. Some employers will offer interviews during the event.
- Job fairs introduce the candidate to the company and the company to the candidate. Most job fairs do not result in an immediate job offer but are an excellent opportunity to open doors.
- Discover companies of interest and make connections to reach your next goal — an interview.
Follow-up after the event
- Send a follow-up email or note within three days after attending a job fair. If you made a personal connection, include it in your correspondence.
- Link to an article or mention something positive about the organization in your follow-up. This shows you have done your research.
- Thank the contact for their time and tell them you are interested in pursuing opportunities with their organization.
- Differentiate yourself by following up — most people neglect this important step.
- Connect with other job seekers. Remind them of your career objective and make sure you know theirs. Build your network and exchange ideas and referrals.
Job fairs are a good opportunity to practice your interview skills as you meet with company representatives. Fairs help you broaden your network, learn more about area companies and meet other military spouses seeking employment. Make it your goal to expand your connections at every job fair you attend.
Check out these military spouse hiring fairs. Find information on additional job fairs and hiring events on MySECO.