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A career fair is a great opportunity to meet with companies looking to hire. But, how do you make the most of it and stick out from the crowd of other job seekers? Watch this lesson to discover tips for preparing for and attending job fairs.

Career Fair

Kiera is a senior in college, and she’s looking for her first full-time job. Her advisor told her that she should attend one of her school’s career fairs. Kiera wonders what a career fair is and what it can do for her.A career fair, also sometimes called a job fair, is an exposition for employers and recruiters to meet with job seekers.

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Colleges often host career fairs for their students, but career fairs can also be hosted by networking groups, cities or municipalities, or other groups. So, what’s the deal with a career fair?Kiera’s advisor is right: career fairs can be a great opportunity for people. Because job seekers, like Kiera, can meet with many companies who are all looking to hire, they have a high chance to find a job. But just as there are many employers looking to hire at the career fair, there are also many job seekers. How can Kiera make sure that she stands out from the crowd and does well?Let’s look closer at what she can do before, during, and after a career fair to help her make the most of the opportunities there.

Preparation

Kiera has decided that she wants to attend a career fair, but she’s not sure what she needs to do. Should she just show up? Kiera’s job as a career fair attendee begins before she even goes to the fair. There are several things that she should do beforehand:

  1. Research the fair: Kiera first needs to find out which companies will be represented at the fair. Which companies can she look forward to meeting with? It’s important for Kiera to know which employers will be at the fair so that she can decide which ones she wants to prioritize. Since there will be many employers, Kiera might not be able to meet with all of them, so she’ll want to know ahead of time which ones she absolutely wants to meet with.

    In addition to figuring out which companies are her top choices, she will also need to;

  2. Research the companies: A meeting at a job fair is essentially a job interview, and just like a job interview, Kiera will want to know a little about the companies she’s meeting with. By doing a web search and looking around each company’s website, Kiera can know a little about all of the employers at the fair. Understanding what they do, what their biggest clients are, and what their mission is can help Kiera know what she can bring to each company, and how to communicate that. It can also help her;
  3. Prepare questions: As we said, Kiera should treat meeting with employers at a career fair as a job interview. As such, she should have two sets of questions prepared: one set of questions for all companies, like ‘What’s the best thing about working for your company?’ or ‘What does it take to be successful at your company?’ The other set of questions Kiera will want to prepare will be company-specific. For example, if one of Kiera’s target companies develops educational software, she might want to ask a question specific to their product, like how their software helps teachers differentiate instruction.

    Kiera will also want to;

  4. Prepare a one-minute pitch: In addition to her questions, Kiera will want to have a brief introduction of herself to share with the prospective employers. For example, Kiera might want to share information like her major, any honors or awards she’s won, and what she can bring to their organization. It should be one minute, tops – just a way to introduce herself to the employer.

Kiera can remember these four things with two words: research and prepare.

If she researches the fair and the companies and prepares questions and a one-minute pitch, she will be ready when she walks into the fair.

The Fair

Okay, let’s say that Kiera has done all of her research and preparation and now it’s the day of the fair. What should Kiera do at and immediately after the fair?

  1. Dress appropriately: As we’ve already said, Kiera should treat the career fair like a job interview. As such, she should dress in a professional way, preferably in a suit.
  2. Bring resume: Kiera also needs copies of her resume so that she can leave them with potential employers. She’ll want to bring a lot of copies; depending on the size of the career fair, she might need 25 or 30 copies.

  3. Take notes: Kiera will be meeting with a lot of people and she won’t remember everything later. She should take notes for each company she talks to. In addition, after each person she meets with, she should take a few minutes to find a quiet corner and jot down her impressions, thoughts, and reflections. Later, this will help her remember and sort through her thoughts and feelings.
  4. Follow up: Within 24 hours of the fair, Kiera should send an email to each person she meets with. They will have met with a ton of people, so Kiera should remind them who she is by referencing what they talked about. Then, she should thank them for their time and ask for a follow-up meeting.

    Doing this will really make an impression and help her stand out from the crowd.

Lesson Summary

A career fair, also called a job fair, is an exhibition where employers can meet with job hunters. Going to a career fair gives job seekers many opportunities. Before a fair, job seekers should research the fair, research the companies at the fair, prepare questions, and prepare a one-minute pitch.

At the fair, they should dress appropriately, bring their resume, take notes, and follow up immediately afterward.

Learning Outcomes

Once you are done with this lesson, you should be able to:

  • Explain the purpose of a career fair
  • Discuss what ‘research and ‘prepare’ entails in preparing for a job fair
  • List some activities that you should do during and after the fair

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