Friday, June 8, 2012

How to navigate a job fair

Ok, so this post is via special is awesome to have ideas coming in from people so if you have one...let me know.

The idea of going to a job fair can be pretty intimidating.  Honestly, they are like huge speed dating events for people and companies looking for work.  Scary stuff. You know me, I'm a believer that your job search should be about 90% networking and 10% applying online...however, a job fair can be an important tool in your search.  With that, here are a few tips on how to be successful:

Don’t be “that guy” - What does that mean you ask?  Well, “that guy” is the dude in a 3 piece suit, the guy who looks like he just rolled out of bed and also the dude who kinda smells like peppermint schnapps.  Don’t be that guy.  Show up dressed professionally (not in a suit unless you are TOLD to wear one), well rested and ready to speak with people.

Have a plan - So, these things can be huge right?  I’ve seen job fairs with over 200 companies....if you have no plan, you have no hope. Figure out your “must” companies and be sure to stop by their booths.  Have another list of “yeah, maybe” companies that you want to hit but if you miss a few you’ll survive.  Finally, have a list of “no way” companies so yo know that you don’t want to stop by and be sucked in by their cool schwag.

Elevator pitch - You absolutely, positively need to have your little pitch down.  What you want to do is walk up to the booth, and boom, drop your elevator pitch on people to explain clearly and succinctly what you are looking for in a role.  Show up with a rambling answer and the recruiters in the booth will immediately tune you out, they have 100 other people to talk to and you just horrified them.

Follow up - It’s unlikely that you will just get a job or an interview on the spot at a job, your follow up is critical to your success.  Get the card of the person you spoke with and if you haven’t heard back from them in a few days...send an email to follow up and express your interest in the role.

That’s about it, the speed dating reference is actually a good one. You’re looking for work and the companies at this event are looking for you need to be networking and building relationships with people.  Keep at it, and eventually you’ll score a new job.

Good luck!


  1. Great tips Jeff! I've found job fairs to be really good because of the fact is like speed dating. You can meet so many companies all at once and make a more personal impression than one would with just an application. I always suggest my friends go to one when they are looking for an internship.

  2. Thanks for the advice. I have a crucial job fair coming up in early October and I was happy to see that I was preparing on some of your points already and can really use all the tips I hadn't considered yet.