Job Seekers

11 Simple Career Fair Tips to Make You Stand Out

11 Simple Career Fair Tips to Stand Out

Job Seeker Standing Out

If you’re looking for a job, thinking about making a career change, or a student trying to figure out your career path, career fairs can be a great opportunity to gather information about employers and jobs.

You can speak to a real person at companies that have jobs available! You can’t do that by email or sending in a blind application. It may not lead to a job offer on the spot but it may help you hone your interviewing skills and build your professional network. Plus, you may get a great lead on a great job.

What is a Job Fair?

If you’ve never been to a job fair or career fair, it can be a little intimidating. There will likely be a lot of students or job candidates trying to catch the attention of recruiters and employers. It can be difficult to stand out and make an impression. In many cases, you’ll only get a few minutes or less to talk to a prospective employer.

If you’re wondering what to expect at a job fair, you’ll likely find rows of tables with employers and recruiters and lots of job seekers crowded around. It’s a good opportunity to make connections, introduce yourself to recruiters, and find out things first-hand about a company.

Don’t expect to get a job offer in the room, or even have a real job interview. More likely, it’s more of a meet-and-greet situation. Serious interviews typically happen later on. That’s not always the case, though, so be prepared.

Here are a few tips to get you started.

Before the Career Fair

Before attending, here’s how to prepare for a job fair to stand out from the crowd.

1. Do some homework

Before the career fair begins, get a list of the employers that are participating. Target the ones you have an interest in and do a little internet sleuthing. Look at job listings and see if there are positions that fit your skillset. Learn about the company and some key facts that you can use to weave into the conversation. If you’ve taken the time to do your research, you’ll ask better questions.

2. Tighten up your resume

Make sure it’s current. Ensure everything is accurate and spelled correctly. It’s a good idea to have a second set of eyes look it over for any gaps or mistakes. If you really want to make an impression, customize it for the companies you plan to meet with.

3. Practice your career fair elevator speech

It’s aptly named because the amount of time you’ll have in front of a recruiter to sell yourself is going to be short – about the time it takes for a short elevator ride. In a few sentences, explain how you are, what your goals are, and why you’d be interested in the company. Run through it a few times so you have it down and can repeat it without stumbling.

4. Plan your responses

If a recruiter asks you one of these questions, you want to have a thoughtful answer ready:

  • Tell me about yourself
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?
  • What’s your ultimate job?
  • Out of everybody in this room, why should we hire you?
  • Why do you want this job?

Here’s a list of the 27 most common job interview questions to help you prepare.

What to Wear to a Job Fair

What you wear is important. It can project an image of professional or unprofessional.

5. Dress for the part

You’re trying to show a potential employer that you’re taking things seriously. So, dress professionally. You may have heard the saying “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”  It’s true. If you want to make a poor impression, show up in shorts and a T-shirt. They’ll remember you but not for the right reason.

During the Career Fair

Survey the room. Plan your attack. Be confident!

6. Manage the first few seconds

First impressions are important. Research shows that people make determinations about your character, trustworthiness, and competence within micro-seconds of meeting you. It may be fair, but the way you dress, smile, and talk in the first few seconds are crucial.

7. Be prepared

Brings multiple copies of your resume and your portfolio (if appropriate). Make sure you have a pen and paper and a few breath mints for confidence!

8. Plan your conversation

Keep your discussions brief, focused, and polite. Try to find some common ground with recruiters to help them remember you and to give you a way to remind them who you are in your follow up.

9. Get Contact Information

Make sure you get a business card or contact information for any recruiter you’ve talked to at the career fair. Take a few notes about your discussion to help you remember specifics.

Questions to Ask at a Career Fair

The questions you ask can make a big impression as well. If you’ve researched the company, you should know enough to ask good questions. H

10. Prepare some questions in advance

Here are a few to get you started:

  • I saw on your website that you said [ Something about the culture ], how does that work at your company?
  • I’m really interested in becoming a [ Position ] but I didn’t see any current openings. Do you have roles like that come open often?
  • If someone gets hired for a [ Position ], what’s the typical career path in your company?

Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Every person there has been in your shoes at one time or another. If you aren’t getting that positive feeling, ask if they’ll give you some instant coaching about how you can do better next time.

