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How To Work A Career Fair

Career fairs provide more than an opportunity to pass out resumes.  They allow you to meet company representatives, network with other attendees, and learn about available career paths.

Use these 9 steps to get the most out of your next career fair.

Get a good night sleep.

While at the career fair, you will spend most of your time walking around, standing in line, meeting and greeting company representatives, and in some cases interviewing. You will only have a few minutes to make a good first impression. Imagine the type of impression you would leave if you appear tired and lethargic. A good night sleep will give you the energy required to remain upbeat throughout the event.

Dress appropriately.

You can never go wrong if you arrive in professional dress. This is especially important if interviews will be conducted during the career fair. Like it or not, you will be judged on the way you are dressed. Professional dress includes suits, jackets with coordinating skirts or slacks, and dresses. Do not overlook the  obvious things: conversative ties and shirts, professional shoes,and limited perfume or cologne. If you choose to wear business casual dress, it should not include: jeans, sneakers, sleeveless tops, mini-skirts, sun dresses, spaghetti-strap dresses, shorts, spandex or leggings.

Bring mulitple copies of your resume.

You may be asked if you have pre-registered for the event when you enter. This is done to ensure all companies have access to the resumes of career fair attendees.  If there is at least a 50% chance you plan to attend an upcoming career fair, register ahead of time.  Bring copies of your resume with you so you can leave it with company representatives.  There is no need to spend extra money on resume paper; use regular 20lb paper.

Put your cell phone on vibrate.

Cell phone ringtones are an unnecessary distraction.  You do not want to interrupt your discussion with a Recruiter to silence your phone.  If you put your phone on vibrate, you will still know when someone calls.  You can then check your missed calls or text messages while you walk in between booths.

Arrive with questions in mind.

Think about 3 to 5 questions you want answered ahead of time. The questions should include items which would determine whether or not you work for a company  (e.g. opportunity for advancement, available training, mentoring, benefits, etc.)

Visit companies strategically.

Depending on the size of the career fair, it may not be possible to visit every company. When you enter, look over the list of companies attending. Put a check mark next to each company you definitely want to visit. If a map is provided, mark the company’s location on the map.  Visit the companies you marked first. If the company's line is long, visit the next closest company on your list. This approach will ensure you have a chance to speak with your preferred companies before you leave the event.

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