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How to Prepare for the Next Job Fair

Tips for Job Seekers:

How to Conquer That Job Fair

If you’re actively search for employment, you’ve probably considered attending a job fair. Job fairs can be overwhelming—they are crowded and stressful. You may get discouraged because it is hard to stand out, and introverts can have an especially difficult time at these.

BUT, job fairs are in fact filled with employers looking for individuals to hire, and you do get a chance to put a personal touch on submitting your resume. Not only do you get to meet the person you submit your resume to, but you have the opportunity to practice your elevator pitch to a hiring manager.

Here are some tips on how to maximize your job fair experience:

Make a Good First Impression

Relax—easier said than done. If you’re super nervous, get to the job fair location about 15 minutes early, find a place to sit by yourself and try taking a few deep breaths, listen to some calming music, or whatever will calm your nerves. Don’t drink too much coffee beforehand, that’s just enhance the jitters.

Remember to smile! A smile will help you make a great first impression and it will help your tone of voice sound more positive and mask any nerves.

Practice a firm handshake. You don’t want it to be too strong, but you definitely want it to be steady.

Maintain good eye contact. This is hard to do when you’re nervous, but a lack of eye contact can make you come off as insecure. Eye contact gives off the impression that you are confident and in charge.

Put effort into your appearance. Polish your dress shoes and dress like you’re going into an interview for your dream job. Wear business attire that is professional, clean, wrinkle-free, and well-fitting. Avoid coffee and cigarettes to reduce unpleasant odors. Wear minimal cologne, perfume, make-up, and jewelry.  

Practice Your Elevator Speech

This is something you can do if you choose to arrive early, but this is something you should definitely be doing on the regular. Prepare a 20-30-second personal introduction to describe your relevant skills and experience. This statement should emphasize your strengths and highlight your background. Speaks clearly, confidently, and slowly (but not too slow).

Approaching Employers

Research the participating employers to demonstrate your interest in their products/services. Ask questions, like:

·         I read about your community service involvement on the company website, was your department involved in that project?

·         What particular skills do you value most in a new hire?

·         What do you like about working for your organization?

You should prepare for questions too! You could receive an on-the-spot interview. Be able to answer common questions about your interests, skills, and experience.


Apply for job opening online prior to the event. This will give you a chance to specifically ask about the position and put a face to the application when the hiring manager is reviewing resumes. If could even bring you straight to the top of the pile.

Collect business cards for thank you notes and follow up questions. It never hurts to expand your professional network.

Lastly, make extra copies of your resume. You don’t want to run out of resumes—you want to get your name out there!

Good luck at your next job fair! And happy hunting.

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