Career Advice

How to Succeed at a Career Fair

Wondering how to land your dream job at a career fair? Follow these tips to land your dream job.

Leila Le
Published: (Updated: ) - 6 min read
As an Operations Lead, Leila oversees Simplify's blog & newsletter, reaching 100K job-seekers monthly, where she brings experience curating resources for candidates to help them land their dream job.

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters / Unsplash

A career fair is an event where employers, recruiters, and companies can interact with college students, recent graduates, and alumni. It's an opportunity for employers to learn more about potential candidates, and for job seekers to learn about different companies and job opportunities.

Career fairs can be an excellent opportunity for students to explore potential job and internship opportunities, build their professional network, and learn more about different industries and employers. Attending a career fair can be intimidating, however, especially for students who have never attended one before. With that being said, here are some tips and strategies for making the most of a career fair, from preparation to follow-up!

Do Your Research

Before attending a career fair, take the time to research the companies that will be there and narrow down the ones that interest you the most. Doing this research beforehand will give you an opportunity to prepare questions and make a good first impression. It's also a good idea to practice your elevator pitch and have a clear understanding of your career goals and what you can bring to a potential employer. This can help you stand out to employer representatives and give them a better sense of your fit for the company.

When researching the companies attending the career fair, take some time to explore their websites, social media profiles, and other online resources. Look for information about the company's mission, products or services, and culture. You can also check out the company's career page to learn more about the types of jobs they offer, the qualifications and skills they look for in candidates, and any internships or entry-level positions they may have available.

Doing your research before attending a career fair can go a long way towards making a good first impression. Researching the companies that will be there will show recruiters and employers that you are serious about learning more about their company, and that you are willing to put in the effort to learn more about them. Additionally, a strong knowledge of the company and the industry can help you to ask better questions and engage in more meaningful conversations with employers.

Wondering how to get started? Check out this website by Columbia University that goes over researching organizations!

Refine Your Resume

Before attending a career fair, it's important to make sure your resume is professional and up to date. This will be your first opportunity to showcase your skills and work experience to potential employers, so you want to make sure your resume is well-written and reflects your qualifications.

To prepare a professional and updated resume, start by reviewing the job descriptions for the positions you're interested in and highlight any skills or work experiences that match the requirements. This will help you tailor your resume to the specific companies and positions you're applying for. Be sure to also include any relevant certifications or education, and include any volunteer or extracurricular activities you may be involved in.

Make sure to tailor your resume for each job you apply for, focusing on the skills and work experiences that are relevant to the position. You should also make sure that your resume is neat and easy to read. Include a professional summary at the top that highlights your qualifications, as well as any relevant experience or skills that you have acquired. Make sure to proofread your resume for any typos or errors.

Are you looking for the perfect resume template for your job search? Check out our blog post on the best tips for your resume here!

Dress Professionally

During the career fair, it's a good idea to make the most of your time by prioritizing the employers you are most interested in speaking with and having a list of questions prepared in advance. It's also important to make a positive impression by dressing professionally, bringing business cards (if you have them), and being prepared to talk about your skills and work experience. If the fair is virtual, be sure to have a strong internet connection and a professional background for your video calls.

For men, a suit is typically the best choice. Make sure your suit is clean, well-fitted, and in good condition. A shirt, tie, and dress shoes will complete the look. Avoid wearing casual clothing, such as jeans or sneakers, as these are not appropriate for a professional setting.

For women, a skirt or pantsuit is a good choice. Make sure your outfit is well-fitted and professional. Avoid wearing clothing that is too tight or revealing, as this can be unprofessional and distracting. Pair your outfit with professional shoes, such as heels or dress shoes, and avoid wearing casual shoes, such as sandals or sneakers.

Follow Up With Hiring Manager

After attending a career fair, it's important to follow up with the companies you are interested in. This will show employers that you are serious about finding a job and are willing to put in the extra effort to make a lasting impression. To follow up with companies after the career fair, you can send a brief email thanking the representatives you spoke with and reminding them of your conversation. In the email, you can also highlight any skills or experiences you have that are relevant to the positions they are hiring for.

It's also a good idea to include your resume with the email, so the employer has a record of your qualifications. If you have any additional materials, such as a portfolio or writing samples, you can include those as well. Finally, make sure to request an interview if the company is interested in scheduling one. This will give you the opportunity to discuss your qualifications and experiences in more detail, and it will allow employers to learn more about you and your qualifications.

Need a follow-up email template? 

Dear [Hiring Manager],

I wanted to follow up on the career fair we attended last week. It was a pleasure meeting you and learning more about the [Company] team and the exciting opportunities available.

I am extremely interested in the [Position] role and believe that my skills and experience make me a strong fit for the position. As we discussed, I have a strong background in [Relevant Skills or Experience], and I am confident that I can contribute value to the team.

Thank you for considering my application. I am eager to hear back from you and discuss the opportunity further. If you have any additional questions or would like to schedule a follow-up interview, please don't hesitate to reach out.

Thank you again for your time and consideration.

Sincerely, [Your Name]

Plan Your Questions Ahead of Time

When attending a career fair, it's important to be proactive and ask questions to the representatives at each booth. This will show employers that you are interested in their company and its opportunities, and it will also give you the chance to learn more about the company and the job market.

When asking questions, make sure they are specific and relevant to the company and the positions you're interested in. Avoid asking general questions that can be easily found on the company's website or social media profiles. Instead, try to ask questions that will help you learn more about the company's culture, work environment, and hiring process.

What are some questions you can ask representatives? 

  • What are the key responsibilities and requirements of the positions you're hiring for?
  • Can you tell me more about the company's culture and work environment?
  • What are the key skills and qualifications you look for in candidates?
  • Are there opportunities for professional development and career growth within the company?
  • Can you tell me more about the company's products or services?
  • What is the company's mission and how do your employees contribute to it?

By asking these types of questions, you'll show employers that you are interested in their company and its opportunities, and you'll also learn more about the company and the job market. This can help you make a good impression and increase your chances of finding a job.

Find Your Dream Job With Simplify Today!

Attending a job fair is a great way for students and recent graduates to explore their career options, meet potential employers, and learn about different industries and job opportunities. However, it's important to remember that a career fair is just one part of the job search process. To find your dream job, you'll need to be proactive, persistent, and willing to put in the effort to learn about different companies and opportunities.

Simplify is a platform designed to help job seekers find job and internship opportunities that align with their skills and career goals. With Simplify, you can search for job openings, connect with employers, and get personalized job recommendations based on your interests and experience. By using Simplify, you can simplify your job search and focus on finding the job that's right for you. So why wait? Start your search today and take the first step towards finding your dream job!

Looking for jobs to apply to? Check out Simplify's database of over 1,000,000+ jobs and internships here!