Compiled by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.
- Have a pen/pencil and paper available for notes.
- Bring resumes and a folder or portfolio to hold your job-search materials.
- Take the time to find out what companies will be represented before the day of the career fair.
- Research information about the participating companies and organizations prior to approaching the recruiters. Use the Internet, news sources and career fair materials to learn about the companies’ booths you plan to visit. You can impress a recruiter by knowing about his or her company and can discuss its current situation.
- Use time wisely. Determine where employers are located and in what order to visit them. Focus on three companies that you are truly interested in.
- Broaden your focus and include many types of employers. For instance, you may not have considered working for a hospital, but hospitals recruit and hire professionals in many different fields (e.g., management, information systems, or health care).
- Be aware of time demands on employers. Do not monopolize an employer’s time. Ask specific questions and offer to follow up after the fair, as appropriate.
- Be direct. Introduce yourself, including your name and career interests. If you are job-seeking, state the type of position in which you are interested. If you are gathering information, let employers know that you are only interested in materials and information. Remember to use good eye contact and a firm handshake. Career fairs are the perfect place to use your elevator speech.
- Make sure you learn from the recruiter employment and/or hiring trends, skills necessary for different jobs, current openings, salary, benefits, training, and other information about the organization. Also make sure you know whom to contact for follow-up discussions.
- Ask the employer for the next steps in the recruitment process and try to obtain the recruiter’s business card for follow-up discussions/correspondence.
See also our article, The Ten Keys to Success at Job and Career Fairs.
Make sure you have you seen all of our Job Expo and Career Fair Resources for Job-Seekers.
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
Dr. Randall S. Hansen is founder of Quintessential Careers, one of the oldest and most comprehensive career development sites on the Web, as well CEO of EmpoweringSites.com. He is also founder of MyCollegeSuccessStory.com and EnhanceMyVocabulary.com. He is publisher of Quintessential Careers Press, including the Quintessential Careers electronic newsletter, QuintZine. Dr. Hansen is also a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. He’s often quoted in the media and conducts empowering workshops around the country. Finally, Dr. Hansen is also an educator, having taught at the college level for more than 15 years. Visit his personal Website or reach him by email at randall(at)quintcareers.com.
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