Job & Career Fair Tips

Spring is quickly approaching, which means it’s time for job fairs! For those of you who have never been to a job fair OR have not been to one in a long time, I thought it necessary to share some important tips on how to prepare for and behave at a job fair.

1. If you are unsure about what jobs you are seeking, either do some research on your own or solicit the assistance of a career counselor before going to a job fair. As someone who has been on the employer side of a job fair, it’s not our job to tell you what kinds of positions for which you are qualified or seeking. If you don’t know, that’s a problem! Most career centers and Universities offer free assistance to help you in this matter. Or you can also check out the Occupational Handbook or Career Guide from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for more information on viable careers that match your background and experience.

2. Research the companies who will be there. Most job fairs are planned weeks in advance and the list of companies who will be attending the fair can be obtained beforehand. Go online and see what these companies do and if they are the type of place where you would like to work. That saves you from the trouble of asking every booth, “What kind of company are you?”. Employers are impressed when a job seeker approaches them a career fair and already has some prior knowledge of the company.

3. Dress appropriately. I can’t stress this one enough! It never fails that to see at least one or two people dressed inappropriately at a job fair. Ladies- club/bar clothes are not OK (i.e., spaghetti strap tops, tight skirts with a slit up the side, spiky heels, body glitter, etc.). Men- even if your Adidas shoes match your Adidas pants, you’re still wearing Adidas. And please wash your hair and go without a ball cap for one day! For more information on what to wear, click here

4. Have your “elevator pitch” rehearsed. If you are going to approach an employer at a job fair, be ready to answer the question, “What kind of work are you seeking?” in 60-seconds or less. Those who say, “I dunno” or ramble on and on for 10 minutes are going to go in the “no” pile. Same goes for most questions…you need to keep it short and sweet so the company representative doesn’t feel cornered by you or your responses.

5. Stay home if you are sick. If you wake up the day of the job fair and aren’t feeling well, do everyone a favor and stay home! There’s too much handshaking and face-to-face interaction at these events to risk anyone’s health, including your own! Most places that plan the fairs can collect company information for you (and send it electronically) in lieu of your attendance. OR if you feel that you must go, refrain from shaking hands or coughing in anyone’s face.

I’m sure you can picture some of the “characters” that appear at job fairs…or any public event for that matter! But many job seekers are guilty of one of the above offenses and don’t even know it. If you know someone who is looking or you are looking for a job, please prepare yourself appropriately for job fairs and make a good, lasting impression on employers.