A career fair is an event where representatives from companies connect with job-seekers and prospective employees. People can speak with these recruiters to learn more about the companies they represent and their job openings.
These opportunities were traditionally in-person events held in large spaces, such as event halls or stadiums, but now, more and more employers are turning to virtual career fairs. These events are also recruiting platforms, but they allow both company representatives and job-seekers to attend and connect remotely.
At in-person career fairs, employees usually have booths or tables set up in rows. Attendees have the opportunity to move through the space and stop at the booths that interest them, where they can chat with recruiters and prospective employers and ask questions. In some cases, they may be able to have short, impromptu interviews for job openings. Attendees can also drop off resumes and other application materials and get contact information from company representatives.
Virtual career fairs leverage technology like videoconferences and chat rooms. Usually, attendees upload their resumes when registering, and they may either be matched to employers that seem like the best fits or are able to specify the employers with whom they’d like to speak. Attendees can also browse companies and job openings and are often able to speak one-on-one with those that interest them in private chat rooms.
Career Fair Plus is an app that streamlines the career-fair process for job seekers. Users can view information about specific job fairs they’re interested in attending, including searchable, filterable, up-to-date lists of employees and details about employers that will be there. Through the app, you can mark your favorites and view floor plans. You’ll also receive general advice on navigating and presenting yourself at career fairs.
Participating events allow you to use the “Skip the Line” feature, which, as you’ve probably guessed, enables you to reserve time slots with employers prior to attending and avoid long waits.
Whether or not career fairs are “worth it” depends on the event itself and how you approach it. If employers that truly interest you are attending, you should get something out of it because you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about them and connect with people who work there. This can give you a leg up in the hiring process. Plus, even if you don’t come away with a job lead, you could still gain contacts in your industry; these events offer plenty of networking opportunities.
Huge, general career fairs are harder to navigate than targeted ones, and you may have trouble finding the right opportunities and connections. That’s why it’s important to see which employers are attending beforehand and ensure that there are interesting companies. Moreover, it’s essential to prepare in advance to make the most of the opportunity. Have copies of your resume, dress appropriately, do your research and engage with employers.
• You’ll network with recruiters and professionals in your industry.
• You can learn about job openings.
• You’ll get experience interviewing.
• You can receive general career and job-search advice.
• You’ll learn more about your chosen or prospective industry.
We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: you need to do your research before attending a career fair. This will allow you to maximize the potential of finding an employer that’s the right fit and making a good impression. After looking through a list of employers that will be attending the career fair, look into the ones that interest you. Spend some time on their websites and social media accounts to learn about their missions, inner-workings, values, current employees, resources and more.
This will enable you to speak with employers knowledgeably and ask the right questions. You’ll also be able to show them that you possess qualities that they seek in employees.
Have some key talking points ready to go prior to the career fair (it may help to jot them down to remember, but don’t read off of a list when speaking with recruiters). Preparing an elevator pitch will allow you to market yourself and your skills concisely. Since time is limited, you’ll be able to present your best qualities quickly and help employers remember you.
While you don’t need to wear a full suit, remember to dress professionally and treat this as an interview or professional event. Choose a polished outfit that makes you feel comfortable and confident.
This is true even if you’re attending a virtual career fair. Recruiters will still be seeing you and formulating quick opinions in the short amount of time you have available, so how you present yourself matters.
Don’t drop off your resume and keep going. You want to make an impression. That’s why you should engage employers in conversation. It’s a good idea to prepare some questions in advance, although as with a formal interview, the best questions are ones that arise naturally during the discussion. Remember, too, that you’ll need to approach employers yourself — no one’s going to come looking for you.
While you’re at the career fair, be sure to get the contact information of the recruiters present. After the event, you’ll be able to follow up with them by email or LinkedIn. You might use this as an opportunity to ask more questions and express your interest in the company. This is a key step that will keep you on prospective employers’ radar and stand out from the crowd.
Ready to attend a career fair? Fairygodboss offers virtual career fairs where you have the opportunity to connect with top employers online. You can find more information on upcoming events on the Fairygodboss Events Calendar.