A job fair can be considered a waste of time to some, but to others, it’s exactly how they stumbled upon their current position. While not every job fair is going to be a slam dunk it is definitely beneficial to check them out if it’s being offered close to you. Here are a few things you should expect in order to best prepare yourself for attending a job fair.
Most job fairs will have you pre-register online and submit your resume there. Occasionally there will be a line when you enter and they will use that as their registration. Either way, registration means they are aware of who is coming and therefore you need to show up if you commit. Many times they will do a general screening of all the collected resumes to compare them against any open positions in case candidates were unable to make it around to them.
To dress business casual
You will need to dress how you would dress for a business casual interview. Try to stay away from jeans and crinkled blouses, but you also don’t want to wear a full suit and tie. Think more along the lines of dress pants and a blazer for women and a button down for men. You want to look presentable and have good hygiene, but it isn’t a formal interview and you will be moving quite a bit throughout the day.
To hand out a bunch of resumes
You’ll want to look up how many employers are going to be attending your job fair and print out enough resumes for each of them. Most likely a couple will not end up attending and you will have extras, but it is better than not having enough for every recruiter you speak with. Make sure these resumes stay crisp and clean by transporting them in a nice folder or small binder.
To speak to recruiters who are not in your career area
A job fair isn’t catered to a specific career area and therefore you will most likely come into contact with recruiters who have nothing to do with what you are interested in. The whole point of a job fair is to network with other professionals and soon-to-be professionals, so don’t think your day was not worth it if you only talk to one possible employer. Other recruiters you speak with may know of an opening in a company they have connections to and can pass your resume on to them.
To answer screening questions
Most recruiters at a job fair will have a series of screening questions that they will ask you when you visit their table. These questions are fairly easy to answer and just focus on your characteristics, abilities and career goals. They will also often ask you what you know about their company and why you would want to work for them, so make sure you do your research on all of the companies who are planning to be present.
To be on your feet most of the day
You will be walking around for hours and standing still while you speak with recruiters so make sure to wear decently comfortable shoes. A job fair is probably more of a flats event than it is a heels event. Of course, if you’re comfortable in heels, feel free to wear them, but you don’t want to be worried about your feet blistering while you’re trying to have a professional discussion.
To be given an official interview time
While you shouldn’t necessarily expect this, you should always be prepared. Make sure you bring some kind of planner or calendar in case you have interview opportunities that you will have to schedule. If you are being given a chance to schedule an in-person official interview, it is much better to try and schedule it right then and there.