Tips for Attending Your First Job Fair – At the Fair

By: Kendra

Thanks for coming back! Check out my tips for preparing to attend your first job fair. Here’s a quick recap about my situation. Just before spring break, I attended the Spring Head of the Lakes Job & Internship Fair, which was hosted at UWS. As you might know, my job in Career & Internship Services is employer relations, so I do a great deal of behind the scenes work for our job fairs. So, yes, I have been to job fairs before, but I was always working at them — never actually speaking to employers for my own personal reasons. Just a few weeks ago was my first experience doing this, so I figured I would share what I learned!

I want to preface by saying that I did not attend the fair with the goal of scoring a job or internship. Rather, I was looking to learn more about accounting internships and firms in the area. My goal was to learn, which I definitely achieved!

Image: young woman in suit jacket talking to people
Text: Tips for attending your first job fair - at the fair

Here are my tips for when you’re at the fair.

Get a map.
Checking out the map of the fair should be one of the first things you do after you’ve gotten to the fair and checked in. Take a walk through the fair space to get a feel for it. Then, find somewhere to sit and locate the employers you want to speak with on the map. I did this at the fair I attended and it helped me feel less overwhelmed and lost in the space. 

Review your notes.
Before speaking to an employer, review your notes on that specific company. This will refresh your memory of what it is they do, as well as the questions you have for them. 

Be confident!
When approaching employers, just be yourself and be confident. If there is one thing I have learned by working in employer relations, it’s that recruiters are people just like you and I. They have been in our shoes before, so they know how nerve-wracking it can be to attend a job fair. They are there to help, so don’t be afraid! Remember to give the recruiter you’re speaking with a good handshake and make eye contact with them throughout the conversation. Be engaged and be yourself and you’ll do great! 

Offer your resume to employers.
You brought them for a reason, might as well hand them out! Giving an employer your resume helps them remember you and gives them the availability to contact you if they wish to. This interaction completely depends on the employer. Some will ask for your resume, but you’ll need to offer it to other employers. I found that resumes came up in conversation with many of the employers I spoke with, so that was when I offered mine. With that being said, some employers do not accept resumes at fairs. Don’t be offended by this — it’s not you, it’s just what their company does.

Check out the next part of this series – After the Fair

Of Possible Interest:
Job Fairs – all our posts on the topic
Mastering the Career Fair – our Pinterest board filled with articles & resources

Read Kendra’s other posts

Photo Source: UMD Career & Internship Services

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