Career Fairs 101: Your Essential Checklist, Resume Tips, and Follow-Up Strategies

By
Stefanie Kreisman

Career fairs!

They can feel like a nightmare.

Who do I talk to?

How long should I talk to them?

Did I drink too much coffee?

All fair questions.

And as a college student or recent graduate, it's normal to feel worried about meeting potential employers and making a lasting impression. 

You might wonder, "How do I write an effective resume for a job fair?" or "How do I perfect my career fair pitch?"

Valid concerns, but what if you could transform this daunting experience into an exciting opportunity?

In this blog post, we'll guide you through each step with our Career Fair Planning Checklist

From what to bring, to crafting a standout resume, delivering an impressive pitch, and taking effective action after the fair, we've got you covered. 

Let's turn those jitters into confidence, and make your first career fair a launchpad for your professional journey.

Career Fair Planning Checklist 

What to Bring to a Job Fair 

1. Essential Documents

Never forget to bring multiple copies of your up-to-date resume to a job fair. You'll be meeting with various employers, so it's important to have enough copies to distribute. Business cards, if you have them, can also be useful for facilitating future networking and contact.

Bonus points for printing your resume on premium paper. It stands out in a pile of resumes!

2. Dress Code and Personal Grooming Items 

Dress professionally for the job fair; your appearance makes a significant first impression. Aim for a neat, business-like attire that aligns with the industry you're interested in. Additionally, carry grooming items such as a comb or breath mints to ensure you're always presentable.

3. Tools for Organization and Note Taking

Having tools like a notebook and pen or a digital note taking app can help you keep track of important information shared during conversations. Being organized demonstrates your seriousness about the opportunities and can assist you greatly in your post-fair follow-ups.

READ MORE: How to Land an Internship: Step by Step Guide

Pre-fair Preparation 

1. Researching Participating Companies
Before stepping foot into a career fair, it's important to familiarize yourself with the participating companies. Research each company's background, culture, and open positions. 

You might also consider researching any ongoing projects the company is currently working on. By doing this, you can express your ideas and interest in the project which will help you stand out from the competition.

This step will not only help you target potential employers but also facilitate meaningful interactions. After all, showing your knowledge about a company can leave a positive and lasting impression.

2. Defining Career Goals 

Knowing what you want out of your career is critical before attending a job fair. Set clear, achievable career goals. This will help you hone in on suitable opportunities and guide your conversations. It's also useful to consider short-term goals, such as securing an interview, in addition to long-term aspirations.

3. Updating and Customizing Your Resume for a Job Fair 

Your resume is one of your key marketing tools at a job fair. Employers at a job fair often seek candidates who are a good match for their current openings. They typically look for relevant skills, experiences, and qualifications. In addition, they value candidates who show a genuine interest in their company and the potential role. 

How to Write a Resume for a Job Fair 

A. Relevant Skills and Experiences

Highlight the skills and experiences that are most relevant to the jobs you're interested in. Use specific examples to show how you've used these skills in the past.

B. Clear and Concise Format 

Ensure your resume is easy to read and digest. Use ResumAI to create bullet points, consistent formatting, and clear headings. Avoid lengthy paragraphs. Your aim is to convey your value quickly and clearly.

C. Customizing for Different Employers 

Tailor your resume for each employer you're interested in. This shows you've done your homework and that you're genuinely interested in their specific opportunities.

D. Importance of Proofreading

Finally, always proofread your resume for errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Mistakes can give the impression of carelessness. Consider having someone else review your resume too, as they might catch errors you've overlooked. Remember, your resume is a reflection of your professional self; ensure it represents you in the best possible light.

Bonus points for digitizing your resume and portfolio by creating a scannable QR code.

READ MORE: How Wonsulting Helped Josh Get Hired at Toast!

During the Fair 

1. Navigating the Fair 

Craft a strategic plan to efficiently navigate the career fair. Familiarize yourself with the layout of the fair and identify the locations of your preferred employers. Remember, it's okay to seek guidance from fair organizers if you need help finding a specific booth or company.

2. Making the Most of Your Time with a Winning Career Fair Pitch

Time management is crucial during a career fair. Prioritize visiting the booths of companies that align with your career goals. Engage in focused, meaningful conversations and avoid lingering too long at one booth. Use your elevator pitch to effectively convey your value to potential employers.

Here Are Three Tips to Develop Your Elevator Pitch

A. Understanding the Elevator Pitch 

An elevator pitch is a concise, engaging overview of your professional background and goals, typically delivered in about 30 seconds to a minute - the length of an average elevator ride. It's your opportunity to introduce yourself, highlight your skills and experiences, and convey what you're seeking in a potential job.

B. Key Elements to Include in Your Pitch 

Your pitch should include your name, your field of interest or expertise, notable achievements, and your career aspirations. Be sure to tailor your pitch to align with the company and position you're interested in. For example, highlight skills or experiences that make you a good fit for the job.

C. Tips for Delivering an Effective Pitch

Practice makes perfect when it comes to delivering an effective pitch. That’s why Wonsulting has Interview Prep where you can rehearse until you feel comfortable with the content and can present it naturally. Maintain eye contact and use a confident, enthusiastic tone. Remember to listen carefully and be prepared to answer any follow-up questions that may arise.

3. Note Taking 

Keep a notepad or tablet handy for taking notes. Avoid taking notes on your phone. 

Jot down key points from your conversations, including the names of people you meet and any follow-up actions they suggest. These notes can be invaluable when you're sending personalized follow-up messages after the fair. Taking notes also demonstrates your attentiveness and interest in the opportunities discussed.

READ MORE: 20 College Grad Job Search Mistakes

What to do After a Career Fair 

1. Importance of Timely Follow-up 

Prompt follow-ups after a career fair are crucial. They show potential employers your interest and dedication. Aim to reach out within 24-48 hours while your interactions are still fresh in their minds.

2. How to Follow Up Effectively 

Email Follow-up 

Write a personalized email thanking each employer for their time. Recap a highlight from your conversation and express your interest in the company and role discussed. If they suggested next steps, confirm that you've taken them.

Connection on LinkedIn 

Connect with the company representatives on LinkedIn. Add a personalized note to your request reflecting on your conversation and expressing your interest in staying connected.

3. Reflection and Future Planning

Reflect on your career fair experience to learn and improve. Consider what worked well and what didn't. Did you achieve the goals you set? What would you do differently next time? Use your insights to refine your approach and plan for future career opportunities.

Conclusion 

Navigating a career fair as a newbie can feel daunting, but with the right tools and guidance, you can turn it into an incredible opportunity for career growth. 

Remember, everyone at the fair was once in your shoes, feeling the same anticipation and nerves. You've taken an important step by equipping yourself with knowledge and preparation strategies.

From understanding what to bring to a job fair, crafting a winning resume, delivering an impressive pitch, and knowing how to follow up after the event, you're now well-prepared to make a lasting impression on potential employers.

Believe in your abilities, embrace the experience, and seize this chance to jump-start your career. With your preparation and newfound confidence, we're certain that you're ready to shine at your next career fair. 

And remember: You're not nervous. You're just excited!

You've got this!

Need more help? Our 1:1 services could be a good fit for you! With 90% of our clients land interviews within 3 months and 70% land offers in 6 months, it’s only a matter of time until you land that job you’ve always dreamed of.

If you need help in making that decision, sign-up to speak to our team. We’ll help you turn from an underdog into a winner.

Stefanie Kreisman
Junior Copywriter

Ready to make your dream job a reality?

Get personal attention with each of our services, or join a community of learners in our online courses.

Questions about our services? Check out our FAQs page or contact our team here.