After the Career Fair

11. Follow up with thank you emails

Make sure you send a follow-up email within a few days. You should thank the recruiter for their time, provide something you learned, demonstrate your interest, and provide your contact information. Your email should be friendly, but professional.

More Information:  How to Craft the Perfect Career Fair Follow up Email

Job Seekers

How to Craft the Perfect Career Fair Follow up Email

How to Craft the Perfect Career Fair Follow up Email

When you’re talking to a recruiter, you’re trying to do a few things:

  • Make sure the company and positions are the right fit for you (and you for them)
  • Make a connection with the recruiter so they remember you
  • Sell yourself, your skills, and your interest

Typing Email

When you’ve had a successful conversation with a recruiter, make sure you ask for their business card or contact information. Make sure you jot down a note or two about the interaction that you can use later when it’s time to do the career fair follow up email.

You’d be surprised how many people don’t take this simple step to remind recruiters who you are and why they should take you seriously. It’s a great way to let recruiters know you’re serious about a job with their company and an easy way to separate yourself from the pack.

Career-Fair Tips:  The Follow Up Email

You want your follow-up email to be seen as a thoughtful response. Make sure you do it within a day or two of your meeting.

Your email should include:

  • A Thank You
    Thank the recruiter for taking the time to talk with you
  • A Connection
    Mention something that will trigger their memory about who you are
  • What You Learned
    Mention something you learned about the company or position
  • Statement of Interest
    Make sure they know you’re interested in the company and the position
  • Contact Information
    Even if you’ve already provided it, make sure your email and phone number are included in every mail correspondence with the recruiter.

You also want to make sure you follow a few simple guidelines:

  • Make sure you have the name and email of the person you’re contacting so you can address them by name. Double-check that’s it spelled correctly and never send a generic email such as “Dear Hiring Manager.”
  • Keep it short, simple, and to the point.
  • Make sure your grammar, punctuation, and details are correct.
  • Keep it professional, yet friendly.

This is your next opportunity to make a positive impression. Make sure you’re presenting yourself in the best possible light. It’s also an opportunity to show you’ve reflected a bit and provide additional information to show your value to the recruiter. If you fumbled an answer, you can clarify it. If you’ve done additional research after the conversation, you can provide additional context.

Career-Fair Tips:  The Subject Line

One thing that gets overlooked is the subject line of your email. Think about it from the recruiter’s point of view. The average business person gets more than 120 new emails every day. Your subject line should clearly state why you’re writing and what it’s about.

Subject Lines Examples for Career Fair Follow Up Email

  • Thank you for your time, [ interviewer name ]
  • Thank You – [ Your Name, Position ]
  • I enjoyed speaking with you about [ Position ]
  • Thank you!
  • Thanks for your time and advice

Career-Fair Tips:  The Email Body

Here is an example to help you craft your career fair follow up email. Think of it as a building block and not to be used verbatim. Sending a generic email makes it sound like you’re not that interested. Adapt the format to your situation and the conversation.

Template for Career Fair Follow Up Email

[ Recruiter Name ]:

Thanks again for taking the time to meet with me at [ Career Fair Name, Location, Date ] about the [ Job Title ] position with [ Company ].

[ Share personal connection if applicable ].

It was great learning about [ Something you talked about during the conversation ]. Upon reflection, this is the reason I want to be part of your organization.[ Provide additional information, insight, or value from the conversation ]

I wanted to confirm my sincere interest in the [ Job Title ] position. I believe my [ experience ] would make me a great fit for the job. I would love the opportunity to continue the conversation with you in the future.

Thanks again for your time!

[Name & Contact Information]

Sample Career Fair Follow Up Email

Here’s an example of how it might come together:

Dear Ms. Carter:

Thanks again for taking the time to meet with me at the Penn State Career Fair on September 16th  about the Junior Accountant position with Parker Financial.

It’s nice to connect with another Penn State grad and learn how you were able to translate the college experience into your career path. I wanted to confirm my sincere interest in the  position. I believe my classroom experience and my part-time job at Ryan-Davis as an Accounts Payable clerk would make me a great fit for the job. I would love the opportunity to continue the conversation with you in the future.

Again, thank you for your time.

Sheila Davis
Email Address
Phone Number

Use these career fair tips to write a career fair follow up email that helps you find the perfect job. Good luck with your job search!


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