Succeed at Career Fairs By Preparing, Following Up And More Use these tips to make an impression


By NLU’s Career Development Department

Many job seekers find there are times when they’re not getting much response from employers. That’s when it’s time to put another strategy in play: career fairs.

Career fairs give you that opportunity to meet face to face with employers and make your first impressions count. Use the eight tips below to make a positive lasting impression and stand out amongst other candidates.

1). Do your research

Register for the career fair in advance, and you will have the opportunity to view the companies that will be attending the career fair. You can also upload your resume so each employer will have a copy of it. Create a list of the companies which interest you and research their missions statements, goals and values, The day before the career fair,  reread those statements to have them fresh in your mind when you talk to companies.

2).Search for available positions and tailor your resume

Next, view all the opportunities that are available for each company you are interested in and spend time tailoring your resume for each position. Remember, tailoring your resume is very important and makes your resume appear more marketable. Employers will see your great interest in the position if you take the time to tailor your resume. If you need any help with tailoring your resume, seek assistance from career development to ensure a strong resume for the career fair. Make sure to bring multiple copies of each resume so every employer can each have one to skim. 

3). Practice your Elevator Pitch

This is a 30-second summary of your qualifications for the position you are applying to. It is very similar to the “Tell me about yourself” question given in an interview. A good way to practice this is with a friend or even in front of a mirror. One way to get started is to make a list of accomplishments or success stories you have had in your work experience and qualifications you have that would allow you to excel in the role you are targeting.

4). Make use of the time given

Plan to spend about 2-3 hours at the career fair and make the most of this time. This gives you enough time to spend speaking with each employer for the positions that interest you. These short interviews can run for 20-30 minutes and you also want to use time to ask any questions you might have about the role or the company.

5). Avoid assuming that employers have your resume

Remember to give your resume to the employer. They will definitely be impressed that you spent the time to tailor it to a position you are interested in. This also shows the employer you are serious about working for their organization and you will be prepared to answer specific questions such as “why are you interested in this company or position?” because you have already done your research. It’s always best to be prepared.

6). Choose Career Clothing 

Going to a job fair is essentially the same as going to an interview with an employer, only there are multiple employers interviewing candidates at their tables. Be sure to dress professionally. Men should wear suits and women can wear suits or business-appropriate dresses with sleeves. Both should wear business-like shoes.  Candidates should also be well-groomed. It is also recommended that women wear minimal makeup and light or no perfume, along with simple jewelry, as these can be distractions that can affect the interview.

7). Avoid being forgotten

While you are speaking with the interviewer, request the person’s business card so that you have all the information you need to send them a thank you letter. Tip: Sending a handwritten thank you letter to each person you spoke with will surely separate you from the rest and leave a positive lasting impression.

8). Keep in touch with the employers

It is important to follow-up with each employer for the positions you were interviewed for. Following up should be done a week after the interviews took place. The goal is to obtain another opportunity to speak with them further and see what the next steps are with the interviewing process.

Get more great career advice from NLU’s Career Development Department.